Kitchen Before Transformation

Before the Makeover

Though Diane is a talented faux-finish artist, we enlisted the help of her good friend and one of our favorite Texas designers, Jennifer Spak.

Here's what the kitchen looked like before. Click "next" to take a look at what Diane and Jennifer were able to accomplish, and get some ideas for your own home!

Kitchen Table

The Transformation

With a budget of $2,500 and a time frame of a few short months, we think you'll agree that the result is incredible. The kitchen is filled with ideas, and they even came in under budget. We'll show you exactly how they did it.

Kitchen Pantry

Pretty Pantry

Here's a quick fix for your pantry. Diane and Jennifer purchased this door for a song at an outlet store. Diane updated one side of it with chalkboard paint, which is nice for writing reminders and chore lists. The other side was covered with a metal sheet purchased at a home-improvement store. Magnets hold photos and note cards in place.

Downstairs Flooring

Flooring Options

Like most things in the kitchen, the floor wasn't bad before, but it wasn't great either. "The floor needed some refinishing because of wear and tear, but if we did that, we would have to redo all of the downstairs flooring," says Jennifer. "By painting the floor, we were able to delineate between the kitchen and the rest of the flooring in an appropriate manner," Diane says. And without all the cost. Painters tape, paint, and a stencil were all that was needed to make this simple project come to life.


Fresh Face Forward

Replacing existing cabinetry can account for more than half the cost of a kitchen renovation. The cabinets featured here were in relatively good condition. Because they were on a tight budget, Jennifer and Diane decided to update them rather than embark on an overhaul. "We felt that by applying a furniture finish to the existing cabinets, we could achieve an equally effective look at a considerably lower price," says Jennifer.

Diane cleaned, sanded, stained, and painted the original cabinets. Then she distressed them by chipping the corners and sanding again to allow the stain to show through. Then an aging glaze was painted on to create an antique look.

Kitchen Hardware

It's the Little Things

New hardware is an easy way to update the look of any kitchen. But if this isn't in your budget, simply glaze or paint existing pulls or handles. "Unfortunately, new hardware can be very costly," says Jennifer. "But we came across some heavy cast-iron pulls at a price we loved." Diane added a glaze to give the pulls an aged appeal. "By doing this, we simply accentuated the wonderful detail in the pieces," she notes.

Dishwasher Panel

The Power of Paint

"All my appliances were still in good working order, but I just couldn't stand the black hole where the dishwasher was," says Diane. To fix this problem, she and Jennifer decided to paint the dishwasher's front panel to blend in with the cabinetry. The panel was lifted out, primed, and painted. It was then allowed to dry and put in place as good as new (if not better).

If you have any leftover paint, use it to update older accessories such as lamps and vases. Or try your hand at creating a piece of artwork on a blank canvas.

Cooper Countertops


Jennifer and Diane chose copper countertops for the kitchen. "These achieved the Tuscan/European feel we were looking for," says Jennifer. The rustic appearance of the copper adds to its personality and character.

Because they were so expensive, the tumbled marble tiles Jennifer and Diane first selected for the backsplash were out of the running. Instead, they achieved the effect they were looking for by using ceramic tiles that resemble stone.

The Awning Above the Sink

Details Make the Difference

As a finishing touch, a clever fabric awning accents the window above the sink. "To reinforce the European feel, we added the awning. This gives the space dimension. It also provides the wonderful ambience of a sidewalk cafe," says Jennifer.

Kitchen Makeover -- Slide 10

Open Up the Space

Diane and Jennifer also removed the bulky kitchen island and replaced it with a table and chairs that were in storage. It's the perfect place for quick breakfasts, snacks, and casual meals. What's more, the top serves as a work surface when needed for food prep.

Diane Smith and Jennifer Spak

What it Cost

• Tile backsplash: $193
• Trim and basket tile: $270
• Labor for tile and countertop: $800
• Copper for countertops: $308
• Fabric: $150
• Labor for floor: $300
• Door knobs: $83
• Drawer pulls: $62
• Pantry door: $22
• Metal sheet: $5
• Chalkboard paint: $13
• Stain and sealer: $13
• Paint: $40
• Glaze: $13
• Hardware for awning: $35
TOTAL: $2,307

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