Kitchen Makeover Update: Getting to the Finish Line

Are you feeling frazzled this week trying to get everything on your holiday To-Do list done?  I am trying to stay calm, but am working pretty hard on getting most of the kitchen makeover completed before Christmas which is this weekend.

I had a weeks’ delay in my progress when Ed and I decided to visit our daughters for a week over Thanksgiving. I enjoyed our trip, but it did put me behind, along with the colder temps. I was painting the cabinet doors out in my garage, but had to shift my operation indoors to get the last section of cabinets painted.

Chrome Kitchen cabinet hardware

Here is where I left off in my last kitchen makeover update post. One last section of cabinets to paint, tile to grout and a countertop to paint. The scalloped trim above the sink is going to be removed, but that is going to have to wait until January. I painted it to look good for the time being.

I will be writing a full tutorial on everything I did to the kitchen in more detail. This post is just to show you my progress.

Kitchen Makeover before-1

I finished painting the top cabinets and had to tackle the bottom cabinets. The cabinets are so dark that I needed a flashlight to remove the cabinet hinges in the corner.

how to paint a built in kitchen wine rack

I also had to remove this wine bottle rack. It was easy to remove, just two screws and I pulled it out from under the counter. This needed lots of TLC and had to be painted outside. Luckily it did warm up here over the weekend and the sun came out so I could hose it down and scrub it clean before I spray painted it. I thought it would be harder than it was to paint. Once it was dry from cleaning, I used 2 cans of Rustoleum 2X white spray primer and then 2 cans of Rustoleum 2X white semi-gloss spray paint.

Tips on how to paint kitchen cabinets

I sanded down all the surfaces with 100 grit sandpaper and taped off a few areas to keep the paint off where I know my brush would end up that I didn’t want it to touch.

Painting around kitchen appliances

We got a new dishwasher, sink and faucet. The white sink I wanted did not fit. :-( I had to search for one one that did. (More on this in another post.) I protected the dishwasher with a roll of EZ Mask painters tape that comes attached to plastic sheeting.

If you look closely, you can see the black primer paint on the countertop in front of the sink. I stopped there because the Giani Countertop paint I am using needs to cure for about 2 weeks. Since the kitchen will become centerstage this weekend as my family comes home for the holidays I will paint the right side of the counter when the house is quiet again in January.

How to paint kitchen cabinets the right way

I placed my garage cabinet door painting set-up in my foyer which is undergoing a makeover of its own…under the staircase. I normally would paint drawers the way I painted the drawers in my previous homes kitchen. The drawers above have wheels attached to the back and I didn’t want to remove them so I lined them up so that the center back wheel is between the 2 x 4’s on the saw horses.

Prep work before painting kitchen cabinets

I had to use wood filler to fill in the holes in the center of each cabinet door from the previous pulls. Once everything was sanded and cleaned, I primed and painted both sides of the doors and the fronts of the drawers. I have a plan for the inside of the drawers and will post about that come January.

Kitchen Makeover cabinet painting tips

I used a paint roller for the center of each door and an angled brush for the molding and sides.  The piece of bead board leaning against the staircase is for another project I am getting ready to work on in January….it is for the hallway of darkness. :-)

Giani countertop paint after Step 3

I did paint the left side of the counter with Giani Countertop Paint. It is pretty amazing. It requires about six 20 minute steps, but is not hard to do at all. The granite or marble look is created by applying a primer and then the paint in many thin layers. In the photo above I have the black primer coat on and then 2 layers of the paint. I still have caulking to do and lots of finishing details around the subway tiles.

Giani countertop paint tips

When I paint the opposite side of the kitchen counter in January, I am going to make a video of the countertop painting process I use to make the paint look like Carrera Marble. So stay tuned.

Giani countertop paint steps

Here is the paint after 5 layers of white limestone paint and veining I created with a brush. Today I will add the first of two coats of sealer that will make the surface shiny.

kitchen wine rack makeover with paint

This is how I left the kitchen last night when I went to bed. Today I will be back at it, finishing painting the front side of the cabinets. I will let them dry overnight and re-hang them with their new hinges and knobs tomorrow.

Amidst all this I did manage to get all my gift wrapping done and even bake a batch of Christmas cookies. The opposite side of the kitchen is done so I can cook and bake. I am pretty confident I will have the kitchen totally up and functioning again by Thursday when my family starts to arrive for Christmas.

I planned another post for this week to show you how I am getting the second bedroom upstairs holiday ready, but I am waiting on a part for a new bed frame I bought. FedEx tracking has it arriving today. Keeping my fingers crossed. :-)

Are you prepping, baking, and/or wrapping this week?  If so, I hope you can feel less frazzle and more dazzle as you go about checking off your To-Do list.

Stay calm and carry on. :-)

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  1. Ashley Hofmann says:

    I have a similar situation with the wine bottle rack. How did you get way back to paint the insides?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Ashley – I used spray paint. I unscrewed the rack from the base cabinet and took it outside and spray painted it. The spray easily got into the back of the rack.

  2. This is exactly what I have been looking for. I have been searching and searching for a comparable makeover on cabinets like mine and yours are identical to my cabinets, not stock, boxes but built-in. They are the same original colour, and I even have the same hinges and drawer wheels! I removed a wall between the kitchen and living room, built a custom island, I have put in oak butcher block, laid a custom subway tile backsplash, built a faux beam and have hardware on order. I am in the “light at the end of tunnel” phase of my ’70s kitchen Reno and have primed 3 cabinets only so far out of 25, so it was great to finally find a detailed, easy to follow piece. After reading this I am confident now that my terrible kitchen has hopes of being as stunning and fresh as yours.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mandy –

      Wow…it sounds like you have been very busy. It makes me happy to know that my post has inspired you to get your cabinets painted. It makes me smile to learn that others have the same dated decor. Did you have the big center door pulls too? :-) It took a lot of focus and time for me to makeover the kitchen, but the efforts are so worth it! My once brown kitchen is now my happy bright and cheery space and exactly the style I love. Did you see the final reveal and cost breakdown post about the kitchen?

      From what you wrote about all the changes you made, I am sure your kitchen is going to look stunning. If you want to take a picture, I would love to see it.

  3. Loving the progress you are making in the Kitchen. The one thing I wonder about is the wine-rack. Unless you drink a lot of wine, it seems like a big waste of space to me.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nancy – We love the wine rack since we do drink wine and like to have a few bottles always on hand for when company comes. If we didn’t drink wine, then we may have considered removing it. In our previous homes we lined it up on the counter. Having a rack is such a better way to store and organize it :-)

  4. Enjoyed your article. I just couldn’t image how you did this by yourself because I found a company called Furnishr to help me design and set up all my home decor and furniture for me. It was convenient, but after reading your post, I might try DIY somedays.

  5. How brave and creative you are. I have pink kitchen countertops (YIKES!) and can’t wait to see your video of how you painted your kitchen countertops. How long does the countertop paint manufacturer think the paint will last?

  6. Wow! You’re making such great progress!

  7. Excellent inspiration here! I recently had my dining room furnished via Furnishr over at and was looking for some inspiration to finish off the design, this definitely has me motivated to do so!

  8. Wow! I’m tire after just reading that! The painted counter tops really look great.

  9. And I thought I was busy over the holidays! We’re moving the first week of January so I’ve been sorting and purging like crazy getting ready for the move. And since we’re also downsizing from a four bedroom two story with full basement to a two bedroom condo with small closets, purging is mandatory.

    I also found a small round table for the condo, our old dining room set is not going to work. I found a scratched, beat up oak table at Goodwill and lots of sanding and stain later, it looks fabulous. I re-upholstered four dining chairs and an antique Edwardian chair with a charming ikat print. I also found two wooden file cabinets at just the right height for our new office desk. I cut a 7′ by 30″ MDF board for the desk top and after numerous coats of stain, it looks wonderful. I couldn’t be happier with all my thrift store finds.

    However I didn’t do all this with our kitchen torn apart like you did. Yikes! I’m impressed and looking for the future reveal.

  10. Amazing Diane! You certainly deserve a break and a chance to enjoy your family and Christmas. My best to you and yours. Vikki in VA.

  11. WOW. This is incredible. You inspire me to try this.
    I love, love, love the counter tops. I envy those with natural diy skills and the courage to try it. You’ve done to your house in, I’m guessing a year, that I have wanted to do for 15 years. Ho hum………

  12. Hi, love watching your progress (I pretend Im making progess too, ha). Hope you have a wonderful holiday and I want to thank you for taking time to respond to our comments. It really means a lot. Best wishes for a beauty filled 2017!

  13. Thanks you for this post. I want to be your twin. I decided earlier this year that I wanted a white kitchen and you have inspired me to take the plunge. I am going to study your posts. Thank you so much.

  14. Sue Bauman says:

    You are a whirlwind of activity and your hard work is looking fantastic in your kitchen! Enjoy your Christmas with your family!

  15. I have no doubt that your kitchen will be up and running for your family and guests come Thursday. You are AMAZING! I love the kitchen transformation, and the veining on the counter top looks divine. Thanks for inviting us along on the journey! A well deserved rest is in store….but I can’t wait for more posts! :-))

  16. Love it all. The counter tops are amazing! Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  17. Diane….you are one very blessed and talented DIY’er. It is absolutely gorgeous.

  18. Joanne B. says:

    All I can say is this: All this AND A BATCH OF CHRISTMAS COOKIES? (Yes- that was me yelling loudly)
    You exhaust me! How wonderful that you are so inspired to create your new home to be truly yours! I’ve said it before here and I’ll say it again- you Diane are the real deal! Any one can find someone to ‘design’ and ‘re-do’ a home and then write a check for their services, but you have created a beautiful home with your own bare hands on a sensible budget. THAT is to be commended! You are truly an inspiration. But you still exhaust me!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Joanne – I had time between coats of paint drying, otherwise I would not have gotten any cookies made :-) Since I am an empty nester, my time is all my own on a daily basis. It does make getting things done, easier. I do enjoy creating and making my home truly perfect for the way we live. Doing most of it myself and on a budget makes it more meaningful. I am looking forward to taking a break over Christmas. I hope you have a very happy holiday.

  19. Gail Vernali says:

    Diane, So much elbow grease for you but your efforts have paid off. Wow says it all! If only I had a quarter of your creative eye. Be sure and take some relaxing time for a cup of tea by your beautiful fireplace before you start the hall!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Gail – I am looking forward to having you over! Let’s plan on it sometime in January. I am going to take some time off over the next 2 weeks. I will be doing exactly what you wrote, sitting by the fire, tea in one hand and a good book in the other. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

  20. I was so excited to read your post today about the kitchen remodel. I love white cabinets and they are looking so good. I can’t believe that you transformed your countertop to look like marble. It’s beautiful.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Bonnie – I had white cabinets in my previous house and really loved the light and bright vibe they gave the kitchen. The only way I was going get the look again was to DIY it. I finished painting them today. I will re-hang them tomorrow. I will be happy when I can put my cabinet paint brush away. Happy Holidays.

  21. JL Paulson says:

    I adore the floor in the kitchen and I hope you are keeping it. :-)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi JL – Yes we are keeping the floor, eventually I would like to refinish it just a tad darker, less orange. It runs into the family room and is in perfect shape.

  22. Ditto on Erin’s comment to you! Merry Christmas to you……. Now, try and relax and enjoy.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Lora – Thanks – I plan on taking time off starting on Thursday until New Years Day. As much as I love to create, I do look forward to just chilling with family with no to-do list in sight. :-) Merry Christmas.

  23. As always the work you do is so well done. I truly admire your work ethic and desire to redo your home on a budget. I’m sure I’m not the only one looking for inspiration to make my home beautiful with a little money. Thank you so much, Diane, for taking the time to share this – I imagine that it takes a lot of time to do your blog in the midst of remodeling projects.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jen – Thanks for the nice note. Running a blog and doing all the projects for it is a 24/7 job. About 2 weeks ago, my youngest daughter told me she would become my Virtual Assistant. I have been asking her for about a year. I have had others help me in the past, but having my daughter work part-time for me will take away many of the admin and social media duties, leaving me more time to create. :-)

  24. ,Love what you have done, so much work. But I also love the scalloped edge over the sink.what a really cool retro , yet new look. I will be doing that for sure.I think it takes people back to a time when times were simpler .

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Bonnie – My plan is to remove the valance to allow more light to come into the kitchen and open up the space. Behind it is a tube light. We haven’t removed the light yet, but I hope to find a regular ceiling fixture mount so I can maybe hang a pretty glass hanging light. If for some reason there is something else up there, we will put trim up to add some dimension across the valance. I agree with you that is does take you back to when life was simpler. The kitchen in the house that I grew up in had one. :-)

  25. You’re amazing-what sealant did you apply to the countertop. Our countertop painting project went well but the the sealant really gummed up when I applied it after waiting 72 hours.

  26. You never cease to amaze me, Diane! The entire kitchen is fabulous, but the counter tops have me totally intrigued. I’m looking forward to seeing how you made the finish look like marble. Good luck with getting everyting in order before your guests arrive. Merry Christmas!! Susie from The Chelsea Project

  27. Your kitchen is going to look fantastic! You have such vision…and you do it all yourself! I’m in the midst of much smaller projects…but I’ve put them to bed until the 27th. I’m going to enjoy these days with my family. Hope you get enough done by Thursday! Hope you have a very Merry Cnristmas with your family! ;)

  28. Beautiful job on all of your hard work in the kitchen. You are truly an inspiration.

  29. Carla from Kansas says:

    That counter top is absolutely amazing Diane. You are like the energizer bunny! It’s going to look just great. Lots of January teasers!

  30. As I was reading and scrolling down I saw the first pic of the countertop (darker) and thought, oh, that looks nice… then I scrolled down a little more and literally said Holy Crap… you did an AMAZING job!! I used the Gianni kit once and really liked how it looked but I didn’t like the almost pitted look after I put the shiny top coat on. I guess I just expected it to be smooth as glass even after I sanded it but from the way you layer the paint it just wasn’t completely smooth… did yours do that? P.S. Now I want to paint my kitchen cabinets white :-)


  31. Inspiring! Looking forward to January 2017 posts! You take on these fantastic projects and make me feel like I can do it to because you communicate thoroughly and simply! Thanks for taking the time to share!

  32. mary heicher says:

    Wow, you’ve gotten a lot accomplished!
    I like the production line painting.
    Wish I would have thought of that when I did my kitchen cabinets.
    I also thought, when I saw it, that the wine rack would have been a major
    pain to paint.
    It looks so much brighter now.

  33. You are amazing!!! This is the most dramatic DIY makeover I’ve ever seen!!! Beautiful!!

  34. Elaine Williams says:

    Oh one more thing! I LOVE those glass knobs! They are so very cool, very retro-hip.

  35. Elaine Williams says:

    I love the wine bottle on the counter in the first shot. LOL – you deserve a reward for all your hard work. I love your kitchen. The quality of the cabinetry cannot be discounted. I can see from the pictures that they are most certainly not builder grade and quite possibly had been done by a cabinet maker – as you know that’s what was done in the 70’s before everything we now know as cabinetry has gone the way of mass production.
    I have some questions:
    #1. Since granite has really come down in price why faux paint instead of replace, or is the product really that good? #2. Love the built in wine rack – why did you not use your paint sprayer, the one you got to transform those gorgeous louvered doors. (louvered doors have always represented beach house to me – I love them). Seems to me the sprayer would be easier than the paint can. Thinking of purchasing a paint sprayer and am curious.

  36. I LOVE love love how your kitchen is being transformed. I would like to do something to my countertop too but I’m thinking about this product. Ever had anyone tell you their results with it?

    Love your home, love your kitchen re-do. Paint is the best for really thrifty redo’s. :-)

    1. I used that on my bathroom counter. You have to make VERY sure there is not a speck of paint, dust or anything on the counter you are applying it to because it will show up once you apply the product. It was not the easiest thing to apply and you definitely need 2 people but the results are amazing, so smooth and perfect and shiny. We applied it at least 2 years ago and it has been perfect, no wear, no rips or tears and it is in a high use bathroom. It is very easy to clean. I would highly recommend it!

      1. Diane Henkler says:

        Hi Francy – Thanks for telling my your success with the Giani countertop paint. It is great to hear!!! I did the other side of the kitchen already and I love it. You can see it here:

        I followed the directions and even bought a smooth sanding block and lots of tack cloths to make sure no dust or flecks of dirt or hair are on the surface before I sealed it. It truly is an amazing product for those of us who don’t want the expense of real granite or marble. :-)

      2. Francy, Thanks for your input. Knowing that, I may have to rethink my choice of using that later on. The laminate countertop we “inherited” when we bought the house apparently was ‘ripped’ by the installers :-( It doesn’t really bother me but I’m sure it would show up if I used the countertop film. Next option… nicely to my brother and have him install new laminate countertops :-)

  37. Ruth Anne says:

    It has been fun to watch your new kitchen unfold. I’m looking forward to your video on applying the countertop finish–the side that is almost done is stunning!

  38. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    You have and are doing the most beautiful make over! I would give the wine cabinet more time to cure, because you will be sliding not just placing. Places like such was thinking chalk paint, since it stops that awful peeling tendency, but I read you spray painted. (How could you do anything else anyway?). You are more than amazing!! Those counter tops are the cat’s meow!

    Merry Christmas!!! And let those two brilliant daughters take over the cooking this time? Ya think?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sheryll -Since I only painted the front of the wine rack, it slid right in no problem. I am not going to put any bottles in it for a few days though. I was going to use chalk paint to paint the entire kitchen, but I decided not to for a few reasons. I will post about them soon. Merry Christmas :-)

  39. Diane,

    You are amazing and inspiring! Your posts are part of my morning coffee time and I look forward to them everyday, Thank you for sharing your adventures, I hope you have a blessed holiday with all your loved ones and look forward to our time in 2017!


  40. You never cease to amaze me, great idea re wine cabinet painting and the counters look amazing! The kitchen is going to look great. I hope you have a wonderful Xmas with your family!

  41. Wonderful, wonderful Diane. I marvel at your ability to prepare for Christmas in the midst of such an undertaking. No wonder you are such an inspiration to so many, myself included. My season of life precludes me from massive projects, but I so enjoy the journey with you as an armchair traveler! Peace and joy to you and yours this holiday season. Merry Christmas!

  42. Your kitchen looks amazing, you are very talented….and hard working! I put off my kitchen project till January because I knew in September I couldn’t get it done my Christmas! :) I look forward to every blog post, love how you are making this beautiful lake house your own.

  43. Sandy Bourdon says:

    You INSPIRE and AMAZE me!! I’m considering painting my kitchen cabinets but I have a LOT of cabinets (42 doors and 32 drawers). I’m going to reread all your posts to get advice on sanding, cleaning, types of paint and primer etc. My cabinets are “pickled” which is a white wash on ash cabinets. And then they have a heavy coat of some type of poly or lacquer. Am wondering how much i need to sand???
    I’m so in awe of what you have done and you have given me courage to try! A famous line by Anthony Hopkins from the movie, the Edge: “What one man (woman) can do, another can do.”
    So with that wisdom and your inspiration, I WILL paint!
    Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sandy – It is a lot of work, but your efforts will be so worth it in the end. I will be posting a full tutorial on how to paint kitchen cabinets in early January. Painting the cabinets is not hard, it just takes a lot of prep work and a place to work on them. You can read the post I wrote on how I painted the cabinets in my previous house. They held up for a very long time. I used the same process, but did use a different primer this time. Here is a link to the post:

      Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

      1. Sandy Bourdon says:

        Thank you Diane. I will read, read, read before I start! God Bless!

  44. Paige Coggin says:

    I LOVE it. I see beadboard in your foyer picture where you are painting. Where are you putting that? So happy for you. And as always, thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Paige- Thanks. The bead board is going to go in the dark hallway that leads to the garage. I call the space the hallway of darkness. I plan to start the project in January.

      1. Paige Coggin says:

        In feb, I am taking down my HUGE water oak tree out front. It is four feet from my kitchen window and front porch area. I am planning to reprint house and do a bright green door like your hallway. it’s funny how dark green the door appears in one of your photos above.

        The tree is gorgeous but messy. Merry Christmas. I showed my sister your blog post on how to hang tv on wall. She loved your website.

  45. That is A LOT of hard work and it shows! Great job as always. The countertop faux marble looks absolutely incredible. I’m so enjoying following your progress.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Vicki – Thanks. I was hoping to have it done by Thanksgiving, but life got in the way. I will be happy to have the project behind me, but it is worth all the time I have put into it.

  46. Oh my gosh, you are a brave and amazing woman. What a job to be tackling so close to Christmas. I can feel the time ticking away for you. You’re doing an awesome job! I can’t wait to see the finished project. I do hope (and i’m sure you will) have a relaxed holiday spent with your family come this weekend. Merry Christmas and best wishes for the new year, Diane.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Erika – I was hoping to have the kitchen done by Thanksgiving, but since that didn’t happen I knew if I gave myself one big push I could get it done. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Enjoy