my kitchen intervention (details)

TGIF!  I’m back from Vegas.  KBIS was great, I’ll post on that next week.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your very kind comments on my kitchen!!!

There were a few questions I’ll answer before I start in with the details…


Someone asked: if you had another $1,000 to spend what would you spend it on?

What a great question, I have thought about this all week… and of course I can’t narrow it down.

A) I would buy a new dishwasher (I saw a Bosch on clearance at Lowe’s last week and was so tempted).

B) I would buy a new range.  A dual-fuel downdraft one. This one, which I actually already own (it’s in my office), so maybe I’d spend the money on a propane tank (we don’t have natural gas here at our house) and pay movers to move the range from my office to my house.

C) I’d buy a casement window and replace that squirrelly door that swings into the kitchen counter


1x6 v-groove pine

Why did you choose tongue & groove wall paneling over a tile backsplash?

Mostly because I prefer the look for my house.  And… it was less expensive.  I may have said the boards were 1x4s in the first post, but they are actually 1x6s.  The white trim color was already in my house, I just had the painters match it.  The 1×6 pine paneling can be purchased from any hardware store or lumberyard.

How do you secure the shelves to the wall?

After taking the old wall cabinets down we took the sheetrock off that wall and ran the wires for the under-cabinet (undershelf) lighting.  (There are new puck lights in the bottom shelf that illuminate the countertop.)  We then sheathed the wall in 1/2″ plywood, which acted as blocking – a secure material that would help support the shelves.  It also helped the the shelves dead end into a wall on the right, the shelves are actually hollow and straddle a strip that was applied to the two walls (back and side) and the farthest left bracket is secured into a stud. The brackets aren’t just decorative… I didn’t want the shelf to ever sag and so they support some of the weight as well.

tracery brackets

NOTES shelf bracket

The brackets and shelves?

I actually found the brackets when I saw this publication in Food & Wine featuring my friends at Tracery Interiors.  As you may notice, I turned the brackets so the longer side was beneath the shelf instead of against the wall.  I did this because I felt like it would give me more clearance/space on the shelves… and I preferred the look of the bracket when turned on its side.  When I saw the publication I emailed Doug (@ Tracery) and inquired about the brackets.  He gave me his cabinet shop contact info, but I first contacted my local cabinet shop.  My cabinet shop identified the brackets right away, they can be purchased from a cabinet supply source (I wish I knew what it was, but I don’t).  I let her know how many I wanted and they painted them to match the shelves, which they also made.

Is dust a problem on the open shelves?

The dishes and glasses on those shelves are mostly used everyday.  Of course when I climb up on a barstool to get one of those cake plates off the top shelf I usually take a swiffer cloth with me and dust a little… but because we use the dishes so often dust doesn’t have time to settle.


Where is your microwave?

In the pantry!  That open cabinet to the right of my kitchen sink (where I keep my cookbooks) was actually supposed to house the microwave… but I don’t like seeing it, so I moved it to the pantry.  Which works great for us, and keeps it out of sight.

lenox butlers pantry

What are your white dishes?

I registered for those when Chance and I married, they are Lenox Butler’s Pantry.


More details are noted on the photographs below….

NOTES wide angle pantry doors open

NOTESbase cabinets

NOTES shelf details

NOTESshelf detail skewers and julep cup

NOTESat the sink

NOTES shelf detail glasses

NOTES shelf detail dog creamer

NOTES shelf detail birds eye

NOTES shelf detail cake plates copy

NOTES calendar corner

NOTES overstock barstools

NOTES locker etc

NOTES nancy thomas plates

NOTES cooler bottle opener and sloaney height

NOTESfridge wall

NOTES antique soap dish

NOTES roman shade fabric


The roman shade fabric was a splurge… I loved it.  It is a to the trade only fabric, but if you are interested you can contact us for pricing. (allison(at)urbangrace(dot)com)

Thoughts on painting cabinets…

As I mentioned in a previous post I removed the doors and drawer fronts and had my local cabinet shop (the same cabinet shop that made the shelves) spray lacquer them.  I then had my favorite painters (Bryan and Bobby) paint the cabinet boxes with an oil-based satin finish paint.  Now, if I had gone with white cabinets I probably wouldn’t have used an oil-based paint.  White oil-based paint tends to yellow over time.  I would suggest a very high quality water-based (latex) paint.  My sister used Coronado’s Rust Scat paint when she painted her kitchen cabinets white.  It claims to be an “acrylic enamel” paint.  I’ve used it before and the quality is great.


my kitchen intervention (after)

Remember what I’m working with…

In the old kitchen layout there was no countertop overhang.  Meaning you could awkwardly sit at at barstool across from the cook at the range, but it was just that… awkward!  So on my radar for a very long time (I keep measurements with me in my phone of pieces I am looking for, both for my clients and myself) was an island.  An “island”, I should say… something that I could push up against that little peninsula (and I use that word loosely) where the range is… a place to sit and have coffee or breakfast.  We’ve always ignored that poorly placed door that opens right into the countertop and since we use the other door we wouldn’t miss it.  One day I was out shopping at a local antique store and found it.  An antique pine table from Europe, not too $$, all beat up, tall enough (35.5″ tall), the perfect length and depth.  So I bought it.  And then decided it was time to spruce up the rest of the kitchen.

added antique pine table

Now, this is not my dream kitchen… but she’s a heck of a lot better and brighter than she was.  There are a few things I would have done differently, but remember I kept my budget tight and priorities in check.  (I should have closed the pantry doors!)

wide angle pantry doors open

wide angle shelves

base cabinets

shelf details

shelf detail skewers and julep cup

shelf detail mountain goat

shelf detail birds eye

container store shelf

shelf detail dog creamer

shelf detail glasses

shelf detail cake plates

shelf bracket detail

roman shade fabric

at the sink

antique soap dish

fridge wall

toaster corner

tv corner

calendar corner

wall pockets


nancy thomas plates

cooler bottle opener and sloaney height

mermaid hook

pantry roman shade

locker etc

antique pine table bar

overstock barstools

all beat up antique pine table

I’m in Las Vegas for KBIS, arrived laaaaaate last night.  Working on two hours of sleep, which if you know me, is not ideal.  I hate to leave you with this detail-lacking post… so what I’m going to do is come back and give you more information on my little kitchen spruce-up on Thursday or Friday.  You can ask questions in the comment section if you like and I will try to answer in the next post.


my kitchen intervention (before & during)

Thanks for being patient with me in getting to this post.  I know  I teased with a few pictures then never came back.  So here I am.  My kitchen remodel was mostly cosmetic.  My budget was small.

Here’s what we did:

  • ripped out one wall of wall cabinets (and the soffit above them) and replaced with open shelves
  • removed 4″ granite backsplash and replaced it with 1×4 tongue and groove pine wall paneling, which we painted white
  • painted all of the cabinets to match (as it was half my kitchen was clear coated maple and the other half was green stained maple… not sure whose bright idea that was,  but it looked ridiculous.  I’m all for an accent color on an island, or a china cabinet, but this look was not cool)
  • added lights (recessed can lights and undercabinet lights in the bottom open shelf)
  • new roman shades for windows

Please note: my kitchen is teeny tiny. You can stand at the fridge and touch the dishwasher and the range. I am grateful for my kitchen, but it is tiny.  The objective with the open shelves was to brighten up the space and create more storage. The kitchen before was dark and depressing.  We did not upgrade the appliances, our current ones work fine.  If someone wanted to donate new appliances I’d gladly accept.

My countertops are 2cm Uba Tuba.  Not what I would have picked, but again I am grateful for them… so I worked with them.  If someone wants to donate 3cm honed carrara countertops I’ll gladly accept.

My cabinet door style was fine so we chose to paint them.  We removed the doors and drawer fronts and had my local cabinet shop spray them (lacquer finish) and then my favorite painters (Bryan & Bobby!) painted the base cabinets with a high quality satin finish oil-based paint (it was Sherwin Williams paint).  I was leery that the doors wouldn’t match the base cabinets, but it was a risk I was willing to take.  The doors and drawer fronts take a lot of abuse, so I wanted them in the hard lacquer finish. They matched perfectly.

I’m just showing the before and during photos today, will post the after photos tomorrow.

Here’s a floor plan of my kitchen:


I can’t believe I am showing you this disaster.  The doors were off for two weeks.  Sloaney was mobile (walking!) and had a blast with the doors off.


One day the wall cabinets came down… it was looking better already!

during - cabinets down

Then the soffit came out and the recessed can lights went in.

engineer hard work

A little sheetrock work by my resident engineer… (please note that it was probably after midnight when I took this picture).

new lights are in

Do you know what this did to me for two weeks?  It caused serious heart palpitations.  What a disaster.  The doors and drawers were still at the cabinet shop being painted…

clear maple on fridge side

Ahhh, much better.  Doors and drawers are back home, painted in their new color. Granite backsplash ripped with a crowbar by me.

during doors back

Other side of the kitchen doors and drawers are back on too.  Oh happy day.


The color I ultimately decided on was not that different from the green stain that was already on half of the cabinets in my kitchen.  I like green.  I painted samples on cardboard and looked at it for a few days.  I finally chose the deeper color Sherwin Williams SW6187 “Rosemary”.  It’s a gray green… as the name suggests, it looks just like rosemary.

deciding on color

Turning off the comments… I can’t imagine you will have anything nice to say about these before shots. ;) Will allow them on tomorrow’s post with the after photographs!