One Room Challenge | Week Six | Kitchen Makeover Reveal

May 10, 2018

It’s finally here! Six weeks ago I decided at pretty much the last moment to participate in the One Room Challenge, I’m happy to say that despite more than a few late nights, some self-inflicted injuries, and a few hurdles that I thought might prevent me from completing this makeover on deadline, I’m ready to share what I’ve been working on (If you missed any of the weekly posts for the challenge you can read them here: week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4, and week 5).

I decided to makeover my kitchen for the simple reason that I’ve never liked it. I’ve lived in my apartment for 8 years and I’ve dreamt about tearing it out since the day I got the keys. Sadly I haven’t yet won the lottery so a full gut will have to wait, but I’m very pleased with what I’ve been able to do with my space.

Here’s what I was starting with:

White Ikea kitchen with white and yellow wall tiles
And here is my finished One Room Challenge space:
White kitchen with brass accents and Morton Salt Poster
I pulled off all the old tile with the unattractive mustard-yellow accent stripes, repaired the walls, retiled, replaced the faucet, installed a new light fixture and re-imagined the kitchen hardware. All in 6 weeks and, except for some help with the demo from my ever-helpful mom and the electrical repair that I hired out, I did all the work by myself.

I love my kitchen now that it’s complete– it feels so much bigger. I think a lot of the reason the room feels bigger is I removed the 4-inch backsplash ‘lip’ that matched my counter. That combined with the horizontal line of the mustard yellow accent tile visually shortened the room in my opinion. The actual distance between my counter and upper cabinets hasn’t changed, but it visually looks like a much larger space.

I installed the Delta Trinsic Faucet in Champagne Bronze and I’m in love. I didn’t opt for the Touch2O version because there was a nearly a $200 price difference and I figure I can’t miss what I never had in the first place. The faucet it so pretty, and it doesn’t leak like my old one! When I first installed it I was a bit concerned with the scale – I thought it might be too big, but I think that’s just because my previous faucet was so short in comparison. I have to say this was so simple to install – I was really worried given how much difficulty I had taking out my old one, but  the whole install took maybe 10 minutes.

Delta Trinsic Faucet in Champagne Bronze
If you recall I had trouble finding handles for my kitchen that met the requirements I needed (length and with a backplate) and in the end I decided to get the ones I already had plated. Yes, I could have spray painted them which would have been way cheaper, but I decided that as kitchen handles are hard-working they also need to be hard wearing. The end result is little darker than I would have preferred, but at a cost of less than $15 a pull it was still considerably less than the $50 (USD + shipping and duties) that I was quoted for the only replacement pull I could find that met my requirements.

Ikea Spann Handles metal plated
Ikea Spann Handles metal plated
When it came to tiling I did all the work myself, and that included cutting all the tiles by hand (I used this, and this – it’s slow, but you can tile without access to an electric tile saw). I’ll be honest and say it was a lot of work, but I’m quite pleased with despite my aching hands. I debated going with white or grey grout, and in the end I went with the white. The walls aren’t perfectly straight so neither are the tiles, and because I had thin grout lines I needed un-sanded grout which wasn’t available in the shade of grey I wanted. Some might question why I went with the ubiquitous white subway tile instead of something more interesting, but I thought with the navy floor and the grey speckled countertop that anything more ‘out-there’ would have just been competing for attention.

Delta Trinsic faucet with white backsplash
White kitchen with wood cutting boards
I bought the West Elm Sphere + Stem 3-light semi-flushmount last fall with vague plans to put it in my foyer but procrastinated about installing it. I have to say I don’t think I would have liked it as much if I had installed it there as I would have been able to see its shape as easily as I can in my kitchen. The light can be installed as a pendant or a flush mount as I have and it was pretty easy to install – just make sure you read the instructions a few times before you start as they were obviously written in another language and then translated into English. I love the warm brass and the glow from the glass orbs. It doesn’t come with bulbs so when I rushed out on Monday night to buy bulbs all I could find close-by were incandescents. The three 60W bulbs emit a lot of light but are also very warm, so I’ll be replacing those shortly with LED bulbs.

West Elm Sphere + Stem Pendant in a kitchen
When I did my original plan for my kitchen I envisioned a bright and colourful piece of art on the back wall. I even spent a number of hours researching inexpensive downloadable art, but it turns out I had already found the perfect piece.  In February of last year I was in the kitchen at work and I spotted a container of Morton Salt. I think it’s an American brand as I’ve never seen it in grocery stores here, but I was struck by the packaging. Anyways, I found the logo online and had it printed in poster size and I love it.

Morton Salt Logo as art in the kitchen
If you’re curious about how much this all cost here’s my budget breakdown:
  • Handle plating: $250
  • Electrical work: $350
  • Faucet: $320
  • Tile: $130
  • Primer & Paint: $0 (I used what I had on hand)
  • Plaster, grout, baseboard, painters tape, tile cutter and tile nips, grout float, grout sponge, notched trowel, and various other supplies: $ 300
  • Light fixture: $350
  • Art: $60

    Total: $1760 
I didn’t really have a budget going into this makeover since it was such a last minute decision, but it was a bit more in the end then I had really hoped. That said, two of the more expensive items – the electrical work and the handle plating could have been skipped, but in order to get a kitchen I was happy with the costs were necessary and I'm thrilled with the results.

Here are a few more pictures as I'm a bit proud.
White kitchen
 Left side of my madeover kitchen
 Microwave above a grey counter and white back splash
Left side of my madeover kitchen
There you have it – my finished kitchen. What do you think? Was all my work worth it?

One room challenge Guest Participant
Want some more One Room Challenge makeovers? Make sure you check out the 20 featured designers doing the One Room Challenge, and the other One Room Challenge Guest Participants.

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  1. Oh Michele...what a transformation!! The subway tiles are perfect and that light fixture!!! Wow!! Your faucet is gorgeous and I love that you reused your cabinet pulls. Great job, congratulations!!!!

  2. Looks so fresh! I can’t believe you tiled by yourself!

  3. What a cute little kitchen! I really love what you have done. Plating the handles was a wise decision. I have gone the spray paint route and you are right, they get too much use for a quick fix like that! I really like your new light fixture too! The Morton Salt art print is a winner!

  4. Love this room and I totally agree with the Delta faucet. We did the non touch version and were completely happy with it. Great work!

  5. I love the chandelier! The cabinets are fab in high gloss!

  6. Michelle - you should be so very proud of yourself! Your kitchen is so beautiful! You did a fabulous job and you are right...the kitchen does look much larger now. Love the Morton Salt girl artwork- so cute! I can relate to how hard doing the work by yourself can be. Well done!

  7. I looks so good!! I also have a delta trinsic (mine is the pull-out) and its great!

  8. I love anything small, sleek, and functional! Great job!!

  9. Holy moly, nice job! Do mine next!! It looks fantastic.

  10. Michelle you did it!! It all looks incredible! What a difference removing that wall of tile and the little lip of countertop backsplash made. The new subway tile looks so clean and updated. Totally in love with your Morton Salt picture, what a great solution to the big art dilemma! The new faucet and light are gorgeous and totally up the anty to give the space a high end finish! Awesome awesome awesome job, congrats and enjoy!

  11. This looks great! Love the look of the plain white tiled backsplash and the bronze faucet. Nice work on doing most of it on your own!

  12. It turned out so cute!! The tile looks amazing! And I love the chandelier! Great job!

  13. This looks great! I love the hardware and new light fixture! Nice job!!

  14. Yay!! You did it!!! You should be super proud. It looks so fresh & crisp now. I think you totally made the right choice with the white tile and you’re absolutely right about the mustard line before cutting the space visually. It definitely looks bigger. Great job! And welcome back to the blog. I’ve missed your voice - hopefully you’ll keep going! xo

  15. Looks great! Good job!

  16. I LOVE this! We are planning to do a mini kitchen makeover and I'm so glad to hear that you were able to do it all yourself - gives me some hope that I can tackle most of it too!

  17. Excellent job with this kitchen! Looks a lot better! love the fixtures

  18. Looks great! You’re right, taking out the yellow tile and counter backsplash made the room feel so much bigger! I love the faucet too. Nice work!! :)

  19. It looks so good! I love how you got the handles plated rather than spray painting them. Very smart decisions on all the things you chose for your kitchen!

  20. Wowzers! What a fantastic improvement! I adore that you've given a nod to the mustard yellow in your art work! Beautiful job, it looks like a completely different (and much better) space! Standing O!

  21. Wowzers that lighting is fab. What a great change you gave to this space.

  22. Your kitchen looks wonderful! I think your choice to get your hardware plated was such a great idea, and I love how nicely they now work with your new faucet and light fixture. Beautiful job!

  23. I think it's absolutely beautiful and I'm impressed that you did the tile work yourself!

    Did you notice that the color you took out of the tile on the wall is now there in your kitchen towel????? Looks nice in the towel. :-)

  24. Your kitchen turned out beautifully! I adore those handles and I think the plating was worth every penny. You haven't blogged in a long time, but your blog is delightful!


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