Christmas in July, a gift of a kitchen remodel

I just returned last night from my son’s home where I gave his family an early Christmas gift by paying for and helping to redo their very dated kitchen.  I have always loved interior decorating and even supported my family while I went to college as a single mother by taking on redecorating projects. Of course our timing was off, we ended up working during the three hottest days yet, the temperatures were 98, 98, and 99 degrees for the three days running.  Let’s just say, there’s a time for cold showers, and more than one a day.

Thought I’d share the project with you.

Mommy and baby girl watching us take apart the kitchen

I only have one before picture to share as by the time I arrived my son had already removed all the doors and began sanding them.  My DIL had taken this picture when he started, so you can get the idea from this.

Beauty hidden in a dated kitchen

My DIL, is part Italian and true to stereotypes loves to cook and bake, the  kitchen is her domain more than anyone else.  But her kitchen was a place she hated. What you probably can’t tell from the picture is just how bad it was.  ALL the walls were covered completely with ugly laminate panels, the cabinets are a laminate, as well as the counter top.  The pattern on the wall and counter top were patterns which were supposed to look like marble, but neither did, nor did they match.

Their idea was to do a green make-over which would mean they wouldn’t tear anything out, by doing this they could have a nice looking kitchen for less money and shorter time living in a disrupted home, important with a small child in the home.

Since my son and his wife prefer to cook their meals at home and there was a toddler we didn’t want penned up in one room all day, we worked mostly after little one went to bed, and after the dishes were done and out of our way.

We used all low VOC paints and primers, using a primer which would hold up on laminate surfaces.  We primed and painted the laminate walls and counter top, then painted each.  The counter top we painted a creamy white, then sealed with polycrylic for a stain resistant surface.

The cabinets, they chose a newer product by rustoleum called Rustoleum Transformation.  After my son sanded the cabinets, he realized the Rustoleum product didn’t call for sanding, but it didn’t hurt. I don’t think I would use the Transformation kit again, but did turn out nicely.

After pricing  hardware, they decided to simply spray paint the existing hardware, eliminating the metal plate behind the pulls.

Here’s the updated kitchen.

A kitchen loved by it’s chief cook now.

You can see a little of the baseboard in this shot, it too was a plastic molding,  I”m not sure what it’s called by it’s flexible and is glued to the walls, instead of replacing this, we primed and painted it the same color as the counter top.

Opposite side of kitchen, with freshly painted pulls.

I needed to leave so a few finishing touches were left undone when these pictures were taken.  My son has the new outlets, switches and covers to replace the old and mismatched ones you can see, when done they will all be in white.

The most surprising thing is that the whole project cost only $199, and they still have half the transformation kit left over they can sell to make back some of the money if they choose too.   The only things not reused were the metal plates originally behind the pulls, and the electrical switches and outlets which all can be donated.

This was the largest present I’ve given, but it was well worth it as I know they are enjoying being in their kitchen now.  I some times wish we didn’t celebrate Christmas in the traditional way, as I prefer giving a gift to someone I care about when I see some thing I know a person can use or want…or it just makes me think of them.

One baby girl happy she can return to playing in the kitchen too.

What is the most unusual, or thoughtful gift you have received or given?




  1. What a wonderful gift of your time, energy and money. Amazing what a little paint can do – we’ve done many make-overs ourselves using just elbow grease and paint. We haven’t attacked our ugly kitchen yet – but may get there.

    Last year we redid our upstairs bathroom – just paint, some beadboard and new vanity and toilet (but not expensive ones). The result was great and cheap. The only thing that didn’t work out was our attempt to resurface the old cast iron tub – so my in-laws bought us an all in one piece tub and surround refit for Christmas. Now it looks brand new, but is still the same old tub.


    • Your bathroom sounds wonderful, I love beadboard when used in a bathroom. I once redid an entire bathroom with seconds. I found a toilet, vanity, sink and faucet for $40. painted the vanity white, picked up a cut piece of vinyl flooring for $5. and then painted the bathroom a deep blue to show off the white fixtures. It worked nicely and no one knew they weren’t new.

      It’s not fun having what we see as an ugly kitchen, so I hope you get to your kitchen soon.


    • Thank you. The original plan was to replace the counter tops, but I hadn’t priced counter tops in over 10 years and the prices really surprised me. The walls were the big hold-up for my son as they put laminate panels on all the walls. To get them off properly would have involved removing the cabinets. We checked and realized that the walls behind it weren’t in good shape and removing the laminate would have further damaged them. So I suggested using a primer made for laminate. That was the final piece for them, they loved the idea and I was able to give them an early Christmas present.

      While I enjoy doing projects like this, the best part, for me, was the quiet time in the middle of the night when my son and I had heart-to-heart talks, something we don’t get to have too often anymore.


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