I’m so happy with my newly organized kitchen, thanks to Apartment Therapy’s Kitchen Cure. I thought I’d pitch in and share a kitchen renovation I did for less than a thousand dollars. Ready?
The photo, above, is the completed project. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show the right-hand counter or the tiny range. But you get the idea.
This was my first show house. The Junior League gave me a tiny kitchen that had been part of a mother-in-law’s apartment. It was so depressing, I think I may have been the only designer who bid on it.
As you can see, the floor was Ick! The cabinets and counters were a snore. The hardware was cheesy “brass”. This was one ugly kitchen. I love a challenge and could see the potential just waiting to be brought out.
If you have an ugly kitchen, you can transform it too. I overhauled this one in two weekends for under $1,000. Here’s how I did it.
Believe it or not, I took my cue from the hardware – faded fake, ornate brass. The filigree got me thinking frou-frou. Light bulb Moment! I had some Manuel Canovas toile in my basement in the form of old curtains and a cornice. The tie-backs had fringe. So French Country it was going to be.
The kitchen was broken up by all these different elements in a tiny space. I wanted to make the room seem larger by visually integrating all those elements. Using one color all over the room achieved that. I chose the same green as the ground color in the toile and painted everything green, including the ceiling.
Fabric on the Cabinets & Fridge
I wanted an eye-popping, over-the-top look to create a big impact in this small space. My biggest problem in achieving that was the fridge – a giant, white block. I knew I wanted to cover that with fabric. The idea to dress up the cabinets stemmed from that idea.
To apply fabric to the cabinets I first used iron-on interfacing to make the fabric stiff, and cut it into rectangles. They were installed using wallpaper paste.¬† To frame out the fabric I bought molding at Home Depot and had them cut it with mitered edges. I painted those green and hot-glued them into place – half on the fabric and half on the cabinets.
Finally, I polished the hardware and was amazed at how much better it looked. With the French look of the toile, the filigree now looked right. Their age only added to the look.
I made a bulletin board that covered the entire fridge using foam core. I cut it to size, covered it with batting and fabric and hot-glued it into place. Then, I criss-crossed ribbon and glued that as well. To create the tufted look, I stitched ribbon with a big needle through the layers and tied it off. Finally, I bought strips of magnet tape, stuck the sticky side to the bulletin board and voila – the white fridge disappeared.
Cornice & Curtains
In show houses, designers pay for everything, unless they get things donated or borrowed. I didn’t want to pay for a “real” cornice. Foam core to the rescue! I made this with hot glue, batting, and fabric. I even hot-glued the fringe. Fortunately, I know how to sew. A roman shade is simple to make. My window was done.
Counter & Floors
These were my big expenses. I shopped around for the cheapest solution. With no IKEA on hand back then, I opted for a butcher block counter for $300. I really should have asked the homeowner to pay for it (duh). Live and learn. I covered over the vinyl floor with a laminate “cherry” wood floor I found on sale at Lowe’s for just over $100.00. My regular contractor installed both for free.
I borrowed a red, Tibetan wool rug from a dealer and a red chandelier from the Grange showroom.
I needed to get rid of that giant sink. In a real job I would have installed a smaller one. Instead, I filled it with moss and a basket filled with wine and wooden apples. The rest was a matter of using things from my house, like antique baskets, artwork, and other accessories I picked up at garage sales. Done!
What Style? Go with what you like. You can change the style of existing elements with paint. Turn ornate hardware into a contemporary look by spraying it white, chrome, black, or your cabinet color.
Use recycled fabric. Check out thrift shops, your mother-in-law’s basement, garage sales. Mix and match if you can’t find enough of one fabric. Create a funky look using plaid shirts. Cover each cabinet with a different plaid and paint the cabinets a unifying color. You can eliminate the fabric and use stencils. Check out The Stencil Library for the best choices.
Grease Factor. If you’re worried about the grease factor, treat the fabric for stain and fire resistance for about $50 by sending it to Prosealplus.
Foam core? Why not? There’s nothing wrong with it. Because its light-weight, it was perfect for the fridge. And, if no one is going to peek under your window I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t make a permanent cornice with foam core. Just make sure you can install it without having to drill through it. I hung mine with L brackets that supported it.
Do it Yourself. I’ve installed carpet, wallpaper, and laminate flooring myself. You can too. If you don’t own a sewing machine, you can make a Roman shade using iron-on tape and a needle and thread.
Just Do It!
The kitchen was completely transformed in 4 days. My actual costs were about $500 – $600, including the paint. Since the fabric, carpet and lighting were free, I figure you could create this for about $1,000. Fortunately, I sold enough accessories to break even.
Excuse me for bragging, but my little room was voted the best in the house. Why? Besides the fact that I’m a genius (wink) it was because I took one big idea and covered everything with it. More importantly, it was unexpected and had something original going on. I’m all for stealing ideas. Feel free.
I hope this inspires you to overhaul your kitchen, or other room. Just don’t forget to send me the pictures! How do you feel about fabric on cabinets?