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House Renovation: {part 4: kitchen & FR}

For those of you who may be new… you can find the previous posts by clicking on these links:

As for the kitchen… it was quite a doozie, as you will see by the pictures below. However, we were not scared of a little panelling and we knew that paint can do wonders to walls and cabinets. Our biggest fight in these 2 rooms was the terrazzo flooring and for those of you who remember… I won. We also scraped the popcorn off the ceilings. We kept all the cabinets and painted them; removing the doors from the cabinets above the wall with the sink. We also extended the counter top where the fridge used to be and added an ice maker and fridge drawers. Justin built a shelf above them for the microwave and my cookbooks. The kitchen used to be “eat-in” with a lovely chandelier. We opted to extend the counters to form a bar and place our enormous fridge & freezer on the wall intended for a kitchen table. What used to look more like a very dark jail cell has a little life and brightness now. Kitchen purchases: appliances, counter tops, sink, faucet, recessed cans, the antique school house pendants (thanks, Sister), paint, floors, and bar stools (from Target!). Erika gave me a remnant of some fabric she had and I made a cafe curtain for above the kitchen window.

The family room is one room that is still in the “works” we’re hoping for a mantel and we’re still trying to figure out what we will do with the entertainment area to the right of the fireplace. In this room we painted the panelling and opened the wall between the LR and FR (I say “we” but really I should say, “JUSTIN”). The draperies came from what they called the “2nd Master” we call it the “Playroom”. The draperies were the perfect width for the 12 foot sliding glass doors, but I preferred they have a little length to them… so once again, Sister came through clutch and ordered the fabric and had her “super women” seamstresses band them for me! The curtain rod(2 8ft polls that meet in the middle) and rings all came from Home Depot. If you’re new you can read about the fun chair here. The rug is an outdoor rug from Pottery Barn and it’s great because it looks like sisal but isn’t. It’s banded in a navy blue.

Here are some pictures:


Can you say “dark”

Here are some of the work in progress…


The draperies before (we removed the valence, side panels, and swags and the draperies beneath (the part that is closed) were a very nice raw silk pinch-pleated (& probably would have cost me and arm and a leg!)):

The draperies after:

Moving on to the next room… can you tell it takes me a couple weeks to get my act together? Don’t compliment the cleanliness… all the crap that was in these two rooms is piled on the dining room table out of view!

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  • Samantha
    April 2, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Hi! I have been reading for quite some time; however, I have never posted a comment. I am really impressed by the amazing transformation of your new home!

    Today, I was working on cleaning my own home (what a way to spend my spring break). I was cleaning my hardwood floors and immediately thought of you. In a previous post, you mentioned your problem with streaks on the floor after using the wet Swiffer. I clean my floors with Bruce Hardwood Floor Cleaner. I bought a kit at Lowe’s, which came with a bottle of cleaner and then the “mop” with reusable cleaning pads. I really like the cleaner and have never had a problem with streaks. It might be something that you might want to try!

    Here’s to clean and organized homes!

  • Tara McClendon
    April 2, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    LOVE IT!!! Wish I could have seen it in person while we were in Dothan…maybe next time?!

  • The Birds Nest
    April 2, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    I LOVE a before and after!! I can’t wait to see more. It looks amazing!!

  • erika
    April 2, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Are you looking for a job? I could use some help.
    i love you,

  • The Nebrigs
    April 2, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    WOW!!! Everything looks so good!!!

  • Jennie-Marie
    April 2, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    L-O-V-E it, your kitchen makes me smile so big, i love simple clean lines. And the navy chair is so good lookin’. How awesome that you were able to recycle the window treaments and they look incredible.

  • Ashley
    April 2, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Inspirational indeed! I love that you guys could reuse the cabinets – a huge plus! Oh, and I laughed seeing your husband in the background while you’re taking pictures – I wonder sometimes what our hubs think a/b all this blogging…I guess they’re just “along for the ride!”

  • kt
    April 2, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    i am so jealous of your talent for recognizing a diamond in the rough….and actually making it happen. wanna come do my house?

  • Kristen
    April 2, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Looks AWESOME Darby! Design must be in your blood. 🙂

  • Lindsey
    April 2, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Your house looks fantastic! I have really enjoyed the before and after pictures. Ya’ll have really put in some hard work, time and effort.

  • simply seleta
    April 2, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Wow, wow and wow. You must submit these to Renovation Home or other mag. You did wonders for this space. So bright, sophisticated and cheerful!

    And most impressive is I did not read one complaint about you living through renovation. I still need therapy from mine last summer and fall. Don’t read my upcoming blog about my kitchen, I’m quite the complainer.

    You are one talented cookie. Love it all!

  • Haydee
    April 2, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    I can’t even remember how I found your blog but I too have been a silent observer..until now of course. Thanks for sharing those great photos, so inspiring. Your family is adorable. I look forward to seeing th e rest.

    April 3, 2008 at 8:55 am

    I’m impressed…at the renovation itself, but also b/c you’re so good at keeping pictures of before and after…not to mention keeping all of us (your fans :)) updated to the date!
    Thank you, girl!
    P.S. I want to meet Erika, too. 🙂 You girls seem to have such a sweet relationship.

  • Shonna
    April 3, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Hello!!! I found your blog through Ashley Brown Williams – she goes to church with us and has the most precious family! Anyway…she got me into this blogging thing and I really love reading what everyone else is doing more than I like posting on my own blog. I have been reading your posts for some time now, but never commented. Reading your posts is for sure a highlight in my day – so inspirational in more ways than one!!! I love all the “informational” posts you do, and the house looks great and your girls are precious! God is good!!!

  • Elizabeth Sloan
    April 3, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Everything looks SO good, Darby! I’m so impressed by all the work you & Justin have done…..you’ve created a beautiful home. Question for you – where did you get the chair covered in the white & black/brown (?) fabric? I LOVE it.

  • The LaBouffs
    April 3, 2008 at 11:20 am

    I just happened upon your blog thru my friend, Dena and instantly fell in love with your blog! I grew up in south Georgia and my parents just moved from Blakely (Ga) last year to join the rest of us here in Oklahoma! All the work you’ve been doing on your house is so inspiring and one of my favorite hobbies, as well. Although, I haven’t had near as much time or money to work on as I’d like. Your house looks amazing and I can’t wait to see more 🙂

  • The Stringers
    April 3, 2008 at 11:22 am

    Hi! I am Laura McQueen’s sister and have been keeping up with your blog through Laura and Erika. You are such an inspiration to me! I have my eye on this house in town that I am dying to buy…its a diamond in the rough and needs some work…(although I must say there is luckily no brown paneling and no wallpaper!) I have truly enjoyed reading your blog and seeing your progress! Thanks for the inspiration. Now I just have to inspire my husband!!!

  • Anonymous
    April 3, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    D- it is remarkable – a magazine really should feature what you’ve done!! Love the house, love the pictures of the girls swimming and love you! -Allyson

  • Kristy
    April 3, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    My favorite are the countertops and curtains! You have quite a talent. How long did this project take?

  • Heather H
    April 3, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    people come out of the wood work with a before and after like that!!!

    i’m another lurker – have no idea how i found you … but, i’m sure it is an auburn friend of a friend of a friend … maybe Chris Hill actually.

    anyway … your house looks AMAZING. i love it … i literally could stare at the pics forever just admiring all you’ve done.

    keep the pics coming!!


  • Jennifer
    April 4, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    wow wow wow — it looks so great! the white, navy and green are so fresh!

    and those curtains! I don’t know if I would have been able to see past the valances and side drapes!

  • Hannah
    May 30, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Wow, that is perfect. Love it.

  • Mary Beth Smith
    May 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I am sure you have answered these questions before…..however I am in the middle of transforming my kitchen and horrific bathroom as well. What type countertop and faucet did you put in the kitchen? our kitchen is really similar in taste and colors and I am about to be looking for new countertops?Thanks!Love your blog its my nightly release after the kids!

  • Kara
    May 8, 2009 at 6:34 am

    I can’t believe what you guys have done with your house. I’ve been looking at all the renovation posts and I am amazed! Gorgeous!

  • Angela
    September 8, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Love all the pictures of your renovation. My husband and I also love houses that have suffered from lots of abuse and no updating! It’s fun to what someone else can come up with on a budget in a similar situation. I was wondering if you used oil based or latex paint on your kitchen cabinets? We have used oil based, and I am maybe just really uptight, but I hate the way oil based paint yellows. If you used latex, what kind was it and were you happy with the finish?

  • Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog
    September 17, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    I love the style of your kitchen! Dark counters and light cabinets make my heart melt :).

  • susan
    November 6, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Where did you get your pendant lights that are over your counter, if I may ask? I love those and am having a hard time finding something similar. The ones I’m fining are pretty pricey. Thanks for your help!!!


  • nicole smith
    November 12, 2009 at 6:44 am

    a friend found your blog and forwarded it onto me. we too, are in the process of updating our very old home! we are currently working on our kitchen and i was wondering what steps you took to paint the cabinets. we have stained wood, and i am in such fear of conquering the paint. what it as hard/bad as it seems? thanks. your reno’s turned out spectacular!!!!
    thanks so much
    mom of two

  • Tara
    December 2, 2009 at 10:44 am

    I love your blog! It’s very inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing. I was wondering if you could tell me what color you painted your kitchen? My 2 story family room is camouflage (like yours). Love it! And need a suggestion for the kitchen which it opens up to. We have maple (slightly orange) cabinets. Right now it’s brick red and it clashes so badly. Very impressive renovations!

  • Talysa
    February 19, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Do you mind sharing the color of paint you used for your cabinets? And also the wall color in the kitchen? Love the look! Wanna steal. 🙂

  • Lori
    April 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I was just wondering if you could tell me what the make and model of your kitchen hood is. I am in the middle of a remodel and am having a hard time finding a nice looking hood without it costing a small fortune.

    I have three kids as well, your beautiful home is an inspiration.

  • allison
    May 26, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Darby, (if I may call you by your first name),

    Found you through Arlena, of Claire’s Faire, and just wanted to comment on your great renovations. We too, do the reno, with four children. And on a tight budget. In fact, our kitchen is a bit like yours, in color choices, and openness. We did it on a shoestring, and LOVE it. However, one of my to-dos this year as I turn 40 is to learn to take good pics with my husband’s nice camera. Should you ever look at my blog, I am only getting shots with my phone! aarggh, they are bad.

    Your blog is beautiful, and I appreciate your honesty about your faith.
    Good day,

  • lindsay
    June 26, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Do you remember what color paint you used on your walls? It is perfect!!

  • Marcia
    August 18, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Hi Darby! You have no idea who I am, but somehow I found your blog and follow it religiously. I get inspired by all your great ideas for the kiddos and your great easy recipes. I love your kitchen and I and currently redoing my own to look very similar. Only difference is we are doing a concrete top (my husband and I run a concrete countertop business) I’m painting the cabinets white and plan to paint the walls in the kitchen and adjacent living room white as well. It looks like this is what you did. 1. What paint color did you use for the cabs? 2. Did you use the same color on the walls as the cabinets? If not, can you recommend a shade that would work? I’m not sure if I’m suppose to match them, or have them in the same white family. CONFUSING!!
    Thanks so much for your time. Hope to hear from you…and keep up the great work.

  • Lauren
    August 24, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Hey Darby! I have been reading your blog for about 2 years now and I love it! I am a wife and mother also and find your blog very inspiring. My husband and I are thinking about new flooring for our kitchen and living room. I was wondering if you could tell me more about your flooring in your kitchen/living room. Thanks so much!

  • Kristy Anderson
    November 3, 2010 at 6:32 am

    I stumbled upon you and your sisters blog I absolutely love the way you girls decorate. My husband is a builder and we are building a house right now and love the color of the cabinets, would you be willing to share the color with me. Thanks so much You have a great family God Bless

  • Britta
    November 14, 2010 at 10:20 pm


    Excellent job, what paint color did you paint your cabinets? I just bought a new house and the cabinets need paint ASAP and I love what you did.

    Thanks, B

  • Katie
    December 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Hi there – I wanted to tell you how beautiful your kitchen (and the rest of the house) came out! I just came upon your blog last night and am already a fan!

    We are in the middle of a DIY kitchen renovation – ours started a lot like yours did. Dark, dreary and severely outdated.

    I was wondering what paint colors you used in there? I am still debating on a darker or lighter neutral and just love your color choices.
    You are quite talented – BRAVO on all of your renovations, they’re gorgeous!

  • Lanell
    March 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Hi Darby,
    I have a question. Are your walls the same color as your cabinets? Our cabinets and floor are very similiar to yours. My granite is more speckled but on the dark side. My knobs are dark brown. I have been wanting to go cream on cream with my walls just a tiny bit different from the cabinets, as to brighten up my kitchen. Yours looks beautiful. Just curious about the wall color. Also, your recipes are great. I made the black bean dip with the Fritos. LOVED IT. I’m ready to try more.

  • Jennifer Skinner
    March 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Hi! I have never ever in my life left a comment on a blog, but I adore your blog and have an urgent question! I am re-doing my kitchen – just painted the cabinets white and had black granite countertops put in – but am struggling mightly with a paint color for the walls. Love your kitchen and mine is similar. It also feeds right into the family room. Is that a grayish-white on your walls? Could you let me in on the brand/name? I would be ever so grateful and will promptly add you to my One Thousand Gifts list 🙂 I’m reading Ann Voskamp as well… isnt’ she the best? Thanks so much. Your blog and family are precious!!!

  • Erin Hartnett
    April 19, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Darby, I have to tell you that God works in mysterious ways. My husband and I are in the process of buying his parents’ home – built in 1967 and pretty much not updated since then. Based on our budget and our philosophy to spend modestly, I was worried that I would be banished to a house I hated and resentment for not being able to make this house into a home about which I would be proud. But as we both know – how can a house be more important than a marriage?! I stumbled upon your blog and renovation stories and it has been my inpiration – reminding me of what is importnat in life AND you can still have beautiful things even if everything is brand new and the most expensive brands. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your talent, ideas and spirituality. I continue to revisit your web site for ideas and reaffirmation that we can do a whole house reno on a tight budget. I would love to be able to get your feedback as I move forward. Is there any way i could send you photos for advice? By the way I have a twin sister as well!!!

  • katie
    May 14, 2011 at 7:22 am

    Hi i’m just following the link from Apartment Therapy today. We are thinking of painting our kitchen cabinets white and i’m wondering if you have any tips on where/how to start? How did you choose your shade of white? Thanks!!

  • The Vintique Object
    May 15, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Hello — also visiting from Apartment Therapy. This post is apropos for me because I have just started painting my early 80s kitchen! I will refer back to the before and after photos when I get down-in-the-dumps about how LONG it is taking. Thank you and checking out your other posts to see if you have any painting/other tips.

  • AC
    May 19, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Too lovely for words. Great job. Just an FYI, and I’m sure you know this already, that little blonde nugget of yours is ADORABLE. The black granite enhances her locks 🙂

  • Cherie
    May 24, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Beautiful! I’ve finally worked up the courage to paint my kitchen cabinets. Can you post what shade of white you used and your process of painting your cabints? Thanks!

  • Anna
    July 13, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    Oh. My. Gosh. I can’t believe that is the same kitchen!!! I just found this on Pinterest and I’m so glad I did. We recently painted our cabinets white but I really wanted to take a couple of the doors off. I was debating though because I didn’t know if it would look funny to have some off and some on. I think yours looks awesome though so I’m totally going to do it now! Thank you. 🙂


  • Rebecca
    January 14, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    Wow!!! What a difference! I see we have a few things in common as far as our love of mixing vintage & modern & white cupboards & black counter tops goes. Thanks for sharing. Off to read more……..

  • Jennie Roberts
    June 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I just wanted to “suggest” t hat maybe you could move the sofa where the sofa onto a different wall that it doesn’t kind of close off the bar from the conversation. It would open up the room a LOT!

  • Jennie Roberts
    June 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I just wanted to “suggest” that maybe you could move the sofa where the sofa onto a different wall that it doesn’t kind of close off the bar from the conversation. It would open up the room a LOT!

  • Andrea
    November 29, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    What did you do with the wall paneling?Did you remove it or paint it?

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  • Aubrey
    September 9, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    I love your before and after pictures! Could you please tell me what color/ brand you painted your kitchen walls and cabinets?