The Kitchen Facelift

Feb 25, 2013

For more than seven years I have lived in my 1930’s Normandy home, and while so many other rooms throughout the house have had facelifts and remodels, the kitchen has remained the last to receive my attention . . . until now.

My goal was to institute a change that would not require a contractor’s help, yet would create a more welcoming and functional space. Therefore, the term facelift – paint, hardware, window treatments and dishes – pertains to that idea that all the changes were something I could easily do myself.

First the before pictures:


~UPDATE 5/2015: The kitchen was later updated with all new appliances – have a look here.

And now . . .

For the past two months, the kitchen has slowly taken shape. The decor aesthetic I wished to create was one that blended clean, tranquil simplicity with a welcoming French country touch. Have a look at the after pictures below and following the pictures, I’ve broken down all of the changes and links to anything you see in the photos that interest you or you might have questions about.


~My boys – Norman and Oscar – patiently waited Sunday morning for me to finish the kitchen post. A walk and a treat quickly followed this photo. ~

While my kitchen may not be making the pages of House Beautiful any time soon, I was thrilled with the outcome. What I discovered during the process is that simple changes, cleaning out the clutter (much was edited and will be sold in yard sale to be held this spring), choosing colors that work well together or create the right tone for the mood one wishes to create, as well choosing quality accessories can make a tremendous difference.

I now spend much more time in my kitchenette reading and sipping tea in the morning. When having company over, I tinker away in the kitchen while they are able to relax in the kitchenette, sipping wine and catching me up on what is going on in their lives.

I’ve now designated the right side of my sink (where the wine is stored and the cupboard full of glasses is located) as my “bar area” where drinks are prepared, while keeping my food preparation on the left-hand side of the sink where all of my appliances and dishes are stored. A simple change, but it is working well. And since I eat oatmeal every morning, I’ve placed it by the stove-top to prevent messes and instill simplicity in the process.

Needless to say, I’m inspired to cook even more, am having fun with meal presentation and enjoy welcoming my guests into my kitchen. Thank you so much for your patience in waiting for the final pictures. Bon appetit!


*A thorough, deep cleaning

*Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White on the walls and ceiling (matte) and trim, as well as faux brick (satin)

*Window treatments (due to my window frames which were not wide enough I was not able to mount them inside the frame, but they are capable of such a placement) customized from – white roman shades with no cords (love this!). They are customized to the 1/8 of an inch of what you need.

*Added a dimmer switch to the kitchenette and changing the electrical outlet plates

*Changed the cupboard knobs to glass 1 1/4 inch brushed nickel knobs from Rejuvenation (the pulls for the drawers that I picked out didn’t fit, so I’m picking up the right size when I return to Portland next month).

*Removed the above-counter cupboard doors

*Lined the shelves with cork

*White porcelain dishes and glassware from Sur la Table and Crate & Barrel (purchased during December & January sales which was a budget saver)

*Added a framed print of “Dignity & Impudence” by Sir Edward Henry Landseer – located at the Tate Britain museum in London (where I originally saw it and became smitten – do read the back story. I have a feeling if you are a dog lover, you will appreciate it as well).

*Please note, the rug is old (saving up to have it replaced soon!) And you may have noticed, I am still debating on what would look the best.

*The lighting (while put up three years ago) is from Rejuvenation – nickel finish).

*Changed the wall clock to white – click here to purchase.

*Removed under-sink doors and replaced with a white cotton curtain set from World Market.

*Added two white porcelain utensil canisters from Providence Fine Living in Walla Walla – the most lovely store owner with endless expertise.

*Added a large, trimmed in white, corkboard for recipes, coupons, grocery lists and newspaper articles freeing up the refrigerator and eliminate the endless magnets.

*The wall mounted pot is not new, as it came with the house when I bought it, but I am thrilled to have it. It can be found here.

*The wines are from Walla Walla and Oregon wineries as well as French wineries picked up at my local wine shop – Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman aka W5. (Currently on the rack – a French Chateau Petit-Freylon 2010 bordeaux, French La Vieille Ferme rosé, Charles Smith 2011 Syrah and Abacela’s 2007 Malbec).

*Flowers – hydrangeas picked up in Portland’s Pearl District – Sammy’s Flowers

*Garage Sale finds – cutting board, kitchenette table (added the white paint), and tablecloth

A list of the cookbooks found on the counter:

*Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten

*The Barefoot Contessa Foolproof

*Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics

*Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

*Pure Beef: An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut

by Lynne Curry

*The New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne

*A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen

by Hugh Acheson

*Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis

*Bouchon by Thomas Keller

*The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook by Mireille Guiliano

*The Country Cooking of Italian by Colman Andrews

*The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

*Weeknight Fresh & Fast (Williams-Sonoma): Simple, Healthy Meals for Every Night of the Week by Kristine Kidd

Finally, if you have further questions about anything you see in the kitchen, leave a comment below and I will be sure to do my best to answer.

~If you are seeking more decor inspiration, I have good news. First, stop by my monthly Houzz Ideabooks (January’s highlighted my kitchen facelift and includes more links to products used or desired). Second, beginning next week, I will be posting a four part series of simple decor inspiration. Lastly, later this week I will be sharing some exciting news that will have me learning the ropes when it comes to decorating small spaces, yet adhering to the simply luxurious premise.

~Rest assured, this week’s motivational post has been moved temporarily (this week only) to Thursday. Next week, the regular Monday schedule of posts will resume.

32 thoughts on “The Kitchen Facelift

  1. Love the new look in your kitchen! The kitchen is the one room in the house that we’ve not decorated since we bought the house. It’s our next project and I think I’ll be referring back here for ideas! Will also maybe do a post too when the time comes.

  2. What a fabulous transformation – well done, Shannon! You can definitely be proud of yourself, the place looks amazing and very cosy. It definitely reminds me of French kitchens, so you have achieved this goal of yours. It’s also such a great idea to have a separate but adjoining kitchenette – perfect for having this afternoon tea and a read of a magazine. I now wish I could pop over for a cuppa!

  3. Gorgeous transformation Shannon!
    Congrats! You seems to have so many splendid talents
    I read your blog everyday and I need to say it’s one of the best out there!

    Thank you Shannon!

  4. Love it all Shannon, excellent taste. The tablecloth is lovely, surprised it was a garage sale find, for sure thought it was a pricey one from Williams Sonoma. I also like how your dinette is separate a bit from the kitchen area, makes it more cozy. And of course it is no surprise that we have the same tea kettle, same color and all.
    Thank you for sharing your transformation with us Shannon.

  5. Wonderful light and lovely kitchen! The breakfast nook is perfect! Loved that Hugh Acheson’s book is mixed in with the other cookbooks. You mention Walla Walla – do you live in/near wine country perhaps? If so, quite envious!

  6. You did such an amazing job! The space looks so bright, cheerful and welcoming, it must be a pleasure to cook there, read magazines while drinking tea, and entertaining friends! Thumbs up for doing this all on your own!

    xx Ivana

    Macarons and Pearls

  7. Wow, Shannon. Great job on this kitchen facelift. It’s really inspiring as I begin thinking about Spring cleaning and how to get my life to be a little bit more organized (or a lot a bit actually).

    Such fantastic light. And I like how you keep flowers in your life. I’m a student, so I really can’t afford it… I’d have to give up manicures if I wanted weekly flowers. I try and keep dried flowers instead.

    Thank you. And I look forward to your inspirational post on Thursday.


  8. Great job, Shannon. I love your style. I hope you don’t mind a helpful hint. I think I noticed in one of the pics that you have a raw edge on the side of your existing countertops. Did you know that for a few dollars you can buy a standard premade laminate strip that simply irons on to cover it up? Both big box hardware stores near me carry them. If you can’t find matching maybe just a solid white that blends with the cabinet paint would do the trick. Knowing your eye for detail, I thought you might want to know this.

  9. I love how the whole space looks less cluttered and more spacious and put together. They might seem like minor changes at first but you have done an absolutely beautiful work all by yourself Shannon 🙂 I’m so jealous of your eating nook. Enjoy!

  10. Nice job Shannon. Your kitchen looks fresh and ready for spring! The curtain underneath the sink is a nice touch and the open cabinets really work in your space. Also love your dog print. Enjoy your new space!

  11. Love the changes that you have done to your kitchen. It looks so clean and crisp…loving the little nook with such lovely views. I have recently changed my dishware to white and I’m loving it 🙂
    Thank-you for sharing.

  12. Lovely kitchen! I LOVE the cabinet door knobs. The one thing that I was looking at and thinking as a suggestion – would a small block island fit in front of your counters? It would be so handy, with the extra prep space and there are block islands out there that aren’t too big. Would add to the french country touch:)

    Reading about this is also inspiring for me personally…as I may have mentioned before I have purchased a condo that is under construction, so I’ve been renting an apartment while I wait for it to be finished (it’ll be another 9ish months). I am extremely lucky in that with my place being new construction, I get to design everything from the get-go as opposed to changing someone else’s vision afterwards. I’ve had a chance to do that too – in my first condo, I changed the countertops, backsplash, cabinet handles and lighting. It’ll be awhile still before I get into my new kitchen but it’s fun to look at yours in the meantime to see what you’ve done. So far in the selection process for my place I have changed several of the appliances and added additional lighting. I also will be able to put in an island due to reconfiguration of the rooms. In around May I will get to select countertops, cabinet colours, etc. I definitely look forward to buying a few new dishes as well!!

  13. thank you for sharing pictures of your home. Your kitchen is lovely – fresh and young –
    and reflects the personality of its owner.

    your posts are always inspiring. I especially look foward to Thursday’s fashion post.


  14. Awe It’s so nice of you to let us in your home…. the kitchen updates look warm and inviting… I love it…..

  15. Hi Shannon,I love your new look kitchen,very clean,sleek and fresh.I am sure you will be cooking some lovely recipes from some of your french cook books.Everything looks well organized and easy to hand.I hope you enjoy having your friends around for a glass or two of wine in your new space.Well done.Bon appetit.

  16. Nicely done. You can add a bit more pizazz if you paint the inside of the open shelving. You can pick up a color from the table cloth – gold, chartreuse for example – and paint back wall of the open shelves.

  17. I love it! It looks fresh, clean and a nice mix of cozy but still modern with the color, plates and blinds (love those). The Swedes often put a curtain under their sink. The grout around your backsplash is the biggest change that I notice, it looks much cleaner and less busy now. White plates are so nice to serve food off – everything looks good on them. And smaller size dishes were a fantastic idea. Thanks for sharing your kitchen and enjoy!

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