70's budget kitchen remodel wood paneling painted cabinets

Our Ranch House Kitchen Remodel

I am a sucker for Before and Afters. Whether it be home remodels or weight losses or What Not to Wear, I get all giddy about transformations. And SO, why NOT buy a really ugly house?? Where’s the fun in buying an already-beautiful home? Nowhere.

Last April, Clark and I bought a fixer-upper. Last week, we (And by we, I mean my dad. Thanks Pops.) finally got enough done to show some of the progress we’ve made so far. Only took a year .. **pat myself on the back**. We got most of the big stuff done before we moved in, but it was the little stuff, the we-can-live-with-it-like-this stuff that took forever to tend to. We still have some items on the To-Do list, but the To-Done list is suddenly much longer. Phew.

This house was QUITE the project, but we saw potential and I’m so thankful we went with it. If I could take this house with me to every town I live in for the rest of my life, I would. Except I would leave the bathrooms.

As the projects were quite extensive, today’s focus will be:

The Kitchen. Dun Dun Dun…


BEFORE: Laundry/Pantry Wall of Doors


AFTER: Minus the future barn door. Can you see it?
AFTER: With a view of the pantry shelving inside the laundry room. It’s impossible to reach anything on the bottom two shelves. Ugh. Hindsight.
Kitchen Remodel budget barn door
AFTER: with the new barn door Clark made.



Now, don’t get me wrong. I am so not anti-wood paneling. Typically, we would just paint it. We have painted it before. But this stuff?? This stuff was not your average wood paneling. I’ve never seen or touched anything like it. It had a plastic-y sheen to it and a three-dimensional grain. We agreed that painting it would not be a good solution because it was so shiny so we ripped that mother out.

We also enclosed the bookshelf on the end of the wall so that our pantry area is now inside the laundry area, a decision I regret. Originally, I thought I would use some of the shelving for laundry stuff AND that I didn’t want the pantry to be in a traffic area. If I could go back, I would had just added doors to the front of those bookshelves to make a pantry. Ya live, ya learn.

Then there were the 8 million doors on the wall, one of which opened to a brick wall. We decided that wasn’t necessary, so we consolidated the doors and covered the laundry area with a barn door. In the first after shot, you will notice the barn door is yet to be hung. It didn’t happen for, oh… 10 months. Until we found out we needed to move and put our house on the market. Nothin’ like a For Sale sign to put a fire under your butt.

Now let’s get to the actual kitchen area. Thanks to a teensy HGTV addiction, I had a vision as soon as we saw it. We knew we wanted to rip out the peninsula and add an island, extend the cabinets to the door, and replace the existing cabinet doors with shaker style. We replaced all the moldings, the 1950’s push-button cooktop, the vent, and the backdoor. We also decided that we wanted to paint for the rest of our lives.

70's Budget Kitchen Remodel Before
BEFORE: Horseshoe Kitchen. Wood for dayzz.
70's Kitchen Budget Remodel AFTER
AFTER: If I were a better stager, I would have cleaned up the neon letters on the front of the fridge. But alas, nap time is only so long.

We lucked out and found the tile used for the floor to replace the 3×4 section that was under the peninsula. After looking online and contacting every tile store in the world, the flooring store in Sweetwater had it the whole time. Duh. I got brave and painted the garage-entry door a red-orange to brighten up the place. We bought the butcher block counter tops and cabinet hardware from IKEA. We also installed a new sink and faucet, subway tile backsplash, and a new light fixture above the sink. If our pockets were a little deeper, I would have added all new lighting…. someday…

70's Kitchen Remodel Budget Wood Cabinets


Budget Kitchen Remodel After
AFTER: Still have to put up open shelving.

If you will look carefully, to the left of the upper cabinets you will see a blank space of gray wall. Eventually, that will be open shelving. But for now, use your imagination or come put it up for us.

Dining Room Kitchen Budget Before and Afters
AFTER: From the kitchen into the dining area

We usually don’t make our children sit on top of their table.

We did this on a very tight budget (under $6,000) and if you would like an itemized list of what we spent, I would love to scrounge through it al. We were lucky we didn’t have to completely tear out cabinets or get new floors and realized pretty quickly that new appliances were out of the question (other than the cooktop and vent). Stainless steel is overrated anyways, right? Right? No? Oh.

Here are the paint colors for those interested:

Trim/Cabinets – White Dove, BM

Walls – Brushed Aluminum, BM

Island – Kendall Charcoal, BM

Garage-Entry Door – Steelhead Red, Clark and Kensington


Next time, let’s discuss the living room. Until then, I’ll whet your appetite with these beauts:

living room wall

IMG_2945 IMG_2941 IMG_2943

When You Doubt Yourself

You can do anything you set your mind to.

I hate that phrase.

What does that mean? It’s so generic. So broad. So cliché. It’s the exact opposite of inspiring, because every time I hear it, I think, “Really? ANYTHING? Let’s get real.”

Let’s revamp that phrase into something specific, something a little more practical, something that makes sense.

You are more capable than you realize.

… We can do better than that …

You can do things outside your realm of normal.

… Truth … but there’s more …

Don’t limit yourself to who you THINK you are or what you THINK you can do. MOREOVER, don’t limit yourself to what others believe you can do. (A) Because they probably don’t think what you think they think (follow me?) and (B) because they are who the enemy uses to keep you from being amazing.

Those doubts you have? They are, in fact, confirmation that your ambition could turn into something incredible. Satan hates incredible.

Several years ago, I was having a conversation with an acquaintance. He didn’t know me, just knew of me. He knew what I did, not who I was. However, he’d apparently already formed an opinion on me based on that. He was explaining to me that his brother was writing a book. At an attempt at lighthearted conversation I laughed and said, “When I was younger, I used to always write books. I bet I started ten books that I never finished,” to which he replied, “Oh yea? What did you write about? Shopping and cheerleaders?”

(secretly… okay obviously not so secretly… I hope he’s reading this)

The fact that I can remember this conversation after two pregnancies is proof that this struck a very deep nerve. I have never been so offended, so (excuse me but…) pissed off in my life. I am SO passive aggressive, but that’s the closest I’ve ever been to exclusively being aggressive. I hate to call him Satan, but it is what it is. Because I had always had this idea of what others thought about me — and in that moment, he spoke over me what the enemy had been whispering for years.

Somewhere in my life I started listening to voices, confirming my roles. “This is who you are. Know your role. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Others will know you’re a fake. Don’t try to drive outside your lane.” And at some point I’d turned God’s gifts into my own twisted list of faults. I had turned Academic into Not Smart Enough, Athletic into Butch, Low-Maintenance into Plain, Laid Back into Irresponsible and Lighthearted into Silly and Shallow.

I have lived in this identity my whole adult life. While I think I hid it well, I hated myself every time I locked my keys in my car, every time I forgot my homework, every time I misplaced the nipple shield (shout out to all you breastfeeders), every time I did something that would allow someone to say, “Typical.” Because what that translated to me was, “That is who you are. And you can never be more than who you are.”

Well. There is more to me than Athlete. Mom. Wife. Teacher. Goofball. Just because those are my expected roles, doesn’t mean they are my only roles. They don’t define me. I can live outside of them. I can be more than them. Because God made me more than just them.

And humility doesn’t mean I can’t be proud of that fact. I love this quote by C.S Lewis: “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” I’ve totally had that backwards. for. ev. er. I have coupled ambition and boldness and purposefulness with pride and arrogance and “taking yourself too seriously”ness. And I have mistaken humility for sheepishness and self-mockery. Confidence is not cockiness, it’s a commitment to God to take advantage of what he formed in you, an admission that what he created is pretty dadgum awesome, a determination to thank him by actually putting it to good use.

Here’s the bottom line. We can allow God to use us in ways outside of our normal, our realm of “okay.” We don’t have to just be who we’re expected to be. We only have one life, so we might as well squeeze the life out of this one that we have.