You’re Only Cool if you have Black Cabinets and Tiled Countertops

I’ve gone a lot crazy lately and gotten way in over my head on some D-I-Y home improvement projects and am finally coming up for air. And now it is time to REVEAL what I’ve done!!

But, first I want to thank The Manchild for being so patient with me on all of this… he is AWESOME at fixing things that are broken in the house or on the vehicles, but when it comes to Angie’s “decorating” projects (ie. spending lots of money and time on cosmetic issues that actually DON’T need to be done) he’s not so game for putting in the time and sweat to “get it done.” But, he doesn’t complain about me going for it (much) and is VERY patient while I slowly reach my finish line and get the home (and normal family functioning) back in order.

I mean… its not like I have been working in major family areas of the house or anything…

And the second big thanks go to my Mom and Dad (especially Mom, she is AMAZING) for helping me with the big cabinet painting job. WOW, I would have NEVER gotten those puppies done by myself… or with Manchild’s help for that matter. It was definitely a 4-man job over the Independence Day weekend. And then my mom stayed another 4 days and helped me start a BIG beadboard paneling project in the dining room… which Manchild and I JUST finished on Monday… do the math… being pregnant and having 3 kids home 24/7 for the summer makes SLOW work for this lady.

And I should also thank the people who let me borrow their AWESOME power tools… The Grays and my Uncle Nathan. I heart brad nailers. I heart miter saws. I want… I NEED!

Anyway, here are the BEFORE pictures of the kitchen. It wasn’t BAD… It just wasn’t my style. Well, really, it just wasn’t “mine”. It had the signature of the previous owners all over it (Country Americana and original to the house, built 1983).

Do you love it? Well, I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. So…

I tiled the countertops! And…

And painted the cabinets black. Also added hardware… although you’ll notice that since Ikea ran out of stock on the drawer pulls, I am missing 3 pulls near the oven… Also, the “bisque” appliances would like very much to be stainless steel now… but I am telling them they have to wait until they die.

And this is the free-standing kitchen island that we bought from Ikea in order to add counter-space and storage space to the kitchen. I will be turning it into a bar by attaching a raised countertop to it like this…

See how they made a bar on the island? Actually, now I am wishing I had NOT posted that pic, because my kitchen looks dumb compared to that one…

Anyway, I have more plans for the kitchen island, like putting black beadboard around the sides and back (like shown here), adding bar stools, and also some “schnazy tags attached by schnazy ribbon” to each basket, because neither The Manchild or the man’s child (Big Bro) can EVER remember what is in each basket (its a guy thing).

I have a lot more I want to do cosmetically to the kitchen now that the hard work is done. Like- THESE CURTAINS and Cute decor like THESE. Not to mention new lighting, which I am working on right now with various craiglisters across the DC region. I’ll post before and afters of the lighting improvements later. And I want to paint the walls an oatmeal color to warm it up. We have that color in the bedrooms and it is so soothing!

But, alas, this is what we have done so far and I am so proud of myself for doing it and I really do like it! The tile was a beast, let me tell you, but I conquered it. Full disclosure: I’ll never do that again.

I’ll post about the dining room separately.


ps. props to my favorite blogger for inspiring me since the day I googled “beadboard panelling”! Thrifty Decor Chick is my new BFF. Seriously, check out her laundry room!


Beadboard Paneling in the Dining Room

Why did I do such a laborious remodel in the Dining Room? Because when my mom was here to help me paint the cabinets, she was SO HELPFUL and hard-working and amazing… and once we had the cabinets painted we had to wait a couple days for them before re-mounting the doors…




We had nothing to do!! So I mentioned that I had been considering putting high beadboard paneling in the Dining Room and it didn’t take long before I was hauling huge 8×4 panels home from Lowes… much to The Manchild’s surprise.

Well, needless to say, we did not get the entire dining room project done before mom left, but we got the upper wall painted and the panels cut to size. And the night before she left we were up way past midnight re-mounting the doors to the cabinets and we were very happy about what we got done during her stay.

And a month later I finished the paneling! I did all the trim work and most of the installation. The Manchild helped one night with gluing on the panels and on the last night with the second coat of paint. I just love the dining room now.

  1. To Do:
  2. Put in a new light fixture
  3. Curtains
  4. Hang some cool photos/art
  5. Add something cool to the table– vase of lemons? Fall Florals? A Lego creation? Piles of 1st grade homework? Not sure what will show up
  6. Someday maybe a window seat will appear in place of the Kids Craft Table… although it makes nice additional seating when we have friends over– little friends over, that is.

We didn’t take any official before pictures, but these are what I could find…

Easter Dinner

See the navy blue paint under an oak chair rail? Remember the Americana theme the previous owners had going strong? Well, we ripped up the base mouldings and carefully removed the chair rail (which I re-used as a cap for the top of the panels).

Here is a “during” picture:

(Sorry… we like our own muscles at our house. This was taken on the day The Manchild went paint-balling and we were admiring his huge welts.)

And now it looks like this:

Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!! (Read that in an opera singer’s voice! The heavens open!


I had to add lots of trim work- on the outside and inside corners, between panels to cover up the ugly gaps, a base molding and then an additional quarter round on the floor (to cover up the gaps where the pergo flooring had been installed).

Surprises along the way? Figuring out the best way to drill out/cut out holes for the outlets WITHOUT a jig saw. Also, figuring out how to extend the actual outlets out far enough after the panels were installed so that the holes weren’t hiding way back behind the boards… Lowes has solutions for that– just make sure you ask the right person.

First employee, “no, we don’t have anything like that.” Second employee, “sure, use these things right here- it’s simple.” Both employees were thinking, “Get this lady and her kids out of the store ASAP– why are they always here?”

Oh, and yeah, my kids were all thinking the same thoughts, only in not so nice words.

If you see it in person, you’ll see how imperfect it is- but I don’t care!

The Manchild and I both totally love this room now and look forward to hosting many meals in there! Come on over!