Apartment Kitchen Reveal

I’ve always loved colored bottles setting on window sills with the sun shining through. I like them even better filled with freshly cut daisies from the patio just beyond the kitchen.

Here are a few shots of the kitchen before, after I moved the fridge to accommodate my new washer/dryer (that hooks up to the faucet and doesn’t use a vent.)

There’s a lot of photos here. So get a cup of coffee or tea.

Here is a photo after the LG washer/dryer arrived. I had taken off the white wooden knobs on the cabinets in order to start painting.
Here are the stained upper cabinets I prepped before painting. I also filled the holes left behind from the door hinges.
I know you all thought I’d lost my mind having them come get my stove. But I’d only used it twice. And that was to reheat something. I can use my microwave for that.
I have new ideas of how I’m going to cook, and it will be in an energy-efficient manner. Without heating up my space. 
Here are the upper cabinets after I painted over the stain. I haven’t painted the insides of the other cabinets with doors. Not sure I will. It sure wouldn’t be while it’s this hot and humid!

I’d have the maintenance man take the dishwasher too, but he said it’s hooked to the garbage disposal, so they have to leave it.

This kitchen is small so it is hard to get photos of everything. Above you see a tiny bit of the washer/dryer, which is next to the doorway going into the small dining area. 

I glued and painted the wood applique you see just beneath the counter top underneath the sink. I thought it added a bit of charm.

Can you see what I used for counter tops and back splash and covering the dishwasher? Contact paper! Water resistant! Cheap! I used black contact paper for the counter tops, and the black and white checked on the walls and dishwasher.

Remember, you can remove contact paper.

Something new that you see is the butcher block island. Cost: $45. A great deal! I put butcher block oil on it to nourish the wood and give it a seal.
Doesn’t the refrigerator look much better painted? I got the vintage ice vinyl decal from an Etsy shop owner. Cost: $15. Priceless in vintage love!
Moving down a bit, you see my gold chalk board. I couldn’t find my chalk that I have somewhere around here, so for now it is bare.
Just after the doorway into the hall, there is the trash can. Recognize that kitchen cart? You saw it last here…
It’s the cart my daughter almost threw out. That the former resident left it behind in the garage at the little blue house. It has been my coffee bar. And now it is my cooking area.
My microwave gets used a lot. I just got the electric skillet after much research. Did you know you can make a cake in that thing? Who needs an oven? 

I spray painted the hardware red. This is an old blogger trick in case you haven’t seen it. You poke holes in the bottom of your box. 

Then you screw your handles from inside the box, and then the paint covers the area in one swoop instead of having to turn them over when one side is dry. It’s a wonderful trick that saves you lots of time.

I spray painted an old rusted rake red and now it holds vintage cooking utensils that use to be in a drawer, unseen.

Above the shelf is a Janet Hill painting. I adore her artwork. It is so detailed.
I just kept forgetting to take it with me to find a frame. Last week I was in a store and happened upon this frame with mat included and on clearance. I had a feeling it might work. Cost: $9.99. 
This is the wall with the dining area on the other side. You probably recognize most everything here. What is new is the clock. I found it at Target last week. The clock was marked down to $6.99.
I used two round red place mats behind the lid being used as a towel holder and the clock.

I purchased new black knobs for the cabinets. These were not cheap, at least in my world. I paid full price for them at Lowes. For eleven knobs I paid close to $35. But they are very heavy. I dropped one on my toe.
I painted two terra cotta plant pots red. Then I took my silverware out of the crocks and put them in the red pots inside a vintage box.

My coffee bar is situated in the same place. Now it’s on the potting bench, which I painted red. I wanted to use the potting bench in the kitchen, but I just couldn’t seem to get it to work. 

So I brought in the free kitchen cart. I really like the colors I painted it: gold with red handles. It really perked it up. 

I will show the altered dining area another day. I want to repaint the table and do a few things in there first. And I need to rest a bit!

The black plastic bins hold my potatoes and other pantry items.
I’m loving that butcher block cart. Someone worked really hard on it, and underneath you can see that it’s very well made.

There was a pink stain down one side and two legs, which I sanded off. Then a child had taken a black crayon and scribbled on it, and I was able to sand that off as well. 

So what do you guys think of my budget kitchen remodel? 

Just because everyone else has a stove or a dishwasher or whatever is customary in a kitchen, does not mean you can’t deviate from the norm. I felt I needed a washer/dryer more.

Think outside of the box. Just because everyone else has a range/oven in a kitchen doesn’t mean that you have to have one in your kitchen

Do what you want. And cook in whatever manner you prefer. A heated stove also heats up your space. I want to live as energy efficiently as possible

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  1. Oh my goodness!! Brenda, no matter where you go you seem to make it your home! I love your decorating style. Hope you are enjoying your new apartment.

  2. Brenda, I can't get over what you have done in your kitchen! It's wonderful that you know what you need, and got rid of what you don't. It's so full of charming and cheerful details, and has all the function you could want. It must REALLY feel like home, now. I love the darling cart that has become your cooking area, and the island is such a great piece, and a fantastic deal. All together it just says "you"- love it!


  3. Such an AMAZING transformation !! I agree with Kathleen… you know how to make a cozy nest !! Sometimes ppl don't realize the gift of HOME. My Mom is like you and has such a cozy home. When I first left home for school – everything was so plain – I was so homesick, I came back home and went to the local college! LOL Now when any of our birds leave-the-nest…………we make a cozy space so they feel like the love of home surrounds them. We tried to buy the house next-door to my parents, but we are 8 miles away which isn't too bad. The gift of home is a special talent ladies like you have !!! ox

  4. This is JAW DROPPING!!!! I literally can not believe my eyes! You, my friend are the master! Way to go Ms. Brenda…. way to go! β™₯β™₯β™₯

  5. Brenda, thank you for sharing joy today! I am in awe of your talent. Everything you did in your "new" kitchen I just love, red, yellow, checks, all the pops of color. Had no idea contact paper could serve so many purposes. I am inspired. Blessings, Carolyn in Florida

  6. OMG! I love it all. What caught my eye was the little doll clothes in that beautiful frame! I am so happy for you. It truly does look Brenda-ized. So you. And the coffee bar turned out beautiful. I love the cheery yellow. Everything turned out perfect and I am sure you are crazy about it.

  7. Wow, I have looked at this post several times. Look at all the comments!

    So, I went shopping yesterday and guess what I bought? Contact paper! I have this, well not sure what it is called, kick board? Anyway it is under the kitchen cupboard and I have always hated it. It is white, but not the same color white as my cupboards. So, I am going to apply contact paper. I figure if I butcher it, it is low on the ground and no one will notice. I am also curious to see how the paper holds up on your counters. I love the decals and will definitely be using the coupon. Awesome post!

  8. Hello Brenda
    I do not like fussy kitchens! Now I'm not here to criticize or offend Brenda but quite the opposite. I don't like spruce and shiny kitchens either; not a smudge in sight kitchen! I admire the setting but always think they are more showcase kitchens than anything else. Now then getting back to my dislike of fussy kitchens I think that dislike originates from thinking they are not practical and they give me the impression of confusion. I go for a practical kitchen which shows that it is used and should also have character. Now in my book yours is a fussy kitchen but in all honesty I have to say I love it!! There is so much warmth and character there and so much also of the person who created that space , i.e you! that it speaks to me (I'm a very visual person, images speak to me louder than the written word), in fact it shouts out at me. There are so many ideas there,so much thought and I can see joy in the creation too. Indeed,it makes me feel quite excited…it makes me feel like doing more to my kitchen too. In fact I've just made myself a cup of tea and I'm going to sit down quite happily to go back over your post and through your photos again because they are indeed real eye candy! Thank you for such an enjoyable post.
    keep well

    Amanda x

  9. Hi
    Its so lovely.. I have you on my side bar and always wait for fresh updates so that I can check them out.. Now it still says 1 month since you have updated.. so today I decided I will go to your blog and check up with you to see if you were fine… and I see that you have been writing for so long which is not shown on my sidebar updates.. I am so glad I came and checked this post .. So well done and heart warming to see you convert any space into such a cozy and warm place to stay..
    I really appreciate your creativity and the efforts that you put in.. MY BEST WISHES TO YOU …

  10. Not that you needed another comment here but just had to tell you…You've done a beautiful job on your kitchen redo! just goes to show you what one can do with some creativity and hard work! It is so cheerful it makes me smile!

  11. I love it all, but that corner with the yellow cabinet is just awesome!! I don't think anyone would believe how you have taken it from ugly (your words) to fabulous. There is not a thing I don't love about it. It amazes me how many different ideas you have used and yet they all work together seamlessly. Wonderful! Congratulations.

  12. Amazing…Brenda…I think you could make a shoe box a home and make it pretty to boot! If you have already answered this could you repeat what type of cooking apparatus youbought to replace your stove? My stove has died and until Ican afford what what I want this might work for me also…love this blog…you are an inspiration.

  13. Gosh Brenda I just love it, everything. So incredibly colorful and has a great vintage feel to it. I just love the Momma chicken with her babies on the door. It does look like she headed to the patio garden area. There truly is nothing I don't like, the colored bottles, the contact paper, also love it on the fridge. I never doubted you would come up with something colorful and unique. Now when you are in your kitchen you must feel incredibly happy! I was happy just looking at all the photos, so It's got to be a happy place when you are in it! Sorry I haven't been here in awhile, it been so crazy around here, not being in my garden last year left me a mess to deal with this year. But I love being out there!

  14. I had complete faith that you would figure out what you wanted to do with your kitchen. it couldn't look better! It is absolutely you!! Beautifully done!

  15. It looks GREAT, Brenda! I love the rake with the old utensils…why haven't I thought of that?? And I love how you have the little dresses displayed. It will soon be featured in another magazine I'm sure!

  16. Bravo! I've been anticipating your kitchen reveal with excitement, and it meets every expectation. It's inventive, practical, and mostly just so darn adorable! You give new meaning to making an apartment your own. I love it!!

  17. Brenda, all I have to say is WOW!! I know you have been working hard on your kitchen and was just thrilled to see that you had a post finally revealing all of your hard work and time(and Judy's too!). I love it!!!! The best part is that you did it on a shoestring budget. I certainly hope a major magazine picks up on this post because this wonderful makeover deserves it! You are very inspiring, thank you!

  18. I love how you put your kitchen together. So cute! I had no idea you could put contact paper on your countertops. I'm curious as to how well it holds up.
    Where did you find your pretty colored bottles? I LOVE them!

  19. What do I think about your kitchen reveal? I think it is stunning! I love red and black and white too. You made your kitchen function for your lifestyle and show off your fun, colorful and creative design style! How lucky were you that your refrigerator fit the space where your stove was. I bet you will be in another design magazine with this cute as apple pie kitchen! Thanks for sharing Brenda! What an amazing talent you are!

    1. What an amazing re-do! You have outdone yourself! I am so excited to see it finished and I have so many ideas from one little kitchen. Love, love, love it!

  20. Just came back to look at the photos again. I'm struck by how the kitchen looks vintage and up-to-the-minute at the same time. I like it all, but I'm partial to the shelf with the Janet Hill print and the gallery of items hanging alongside it, all of which complement the yellow cabinet below. It's a great-looking corner. Over time, you can mix and match and swap out other items in the display. I hope you are enjoying your kitchen as much as we are enjoying looking at it.

    1. I am enjoying it. You can go on Etsy and purchase prints by Janet Hill. That's where Judy got mine. I adore her kitchen prints.

  21. Oh the excitement of it all. There isn't one single thing you've done in your not-so-adorable pre-kitchen that I didn't fall in love with. I was getting anxious awaiting the grand reveal and was not disappointed. I could move into that space in a New York minute and be ever so happy. I passed up a garden rake head lying on a boulevard smack dab in the middle of a FREE pile last summer and have been kicking myself ever since. I did purchase a white/red rimmed enamel pot lid at a local thrift store for 50 cents after I saw it on your blog. Still giddy with delight over that find. So now the search in on for another rake head and those adorable crocheted pot holder dresses. The frig ice decal is just over the top kitchy. I can't praise this room enough. My dear, in my eyes (and obviously MANY MANY others) you are a decorating genius plain and simple.

    1. I've passed up a few rake heads, so when I saw that one, I grabbed it. Think I paid $2. So yours would have been a real deal!

  22. Oh my goodness, Brenda…I knew you were good (very good) at decorating, but this kitchen blows my mind. When I saw that contact paper in black and white check, I was speechless. How do you come up with such "WONDERFUL" ideas? And the Ice decal on the fridge…love it sooooo…….much, really! The island, Your red rake, with the antique utensils, the paint job on your coffee island.. The rolling pin, the red pots…….I just can't say enough about the entire makeover..This has to go in a Decor magazine, for sure. I agree with Andrea's comment above…GENIUS…no question about that! Love, love ,love it all..A kitchen to die for…Bonnie in WI

    1. A week ago, I don't know if you'd have been saying that. I had a little bit of black contact paper up, and a little bit of the checkered up, and I was stumped!

  23. Brenda you had me at the red, the chickens and the checks – my three favorite things! You gave me so many wonderful ideas for my kitchen, which is already red, white and blue but needs more red. Thank you for all of this information. I will keep my stove because I use it every day but I will change up a few other things. Thanks again Brenda.

  24. Brenda I love your kitchen so much! It is so very adorable. You did an amazing job. It belongs in a magazine for sure. All the colors just make me happy. Fabulous.


    1. I just want people to realize that you can make a cookie cutter bland apartment look fantastic. That you don't need a lot of money or fancy materials to make spaces cozy and comfy. Where there is a will, there is most certainly a way.

  25. Now THAT is a Brenda kitchen! You have outdone even yourself this time! Brilliant use of Contact Paper, great styling, charming, I could go on and on. I agree, this needs to be published! Your thrifty decorating in this kitchen is genius. Bravo, my friend! xoxo

  26. Oh, Brenda! So amazing, but, I had anticipated nothing less!! Love all of the colors and how you used seemingly simple things to come up with WOW! You should feel so proud for what you accomplished. Judy is an angel, and sometimes angels appear just when we think we can't carry on even a minute more. πŸ™‚

  27. OMG! Your kitchen is gorgeous! I am in a situation very similar to yours and I have moved into a very small apartment and I cannot figure out how to make it look like me. No matter how much I try, it still looks bland and cold and colorless. I just love everything you did..every detail. I wish you lived closer to the Outer Banks of NC so you could give me some advice.

    1. Decide what colors you want in there. And if it's a small apartment, I would carry those colors all the way through the rooms to provide continuity. Look at small apartments or small spaces on Pinterest. I trolled Pinterest looking for ideas.

  28. adorable, clever, over the top, charming, fun…I could go on and on. On almost every picture I thought 'I could never have thought of that'. The ideas are so unique…the place mats, the framed crocheted pot holders, the contact paper, the paint, the arrangement in your open shelves. I repeat everything everyone else has said. You can do it all. I have been looking for small apt. plans all morning. I am tired of grays, all white, everyone is doing the same thing. You are special. How about one on the Flea Market publications? The Junkque ones? I will put on my thinking cap. You should make money on your talent. This will be in my hubby's name but I am Gayle and on his computer!

  29. Brenda, you are truly one amazing woman! Your kitchen is beautiful. I love that you found black and white checked contact paper. Very clever! Your color scheme is a very happy one. You did an amazing job! Keep sending pictures we love to see your progress. I hope you and your doggies will be very happy in your new home

  30. Cute as can be, but I knew it would be. I think you need to get busy on a decorating book, for those of us who are way less talented than you.

    1. You're getting it free here. But if I ever did a book, it would have to be budget decorating only. I don't care for the expensive stuff. Been there, done that when I was married.

    2. Yes, a book on budget decorating would be exactly on target. Thanks for posting this great article and the charming photos. What you did is even more thrilling after the before photos you posted. Your really saw the gold in the dross with this apartment.

  31. Wonderful, warm, and cozy. You really put a lot of effort into it. Just painting is a big chore, but applying that contact paper must have been very tedious. I have a question however, where is your coffee maker? Job well done!

  32. Adorable. You did a fabulous job. Love the theme and all the details. You need to submit this to The Kitchn- Apartment Therapy.

  33. I just love the color combo, the decals and the sense of whimsy in your kitchen! What a great, uplifting room to spend time in. Enjoy it!

  34. Just fabulous, Brenda! You have outdone yourself again. By the way, if you go to Apartment Therapy and scroll down to the very bottom, on the left hand side there is a place "Submit a Story". You should definitely submit yours!

  35. Brenda your kitchen is so unique and a feast for the eyes! Innovative & original, what a statement you make with your decorating, bold and beautiful just like we all knew you could do. Thank you for sharing, up at 4:00 am here in California because of your promise of the kitchen reveal~!! Love your polka dots & COLOR.

  36. Brenda, it is just wonderful! I love it! You are so talented – what great ideas you came up with for this kitchen redo. I think you will definitely be featured in another magazine soon! πŸ™‚

    1. So many ideas I came up with and then dispensed with. I was just at a loss until the contact paper arrived. Then my imagination got cranked up.

  37. I have a feeling that another magazine will be calling soon, to do a feature on this kitchen. All of your research and pondering paid off, because this decorating effort is unique, well balanced, attractive and fun.

    1. I like my surroundings to be fun. I remember in the eighties some people had formal living rooms. But no one really went in them. They were dull, dull, dull. And I promised myself I'd never have a room that nobody ever went in that wasn't "fun."

  38. Oh my gosh Brenda I love it all…the black and white backsplash…those adorable decals…and all that fabulous color!! Love how you took the doors off the cabinets and how you have everything displayed… so pretty!

  39. Brenda– here it is 9 pm and I'm just getting here to see your Kitchen Reveal.
    I was so thrilled to see it! My you did a fastastic job in there! Seriously…don't you just love it when you walk into that room?
    I love the contact paper– I've used it over the years for lots of things. The patterns are limitless.
    I first learned about contact paper from my Mother in law. Right after her and my FIL retired they moved to Arkansas and bought a little cottage– she 'papered' her kitchen in contact paper with the cutest little blue flower pattern. She used pink in her bathroom— My favorite thing was her shower, it had this UGLY ORANGE SHOWER PANEL. She covered it with White Contact Paper– TWICE! It made such a difference.
    I love the black and white check in your kitchen– great cover for the dishwasher too. I love the black counter top. The Decals… it all looks so wonderful!
    Now… I have one little teeny tiny suggestion. Your Washer/Dryer. It is so pretty– but on those days when you're not taking pictures… might I suggest a cute vinyl table cloth on top– to protect the finish. You know, when you might absent-mindedly set something on top. I'm sure you have some oil cloth or something like that… that will already fit with your decor! (not calling you absent minded…but you know, we get in a hurry and have to set something down) Plus– you can wipe it down quite easily– I love vinyl table cloths with my Littles around all the time.
    Truly! I love your new kitchen and I know you do too. I've said enough– be proud!
    …I'm off to pin your kitchen, Pat

    1. That's a great idea, Pat! When looking for contact paper, I found that my choices were very limited in stores. Had to go online, as usual. But it can sure work wonders!

  40. Oh my gosh, Brenda – your kitchen is GORGEOUS!!! It is so bright and cheerful and I absolutely love what you did with the contact paper and the decals on the fridge and the cupboard! You are amazing!!!!! So many fantastic ideas! Enjoy your beautiful new kitchen!

  41. What a unique and beautiful job you did of decorating this extremely bland space! It is wonderful!

    Your hand must be so cramped up…

    Have a great Sunday!

  42. Oh how I adore your kitchen!! I have had a blah day and when I logged on, I remembered today was the kitchen reveal and I was excited to see what you have done. I cannot pick one favorite thing because I love it all! Oh, how talented you are!!

    1. Thank you! I didn't think I'd ever get this to work a week ago. I was so frustrated. Then, amazingly, it just fell into place.

  43. Now it looks like YOU! I love what you've done with your special touches and the contact paper is brilliant. I haven't seen any of the new designs but I've used it in the past. I needed to extend my desk just a bit and we added a piece of wood that I covered in faux wood contact paper. You can't tell the where the desk ends and the addition starts. LOVE that you painted the fridge, too! Very nice my friend! And Judy is so sweet! Hugs, Diane

  44. Brenda it looks so wonderful! I was looking at the computer then looking at my kitchen stating to my pupster we could do that, and that would look good in that corner etc. Thank you for your ideas!

    1. And make mistakes. And start over. And think some more. And crawl Pinterest for hours. And then eventually you just start and somehow it works out!

  45. Brenda, I was absolutely amazed at all you have accomplished and how you did it. It is perfect. I can't believe you just turned a horrible little kitchen into a wonderful, warm and cozy area. I'll say again it is you and absolutely perfect. I sure wished I had your talent and insight to "decorate" any type of room. I love it. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

    1. I use to have money to do things. But I didn't get the satisfaction I get now using less money and making up for it with more creativity. I truly enjoy doing this.

  46. Ha! I knew you could do it!!! I can't figure out where your coffee area is. I have used that same contact paper a number of times myself. You have really pulled this out of the fire. With an electric skillet, a crockpot, a micro and possibly a toaster oven, who needs a stove anyway? I could live with this, especially if I still lived alone. Outstanding! Wonder how long before we will see this in a magazine?

    1. The coffee bar is in the dining area. That's where it was before. It was just on the kitchen cart I painted that you now see in the kitchen. It's on the wall behind where you see the red round mats on the wall and the red cork board. It's just on the potting bench instead of the now red and yellow kitchen cart. I painted the potting bench red and tried it in the kitchen, but for some reason, I just couldn't get it to work. I worried over that for days until I just switched them and changed tactics.

  47. Love, Love, Love the re-do! Brenda you are an amazing decorator. I'm inspired by your kitchen and your sense of style Thank you for inspiring me to get to work!

    1. I like budget redos. They're fun and a challenge. If someone gave me an unlimited budget to do a job, I wouldn't know where to start!

  48. I googled till I found that checkered contact paper and bought it from Amazon for about $5. Bought the black there too. I ordered two and used them both, as they weren't big rolls like the black was. I'm going to order one more to fix up some "spots." I have bought it before, but couldn't find it anymore. That was years ago. I've always loved polka dots and checkered things!

  49. What a wonderful job, Brenda! I adore your taste—this kitchen is all YOU! Your colors are perfect! Using contact paper was genius! Where in the world did you find the checkered contact paper?–I love it! Such a happy kitchen!!! β™₯

  50. Oh my gosh, your kitchen make-over is amazing!!! I love everything about it! I can't decide what I like best, everything is so fabulous!! Now I hope you can take some time off and rest!
    I have a question about the first photo showing the beautiful colored bottles – the window looks like it is stained glass, but in the "before" photos is doesn't appear to look that way. Is that some kind of window sticker??

    1. Why, it wouldn't be any fun to walk into Pottery Barn and pick out any old thing I wanted. It's much more fun to shave off the dollars with a budget redo.

    1. Well, if you're into fancy countertops and marble and all that, I don't have a thing for you. If you're into bargains, I'll lead the way.

  51. Boom! you nailed it! I knew you would make that kitchen into something awesome, and you did it! I absolutely love what you did to that dishwasher!!! The new decals are fantastic, the wall hangings, pictures, – oh my gosh the open cabinets are to die for! The new butcher block is perfect, and I can't believe you were smart enough to use contact paper on the counter tops, your ideas never stop! The back splash – love! You rock, Brenda!

    1. I don't know as I was smart to use the contact paper. But it was really the cheapest solution I could come up with! So it was a matter of inventing a solution on a dime.

  52. I found your blog several weeks ago and have loved reading it. Your ideas are so creative, and budget friendly, too. Your kitchen is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  53. Yep..this is definitely Brenda's kitchen..Love the ice decal and I do remember those ice places too..The yellow and red is so pretty..What a bargain you got on that butcher block island..You never disappoint lady!

  54. I knew we were in for a fun surprise the moment the bottles downloaded! Like the daisies that they contain, your new redo is cheery, refreshing, light and colourful and it could easily be the subject of one of Janet Hill's paintings, as it is full of whimsy and wow!!!!

    You are one artiste, my friend!


    1. I guess there's something to be said for having to use what you've got and get creative. It is usually unique.

  55. Oh my gosh, what an amazing job! You've gone and done it again. Just when I think you can't top yourself you do it! It is so danged cute. Are you sure you can't stage houses or kitchens for people? I think they'd pay you to work with what they've got! Those decals are the cutest ever. Yes, I remember the ICE signs! Think there's one on a place near me now. That kitchen cart you painted yellow is fantastic, great color. It's a nice piece as it's not too deep. I love what you did over the washer/dryer combo. I just love everything! I think I might have to order some decals for my laundry room! I did a double take too on the counter tops. I thought: Did she paint them? Who would have thought contact paper. And I'd completely forgotten about electric skillets and was admiring yours thinking it was a crock pot. You are so right, they don't heat up as much! I could just envision you at Lowe's or Home Depot asking them what to use to cover those ugly stains. You need a break, some hot packs for your neck, and a chiropractic adjustment or two! You are one awesome lady!

    1. I'll tell you a secret: I had the guy at Lowes mark the paint I was to use first, which was basically a primer, with a "1st" on top of the can with a black magic marker. And I had him mark a "2nd" for the one I was to use after that one dried. That's how clueless I am!

    2. It's OK to be clueless about painting. I am not experienced in it either, as far as walls. Water colors, yes, but not house painting. It annoys me to even think about that! ha ha.

  56. Love, love, love your kitchen now that it is YOU again. Clever, exciting, so well organized. Bright, happy, wonderful. Will have to study each picture again and again. Hugs.

    1. Oh, I've still got little things to do in there that I didn't have time to make pretty yet. But I felt it was close enough to show.

  57. Brenda, you amaze me! That's the cutest little apartment kitchen I've ever seen. The paint, the accessories, the ICE sticker. It's all wonderful. You managed to make that washer/dryer blend right in. I can't believe you are going to go without a stove or oven. You've got skills with the microwave and electric skillet. Congratulations on a job well done.

    1. I wasn't ever much of a cook. I did cook all the time when my girls were growing up. But then I slacked off. Especially after my last divorce. So I will have to learn skills with the electric skillet. And I may end up getting a toaster/convection oven at some point. I also have had a Cuisinart panini maker for years that can make a darned good hot sandwich.

  58. Your kitchen came out so cute. Love the farmhouse retro vibe you have going. It's so colorful and creative and I can see why you gave up your stove since you wouldn't be using it. The electric skillet is a great idea. I didn't know you could bake a cake in one. The ice decal on your fridge is really cool too. Love your kitchen cart painted yellow and it looks so pretty with all the red accents. I can see you worked really hard on it and it certainly paid off. Enjoy your new kitchen!

    1. I did end up working harder and longer on this one than the one at the little blue house. But that was mostly because I had an apartment manager to answer to if I did something against their rules!

    1. Well, I have my three cabinet doors stored in the closet for now. Doubt they'd know if you took off the doors as long as you keep the hardware, as I did.

  59. Wow is right! You have outdone yourself! I love everything, especially the checks. Might steal, er.. borrow some ideas here, lol, the placemats on the wall are so cute, and I have those same ones in mustard yellow, think I will try them behind some black and white plates I have hanging on the wall. What is more amazing is the short time you have taken to accomplish all of this! I think you can officially call yourself a painter now!

    1. Oh, do it! There are no really new and innovative ideas. They are all a mish-mash of what we've seen before and add a little twist to it. Those place mats were just setting in a drawer. Might as well put them to use. Black and white plates over mustard yellow would be beautiful!

  60. Brenda, I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed your kitchen unvieling! You are brilliant! I love everything about it and I couldn't agree more, it is your kitchen to put what you need most! Wish my family would let me get rid of my stove, Ha! This kitchen is magazine worthy, too! Enjoy your weekend! Twyla

    1. Guess it's good I live alone and can take out any appliance I want. The dogs won't put up much fuss over anything but their food bowls!

  61. I am so impressed with the result. You've done an amazing job Brenda. I love the open cabinets. The trick to paint handles is a good thing to know. Wonder which room is next?

    1. Don't know. All that's left is a teeny tiny bathroom you can barely turn around in. I have hit my left elbow on the vanity so many times it's the size of a golf ball. Went to the doctor about a week ago and it's now bursitis. Sure is one ugly elbow…

  62. Wow! I'm speechless! LOVE everything you've done….you should be an interior decorator. Or perhaps write a book! You inspire me. xo

    1. It wouldn't be in the category of a coffee table book. It would be one of those budget books for people who have to live frugally out of necessity.

    1. Kim, I thought of you as I was painting. And dripping paint everywhere, and then stepping in it. And then making big messes all over the place and cursing it. Paint and I do not get along well. I was hoping you'd just happen to give me a call and say: "Need some help with that paint?"

  63. Brenda, your kitchen is shockingly fabulous! Most definitely another magazine worthy masterpiece! I am almost in shock by the brilliance of your decorating talent. Enjoy your awesome new kitchen!

    1. I probably wouldn't know how to decorate with lots of money. I wouldn't know where to start. But give me pennies and dollar bills and I can get motivated!

  64. I'm sitting at the computer with my mouth hanging open in amazement. I knew your kitchen would look different when you had worked your magic, but this defies anything I could have imagined. You are amazing. I love how the leftover cabinet turned out. That might be my favorite thing, but I also love the ICE decal and the checkerboard (contact paper – ingenious!) and the new knobs. I am just in awe! Fantastic job.

    1. Every time I look at that ICE sign, I think of those places that sold ice when I was a kid. They always had that insignia. It takes me back to the good old days.

  65. I have been waiting all day to see your design and it is you. I love the contact paper and you worked really hard the cabinets came out wonderful. I love the colored glass bottles I have that on my bucket list. Take it easy now you deserve it.

    1. Behind those colored glass bottles is a very dirty window that I can't figure out how to clean because it's outside and I haven't figured out a way to get to the actual window yet.

  66. Brenda – AWESOME!! Everything looks so good! It was interesting to see it in between stages. Love the cart painted yellow with red hardware. So cute! You worked so hard, but it was worth it! Love the ICE sign. You did it again!


  67. Perfect color combinations with the red, yellow, black and white. That cabinet you painted yellow with the red handles is my favorite. Your kitchen now reflects who you are and it's just perfect. Yes, you've done it again Brenda, taken something that was blah and uninspiring and splashed it with color and happiness! Taking out those unused appliances may have seemed strange for some but why have those big hunkers around when you don't even need them. You've made it your space and that's what it's all about right?

    1. I hope that's what people take away from it. Utilize your space for you. If you don't use something, get rid of it and put something in its place that you will use.

  68. I love what you've done with your kitchen. The decals you added to your freezer and cabinets give it so much personality. the contact paper you added is so cute too. Love the new butcher block table you got. That will come in handy.

    1. I didn't think I'd ever find something I could use as an island, which I love, in that small of a kitchen. But finally I did!

  69. Brenda, I love it. It is so perfectly you. Great idea to free up space by getting rid of the stove if you don't use it. I can picture having lots of cozy time in that kitchen. xo Laura

    1. At least now I walk in there and don't try to avoid looking at certain things. I would think: I'm getting them to come get that stove. Then I'd back off because people would say you'll regret it if you do. Somehow I don't think I will.

  70. It's totally adorable! I love the rooster and the ice decal! I love the colors. It looks happy and whimsical, and it is hard to believe it is a rental! I think you will do fine without a stove; I lived without one for a year. My daughter the comedian, just saw me commenting and said to me, " for the health and safety of yourself and others you could do without a stove." xoxo

  71. Magic! That's the best word I could come up with. I love the checkered contact paper, the decals, the colors! One thing I love having is a toaster oven. I make so many things in there, even roasted vegetables. I just combine veggies like broccoli, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and a dash of red peppers and bake them in the toaster. Perfect for 1 person cooking. Anyways, the whole kitchen is wonderful and inspirational!

    1. I have diligently been researching toast ovens, reviews, etc. I may end up getting one. But will have to figure out where to put it if I do.

  72. Brenda, You really are blooming where you are planted. Great kitchen. Your coffee bar/kitchen counter looks like the base to a Hoosier with the pale yellow and red drawer pulls. Wonderful job. I have been looking forward all week to the reveal, and you did not disappoint.

  73. I rolled out of bed with your kitchen reveal on my mind. I couldn't wait to see what you do so well. OMG, OMG, OMG it's beyond amazing. I wish I could pick a favorite change but the fact is I love it all.

    1. I would get going and then I'd get stymied. I'd have to back off and let my energy drive me back into the mood.

  74. Wow!! I am just flabbergasted! I love how you've transformed this little plain kitchen into a work of art! I love the black and white check and the counter tops, I would never have guessed it was contact paper! Love the decals, the cart…love it all!! You are so talented. Wonderful work, Brenda!! I'll bet you grin every time you walk into the kitchen! Now, relax a bit and enjoy your weekend. ~Cheryl

    1. If you get real close, you can see lines and where one thing ended and another began. But not from a distance of, oh, two feet, I doubt you could tell it is contact paper.

  75. WOW!!
    You are so talented! I love your new kitchen! You have done an amazing job! What a transformation.
    I'm going to try to look at my kitchen with new eyes and see what I can do…Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Well, just squint with one eye at first and see what you see. Then use your imagination to paste over what you've got.

  76. Brenda, you have AMAZED me with you kitchen make over, you have the most creative ideas, hope this project gets
    published in some magazines. Thank you for sharing so many decorating ideas with us, along with the pictures and details of each project. Everything you did in kitchen is wonderful, many of us work on limited income, and got practical ideas we can use in our homes. The butcher block adds so much to kitchen. I could not pick out one favorite because all of the projects are my favorites.

    1. Well, thank you, Deb. You have to look through a lot of inspiration to come up with a real budget reno. But after looking and looking, I still ended up doing something different anyway!

  77. Brenda, this is just so bright and fun! Love what you did. I'm afraid I'm not allowed to paint my kitchen cabinets but I love what you have done. Budget guru is what you are. I love how you are making this little place your own!
    hugs, Linda

    1. Budget Guru… I like that. Maybe I could make that a series. The Budget Guru Series. You may be on to something, Linda!

  78. I have been sick all week with a terrible cold, but while I was lying in bed this morning I remembered…..The Kitchen Reveal! I couldn't wait to see what you had done and, of course, you did not disappoint. I LOVE your ideas and use of color. It looks just wonderful.

    1. If you love color, the world is limitless in terms of decorating. I suppose that is also true of neutral decor. Color is a rainbow to me, a new box of crayons, and I love to liberally use them.

  79. Wow! That looks beautiful. When I first saw the first after photo, I thought that was an inspiration picture from Better Homes and Gardens. Amazing difference.

    1. Well, in some photos I notice you can see my sonic ice tea cup with the red straw in it sticking up out of the sink, along with the potatoes I had just washed. I didn't stage all that, and seem to forget things are actually there until I see them in the photos.

  80. Honey, it looks just like you…..so Brenda! Very colorful and you finally got the black and white checker board look you have always liked. Love the new butcher block table and the new yellow outfit on your cart. You're dishes make great art work in your newly painted cabinet shelves. I expect this to show up in Apartment Therapy one day.

    1. I think with Apartment Therapy you have to make a submission. You should check it out. I think they would certainly accept you.

  81. I am so impressed, Brenda! You turned a small, bland kitchen into an adorable and functional space. I think it was brilliant to take out the stove and put the refrigerator in its place. When we had our kitchen remodeled, we got along just fine with a microwave and an electric skillet. The contact paper was a great idea as well and all of your decor just makes it very charming. This before and after should definitely be in a magazine!

  82. LOVE, lOvE, LoVe it! You've done an amazing job transforming your kitchen! Love the black and white checks and the yellow and red cart. I have an old Hoosier on my covered porch, I painted it about the same color yellow and it has red hardware, makes me smile every time I look at it. I'll bet you smile every time you walk into your kitchen! Great job, Brenda! Now, sit back and relax, you've worked your fanny off!

    1. I have had to crawl up on the counter top and lie on my back to paint underneath those cabinets that had never had a coat of paint even though this place was built in the sixties. I have got to rest my neck for a few weeks! I have had to twist myself all around to get in every nook and cranny!

  83. Your newly decorated kitchen is so FUN! Your polka dot dishes and black and white checked wall are a great foundation to add all your pops of lively color. The decals on the freezer and cabinet door made me smile and I imagine you can't get the smile off your face either, Brenda! One of my favorite things is the frame holding the sweet crocheted dresses. I knew there'd be no "vanilla" kitchen for you and you didn't let us down. I love it all!

    1. wanted it to make me smile like my other house kitchen with the decoupage did. I tried and tried to come up with a way to use decoupage, but seeing as the apartment has rules, I couldn't. (I probably wasn't supposed to paint the cabinets. But they were a beigy-white and now are just white, so maybe they won't notice.) Now they may at some point notice the refrigerator I painted with latex paint, though it was already white. (White with rust stains, that is.)

  84. Brenda, You did it again, you just amaze me with your talent, I wasn't surprised I knew it would be spectacular! I have been waiting for the reveal so patiently but with much anticipation , girl you need to be a designer, what I can't get over is you take what you have and make it work. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!!! your new kitchen that was a lot of work you did. Contact paper who would have ever thought to put it on counter tops it looks wonderful! I bet the repair man is still scratching his head! lol

    1. Yes, the maintenance man, who is Russian and has quite an accent, thinks I'm a bit nuts. I did give his family my oak coffee table and some chairs. And I have taken him a piece of cake from Sprouts. Funny thing is, he saw me coming with that cake and took off. Afraid I was going to ask him something. I had to chase him in my steel boot all over till I was close enough to yell: "It's just cake! I don't want anything. Just want to give you a piece of cake. And I didn't bake it for heaven's sake. It came from Sprouts." He doesn't trust my baking since I blew up the eggs!

  85. Congratulations, Brenda. I am truly flabbergasted ! You've done a wonderful change to what was a very plan room in your home.. So creative, unique, original, fun and it looks like you still have room to move around even with your island.
    You need to be featured in another magazine for sure..
    I know you love it and you should.. Now you can walk from your fantastic kitchen to your lovely patio/garden.. Good for you !

    1. Now Charlotte, we don't want you fainting and falling over in it. (I say that due to my phrasing in a post last week and probably got it entirely wrong!) I would look at that kitchen and just see doom for weeks and weeks. I just have to get started rolling and the marble will roll! One thing always leads to another. Had some mishaps. Kept going.

    1. This project gave me pause. It took me weeks to get started. And I realized I was approaching it by trying to make something work that wasn't going to. Like trying to push a square peg in a round hole. Once I let go of that idea, others came soon thereafter, and I finally was able to get started.

    1. I saw that on a freezer somewhere and it stuck in my mind. So I started looking for them. Found a place in TX that makes them in various sizes. Mine is 14 inch. Don't ya remember those ice "houses" that looked like shipping containers back in the day?

  86. I am amazed at the transformation – so bright and cheerful from what it had been. I never thought to use contact paper like you have used – even on a countertop? I wouldn't have thought of that. I have no imagination when it comes to decorating! Love what you have done with the place. You have now made it yours.

    1. The thing about using contact paper on a counter top, and I know this just from personal experience, is that you should overlap pieces by about 1/2 an inch. This is to prevent water from seeping under. I guess I'll probably write a whole post on this at some point. Also, you will get little bubbles. Take a pin and poke them and them smush them down with your finger. Mine were particularly difficult because the counter tops have a textured finished. It was advised to have one person holding and one person pulling the paper out. It was just me and I cursed it a bit, but it's done.

  87. Your Kitchen redo is AMAZING!!! I love it!! Wow, can't believe it is the same space. Brenda it is super!!! Great Idea with the counter tops and backsplash, you have given me hope for my dated kitchen!!!

    Enjoy, you sure have worked your Magic!! Janie

    1. I hope it gives everyone hope that no matter where they live, they can spruce the place up on a very teeny tiny budget. Contact paper runs around $5 a roll. I ordered mine through Amazon.com because I couldn't find what I wanted in the stores. Yes, there are areas that I want to hide. And so I did!

  88. Brenda….that's fantastic! It's so bright, cheery…and fun! Everything a kitchen, designed by you, should be…and you certainly didn't disappoint! I love your innovative use of contact paper…and those stick-on graphics…wow! And, you are right…if you aren't using your stove…remove it! You've designed your kitchen for you…and I love it! πŸ˜‰

    1. The great thing about contact paper is that if an area gets messed up, just peel that part off and add a new one!

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