10 Tips to Spice Up Your Kitchen{Making Lemonade}
July 29, 2012
DIY Backsplash{Sawdust and Embryos}
August 1, 2012

From 1978 to Up to date! Kitchen Makeover{The Hill Hangout}

Hi, CSI-ers! My name is Ashley Hill and I blog over at The Hill Hangout. About five years my family and I moved into a fixer-upper. It has been an exciting, slow, invigorating, frustrating project, and I’m sure if you’ve ever renovated an entire home you know exactly what I mean. In any reno project there are fabulous times and times you want to pull your hair out. But in the end it’s (almost) always worth it. That’s how we felt about our kitchen re-do. Now that we’re in it, we absolutely love it and it fits our family perfectly. As a family who cooks, homeschools, and does a ton of general hanging out in our kitchen, we desperately needed the updates. C’mon and I’ll give you a little tour.

Let’s review what we started with…

Our home was built in 1981. (I believe the decorating is more from the 70’s than the 80’s however, hence the 1978 reference above!) We purchased it five years ago with the intent of renovating every nook and cranny. We have done a TON of work, but the kitchen had remained untouched until a few months ago. It’s a big, expensive project and we knew we needed to save our pennies and PLAN, PLAN, PLAN so that we didn’t make design mistakes. We only get one shot at this so we wanted to do it right the first time.

Functionally, it was a great space. The open concept was actually ahead of it’s time in 1981, and the abundance of cabinet space was, too. The black appliances are actually new. When we moved in, the appliances were a lovely shade of harvest gold. They all gave way during the first year we lived here, so they were all switched out.

This little desk area works well as a storage spot for purses, bills, mail, invitations, etc. But it had this weird overhang that we didn’t really know what to do with. And while we loved the storage above it, it was always a mess. No amount of organizing seemed to keep it tidy.

And the materials used in our space, while I’m sure were avant garde in 1981, are definitely NOT in 2012.

We kept the functionality pretty much the same. As I said, it worked well for a bustling family who spends as much time in the kitchen as we do.

Are you ready to see how it turned out?

Close your eyes.

1-2-3 OPEN!!!!!

Of course, the most dramatic change was the color of the cabinets. I looked at so many options, but I kept coming back to white upper cabs with a turquoise color on the bottoms. I have to admit, I fall in love with this room all over again every time I walk into it. It is the most cheerful and happy room in our home – as well it should be. We spend lots of happy hours in here.

We took out the soffits around the top of the cabinets and raised them to the ceiling. This not only gave us a ton of extra storage space, but it made our ceilings look higher!

New lighting was a huge part of this project. We removed the overhead fluorescent fixture and added recessed lighting in the ceiling. The outdated track lighting was removed and we installed two lovely pendants. Under-cabinet lighting went all around to serve as task lighting. It has made a world of difference, as I can see what I’m doing!!

The desk space stays much neater now that we closed in the cabinets and added the baskets. That odd space became a handy shelf for my cookbooks.

Our contractor even had the bright idea to put our plugs up high under the cabinets so that they didn’t interrupt the look of the subway tile. It looks so crisp and clean without a plug every two feet, even though they are really there.

I opened up these cabinets because I adore the look of open shelves in a kitchen. I store my dishes here because they usually stay pretty tidy. The white dishes are the everyday dinnerware we got when we married. I added the colorful bowls from Anthropologie. The green Emile Henry baker came from Williams-Sonoma and it was also a wedding gift.

The shelf flanking the other side of the sink holds more of our casual dinnerware, as well as our glasses and more cookbooks. They green mixing bowl is a treasured gift from my mom. It was my grandmother’s mixing bowl, so it holds a very special place in my heart and in my kitchen.

So that’s where we spend the majority of our days. We had happy days in our old kitchen, and we’ve had even more happy ones in the new kitchen. The most special thing about this space is the people who I share it with. It serves as a space to prepare food with love for my littles and their daddy and our dear family and friends. Old or new, if your kitchen can do that, then it’s a glorious place!

Hope you enjoyed the tour. Please feel free to take a look around The Hill Hangout for our other decorating projects.


  1. meegan says:

    awesome redo. great sparing use of open cabinets. i have to say, the item that really catches my eye, and seems to pull everything in that space into one perfect palette, is that window shade. wow. perfect styling.

  2. Cathy says:

    Wow what a difference! Having the good bones of the kitchen to start with was good news for you!
    And the colours, so great! What paint company, colour and finish did you use? I’m nosey like that but if it’s a deep, dark secret……..ok you won’t have to tell me. I’ll be devastated but I’ll survive! sigh!!!!!! 🙂
    Great job,

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