Kitchen Remodel on a Budget


I think you will understand WHY I didn’t want to tackle this project when you look at the photo above.  I knew it needed to be done.  When we moved into our cabin style home back in 2004, I decided that I MUST have a red kitchen and of course I hopped right on that trend.

I love all sorts of stuff, junk, whatever you want to call it. It’s in my nature to collect it.  Donning my upper cabinets was a collection of stuff that had accumulated stuff for the past 13 years.  Every time I looked at the kitchen and saw the mess, I just wanted to hide.  Why is stuff on the counters? We simply don’t have the room to store it anywhere else.

I realized as I looked up at all the stuff on top of the cabinets, only a few things carried special meaning.  The rest, was just clutter and stuff that had been there, done that. I had to make the decision that it was now time to let go.  I let go in the sense that I went to our local Brickstone Ace Hardware, bought several storage bins and packed all that stuff away.  So while it’s not gone, it’s outta sight outta mind.  It’s kinda gone.  Hey, one step at a time.

What’s depressing is searching Pinterest for kitchen ideas, finding exactly what you want to do and then realize how much it will cost. Where there is a will there is a way to make it happen.  I love a challenge of creating the look with out the debt.  Game on!


As you know if you’ve read my blog here, or my creative blog there, we live a very self sustaining lifestyle.  It’s become the theme of our life and we try to infuse that concept in everything we do whether it’s cooking, building, gardening, whatever it is.

Originally we we decided we were only going to replace the center island which is butt ugly and the four burner stove  only had 3 burners working.  We thought, “hey, it’s fairly simple, we’ll hire someone to build the island, run a gasline outside and in a manner of moments, we’ll have a brand spankin new kitchen”.

In true Peterson fashion though, the project morphed.  We had an ugly ceiling fan, that had to go.  We wanted to put in some new lighting, but that meant taking down the popcorn ceiling, hiring an electrician and hiring someone else to come in and texture the ceiling.  The project took on a life of its own and we continued to  add additional things we wanted to do.  We continued to live life and work amongst the chaos, which created more chaos and well, the kitchen reno took a little bit of a LOT longer than expected.

Living amongst the chaos is not easy, most of all because I would put stuff one place, Dana would put stuff in another and no one knew where anything was.  We had no stove, but we did have our camp cook stove which we set up in a corner of the kitchen.  I think secretly Dana liked cooking on the camp stove because it reminded him of camping and it gave him a practice session cooking with gas.

We sought out the talents of a local woodsmith, Jeff, from Oldfield Woodworks who worked with us at designing this very one of a kind masterpiece which is the focal of our new kitchen.  His work is beyond impeccable, we loved everything he did for us.


For the island, we used a combination of Missouri hardwoods and African hardwoods to continue our theme and our story of why we do what we do.  We couldn’t be happier with the outcome of our custom built kitchen island.  We smile every time we look at it, reminiscing about past trips to Africa, fishing trips and the like.  It’s become a visual monument to many happy times in our life.

The professional stove top that we purchased from KitchenAid was not a breeze to install.  It did not come with a complete conversion kit.  Simple fix right? “We’ll just call Kitchenaid, explain the problem, they’ll send us the missing orifices and we’ll be good to go”. Simple solution.  Not so fast! After many calls to KitchenAid to remedy the problem, we we’re left with a $1200 stove that didn’t work because they refused to send the parts since we “weren’t certified installers”.  Interesting that KitchenAid had no problem shipping the stove to our house when we weren’t “certified installers”, but they couldn’t send us a part the size of a hearing aid battery to our house because we “weren’t certified”.  We were not trying to be unreasonable, we just wanted what we paid for and they refused multiple times.  When we finally did get through to someone, they “identified that there was a problem and sent it on to their technical team to review”.  How long was the review process? Up to 10 days we were told.  OMG! Note to self or to any of you reading this, DO NOT BUY KITCHENAID appliances.  I think our final words to KitchenAid were “You suck! Have a horrible day!”  We were that frustrated.  Someone needed to tell KitchenAid they sucked.  It’s a public service really.  They needed to be told, because apparently, they had no clue and now they have the opportunity to un-suck.  Let’s hope they take the advice.  We were able to source the part on  our own via the internet and amazingly this company shipped directly to our house. This was Sears Parts Direct, they don’t suck.  Moving on….

For years I wanted to do something different with the cabinets. I did a search through Pinterest for “rustic farmstyle” kitchen ideas and found several photos of kitchens I liked.  We decided to paint. I went to my local Brickstone Ace Hardware and talked with the stores owner James who convinced me that using Amy Howard’s chalk paint at $37 a quart was the answer.  No prep, no prime,  such wipe down your cabinets with some Simple Green and happy painting.


Happy Painting it was and I loved Amy Howards chalk paint.  Worth every penny!  If you do nothing else but paint your walls and cabinets, I’m confident you can have a fresh new kitchen in a long weekend.  Our cabinet make-over was about $175 all in including the chalk paint and the wax. (not the labor).  It is so easy, just wipe your cabinets down with Simple Green to remove any oily/dirty residue, remove the doors and hardware and paint your cabinets.  Allow the cabinets to dry an hour or two and then antique them with dark and light wax.  The dark wax gives them an aged look, the light wax allows you to move the dark wax around and smooth it in.  These cabinets have the most gorgeous silky smooth finish you would ever want to see.  I used a Valspar color (Thames Fog)  and had my chalk paint custom made.  img_3405

If I would have known that painting the cabinets was this easy, I would have done it years ago.  Aside from hiring some of the painting out, the total cost of painting the kitchen walls and cabinets was about $300 in materials if you use your old hardware.  We opted to change our door handles and drawer pulls to antlers so it kept in theme of our cabin style life.  A big shout out to American Expedition where we purchased the handles.  Their customer service was superb and we received our order in a couple of days. They are awesome – they don’t suck either!

We are thrilled with the way our new kitchen looks.  It seems bigger, though it’s not, we have so much more storage and Dana and I have enjoyed all the time we’ve spent together working on this project.  I think maybe he’s going to teach me to cook.  Time spent with those you love is definately time well spent.





  1. Beverlee Mossman says

    Hi Linda this is beautiful. Might i ask if your cabinets were wood original? Also how was the smell> I have to be careful of the smell with the brain injury or else I end up in the emergency room.

    Sorry I have not written sooner miss you a lot

    Hugs and Love bev

    PS thank you for sharing i need to subscribe to all of your sites not sure the locations of them ??

    • admin says

      Hi Bev,
      Yes, they are standard oak cabinets. They look great painted. Take care of yourself, we don’t want you to end up in the ER! 🙂

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