Home and Garden

DIY Blue and White Kitchen Renovation


While older homes are often solidly built, they are sometimes lacking in other key areas. After all, what you need from home today is very different from what people needed from home in the 1950s, for example.

Kimberly Bahelda and her husband’s 1953 kitchen, for example, were “missing in key areas,” she says. “There was space on the wall for more top and bottom cabinets that weren’t being used. The refrigerator needed to be replaced, but the space we had when we removed the old refrigerator was too small to accommodate a new model. The shelf heights were fixed, some switches were not connected, the lighting was dim. The appliances were quite old and the extractor hood was original. “

Kimberly adds that the kitchen was solidly built, usable, and (most importantly) clean, so she saw the potential. She just wanted to make it a bit more modern and functional while keeping costs down.

Another goal: open up the kitchen to the adjoining living area to create a little more breathing room and get rid of the uncomfortable walk-through window.

Kimberly and her husband decided to make the majority of the Reno themselves and asked Kimberly’s father – a professional handyman – for help. Kimberly’s father was able to do light plumbing and drywall work for the couple, and provided almost all of the tools and construction skills the couple needed to remodel the kitchen. “We saved a lot of money on labor, which is usually a large part of the renovation cost,” says Kimberly.

First, the DIY team knocked out the wall between the kitchen and living room. Not only did it open up the area, it also provided space for the breakfast bar, where Kimberly and her husband can pull up a chair to eat.

Kimberly ordered semi-custom cabinets to replace the old ones, choosing a deep navy for the base cabinets and a bright white for the upper. A professional installed the new quartz countertops, which are durable against both scratches and stains.

The newly renovated cooking room offers (finally!) Space for a new, modern refrigerator.

By expanding the cabinets, the old free-standing wire shelf that was previously in the kitchen was no longer needed. But for all the extra storage space, the kitchen still feels bigger, brighter, and more open.

“For me, the best ‘after’ the renovation was to tear down the wall between the kitchen and living room,” says Kimberly. “Instead of the walk-through window, we now have an open peninsula, and the entire room feels a lot bigger.”

She also adds: “I have a great sense of achievement when I know we did it ourselves, and I am very proud of my husband who took on such a large project with no prior experience.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

Megan Baker

Home project editor

Megan is a writer and editor who specializes in upgrades, DIY projects, hacks, and design. Prior to home therapy, she was an editor at HGTV Magazine and This Old House Magazine. Megan graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism with a degree in magazine journalism. She is a self-taught expert on weighted blankets.