Fall ORC 2023: New Build Kitchen Reveal!

The Fall 2023 One Room Challenge is over and I finished on time… just barely. Painting the countertops set me back, but here we are. I had time to take photos and everything 🙂

If you’re new here, the goal for this project was to add some character to the builder-grade kitchen in my new build. Everything was so nice and new, but there was no style. It was as if the builders wanted to create a simple blank canvas for the homeowner, and they suceeded!

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The vision for the project was “cottage chic” meets transitional. I would have loved to veer a little more vintage, but it just wouldn’t compliment a brand new house in a brand new neighborhood. I embraced the transitional appeal of the white cabinetry, but added gold hardware, espresso colored butcher block, and painted the island a dark green.

Design Process

Gold Hardware

As I mentioned previously, this is a brand new house. It’s basic builder, so it can use a lot of upgrades, but I was not about to get rid of the cabinets. They are decent quality and I can work with white. The reason they looked so boring was likely because there were no knobs or pulls.

The cabinets before

So, the very first thing I did for this project was install the gold hardware! I know this seems a “little cart before the horse”, and most people would install hardware last, like jewelry as the finishing touch. But with a huge project ahead, sometimes it helps to start with the fun stuff, and to start visualizing.

The hardware was a great budget find from Amazon, linked below. They match my new Emtek door levers almost perfectly, which is great because the pantry door lever is in the same eye-line as the cabinet hardware.

Dark Butcher Block Countertops

Next step was the butcher block countertops. I knew I wanted the island to contrast with the rest of the countertops. Since the island was too large for any prefabricated butcher block I could find at a big box store, the main counters would be butcher block. The island would be painted faux marble (until I can afford real marble!)

Since I was going for traditional cottage aesthetic, I wanted dark stained countertops. I wasn’t planning on buying them pre-stained but I found these really pretty ones at Lowes! This espresso stain color is really perfect. This was a pretty easy demo and install. You can read about it in the Week 3 post.

Travertine Tile Backsplash

Which brings us to backsplash. I love the look of stone backsplash, but not the price tag. I kept my eye on Facebook Marketplace for a while, and eventually some travertine tile came up for super cheap. It wasn’t exactly what I was going for, but I couldn’t pass up the bargain!

I’d worked with this exact same tile before on a previous fireplace build, and I knew over-grouting could get me closer to the look I wanted. Read more about the travertine tile install in the Week 4 post.

Extra Character

Amidst all of this, I’d removed the ugly microwave and swapped out the cabinets near the fridge, and installed them above the oven. This would house the vent fan insert. Already things were looking so much better, but the cabinet-turned-vent-hood needed some trim… I had a last minute idea. If I really wanted character, I needed to work for it. Enter my DIY fluted trim! You can read about my DIY fluted trim in the Week 5 post.

The Kitchen Island

I added board and batten molding to the island. Of course I waited until the eleventh hour to paint it, because painting cabinets is not my favorite. Prepping needs to be super thorough for the paint to adhere to factory finished cabinets. Then the painting has to be blemish-free. Tedious. But that was nothing compared to painting the countertops!

Painting the laminate countertops a faux marble pattern took a lot of trial and error. Lots of sponging, painting, wiping it off, repeat! You can read about the kitchen island process in the Week 6 & 7 post.

The Reveal

There are a few more things I’d like to add to the kitchen that were never goals for the One Room Challenge. These include glass shelves next to the fridge, a new faucet, and pendant lights for the island. Future mini projects!

This was a big transformation for eight weeks. The very best part? The budget of this kitchen makeover came in at around $1200. I’ll tell you how in my next post!

Check out all the other Fall 2023 One Room Challenge reveals here.

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