Is That Sheetrock Dust, Or Has My Brain Finally Exploded?

My kitchen remodel has been mostly finished for a couple of weeks, but I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of the whole thing until I managed to get my kitchen spotlessly clean.

That’s when I remembered: my kitchen is never spotlessly clean.  So I just hoisted the random stacks of things to another room and made it look like we’re actually, you know, orderly.

I am incredibly relieved this process is over.  A kitchen remodel is a funny thing–it’s extremely stressful, but you feel terribly guilty for complaining about.  There’s sort of the whole I’m-getting-a-new-kitchen-so-I-should-keep-my-mouth-shut complex.  But the dust!  And the disorder!  And the exposed wires!  It’s enough to send a girl over the edge.  I actually called Melanie in the middle of our ordeal to apologize for not being sympathetic enough when she went through hers a few months ago.

Anyway, it’s done, and this post will probably provide more detail than you ever wanted to know about the whole thing.  I learned some things–good and bad–and many of you have written to say you’re thinking about a kitchen remodel yourselves.  So here we go.

First, this is the only "before" picture I have.  Notice all the dark trim, the chunky fluorescent lighting, and the hanging cabinet that breaks up the room:


Below is the "after".  We took down that cabinet and changed the fluorescent lighting to recessed cans.  I really resisted that lighting change, mainly because it was expensive and I didn’t think it would be worth the money.  Hubs insisted, and I’m so glad he did–the new lighting is one of my favorite parts.  And the removed cabinet opens the space so much.  No more bumping our heads when we try to talk to each other!


Below is a shot from the other end of the room.  I think one of the most dramatic (and cheapest) changes we made was painting all that old brown 80’s trim (baseboards, door frames, etc.) white.  It really updated things.  Also, you can see our new tile floors, laid at a diagonal (which I love) with medium grout (which I regret.  I wish I’d gone with my initial urge to use black grout.)


Another shot of the eating area, and my handy-dandy buffet and desk.  This is where all the blogging magic mediocrity happens.  Normally that buffet is piled high with lunch money, permission slips, birthday invitations and other suck-the-life-right-out-of-you paperwork.


Below is our eating area, which now feels much more open with the overhead cabinet gone.  I made the curtains; they were such a ridiculously easy bargain I’m going to devote a whole Works-For-Me Wednesday post to them later:


Here is a close-up of the countertop.  It’s quartz, and supposedly it’s the most durable countertop material known to all of mankind.  Which means it might–MIGHT–stand a chance in this family.  It’s much lower maintenance than granite and you can even chop right on it.


I didn’t plan to get a stainless steel sink–it still wouldn’t be my first choice.  But it came free as part of a special offer with our countertops, and when you’re hemorrhaging money remodeling your kitchen, you’ll take anything they offer you for free.  The cabinetry is not new; it was the only thing in the kitchen that stayed.  We’re actually planning to refinish it this spring but at the moment I am fresh out of elbow grease.


I have wanted a glass-top stove for as long as I can remember.  It is SO easy to clean.  You can get a good look at the backsplash here, too.  It’s tumbled marble, done in a subway tile pattern.  Eventually, I’ll hang something decorative over the stove, but I cannot–CANNOT–bring myself to make another decision about this kitchen, no matter how small.


That’s it.  Overall, I’m pleased at how it turned out.  Mostly, I’m just pleased it’s finished.

127 thoughts on “Is That Sheetrock Dust, Or Has My Brain Finally Exploded?

  1. Melanie says:

    LOVE IT! We have the same colors in our kitchens. My walls are warm yellowish gold, cabinets same color, counters very similar, red decor.
    I love the floors on the angle. Really opens it up! Great choices, Shannon.

  2. O says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing so I can enjoy vicariously only with no dust. Or rather, no more than my usual layer.

  3. Christy says:

    It is absolutely gorgeous. I even like the “old” cabinets–I’m a sucker for dark wood!
    I was really hoping that you would get the black grout. I’m sorry that you regret your decision! The floors are still quite stunning, however.

  4. Nichole says:

    OH that is sooooo pretty!!!
    And yes it looks SO CLEAN AND NICE! I LOVE IT!
    We are in the middles of picking out stuff for our new home so its fun!

  5. Angela says:

    absolutely beautiful!!! I agree with Christy….I like the old cabinets…we have white ones and they are beautiful, but I despise the cleaning they require!!! I guess the darker wood would need it too, but at least you couldn’t see it as easy….I would use some of that Old English for dark woods on them….we did that to a door we had in our old home and before we did, we had thought about replacing it so it would look better for potential buyers, but after we used that on it, the door looked brand new!

  6. jenny says:

    I heart your kitchen big time!! I especially love the long counter top next to the blogging desk. Of course, I realize that it would be covered in all of the things you mentioned in your post. But, the way I was visualizing it, was with neat little baskets for each member of the family, all neatly organized and such. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! But really, I do love your newly remodeled kitchen. Very nice!!

  7. Jynell says:

    LOVE IT!!! Very, very nice- great choices- exactly what I’d like someday! I’m very very jealous… I mean… HAPPY for you!! 😀

  8. Kendra says:

    Oops-I also meant to add that I would never have known that the cabinets weren’t new. They really look great with bright lighting and new countertop!

  9. ~Amy says:

    Wow, what a great change! I didn’t even read your blog at first…I just looked at the pictures the first thing I noticed was the lighting. Then I kept flipping back and forth checking out my lighting compared to yours. Now, I want to change our lighting. It really changed the look of your room.
    Then I went back and read your post. Then I noticed the other stuff. 🙂
    You’ve inspired me.

  10. Ashleigh says:

    Love every bit of it. My parents are finally coming to the end of what has become a hideous, going-on-three-years house remodel (thanks to a Very Bad Contractor), so the HUGE sighs of relief have been abundant around there, too. Even I am relieved for them.
    I was hoping there’d be a picture of your bloggie area in there somewhere, being that you’ve mentioned before that you have your computer in your kitchen. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the addition (finally!) of my own laptop to our household for this very reason. So convenient!

  11. kelli says:

    I came out beautifully! ]
    We have some of the same colors in our kitchen (except my cabinets are cherry) and I’m happy to say I have the twin brother to your dining set!
    Congrats on surviving it all, you both did it with grace 🙂

  12. Lisa says:

    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing so many pics! I’ve always said I have the world’s greatest kitchen (and it is about the best layout I’ve ever seen), but now I’m giving my lighting, flooring and countertops the ol’ fish eye.
    Sigh… better get a job first! And oh yeah, about that kid who wants to go to a private college next year…

  13. Anna says:

    It looks great, but one suggestion – if you can live with the cabinets the colour they are do.
    I have a tiny kitchen and tried to refinish our cabinets myself as a short term, inexpensive update. They are almost identical to yours and let me tell you IT’S A NIGHTMARE!! The pattern means it’s hard to paint, and the paint didn’t go on evenly. My low-cost kitchen update is now costing me a fortune as I hate the result so much we’re replacing the kitchen 18 months ahead of schedule.
    If you could do it with a paint sprayer it might go on better, but otherwise, i’d suggest seeing if you can replace the doors.
    Really think hard before painting them.

  14. Erin Craig says:

    I think it looks great! I love the tile laid at a forty-five! We do that in the houses my hubby builds. It is always a big selling feature. I also think that with updating everything else it makes your cabinets look great. I would leave them just like they are. You have inspireed me to look into quartz for my counters as we are building our home. Talk about lots of dust! Once again Bravo on the kitchen!

  15. Molly says:

    Wow! It all looks great! What a difference it made to remove that cabinet! Probably a lot fewer backaches now since you don’t have to lean over to chat! 🙂 Thanks for the encouraging post…we are in the midst of construction while living in our house, glad to know it is all worth it in the end! Sometimes I wonder in the midst of the MESS!!! 🙂

  16. momala says:

    Its gorgeous! Now I want to remodel my kitchen! Well, thats not going to happen anytime soon, but I can dream. I love the curtain fabric! Where did you get it?

  17. Jeanette from Texas says:

    I love it! I am so excited because I have already ordered my new countertops and backsplash. Your countertops look very similar to what I ordered. All the colors are the same. I even picked out all red accent colors. It is so good to see what it will look like. Until now I have just been picturing it all in my head!

  18. bohgirl says:

    Girrrrrl, I know how you feel. We’ve been remodeling since ….oh, April or so and there are days where I am going to l-o-s-e my mind. Those are the days where I say, “we’re going to dinner and a movie and I don’t even want to MENTION this house”. We knocked out the galley kitchen and put and addition making our house into one big square. It’s great having the huge (in comparison) kitchen but all of those little details that aren’t finished are making me bonkers… and I’m not a bonkers-over-details kinda gal. Sometimes it feel like you’re never done.
    Yours looks fantastic though – and DONE! I’m sending your pics to BF 🙂 I love the tile on the floor and backsplash… ours is up (since July), but has yet to be grouted. Ah, it’s going to be fun picking out the dogfood and random corn bits to complete that. Yeehaw.
    I love the yellow with the red too. We tried for a nice yellow, and we wound up with a nice mustard… sigh.
    And the cabinets are awesome…. ours still don’t have handles cause BF “is getting to it”. Again… sigh.
    Can I move in with you?

  19. robin says:

    Beautiful! I love those quartz countertops, very classy! We’re planning a smaller remodel (more of a redecorate)this spring, and I have some recessed lighting on my list. Great to have an inspiration picture to look at!

  20. Kim says:

    Wonderful! Beautiful! I love it!
    We are adding on to our house (playroom, and bathroom downstairs and another bedroom upstairs)
    Girl, I feel you pain. We homeschool and trying to compete with a cement truck and the port-o-potty has not been easy 🙂
    It’s amazing how those cabinets look so different with the different lighting. We will have recessed lighting in the playroom and I know it will make me want it in the rest of the house.
    Thanks for sharing your pictures!

  21. dcrmom says:

    Shannon. That’s GORGEOUS. Wow, what a difference. You must be in HEAVEN. Congrats!! And good luck eliminating the drywall dust from inside your cabinets. 😉

  22. pam says:

    I really like it, especially the red and the stove top. I’ve always wanted a glass top range, too. Someday . . .
    So great that it’s finished!! Thanks for giving us the tour.

  23. Kristin says:

    You’ll have to let us know how you like the glass-top stove. I have one, and I hate it. I can’t ever get the stuck on stuff off the ring around the burner. But, I agree it’s easier to clean than an electric stove.

  24. GiBee says:

    It’s beautiful!! It’s amazing what even the smallest change will do to on your whole outlook! I have a white porcelain sink, and trust me when I say … the stainless was a good choice, even if it was free (making it a better choice). The porcelain gets scratched, stained (tea stains it so badly!), and can chip if you drop something on it the wrong way.
    As for quartz, who knew it was easier maintenance than granite? And its beautiful! The whole kitchen has that “Better Homes and Garden” look!

  25. Ronnica says:

    I love the sunk sink (or whatever it’s called). I always hate how water pools in the ledge around the sink. Taking out those cabinets made a huge difference!

  26. BLMOM says:

    It’s beautiful! We are getting ready to plan a kitchen remodel. I am so happy to know another survivor of this and see an awesome before/after. It inspires me to move forward.

  27. Verna says:

    Love the kitchen. We gutted our kitchen two years ago and went with the quartz countertop. Love it! Love it! I chop and cut on it all the time. Stain restains also. Great Kitchen1

  28. Cheri says:

    Ah! It truly turned out lovely! I got a flat top when we built our house in TX-I had a love hate relationship with it –mostly with the groove that was at the edge that I was forever keeping clean (yours appears to be flat with no groove, GO YOU! :)) I don’t relish every having to do a remodel-someone would probably die. LOL

  29. Girlymom says:

    It’s beautiful! How Lucky are you! Were in the process of doing a bathroom, nice thing is I can shut the door inbetween working on it, so the dust mostly stays in there. It’s gonna take forever though, our house is 130 years old- everything came out!

  30. Liss says:

    Wow!!! What a dramatic change! It looks awesome. You’re so right, little cosmetic changes make such a huge difference. Great job!

  31. Jenni says:

    SO beautiful!!! I’m just in awe, and I love before and after pics! Congratulations on surviving the remodel, and enjoy the gorgeosity!

  32. Melody says:

    I have that same overhang cabinet, I have thought about taking it down and now I think I might. Your kitchen looks wonderful and I love the colors.

  33. Beth says:

    Your kitchen looks very nice, and I was especially interested in your remarks about the cabinet you removed. I’ve been wishing I *had* a cabinet like that to divide things up more…now I will re-think that! 🙂
    Congratulations to you for using your “old” perfectly nice cabinets, too. I hate to see people throw away good cabinets just because the color of the wood is temporarily out of style…because it will ALWAYS come back sooner or later, and wood is the most basic neutral in the room anyway.
    I agree with the commenter above who said don’t paint the cabinets. Those are oak, right? Oak has been “out” for just long enough to be coming back “in” with a vengeance. And you’ll never cover up the grain with paint…

  34. nancyb says:

    Love the lamp on the countertop! That’s something my grandmother would have done. The kitchen is fabulous. AND I’m glad to know that the buffet area would usually be cluttered with lunch money, permission slips, etc…..just means you’re family lives like the rest of us! Isn’t a cluttered home the sign of a happy family? If so, we’re living in bliss, complete bliss!

  35. Fran says:

    Hey…QUESTION????? Did you have someone make those window treatments??? I love them and I am about to do some and don’t want to spend an arm or a leg to do so.
    Kitchen is fabulous!! You go girl.

  36. Emily C says:

    Oh, man, do I ever have serious kitchen envy.
    I live in a tiny apartment, built 40 years ago, with linoleum the color of filth, a tiny fridge, and no real cabinet space or counter space.
    *sigh* I’m glad that not every kitchen in this world brings frustration. Yay for nice kitchens!

  37. Molly says:

    I really think the “old” cabinets go nicely. Someday I really want a desk space in my kitchen. But my favorite feature is the recessed sink, so that you can just push all the nastiness from the countertops right into the sink!!! It’s genius, really.

  38. Sue says:

    What great changes. I’m obsessed with remodeling, so this was fascinating.
    Personally? I think black grout is UGLY, and that the medium looks wonderful. Gorgeous curtains and backsplash. I wish I could figure out how to use my sewing machine – I’m so jealous of people who can just – whip up curtains.

  39. Kiy says:

    It looks beautiful, and finished. 🙂 I’d love to do the same in ours but don’t have the courage to tell hubby yet. Since we just bought this house this past summer.
    Enjoy it, it’s beautiful!

  40. Heather - loving our homeschool says:

    It looks so nice! I didn’t read through all of the comments, so maybe someone already suggested this, but, our tile grout in our bathroom is a HUGE disappointment to me as well. We told a flooring guy that, and he said we could PAINT IT! Yes, he did! Our grout is not sealed, so if it yours is sealed, I’m not sure if this would work or not. He said to take latex (water based) paint in the color that we would like the grout to be and water it down. Uh-oh, I can’t remember the ratio, but if you want to know I can ask DH and he could tell me. Then you just brush it on the grout and the grout soaks the color right up. (Obviously grout soaks up color, that’s why I hate our “we-thought-it-was-dark-enough-but-it’s-not-and-it’s-turning-color” grout in our bathroom). Since you’re using latex paint, he said you can just wash the excess right off the tile.
    We have not tried this ourselves yet as we are finishing up an addition on another part of our house, but I have PLANS for DH over Christmas break! LOL The flooring guy had done it in several relatives’ houses though. You could always try it under your fridge where it’s hidden and see if it works…even if you HAVE sealed your grout!

  41. Candace says:

    Everything looks beautiful! The canned lighting is so nice- it has me thinking that maybe we should do that too someday. I don’t think I can handle any kind of remodel with a 1, 2, and 4 year old. I’m barely able to keep it together for regular life- a remodel might send me over the edge :).

  42. Elizabeth says:

    BEAUTIFUL! I love the shine of those lovely counters, but where are all your appliances hiding? 😉
    I have very little counter space to work on -quite frustrating. This house was my first with glass-top cooking, and I love it, it is a snap to clean. Oh, and the lighting is just perfect – good idea by hubby!

  43. Elizabeth says:

    Oh, two other things…where is your oven? Is it under the cook top somehow? And I wonder if you could use that tacky papering to temporarily cover your cabinets, to see if that is something you really want to change. I too think the cabinets are gorgeous.

  44. Erica (A Yankee in Jawja) says:

    It’s beautiful! 😀
    I’m really not sure why you regret the medium grout; it looks almost seamless? However, I can completely understand remorse over coulda/shoulda/woulda.
    I wanted to let you know about an affordable and really easy thing you can do to make over your cabinets until you refinish them.
    I recently took all of our daughter’s bedroom furniture and put on a fresh coat of paint and was getting ready to reattach all the old hardware when I went to Target(s) 😉 when I came across a package of 10 brushed nickel drawer handles for $9.99!
    It looks like brand new furniture!!! I have had so many compliments and I wanted to say if you only knew that it was the dated furniture that was in our old house.

  45. Beth_C says:

    It is beautiful! And the curtains are gorgeous…I can’t wait to hear about them in a WFMW post…because I need curtains all over my house but don’t have any money for them right now.

  46. Margo says:

    We just finished our major remodel (it included the kitchen – we moved out and lived with my parents AND had our first baby. . .it was unbelievable!) a year ago. And my husband just grouted our backsplash last week!!
    Your kitchen is nice and bright – isn’t it nice to have it back?!

  47. LeeAnn says:

    I love your new kitchen although I am wondering what you did with the stuff you took out of the cupboards you removed. I’m fiercely jealous of cupboards! The cupboards look good with it all too!
    The can lights give enough light in your kitchen? They seem to in the pictures, but I always thought it would be more dim. I have the same fluorescents in my kitchen, and I hate them too.
    The whole look is very complementary. It looks like a lot of thought went into it. The colors, everything….wonderful!

  48. Nicki says:

    It all looks really great! I remember when my parents remodeled their kitchen (while I still lived at home) and it was a disaster. I know what you went through. But based on the pictures, I think it was worth it!

  49. JCK says:

    This is really fun to read and see the pictures. For a moment, slow witted that I am, I was deeply afraid that the before was the after. But, I see that your new kitchen is gorgeous! My favorite thing is the curtains, though. 🙂 I will look forward to your post about that. That way I can live vicariously through you, since I can barely sew on buttons and have been known to use safety pins. Not good when they suddenly open up and stab you.
    We did a kitchen remodel 3 years ago at this time. My GIRL was 2 months old and my BOY was 1. Yes, we were INSANE. I was washing baby bottles (forget sterilization!) in the bathroom sink.
    It looks great! Do enjoy!

  50. Lucy says:

    Your kitchen looks amazing! We took out the hanging cabinet in our 80s vintage kitchen when we first moved in. I’ve always been glad we did! Someday we’ll get to the rest of it (refinishing or replacing cabinets, new floor, new counters, more lighting, etc.), but it so much of a hassle. I love your counters! And I love your sink. I wish I had stainless steel – my white sink is chipped and always discolored. Yuck. But your kitchen is lovely. 🙂

  51. Vickie says:

    I love, love the cabinet being removed. Our kitchen is very similar with a cabinet over the snack bar. We have toyed with taking it down and then adding recessed lighting. I can tell you that I have a porcelain sink now and I HATE it! It is so hard to keep clean and things stain it terribly. I have told my husband I want a stainless steel sink for Christmas.
    I can’t tell but it appears you changed out your knobs and such? I love the way the black shows up. I think your cabinets look great they way they are. It is a great balance between the light floor, quartz, and backsplash.
    It looks well worth the dust and headaches it created. Thanks for sharing the pictures with us.

  52. Cindy says:

    COngrats! It’s gorgeous! I have the same canisters and the dishes that go with them. (Although my canisters are all different conscolors.) I love them! I also keep thinking about buying that poster with the umbrella person on it. Good taste you have! 😉

  53. Natalie @ Like I Was Saying says:

    I feel your pain. I remodeled my kitchen a few years ago and during the process was left with NO kitchen for about 6 weeks. With two toddlers and nothing but a microwave, paper plates and a whole lot of dust, it was an experience I won’t soon forget. And you’re right…you hate to complain but doing a kitchen is the definition of ‘no pain, no gain.’

  54. Tiff@Three Peas in a Pod says:

    we have that same flourescent lighting our kitchen but only two bulbs work. LOL so half of our kitchen is in the dark! I love the after!! We need to remodel our kitchen too. Just don’t have it in us to do it after we totally painted the entire house and refinished the original hard woods (91 yrs old). Whew!! It’s a lot of work but worth it in the end!

  55. whymommy says:

    Love it, love it, love it! Your before reminds me of our “before” with the hanging cabinets and lighting. I lurve our can lighting … you will too!
    Congrats on getting the hard parts DONE!

  56. Stephanie says:

    Love the choices you’ve made! I’m all about the use of red as a decorative accent. Makes me miss my old kitchen with it’s lovely burnt orangey-red walls. My hubby said it was too intense, but looking at yours, I’m thinking I might go back to those colors for accent instead. Thanks for the inspiration!

  57. Ashley says:

    It turned out very nice! Taking that cabnit out really made a difference. The new floors and lighting are a big improvment too.

  58. Lisa says:

    Lovely! I wouldn’t waste the time/energy to refinish the cabinets–they look great!
    How DO you keep that stove clean? I love the way mine cooks, but have gunk and crud built up on it. I tried the razor blade thing, the special scrub stuff and liquid BarKeepers Friend [last is the best I’ve found]
    What’s your secret? How about a WFMW devoted to keeping this kind of stove clean?!! lol

  59. Mary says:

    Congrats on your kitchen. I have a suggestion about the cabinets. They look nice in the pics. If you want to spruce them up, get some Bri Wax in a color you like at a wookworker store (Woodcraft is the one we get it at) and rub it on with a cloth, then take an electric drill and put a buffing pad on it and shine the cabinets on the outside and the doors. They look brand new. We did that about 20 years ago to get our house ready to sell. It sold in 30 days. The cabinets were darker than yours and they looked beautiful. By the way, my husband and I are 72 and have been building our house for 20 years. We are in the home stretch and should have the last of the inside done this winter. We have 2 kitchens! Our downstairs kitchen (the original one) is now my canning kitchen and my fancy one is upstairs on the main floor. We finished the canning kitchen this past summer.

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