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Kitchen Makeover Phase 1 {5 DIY Solutions to Kitchen Issues}

Kitchen Makeover Phase 1 {5 DIY Solutions to Kitchen Issues}

I hadn’t realized it but “phase 1” of our condo kitchen makeover was about 2 years in the making, from start to finish. It was a long process of deciding what would be best to do for the kitchen. We had blueprints and spent a long time looking at kitchen lighting and kitchen faucet reviews to check we were using the best appliances. Phase 1 of the kitchen makeover began right after I moved in with my now-husband. We conquered the 2 most important issues almost immediately & the other 3 solutions were a “work in progress” until almost 2 years later. {That’s what happens when you’re on hippie time. haha!}


before the kitchen makeover

before phase 1 of kitchen makeover


The kitchen is my happy place! I love being in the kitchen cooking & baking, because it’s calming & relaxing to me. Our kitchen is the center of our home & where we enjoy spending time. However, there were 5 major issues that created stress & took away our joy of being in the kitchen. Your home is your sanctuary, it should be a place of peace, not stress. Reducing the stress of having to find a new faucet for the sink, we used this list of the best kitchen faucets to make the choosing process simpler. We conquered 5 of the most pressing issues that created stress in Phase 1 of our kitchen makeover.

refresh your kitchen with paint, art and mirrors


ISSUE ? Gas Stove/Oven – this non-negotiable issue was major to me. I’m very sensitive to certain smells & can NOT tolerate the smell of gas. The gas stove had to gtfo asap, because I didn’t want to barf every time I cooked or baked!


SOLUTION ? Thankfully, my hubby is a professional electrical superstar extraordinaire {actual job title}. With his years of REAL professional experience, he installed a new circuit from our electrical panel to the stove. After hubby was finished performing “electrical magic”, we now have a non-smelly electric glass top stove.

gas stove to electric stove in phase 1 of kitchen makeover

Since the condo wasn’t originally outfitted for an electric stove, it’s unable to be pushed back against the wall the entire way. This doesn’t bother me at all, but it is something that we may have to re-replace right before we move.

new electric oven doesn't sit flush with the wall


ISSUE ? Refrigerator & Freezer were way too small. Shit was constantly falling out, making life stressful. The small appliance couldn’t accommodate our bulk food purchases. Since we don’t like any butcher shops in NoVa, we have to travel 2 hours for a decent butcher. We have to make that 2-hour trip worth it, so we normally purchase 30-40 pounds of meat at a time. Unfortunately, we just weren’t able to purchase that much with such a small freezer.

new & bigger stainless steel fridge & freezer combo with water dispenser & ice maker

SOLUTION ? this was the easiest issue to fix. We purchased a much bigger stainless steel refrigerator with an ice maker & water dispenser, with a bottom freezer drawer. We LOVE this refrigerator combo! It’s probably one of the best purchases {& most expensive} we’ve made, but worth every penny!

another view of how much bigger the new fridge is compared to the old small white one


ISSUE ? Not enough light near the sink/bar area – I seriously can not function in a poorly-lit kitchen.

SOLUTION ? Once again, my professional electrical superstar extraordinaire hubby came to the rescue. This “issue” took forever to conquer!

Why did it take so long??…

because I wanted the perfect mini pendant lights at a budget-friendly price. It wasn’t worth it {to me} to spend $100 or more on a single MINI pendant.

mercury glass bell pendant light shades

We stumbled upon gorgeous mercury glass bell pendant light shades during one of our Lowe’s runs for less than $18.00 per shade!!! We also purchased these pendants {what the shade hangs from} for under $15.00 each. That’s an insane deal!

Jonathan installed both mini pendants above our bar area to an existing switch leg that controlled an existing can light. He also installed a dimmer on the existing light switch to control the brightness. 🙂 Jonathan used his adjustable hole saw {looks like a ship propeller} to carve out 2 holes in the ceiling for the lights. To keep the dusty mess to a minimum, he used a plastic dust-catching attachment.

But then our “Leggo Luck” struck…

scuff mark on ceiling from dust-catching attachment

Again, I’m going to be the unpopular blogger {with common sense}— Unless you’re an electrical professional, you should NOT attempt roughing-in any light fixtures. Please see the disclaimer above for helpful info.


ISSUE ? Super fugly wall color in the WORST finish {flat} with tons of imperfections. As with the rest of the house, the previous owner chose the most disgusting paint color for the entire house. Trust me, it was gross. It looked way worse in person than it does in pictures.

SOLUTION ? I wanted a calm & cool yet dramatic paint color. I also wanted the kitchen paint color to “flow” with the rest of our freshly-painted house {hallway; stairwell; laundry}.

Tedious & controversial paint prep…

We had a ton of prep work to do before we could begin the fun part of painting! We weren’t going to be “re-using” the majority of the screw holes, so we patched them with DAP Spackling. We also spackled a few spots where the drywall paper had been torn off.

granite countertops & fridge covered in plastic before painting

What’s the controversy?…

After the spackling was dry, we sprayed those spots with the spray paint version of this product. The theory behind using a spray paint primer over dried spackle areas is to prevent the sheen of the spackled areas to show through in the final product. In theory, you shouldn’t be able to see the spots that were patched, because the end product is supposed to have one continuous sheen.

spackled & primed imperfection spots

It worked until it didn’t …

This wasn’t our first rodeo using this controversial paint prep. We previously used it in our bedroom, where we had huge areas to patch from creating holes in the drywall for roughing-in motion-sensor closet lights & an overhead fan. It worked like a charm & turned out flawless! After we painted our bedroom, you couldn’t tell where the previous holes & patches were.

the majority of the spackled & primed areas in the kitchen

We used the same exact spackling, spray primer & same paint finish in our kitchen as we did in our bedroom. There’s at least one spot in our kitchen where the sheen of the spray primer shows through… I guess the caution is “it works until it doesn’t want to work??”

Be cool & go dark…with crazy hair??…

crazy hair, don't care

We decided on Behr’s Euro Gray in an eggshell finish. This dark color is perfection! Although the color is dark, the cool tones work in our favor to make the space feel larger.


ISSUE ? Too many odd & skinny walls that lacked flow from the main area of the kitchen

SOLUTION ? We added a few key pieces of art & mirrors {my fave décor item} to give the odd-sized walls flow & to reflect light. Without adding art & mirrors, this space would feel separate from the rest of the kitchen, making the kitchen feel smaller. P.S. – by the way, you can never go wrong with mirrors!


Could we easily share phase 1 of our kitchen makeover & not even mention how long it took? Yes! Could we have kept our struggles & the obstacles we had to overcome to ourselves? Yes! But if we weren’t 100% honest, how would that help or inspire you? It wouldn’t!

No matter how great the talent or efforts, some things just take time. You can’t produce a baby in 1 month by getting 9 women pregnant. ~Warren Buffet

Do you want to know more about essential kitchen upgrades before selling, why ROI is so damned important & how much we’ve spent?


Love, Peace & Happiness,

Hippie & Sparky


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