Kitchen Makeover Adventure Begins


I’m so excited to finally be tackling my kitchen makeover. It’s long overdue, in my eyes anyway.

To me room makeovers have always felt kinda like road trips, which I love by the way. I always have some idea about what I want to do and where I want to go, but I’m open to changes along the way. To me that’s just part of the fun, and sometimes it ends up being the most fun.

So because I’ve never shown pics of my vintage kitchen on the blog, I thought I’d share some before pics so you can see where I’m starting from.

Just so you know I did tidy up a bit but I didn’t hide stuff away for these before pics. This is how we live day to day, and I think any makeover should reflect that from beginning to end. Please excuse any cat hair bunnies you might see. lol.

kitchen makeover before

Our house was built in 1890, and this is the main wall of kitchen cabinets.

I have no idea how old they are, but I’ve been told that they are the original cabinets that would have been put in after the era of freestanding kitchen furniture.

The interiors of these old cabinets are totally impractical and some of the doors don’t close properly, but call me crazy because I love them and would never consider getting rid of them. I’m hoping I’m going to fix those issues, at least a little bit.


kitchen makeover before

The cabinets at the end where the microwave is are a much newer addition, probably from the 70s or 80s.


kitchen makeover before

Here’s another view of them. There’s a small 4′ x 8′ pantry to the right of the front window, which we use for tools, coats, etc.

Miss Pixie decided to grab a quick snack.


kitchen makeover before

Our house still has all its original doors and even though we do have a deadbolt on the kitchen door, which is the door we always use to come and go, we still have the original latch and handle.

The door to the left of the boots goes to the basement and the open doorway leads to the living room.


kitchen makeover before

The table and chairs match the china cabinet, and all will getting a makeover hopefully in February.

The pine potato bin holds dried food and treats for the cats.


kitchen makeover before

The Old Country Roses china was a wedding gift back in 1989 and since I’m moving away from green decor it’ll be packed up in the original boxes.

Since I’ve been storing the boxes all these years it won’t take up any  more room to put the china back in them. One day I might go back to green again.

One never knows.

My vintage Anchor Hocking turquoise devilled egg plate, which is a recent find, is waiting for the new colour scheme.


kitchen makeover before

The wall and ceiling colour has been the same light buttery yellow for about 15 years. Each of the 3 previous times that I’ve painted these cabinets it just seemed to go nicely with the new colour so it stayed.

It won’t be staying this time.

This back wall of the kitchen is an original outside wall of the house, and the window is original. It’s kinda cool to be cooking and be able to glance through the window at the TV.

The family room is an older addition and I painted it the colour of terra cotta roofs that we saw on a Caribbean island on a cruise quite a few years ago. It’s very warm and fun. Once I see how it looks with the new kitchen colours it might just get a makeover too.

That’s how redecorating works right…  it’s the domino effect. πŸ™‚

We added the french doors to the right ourselves about 12 years ago. They open into what was a separate dining room, which we don’t need so John’s been using it as his office.

The french doors and the china cabinet really help to balance that big wall of cabinets on the opposite wall.


kitchen makeover before

Here you can see the last colour of the cabinets, a dark green. Before that they were sort of a dark wedgewood blue. They’ve been the current green for about 9 years. They are all historic colours with grayish undertones.

The whole reason for this makeover is that the cabinets really need to be repainted so I decided to take the opportunity to change the kitchen completely. Why not? I really need a change.


kitchen makeover before

I did all the punched metal panels about 15 years ago. They are used newspaper plates that John brought home from work for me.


kitchen makeover before

I did all the panels with a hammer and a small finishing nail.


kitchen makeover before

The designs all complement each other, but are slightly different depending on the size and shape of the door.


kitchen makeover before

I can’t even tell you how many hours it took, but I did much of the work while watching TV.

I’m still loving the punched hearts and roses so the panels are all staying. I’ll be sharing a a diy punched tin project some time later, hopefully next month, just if anyone wants to give it a try.

So now the hardest decision of all… I have to decide on the exact colours I’ll be using. Usually I paint when I find Ooops colours at the ReStore, but this time I want specific colours so I’ll be buying paint at at the hardware store. Something I rarely do, but my kitchen is worth it.

I’ll save some money on the wall paint because I have several creamy white Ooops paints here at home already.


kitchen makeover before

Here’s the vintage Dormey mixer, my inspiration, and some paint chips. The aqua chips look a little more aqua in person than they do in the photo.

I’m leaning towards the middle aqua and the red on the right. The lightest aqua is a definite no. Just not enough fun colour for me. But I do love the darker aqua on the left.

Oh… decisions… decisions.

What do you think?

What I really love about the mixer is how beautifully the aqua/turquoise goes with the silver metal parts. When I first saw it I immediately thought about the punched metal panels on my cabinets and I knew it was meant to be.

And I love how the bright red accents really pop and add a touch of fun.

The painting is just the beginning, but isn’t it always. lol.

After that comes furniture makeovers, window treatments, wall decor, storage solutions, light fixtures, back splash, flooring, etcetera… etcetera… etcetera πŸ™‚ And I’ll be doing it all as thriftily as I possibly can because, as usual, I have next to no budget.

So, this kitchen makeover adventure is officially on. Yay! I hope you’ll come along for the ride. Adventures are always more fun with friends along, and the more the merrier. πŸ™‚

Thanks so much for reading and until next time…

keep on keepin’ on!


I sometimes share my projects and posts at these fabulous parties listed here.


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  1. I love your kitchen! Seems so YOU. Several things really caught my eye and those panels were one of them!! Another is the chair beside the glass cabinet. Love it! I agree with the middle color….oh, this is gonna be SO fantastic! You go girl!! Dona

    1. Thanks Dona! I’m a goin’. lol. We have another one of those chairs and they’re very cool. Got them years ago for $5 each. They have a cut out pattern in the seats as well. They kinda go with the punched metal panel theme. I’ll have to figure out a way to incorporate both of them into the kitchen makeover. I’m leaning towards the middle aqua and using the darker somewhere else. That’s the plan anyway. We’ll see how it works out.

  2. Gail @Purple Hues and Me says:

    You have a lovely color filled historic home! Can’t wait to see the stages of your transformation and the final finished masterpiece! One question, where’s the pink? Just kidding! This is huge! Happy re-do, Tuula!

    1. haha. No worries Gail, there will definitely be some pink. I would never abandon it completely. It’s my colour! It does go very well with aqua. πŸ™‚

  3. How fun. And tiring lol! You’re house is so beautiful — I’ve always wished I could live in a house like that. LOVE your new color scheme — I finished my kitchen makeover last fall and its turquoise, red and yellow with white cabinets and a black and white checkerboard floor. Can’t wait to see all of the projects!

    1. Thanks Lauren! Living in an old home does have its challenges and funky cupboards is definitely one of them. I just popped over and saw your fabulous checkerboard floor redo. Can’t beat peel and stick for a fabulous budget makeover. Love the colours your chose for your ktichen. You sound like a colour lover like me. πŸ™‚

  4. need to paint all the knobs on the cabinets RED!. To help keep the cabinets closed you can purchase some magnetic closures. like the darker aqaua but it might be a bit too bright for all that cabinetry. Have fun!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions Dayna. There will definitely be red accents involved in this makeover. Just haven’t decided exactly where yet. I love bright colours, but I’ll decide which aqua to use once I try some sample areas on the cupboards.

  5. How exciting! I love a good redo….it’s a lot of work, but worth it in the end! I love that your inspiration comes from that mixer you found and agree the lighter color isn’t enough color….the middle one looks close to what I painted my craft room with a couple years ago. Can’t wait to see what you bring in the red with!

    What an exciting journey and thanks for letting us all come along!

    1. Thanks Linda! I love being immersed in a room redo. It’s kinda fun to think about all the possibilities. Your craft room sounds fabulous. Aqua is such a warm and comforting colour. Thanks so much for coming along on my little (not) kitchen adventure. πŸ™‚

  6. So interesting to see your house! Thanks for sharing that with us. Love the kitchen design, and super impressed with all those panels you did! So glad to know you want to keep the cabinets in your old house. How fun to live in an older home…so much character. The oldest I’ve lived in was 1930’s. I can’t imagine 1890’s! I can’t help on colors…I’m sort of a pastel girl myself, but do like the middle aqua. Agree choosing color is the hardest part! You’ve got a job ahead of you with all those makeovers! Glad you thinks it’s going to be fun…LOL.

    1. lol. Thanks Florence! It will be fun for the most part. I love to paint, and I love to play with colour when decorating. While I think my present kitchen is fine it doesn’t make me smile anymore, and hasn’t for awhile, so that’s a sure sign to me that a makeover is needed. I have a busy winter ahead of me that’s for sure. Winter is the best time for me to get these big things done.

  7. I can’t wait to see this makeover, I think it will be beautiful! I loved seeing all the before shots too, I always find it interesting to see inside people’s homes!


    1. Thanks Tania! I’m so glad to have you along for the adventure. I have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m looking so forward to it. Painting is one of my happy places. πŸ™‚

  8. Tuula I love the layout of your kitchen and all the history to this space. I cannot wait to see you fill it with color and pretty. I like the darker aqua too with the red you picked. So excited to see what you do.

    1. Thanks Kris! I’ve always had a thing for old houses and the old kitchen cupboards, with all their fitting quirks, just do it for me. I think I’ll be living and sleeping with a paint brush in my hand for the next few weeks. lol.

  9. Aqua and red! Love it!

    1. Thanks so much Randy! I hope you’ll stay tuned to see all the coming projects. πŸ™‚ I’m sure I’ll be working on this for the next few months.

  10. This looks so fun, Tuula! I agree with your paint color choices and your kitchen is adorable. You just can’t replicate the charm of older homes. Looking forward to riding along on this makeover trip πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks Cecilia! I’m so happy to have you along on this kitchen adventure. It’s a big one, and I have a lot of ideas up my creative sleeve. I just have to get the main painting done first so I can get on to all the projects. I think I’m going to be painting in my sleep. lol.

  11. I can’t WAIT to see what you do! Much more ambitious than I was with our kitchen lol Funny, I was married in 1990 and my china pattern is also OLD COUNTRY ROSES! Good luck with the makeover! xoKathleen

    1. Thanks so much Kathleen! That’s so funny about the china. I do still love it, but it definitely won’t go with my new colour scheme. I’ll be hanging on to it for now just in case I change my decorating mind again another 9 years down the road. With me, you never know. πŸ™‚

  12. Mother Deer says:

    I love your design style. I grew up in a 50’s red/gray kitchen. My parents thought that the house would be a rental, but we ended up living in it for 15 years πŸ™‚ I think that your turquoise/coral palette is a perfect Southwestern color choice, which will be awesome when it is complete. I am currently undergoing a do-it-yourself flooring change, and will likely go nuts before everything is back in place. Good luck to you…

    1. Oh, I can so relate to that. For me the most challenging part of a makeover is having everything all over the place so you can actually do the makeover. I will be having a flooring change too, but that will probably be the very last thing I do to finish off this makeover. Hopefully it happens before the snow flies next winter. lol. Just kidding. I’m sure it’ll happen before that. Fingers crossed. Good luck with your floor. πŸ™‚

  13. Diane Omolino says:

    Oh my goodness Tuula, we have even more in common. I have Canadian blood in my from Pembroke, Ont. and St Julie, PQ AND we have the exact same china. I love the Old Country Rose pattern, except the fact it has to be hand washed, but my Christmas table always looks beautiful with it. Also, I have almost the exact same mossy green in my bedroom. Your kitchen brings back many 1950’s memories and I have always loved that era and still do. It hold my most wonderful memories. thanks for sharing. (I also collect old kitchen utensils, many are from my grandmother and passed down. Now I need to get some of them displayed and enjoy them out of the trunk right)

    1. Absolutely Diane! Get those vintage utensils out and show them off. I’ll definitely be adding some of my collections into my new old kitchen before I’m done. I do still love the Old Country Roses pattern, but I’ve used it for a long time and it’s just time for a change. It is especially lovely at Christmas time. How fun that you have some Canadian connections, and how wonderful that you have some old utensils from your grandmother. They are treasures for sure. πŸ™‚

  14. Fonda Rush says:

    I am so happy to see that you have the original cabinets. The part above the sink is just so quaint.

    I have just painted a room using a dark aqua. It’s fun for me, because I have always used “safe” colors. It’s our dining-room-become-library, and we are working on it now. It’s kind of fun to do these make-overs, but I’m finding it difficult to find a rug that will go, and I have to get a settee recovered. How does one even figure out how to coordinate these things. I’ll be learning that, I guess, because I’m moving forward. Watch out!!!

    I hope your project goes well. I can’t wait to see how you progress.

    1. Thanks so much Fonda! Every makeover has its challenges that’s for sure, but trust yourself and what you like. You’ll find the right rug someday, probably when you least expect it. That’s how decor problems always seem to get solved for me anyway. Good for you for going for a non-safe dark aqua. It’s only colour after all and can always be easily changed. πŸ™‚

  15. I love old homes and especially old kitchens! They are screaming for color, color, color! I am assuming your main color is the aqua, for the cupboards? Will you be changing the backsplash? I can’t wait to see how you incorporate the red.

    1. Thanks AnnMarie! I’ve always had a love of old homes… quirks and all, and I agree with you about old kitchens. Colour just seems to suit them. The aqua is for the cupboards, and the back splash is on the long list of projects to be done after the painting. I think I’m going to have the most fun with the red popping here and there. But I do have to definitely have a pop or two of pink as well. No room in my home is complete without that. πŸ™‚

  16. Your new kitchen colors are lovely. I love combining the aqua and red. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together. We tried for years to find an old house but never found one we could both afford to buy and upgrade. If we could afford it, we wouldn’t have the money to fix it up the way we wanted. Thanks for taking us along for your kitchen makeover.

    1. Thanks Sharon! I know what you mean. That would be the case for us here now, but when we bought way back in 1998 prices were very reasonable. They’re a bit out of whack now. I don’t think we could fix up an old house now either. We’ve replaced all the important things in this house in the last few years, windows, metal roof, and all the mechanicals so we’re good to stay here for a long, long time. Now I can just play with the decor as much as I like. That’s the fun part anyway. πŸ™‚

  17. ColleenB.~Texas says:

    Oh, how I love the looks of an old kitchen along with them kitchen cabinets. They really have class and character.
    I can’t wait to see the big reveal

    1. Thanks Colleen! I’ve always been attracted to older homes with all the old features, so I do still love the old cupboards. I’ll be sharing my progress along the way so I hope you stay tuned. πŸ™‚

  18. I can’t wait to see what you come up with, Tuula! I love the aqua/red combination and have a pinterest board with that color scheme on it!

    1. Thanks Kirby! I really love the combo too. I was painting all weekend, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be painting every weekend for the winter. That’s OK because it will make the winter go faster, and I do love to paint.

  19. Wow I LOVE your kitchen. It is so full of charm. How exciting for a makeover. Looking forward to seeing the outcome!

    1. Thanks Karen! I have always loved old houses, and I love this old kitchen even with all its challenges… of which there are many.

  20. Great to see all the “before” shots Tuula–the drama of your final reveal will be that much more heightened. Looking forward to all the DIYs and upgrades you have planned. Thanks for including us all at Vintage Charm πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Diana! I really do love tackling room makeovers, and this one is going to be so much fun. πŸ™‚