This Impressive DIY Kitchen Makeover Proves Paint Isn't Just for Walls

This once dark and dated kitchen got a refreshed look thanks to the homeowner's DIY spirit and a lot of paint.

Jessica Davis went back and forth about remodeling her New Jersey kitchen for so long that she finally tired of the talk. Figuring a paint-centric facelift would tide her over, the interior and hardware designer overhauled the cabinets with easy-to-apply chalk-finish paint in a mossy sage green.

"The color has a lot of historical reference, so it fit with the 1879 house," she says. Plus, it distracted from the reddish-brown patches in the granite countertops. "I realized I needed to think of it like makeup," she says. "If you're trying to hide red spots, you use concealer with green in it."

Kitchen with black and white floors and wooden dining table
Annie Schlecther

Other updates included hardware from her Nest Studio collection and a graphic pattern she stenciled and painted right onto the existing tile floor. "I thought the makeover was going to be a Band-Aid, but it looks great." A counter-height table doubles as an island. "The room became so much more useful once we added it," she says.

Stove surrounded by white and green wall
Annie Schlecther

Jessica mixed an even ratio of two paint colors (Provence and Chateau Grey Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan) to get the right green. "If you see two colors and want something between them, play around by mixing sample pots," she says. "A 50/50 mix is pretty simple." The range slips into what originally was a cooking fireplace. Adding panels on each side gives it the look of a built-in.

Jessica painted upper cabinets white for brightness but left the window trim stained to tie in with her island table and the interiors of glass-front cabinets on the opposite wall.

A few key updates went a long way in revamping Jessica's kitchen. "I wanted to honor the style of the house," she says. Making decisions through that filter helped her pull together the details. The 1990s stained cabinetry made the room dark and looked out of place in the 1879 Victorian. The cabinetry's new green hue has enough gray in it to avoid being jarring. She connected the dots with an unexpected choice for the backsplash tile. "I wanted a backsplash that didn't feel too modern and that tied into the style of the house," Jessica says. She chose penny tile—typically used on floors—for its texture and vintage look.

Close up of black handles on green cupboards
Annie Schlecther

Oil-rubbed bronze pulls from Nest Studio's Mod series balance the cabinets' traditional profile. "I like a dark finish because it can look both modern and traditional at the same time," she says.

Black and white floors with cans of paint
Annie Schlecther

To get the look of unglazed encaustic tiles, Jessica applied white chalk-finish paint to the existing 10 1/2-inch porcelain tiles then stenciled a black pattern on top. For a similar look, try Royal Design Studio's Concrete Quilt Stencil. Two coats of sealer protect it.

Updated by
Annie Schlechter

Annie Schlechter has been a professional photographer since 2000. Her work ranges from portraits and food to home and travel. She's photographed for numerous major titles and brands, such as Brides, Conde Nast Traveler, The Greenwich Hotel, New York Magazine, Grand Lux Cafe, and many more.

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