How A “No Dishwasher” Decision Has Turned Into A Whole Kitchen Makeover

Y’all, my mom has become a “no dishwasher” convert. And while I was at her house last week for our weekly Wednesday lunch, she was asking me what she could do with that space where her broken dishwasher currently resides.

What she’d really like to have is a cabinet with one of those Rev-a Shelf appliance lifts where she can keep her KitchenAid stand mixer. That will get it off of her countertop and free up more space, while also keeping access to the mixer easy, not requiring her to pick up and move the heavy mixer each time she wants to use it.

So last Wednesday, I snapped a picture and took some measurements so I could remember what we’re working with. Here’s what that space looks like now…

mom's kitchen before - 2-2

But as we talked about it, I realized that turning that dishwasher space into a cabinet would require new cabinet doors. And really, the last thing I want to do is make new cabinet doors to match the current cabinet doors because these doors are the type that are thin, that that little routed design in them, and have exposed hinges. They’re very obviously from the 60s (which is when this house was built).

So I floated the idea of updating ALL of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts while keeping the existing cabinets. It would update the look while not costing a fortune, and without being a huge headache and disruption like a complete kitchen remodel with new cabinets would be.

And she was on board with the idea! Y’all, I’m so excited, because I’ve wanted to do this for so long now! 😀

She doesn’t want anything fancy, which is good, because that would take even more time and more money. In fact, we talked about making something very simple in design, perhaps like the closet doors I made in the guest bedroom, which is 3/4-inch plywood with some very simple cabinet trim detail on them.

guest bedroom diy closets - 10

Of course, you have to imagine that scaled down considerably to be kitchen cabinets, but you get the idea. Just simple and elegant. Nothing too terribly fancy or ornate.

New 3/4-inch-thick doors will allow me to use hidden hinges, which will also give the kitchen a cleaner look without all of those exposed hinges. And it’ll give us the opportunity to do a few other things to update the look of her kitchen on a relatively small budget (i.e., smaller than a kitchen remodel).

First, we’ll be removing the vent at the top of these cabinets…

mom's kitchen before - 1-2

She used to have a wall oven where that stack of cabinets is now, and when she switched over to a freestanding range, she had that area converted to cabinets. So that vent at the top is no longer needed.

Also, since all of the cabinets will be getting a fresh coat of paint, we’ll paint that part above the cabinets to make the cabinets appear to go all the way to the ceiling.

She’s also missing some baseboards in some areas. I’m not sure exactly why that is, but we definitely need to add those to give the kitchen a more finished look. And we’ll also be removing the little scalloped thing above the sink area…

mom's kitchen before - 2-2

And I think she’ll also be getting a new faucet and sink.

This little peninsula area used to be a standard cabinet depth countertop on the kitchen side with a tabletop-height bar on the back side.

mom's kitchen before - 3-2

But years and years ago, when she replaced the countertops, she had the countertop on that tabletop-height bar area raised up to countertop level. That allowed space for cabinet doors on the back side to make things inside those cabinets more accessible, but the only doors available at the time were these small doors (which actually were removed from a cabinet in the dishwasher area so that a dishwasher could be installed, so we’ve come full circle 😀 ).

mom's kitchen before - 4-2

While that did add a bit more function and access to those cabinets, the size of those doors is just all wrong for that space. So now that we’re making all new doors, we’ll be expanding the door area on the back side of the peninsula, and adding two sets of double doors. That will look so much better.

I’m not quite sure when we’ll be getting started on this. We’re having my grandmother’s 108th birthday part here at the end of April, so naturally, my mom doesn’t want her kitchen makeover in progress for that. I’d love to have everything done by then, but the weather is just not cooperating right now. We’ve got two days of nice weather starting tomorrow, but after that, it’s nothing but rain in the forecast. So we’ll just have to see.

But I’ll be bringing y’all along for the fun! I’m so excited to see how new doors, new paint, and those few additional changes will update the look of the kitchen. And I’m also anxious to see what the final price tag will be. Obviously, kitchen remodels can be quite costly — tens of thousands of dollars. I love a good budget makeover, and although the price of plywood seems to be creeping higher and higher right now, I think we’ll still be able to do a beautiful makeover on a relatively low budget. I’m up for the challenge!



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