Nest Makeover Monday: Kitchen Remodel Part 2…

Happy Monday, friends! Welcome to the second installment of our kitchen makeover! If you missed the first post, check it out here. In that post, we covered countertops, backsplash, appliances, and lights. Now, we’re moving onto venting the microwave, creating a faux “hood,” building out the cabinets,  painting, and completing the farmhouse look.

So as a reminder, this is what we started with, in all its builder-grade, brown, loveliness.

Kitchen before

Beautiful brown to…

Kitchen after

So here’s the rest of the kitchen remodel story!

Vent & Hood…

Two houses ago, our kitchen had an actual hood over the stove but most of our houses have had a microwave over the stove. However, they have all had cabinets over the microwave with zero functional venting and completely unusable storage space.

Listen, we are bacon people in need of a vent to suck that smell out my entire house, not suck it up from the stove and blow it back at a higher altitude. So if we’re doing a kitchen update, we’re installing a working vent.

With the vent going in, we would lose the use of the cabinets, which is fine since they’re not at all useful anyway. I found some oven hood ideas I adored on Pinterest and sent them to Dr to see if he thought we could make any of them happen.

Of course, by “we” I mean “him” and by “happen” I mean “build.”

There was this one and this one and this one. You get the idea. Dr, being incredibly handy and the owner of ALL THE TOOLS, decided, yep, “we” could totally make that “happen.” So that became the first project. Vent the microwave up through the attic and out of the roof and then build out the “hood.”

Vented microwave

Please notice the vent pipe and basically useless cabinet space. Dr built a facade for the hood that could be removed with just a few screws just in case we needed to get to the microwave or the vent for any reason.

The hood is made out of unfinished cedar. The frame underneath is simple 2 x 4’s. The hood has just a slight angle to make it stand out from the cabinets like a true hood would do. Plus the angle gives it a little visual interest.

Faux hood

There’s the facade all attached and gorgeous.


We did hire our contractor to install the vent through the attic and out the roof. No one wants a leaky roof.

Filling the Empty Space…

You’ll also notice the additional cabinets Dr. built! We had zero use for the wasted space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling. Every house we have ever owned included this space. At one point, I decorated the space with actual stuff. Two houses ago, I gave that up and simply hung some beautiful photographs my SIL had taken. The last house? I left the space entirely blank.

Our kitchen has plenty of cabinets so really, we did not absolutely have to have the additional storage space. But having it did make the cabinets a little less crowded. Items I rarely use or keep for the sentimentality of the item (such as my grandmother’s cake plate) make for great display pieces.

As for the construction of the cabinets, Dr. built them out of MDF in the garage and slid (maybe hammered) them into place. We opted for shelves in the wide boxes and no shelves in the tall boxes. I had specific pieces in mind to put in the tall ones. Dr. carefully removed the top molding from the cabinets before he started allowing him to reuse them for the top of the new boxes against the ceiling.

Over the fridge cabinets

It’s hard to see (I brightened the picture the best I could) but you can see the molding up at the top.

This is the after of that space…

After over the fridge

Since he was the labor, the only cost here was his time and materials. He managed to get the boxes built and installed during his spring break.

And now it was all done but the painting!


The Painting Situation…

I read and researched and pontificated painting kitchen cabinets for years. YEARS. I adore white cabinets and we had only had them in one house so I was anxious to get them back. I have loved a white kitchen before white kitchens became all the farmhouse rage.

After all that research, I decided to go with chalk paint and a matte finish polycrylic for protection. Largely, I opted for this method to save us from sanding and creating a holy mess of dust in the house. Unfortunately, the MDF had to be primed before it could be painted. That stuff soaks up paint and no way we were letting it soak up expensive chalk paint. Cheap primer would do just fine.

Again, I read a zillion reviews and posts and tutorials. Honestly, I saw no reason to spend more money than necessary. I know the big name chalk paint is wonderful but some of the less expensive ones work well too. We went with that.

And it worked wonderfully. Dr did most of the painting. He started painting after the spring semester wrapped up. We cleaned the cabinets really well with Krud Kutter and then, painted. We knew from all that reading to do one side fully, including the sealer, before flipping the doors over. The chalk paint scratches super easy. We ended up painting three coats per door per side of the paint and the sealer. Here’s the sealer we selected…

A polyurethane would turn the chalk paint yellow. A wax finish would need to be redone every six months or more since it’s a kitchen with lots of use. This polycrylic dries clear and doesn’t need any additional work.


This matte finish gave us the flat chalk paint look without the constant work of wax.

You can get both at Amazon. We did. It was cheaper that way.

There was one thing we did that I had not originally planned to do. We distressed them. I had always planned to paint them a smooth, simple white and leave it at that but when Dr. sanded them down between coats, I kinda fell in love with the vintage beauty of it. We kept the distressing to the minimum, just enough to get the feel but not enough to see it at first glance. Still simple but just a little more loved.

And I adore it.

The Non-Farmhouse Sink Base…

The last project was mine. When we picked out countertops, we briefly considered a full farmhouse sink but, honestly, I couldn’t commit to spending thousands of dollars on a sink in a house I assume we will be in for only four to five years.

But I still wanted the look.

One of the things I loved about farmhouse sinks are the fabric skirts some have underneath. Like this one…

I mean. That’s the dream, y’all.

Without the sink, I did the next best thing.

Faux farmhouse sink base

First, I painted the entire inside of the cabinet (something we only did to the open cabinets we built).


Sink base before


Sink base after

I shopped for fabric and figured it was going to run me around $25-30 to buy the fabric and curtain rod for the cover. That seemed high. So instead, I headed to Hobby Lobby, bought one curtain panel with my 40% off coupon, and sewed the two panels from that.

Curtain panel

That cost $15 for the fabric and $3 dollars for the rod at Walmart. And it saved me time because the side seams and the top seams were done. I only had to sew the bottom two hems. Easy-peasy.

Farmhouse complete

Total Cost…

Remember, Part 1 of the remodel ended up costing around $3,000. For the venting, oven hood, additional cabinets, paint and supplies, and the faux farmhouse sink cabinet, we spent around $2,000.

Bringing our total for the kitchen remodel to $5,000.

Now, we still have new floors to do but that likely won’t happen until the spring. And I want to paint the pantry door a slightly darker gray than the color of the walls, just for a little something interesting and to reduce the amount of white just slightly.

But that’s it!

Overall, we are super happy with how it all turned out! It took us nine months to complete the project but since we did so much of the work ourselves, that’s totally fine.

What about you? Do you have kitchen dreams? Share! Tell me what you’d love to do with your nest!

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