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My Mom’s New Kitchen with Light Wood Cabinets

I know, I know, it’s been a year.. slow and steady and wins the race, and some decisions just can’t be rushed. I am so excited to show you my Mom’s new kitchen with light wood cabinets remodel! We swapped out the old dark cabinets for fresh light wood and neutral granite so she can get many more years out of it!
Are you ready??????

Small kitchen island with seating idea

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When we moved into our home way back in the 1980’s. It was your typical new build for square Colonial style, 4 rooms up, 4 rooms down, with builder’s grade cabinets,molding and popcorn ceiling’s. Everything was new and groovy when we moved in, from the builder’s beige carpet to the shiny gold fixtures. In fact, at one time, we had the same formica countertops as McDonald’s. Now that’s a design achievement.
1980 kitchen dark cabines before remodeling
Fast forward to the 2000’s after my 30 year-old brother had finally moved out (finally), and after the wear and tear of raising 3 kids, it needed some serious updating.
There was a half wall between the kitchen and family room and everything was dark,dark,dark.

Home with dark paneling

 My mom was super excited that she was going to be putting in hand scraped wood floors, but
before the flooring went in, the first thing we did was rip out the half wall.That in itself made huge difference,and it made it so we  could turn the table the long way and add more space to the footprint of the floor. We were able to actually extend the cabinets all the way to the door.
1980 Kitchen before remodel
It also made it seem bigger as one continual space instead of 2 choppy rooms.
My Mom’s style is very different from mine.I would call hers  a Traditional European with a bit of Contemporary, so I think we both learned to compromise when making decisions. Even though she likes wood,she learned to lean a bit to the brighter side and I learned everything doesn’t have to be white. 😉 Are you impressed that I didn’t paint anything white?
1980 house during remodel
It’s amazing how much space there is once everything is taken out.
And so exciting to see it put back in…Come on in!!!!
Kitchen update with wood cabients
 It’s so exciting to finally see it done!
We decided to keep the same layout to save money.
Small kitchen island with seating idea
We decided on a finish called spice, which is a greyish-brown glaze over a toffee colored cabinets and my Mom wanted staggered height cabinets and more drawer storage.
Light wood kitchen cabinets
this tall cabinet makes a nice little spot for all of her non-kitchen things that she needs on hand.

Corner cabinet with glass idea

 We wanted some reflection back in the kitchen so we choose a see through glass cabinet with bubble glass instead of clear, and a small cabinet instead of  a roll-up appliance garage, which I think just get crusty over time.
The very skinny cabinet next to the light fixture is her spice cabinet. It took up that bit of extra space.
This pale grey is the second wall color. I think it highlights the cabinets.The first one looked like human flesh once it was on the wall.
Needless to say it was  a no-go.
This color is Benjamin Moore HC-170 Stonington Gray cut to 25%.
Pendant lantern over kitchen sink area
 This light fixture is actually an outdoor one. It was the one we found that we could both agree on. We decided to leave the space where the pendant light was open and I love it. It makes the ceilings look tall an open. I think we might start looking for a fabric for a window treatment,but for now we’ll just leave it open.
Light wood kitchen and neutral granite countertop
My Mom really wanted Granite so we found this beautiful one called Persia. We looked at A LOT of granite.
It has some beautiful grey veining and tan tones with large chunks of ivory crystal in it.
Neutral granite


Neutral granite and light wood countertops
 We replaced her single pantry door with a turn knob to doors you can just pull out with dummy knobs. It’s so much easier for her to open, and we went with frosted glass so if the pantry gets a little disorderly, you can’t tell.
Double pantry doors
 We also had it wired for electricity so she could move her microwave inside and off the counter in her new kitchen remodel with light wood cabinets.
Microwave in pantry
 You can tell this is Grandma’s pantry. It has all of the fun stuff for the grandkid’s that they are not allowed to eat at home.

Counterseats and light wood cabinets

 My Mom loved these bubble glass pendant lights. They are pretty, though we do notice the clear glass bulbs tend to sear holes in your retina’s if you look at them.
Light wood kitchen and neutral granite countertop
 And we did put an electrical outlet in the island. There are never enough outlets in kitchen, unless you live in my house where 2 crockpots blow a fuse. Wouldn’t that be perfect to plug a glue gun into? 😉 My Mom kept her old black appliances since they were actually pretty new and are in nice shape. She’s not really a stainless-steel kin of gal anyway. It kept the cost of the reno down considerably and still look good with her light wood cabinets.
Oval wood table and wood kitchen cabinets
 There was a discussion about a new kitchen set, but they were expensive and my Mom’s table was in really good shape and sturdy. We updated it by buying six new chairs from Pottery Barn. It’s like a whole new table.

Wicker pottery barn chairs

I think it looks so modern now with her black appliances and light wood cabinets.
New Kitchen with Light Wood Cabinets and black appliances
I am so happy with how everything turned out for her. She really deserved it!
 Jason Klaske, was the general contractor. He always does  a great job. He did our kitchen as well and is very good about working with what you want.

Wood kitchen cabinet idea with neutral granite

 I loved having this experience with my Mom, an spending the time with her too. When you design a kitchen with some one else, it’s all about compromise, and it’s about making all of the ideas work together for  a beautiful outcome, no matter who your client is.
 After 30 years, my Mom finally got a kitchen she loves, and deserves.
But, the updating continues! We still have the family room to show you too, and that’s an on-going work in progress!

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  1. Beautifully done, Jen! I love the lighting and the granite. Updating the table with new chairs was a great idea. I love them and the texture they bring into the room. Can’t wait to see the family room and how it flows from the kitchen.

  2. Beautiful Kitchen Jen! Love those cabinets too even though I am a white kitchen lover.LOVE the European look!

  3. Beautiful job! The Pottery Barn chairs really make the table area look so fresh! It’s nice to see that stained cabinets can look so updated too. My husband and I are in the talking stage of redoing our kitchen and he wants stained and I want white. Now that I see those cabinets, I think I might be willing to compromise more! Such a gorgeous transformation!

  4. So pretty Jen! I love all of the changes, I can see how much work was put into this & it shows! I bet your mom is over the moon:). Have a great week, Jen @ City Farmhouse

  5. Wonderful update! You kept yourMom’s aesthetic while still making the kitchen look MUCH more modern! All the compromises really worked well! The appliances look fine and the chairs with the old table are great!

  6. So cool that you got to work with your mom on her kitchen! I love the way that it turned out, especially the chairs and the frosted glass doors on the pantry! Can’t wait to see what you girls do on the family room! xo

  7. Very nice! I like it very much and my kitchen cabinets are staggered and same color. Although I like this granite much better than mine! Nicer job keeping the table and getting new chairs!

  8. girl…it looks amazing! I can’t get over the difference it all has made!!!! all the details are beautiful..can’t wait to see the family room!!!
    i’m in the process of talking my dad into a kitchen re-do.
    theirs is in major need of an update…1983. 🙂 I was ten when we built that house!

    They have upgraded the BLUE carpet to wood floors throughout the whole house…and we re-did both of their bathrooms this past year.

    Kitchen is next…I just have to talk them into it. :)))

  9. I have always loved those PB chairs….but wonder about the crumbs getting in the weave…I would be curious to know if they are a pain to keep clean??~Kim

  10. Awesome transformation! I really love that granite that you two picked out. Do you remember which gray you used for the paint color? I’m trying to paint my kitchen and can’t find one that works with my brownish cabinets.

    1. Thank you. That is actually one of the paint chips I have taped to my wall right now (among 20 others).

  11. Beautiful! I love white too – and for myself it would have to be white! But I can love this too in someone elses home 🙂 I love the pottery barn chairs and the outlet on the island is just screaming for a glue gun and some crafty projects! Love the outdoor light used inside – I think that’s a great idea.

  12. Amazing! I’m running out of words to describe how overwhelmed I am to see the transformation of your mom’s kitchen. Everything in it, from the paint, the accessory sets of furniture and even the aura of the space, all are fresh! It made me feel like I’m in a new place already. Good job!

    Beau Proctor

  13. Wow, Jen!!! You and your Mom did a FABULOUS job! This kitchen is exactly what I’ve been searching for! Can you give some details on the cabinets (custom? or where purchased?) and a cost breakdown/total overall cost for the entire project? I’m really curious as our projects seem to similar. Our kitchen/dining areas are very similar and we’re also planning on reusing our (fairly new) black appliances and putting in new wooden floors. Thanks so very much!

    1. Can you tell me the brand of cabinetry you used? I am trying to match it and wondered if I found the same brand. Or, are these custom made? So beautiful.

      1. We used a local cabinet person. I ma not sure what the brand is. I will see if I can find out.

  14. I love your cabinets, that’s the ones we have picked for our remake. They are starting on our bath first. The vanity matches the kitchen cabinets, it’s looking great so far. I hope and pray ours turns out as great as yours.

  15. It looks amazing! I’m wondering what kind/color of flooring that is? It really goes great with the cabinetry!

  16. Gorgeous kitchen Jen. Coincidentally I am upgrading my kitchen and have a similar design except that Ihave dark cabinets.

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