Our kitchen is still one big work-in-progress, but we have had fun personalizing it, little by little, over the past few years. It started out pretty builder basic…

…but with a little bit of shoestring-style dough, and whole lotta elbow grease, we’re slowly but surely making it feel more “ours”…

We change up the “art” on the chalkboard wall whenever we’re feeling artsy-fartsy, but the phrase on the wall in the photo above is part of this quote. Here are some more links to some of the things we’ve worked on/brought into the room…

Project links:

Bead board backsplash (We painted it with plain old, right-off-the-shelf, semi-gloss while paint from Home Depot and it’s held up wonderfully over the past four years.)
Mirrors on the inside-backs of the upper cabinets
– We created taller cabinets by adding extra molding on top of upper cabinets
– Corbels underneath the upper cabinets
Salvaged cabinets on the right side of the room
Butcherblock countertop
Stainless steel shelves
Chalkboard paint
– Cabinet paint: Mourning Dove (Martha Stewart by Sherwin Williams) and Alabaster (Sherwin Williams)
Ceramic tile removal
Ceramic tile removal (part 2)
Hardwood floor installation and staining
– Wall color: November Rain, by Benjamin Moore

Decor links:

– Baskets in open cabinets: Ikea
– Herb crates on wall:
-Metal picnic basket: Etsy
-Wicker basket on floor:
-Butcherblock countertop: Ikea
– Rug: Pottery Barn outlet

Here are a couple of links to the posts we wrote about our appliances:


We’ve still got drawer and door hardware to add, tongue-and-groove ceiling boards to put up, crown molding to put up, recessed lighting to install, a wall of windows to put in, upper cabinets to move (to the chalkboard wall), cabinetry to build around our refrigerator, a farmhouse sink to drop in, a more colorful rug to purchase, and we’d eventually like to top our counters with something carrera marbel-esque, too- but we do things one thing at a time around here, so who knows when the room will actually be done- ha!


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  1. Cindy says

    Wow! I didn’t think it could get any better. I love what you have done and your future plans. Would like to see another pic of the shelves against the black wall. Great styling, as always. Just beautiful.

  2. says

    awesome. such a fresh space. LOVE the butcher block counter and of course the fun chalkboard paint. AND can’t take my eyes off those happy tulips:)

    happy sunday!

  3. Maria says

    Beautiful space just like the two of you!!! I am so happy that I stumbled upon your site a year ago. It makes me happy every morning!

  4. Kraesmom says

    Your kitchen is what drew me to your site in the first place. I saw it by clicking links one day and forgot to bookmark it. I spent 3 hours the next week trying to find you again, and when I did, you became the first blog I ever subscribed to! I love it even more with your recent updates. Kit Cat looks so at home laying on the rug. :)

  5. Abby says

    I love your kitchen! It’s bright and user-friendly. You made great use of the available space and it looks like a lovely space to be in. Well done!

  6. says

    I adore your kitchen! Quick question. Are your chalkboard painted walls textured? I am interested in painting my pantry door with chalkboard paint but the door is pretty textured. I am not sure when it’s time to write on it, it will actually look good? Thanks for any advice.

  7. Annie says

    I like the shelves on the right in the photo. Could you comment on those a bit and where you got them or how you made them?

    I am intrigued with the bead board for the backsplash. I’ve been needing a backsplash in my’ little cabin and needed something rustic. I think this might work. :)


  8. Betty says

    Hey Layla!
    I’ve enjoyed your kitchen through several phases … (and LOvED the black cabinets when you had that intermediary look) … here’s my question …
    What is on top of the microwave? Please help in identifying the UDO .. (unidentified decorating object, of course!)
    Hugs and have a super special day!

  9. Kim in MD says

    Your kitchen is beautiful, Layla! There is nothing that you do that I don’t love- your style is awesome! :-)

  10. Grace says

    As usual , all that you’ve done so far is fantastic & perfection!
    I was happy to see that future plans involve lighting.
    The lights that are in there now look like Ceiling Bosoms…….

  11. says

    I am so glad I saw this post! I had never seen your butcher block counter top one, and I am so going to steal…. I mean use.. your idea! I had been thinking about getting some from Ikea for our kitchen island, and seeing how you used a stain to darken yours has me sold now – thanks so much for so freely sharing your amazing ideas and creativity so your readers can benefit from it! Love you guys – ;-)

  12. kelly says

    it is so beautiful. we are renovating a kitchen right now and i am so happy with the way it’s turning out. i know you know your stuff but since we’re in the midst of it i really wanted marble counters but did a lot of research, marble can stain and etch and i didn’t want to worry about that. there’s a company called cambria that sells quartz countertops that resembles marble and is very pretty. we could get a better deal on a granite slab so we went with that but i really loved the cambria!

  13. Laura says

    I love the quote you chose for the blackboard wall. After all everyone has felt like a square peg in a round hole and that is total vindication!

  14. says

    KitCat looks so regal! :D Very pretty, Layla. All of your ideas for the future are just spot on, too! It is already amazing and will be even moreso.

  15. Coastal Femme says

    I still love your kitchen after many the changes it has gone through. It just gets better and better. The chalkboard wall is fabulous and I love seeing little Kit Cat in the photo:)


  16. says

    That is one risky step you took painting the hole wall black chalk paint…But it looks FANTASTIC! I love how fun it looks. Your kitchen is so off the wall, but so stylish as well. The bathroom cabinet turned out so perfect as well.

  17. andrea says

    love the whole room, but excited to see that you’ve used the butcher block countertops from ikea … we are finishing our basement and plan to use them there. and doing breadboard backsplash too – thanks for giving me a visual of what our end result will be (hopefully)!!

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Stephanie!
      We’re having fun with it and look forward to sharing future updates here on our blog, too! :-D

  18. says

    Looks AMAZING. This is one of my favorite blogs ;) I was wondering about your tolix chairs, are they comfy??? I love the look of Tolix chairs, but my hubby says they look uncomfortable. And unfortunately if he don’t like it we cant buy them :(

    • Layla says

      Hi Crissy!
      They are comfortable, and we’ve enjoyed them very much! Maybe you could get one and give a whirl. If your hubby doesn’t like it you could send it back. Good luck and happy decorating! :-)

  19. Rebekah says

    About the sliding barn door (yes I’m totally off kitchen track, sorry) – I was over on Pinterest today (of course) and found a link to a tutorial for a sliding door that I thought you might be pinterested in :) since I remember you mentioning it in one of your posts. shabbylisaw at wordpress dot com. The cost for the hardware was about $45. Maybe I’ll get around to this some time this Summer (my bonus room would love this).

  20. Layla Sten says

    Hi Layla, just thought I’d let you know that when you click the Link to the Butcherblock counter, it takes you to the ‘Chalkboard Black’ link instead! BEAUTIFUL kitchen, love it!!

  21. says

    I’ve gotten a bit behind on reading my favorite blogs, so I just got around to this post today. Is it ok if I just straight up steal/copy your entire kitchen when we finally get to buy our own house? I am so in love with everything about your space!! Thanks for compiling all the project links, too. Hooray for your kitchen! :)

  22. says

    Your kitchen is absolutely stunning. It gives me such inspiration to tackle my kitchen, which currently looks like your before pic. I spend so many hours in it everyday, I know it would be worth it!

  23. says

    WOW!!!! I LOVE your kitchen! I would never have thought of doing a whole wall with chalkboard paint. :) Definitely going to bookmark this for when we have a kitchen to redo. Thanks for the inspiration!

  24. says

    I just love your kitchen. It is probably the most awe-inspiring makeover I’ve ever laid eyes on. In fact, I used yours as inspiration for my kitchen painting project. (Same Mourning Dove because I was completely stuck picking out a color and I figured if you picked it, it would be good!) Thanks for showing us a picture of both sides. It’s fun to see them together.

  25. Lindsey says

    Wow! Your gorgeous kitchen makeover is just the kick in the pants I needed to convince me that I MUST do this cabinet painting project! How long did it take you on the cabinets???

  26. Christie says

    What are the dimensions of your kitchen? I’m trying to plan a new kitchen, just 11 x 12 … so am curious especially about the width of your room. Thanks!

  27. sandra says

    beautiful! but I had a question about what looks like a cake stand that has a wood/wicker looking basket lid…can I ask what it is? thank you!

  28. says

    catching up on your blog. wow. time gets away doesnt’ it?
    the kitchen is beautiful = i’m loving the new wall!!! what a great idea. it’s really so pretty now – you’ve done a great job! (as usual)

  29. Michele S says

    Layla, I absolutely love your style…your home is beautiful and so inspiring! I would like to know more about the butcher block countertop…how you sealed it and how it holds up. I’m thinking about getting it for my island. The link doesn’t work…it actually took me to the chalkboard wall. Thank you!

  30. says

    Love the open airy-ness of your kitchen,,!
    i could perhaps “love” to cook more if mine were anywhere like this..
    have been a follower from way back..
    have enjoyed watching the evolution of your home..
    the projects on the road..
    was sad your decorating program was not picked up..
    wanted to see you while you guys were here in Denver..
    oh well..another time perhaps..
    am in the middle of moving back to Florida.. Pensacola..
    so plan a getaway with a destination address..!
    warmest hugs..

  31. Katie says

    Oh my gosh! What a gorgeous kitchen…I absolutely love all of your tutorials! Just curious, but what paint & colors did you use for the top and bottom cabinets?

  32. Monique Dyke says

    Can you please tell me where you purchased your aluminum dining chairs? Thank you. Kitchen is so much more inviting and friendly!

  33. Jaime Russell says

    I was wondering if you could tell me the color and brand where you got the green paint for the bottom cabinets? I just love it! :0)

  34. Dot says

    Dear Layla and Kev,

    I just have to say you have a beautiful home!
    I live in Holland, and we are about to move from an appartment to a ‘real’ house, with garden and 4 bedrooms. We bought a beautiful house!
    We are going to white wash our table as well, the way you explained on your blog.
    I love what you’re doing here on this website.
    You have done a great job on the kitchen and bedroom as well!
    We are going to do the things around the house by ourself and are very excited about it!
    Keep up the original and beautiful renovations!

    Greetings from the Netherlands,



  35. says

    Love your kitchen! Its gorgeous! Just wondering if your chalkboard wall is textured? I have an heavy orange peel texture on my walls, so I’m thinking it may not look right?

  36. says

    First of all, I LOVE YOUR KITCHEN…it’s what dreams are made of. Hopefully we can start working on ours come fall (when the hubby has more time).
    I was looking at your older pictures and noticed your kitchen was black at one point. Was it hard to paint white over it? I’m thinking of having my new base cabinets painted navy, but I know I won’t love it forever and will want to paint it someday again. How did you find painting it?

  37. Carrie-Anne says

    Hello, I found your website by googling ‘how to add character to a new house’ and boy I’m glad I did. What an inspiration you two are … you are so funny as well :-)
    Could you please tell me the colour of the Formica countertop? Do you have to plans to change this down the track? if yes, what material would you use? I live in Australia & everything is so much more expensive down under and my budget is Formica; I think the colour you have really suits the look I hope to achieve … which is very similar to you. Stunwar!! Your hard work and patience has certainly paid off. Thanks so much for sharing all this with me.

  38. stephanie says

    i love your entire kitchen & dining room! could you please tell me where you got the window treatments in the dining room? i love the curtain!

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Stephanie! I got them on Ebay, but they’re made by Pottery Barn. It’s their Medici pattern, in bran. :-)

  39. Kelly Gray says

    I just found your Blogspot and I must say “I LOVE Your Kichen”. I am about to start a kitchen remodel and I am on a very strict budget. I have looked at cabinets at Lowes and Home Depot, but I have 40 feet of counter space. I have not thought about using unfished stock cabinets and painting them. I look great in the pictures, but can you see the wood grain thru the paint. What are the colors of the cabinets….lower and upper.
    also, what color is the countertops. Everything looks great!!!!
    I look forward to ready ing more of your blog.

  40. niki o says

    Layla–The kitchen is so pretty and i really want to read about your experience staining the butcher block, because I have some in my basement waiting for me! But when I click on the link above, it takes me to your blog on chalkboard paint. Ah! Where do i find it? Thanks!


  41. Shirley says

    Love your home and the numbers you found for the house. Praying for God’s blessing on you and the new little one to be joining your family.

  42. Lucy says

    I have the same cabinets in my kitchen and have been wanting to paint them. Can you give me a brief “how to”.
    Thanks so much,

  43. Kasey says

    In the post picture of the kitchen, are the hinges the same color as the knobs and handles? They look darker but I wasn’t sure. I have dark cabinets and the hinges are not recessed. I feel that nickel hinges and knobs will be too much. Thanks!

  44. says

    We just had Silestone “Lyra” installed on our island and it is beautiful and so durable. Check it out, it looks like carrera marble. You are so creative. Looking forward to more.

  45. Linda says

    We are buying a older home and I wanted to change my decor from country to the cottage style. I didn’t know the style and how to active the look that I have been seeing in magazines and other websites. When I cam upon your website, I LOVED YOUR taste! You have inspired me to make changing in decorating. I can’t wait to get started! Thank you for all your great ideas. You have a God given talent and I think you for sharing!


    PS… I am mommy of a adopt little boy! Its wonderful, your gonna love it!!!

  46. Kim Enger says

    Layla, I’m curious to know what your cabinets are made of. I noticed in a post about the kitchen you mentioned that you sanded the doors and cabinet fronts, but not the sides. Was that because the sides were laminate over particle board and should not be sanded? We have cherry cabinets (not original) in our old cottage and I would like to paint them. The doors and fronts are wood, but the sides are laminate over particle board and I’m afraid if I sand them it will take the laminate right off. What do you think? Thanks.

    • Layla says

      Hi Kim! The doors were solid wood, but the sides were laminate over particle board. I think you should be good to go if you use a highly-adhesive primer! :-)

  47. says

    Anne of DesignDreams mentioned you in a post and I had to come by and visit! I’m so glad she did and even happier that I did!

  48. says

    I know you don’t live in this house anymore… But any chance you remember what hooks you used to hang your crates? I bought those and am ready to hang but don’t just want to use a nail… Thanks so much! Enjoy reading your blog!

  49. Kimberly says

    I LOVE November Rain by BM! I have used it in several areas in my home and it seems to transform dependent on the lighting. You are doing a great job!

  50. says

    Hello, Today was my first time looking at your blog. I love it.

    My kitchen looks like your old one,in a small house, could not figure out what too do Thank you .Is there another wayto get down loads of the magazines or in printed form.I am not able to get them on my nook. Do you give advise on other areas in peoples homes? This site made my day so much brighter.

  51. says

    Love this kitchen! Your blog was one of the first ones I ever stumbled across. Your beautiful home and inspirational blog was what planted the seed for my own blog!
    My husband and I recently bought our own home and a chalkboard wall in the kitchen was a must-have. Thanks to you, I’ve blogged about the challenges of re-doing our kitchen and the perks of a chalkboard wall, and linked it up to you! Love following you and your husband’s journey. Thanks so much for sharing!

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