Room Inspiration – Jennifer Rizzo

Because I always love an inspiring room redo post, I wanted to share some before and after photos of my e-friend, Jennifer Rizzo‘s recent kitchen remodel here today.

Jennifer and her family had actually planned to wait a while before remodeling their kitchen, but a pipe burst under their sink and caused extensive damage to the floor and base cabinets, so they were forced to fix it up a little earlier than expected. They hadn’t had a chance to save up for a total overhaul though, so they decided to keep & paint their upper cabinets, and replace their base cabinets with new, unfinished ones that had the same simple door style as the upper ones. Smart!

Here’s what Jennifer had to say about the process of painting the uppers…

First, I scrubbed every last door and drawer with vinegar, soap, and Borax. Next, we gave them a good sanding, and then we minimized some of the wood grain on them by filling in the deeper grooves with wood putty. After that, we sanded them again, until they were smooth. I used a good quality angle brush to paint the inset areas of the doors, and then a dense, 4″ foam roller for the raised parts so the paint went on nice and smooth. I finished with a good coat of non-yellowing Polycrylic to keep them from chipping and to make them scrubbable.

The paint color they chose is called “Linen White”, by Benjamin Moore. They had it mixed in their “Aura” paint brand, and they applied 2 coats of it in an eggshell finish after applying 1 coat of primer. After they were finished painting everything, they topped the base cabinets with wood counters from Ikea.

Jennifer says they need to be oiled with a sealer (also from Ikea) a couple of times a year. She does the area around the sink every few months though, because it tends to be wetter  there than other areas of the kitchen. She also said the application process is super simple, you just wipe the sealer on, and let it dry overnight. Her favorite thing about having wood counters is that if they get damaged or burned, you can just sand the marks out, and reseal. Neat!

Instead of installing more upper and lower cabinets on the other side of the room, they decided to save a little money and go with something that wouldn’t stick out into the room as far as base cabinets would. They purchased a hutch from seller on Craigslist and gave it a new coat of pretty, green paint…

Jennifer says, “I wanted something old; but the $900 one I loved from the flea market definitely broke the bank. I painted our $200 Craigslist find with a color I mixed myself, from 6 different shades of paint. The color I created is very close to a color called “Antique Jade, by Benjamin Moore.”

The walls are painted a color called Bennington Grey, by Benjamin Moore. Jennifer says, “It’s a great taupe-y grey color, that has a bit of a warmish-green under-tone.”

She also said they decided not to put door knobs on the upper cabinets to help hide the fact that some of them are “wonky.”

The entire kitchen only took about a month to redo, and Jennifer attributes a lot of that speediness to their contractor, Jason, who worked very quickly and was super organized. She says, “He helped keep us on track, and when I had an idea, he was awesome about just going with it, no matter how crazy it was. A good relationship with a good contractor really does make all the difference. I interviewed 6 contractors before hiring Jason.

Jennifer also says, “Follow your instincts about your home. If there’s an odd smell coming from somewhere and you don’t know why, there’s probably something wrong. When it happened to us, the whole thing seemed devastating and overwhelming. I think we really thought it was going to ruin us, but there was such as silver lining that came from it, and I love my kitchen more than I ever thought I would!

To check out Jennifer’s blog click here:, to read more about her kitchen renovation, or to ask her questions about any part of the project, click here: Kitchen Details, and visit her Etsy shop, click here: The Vintage Tea Collection.

Well, I’m off to my first ever jury duty experience today.


I’ve been hearing the Law & Order “doink! doink!” sound effect in my head ever since I received the summons.

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  1. says

    Those cabs look awesome…I’m leaning toward painting mine soon as well so it’s nice to hear about the process. NOT looking forward to that part (the process), but the lighter color is so pretty.

    Have fun at jury duty..haha.

  2. says

    Love those Ikea countertops. Sealing a few times a year is definitely a good idea (I think the can says use it every six months or so). That said, we’re about 2 years removed from the last seal job (life – how you get in the way of my following directions!) and everything looks and feels fine. Probably should get to that soon though.

    I’d be interested to know a little more about the “how to” side of painting the upper cabinets. Did they use multiple coats? Any sealer? We re-painted ours about two years ago, and while they look good I feel like they could use a little something extra to finish them off.

  3. Ter'e Crow Lindsay says

    Absolutely love the touch of the green cabinet, instead of using matching cabinets on that side of the kitchen. I also love the more new feminine look! Looks awesome in the kitchen too!

  4. says

    This is a beautiful transformation! I love that she worked with her existing upper cabinets. They look completely new painted. The chandelier is a nice statement piece and so much prettier than the previous light. I would be delighted to have a kitchen like this.

  5. says

    Gorgeous transformation, and I love the paint color choices (thanks for including them – makes it easier to go snag some color swatches for myself!) The hutch is a really nice choice. I have one but it’s filled with my vintage Fiesta display pieces (too old to use every day.) Kudos, kudos, kudos. And uhhh, good luck on the jury duty thing!

  6. says

    GORGEOUS! Congrats on an amazing re-do, Jennifer. I am currently trying to stain a purchased plate rack to add to my kitchen shelves. Despite sanding, I’m having some problems getting the stain to sink in. This was inspiring!! Yes, sometimes a misfortune like a water leak turns into a blessing.

  7. Julie says

    Love this kitchen. I noticed her countertops are butted up against each other rather than angled. Seems to me this probably was a cost-effective move, since they didn’t need the extra length. Always wondered how this would look–wonderful idea!!

    This kitchen is gorgeous and looks so nice, bright & airy! Great job!

  8. Geri says

    Layla you always find the best redos. I love the new look. I just got done for the 3 rd time painting my lower cabinets. I tried BM advance in satin. Awesome paint. Like oil with out the mess.
    Enjoy hearing Doink, Doink for however many days. Geri.

  9. says

    Beautiful transformation! So fresh and simple. I think wood countertops are going to make a big comeback over the next few years.

    Enjoy jury duty – if you can get through the monotonous “before” process, the duty itself can be really interesting. Although they will most likely settle the case just before you get called – and after you’ve been sitting in the jury room for about 4 hours. LOL.


  10. Lisa says

    this one was so great!!! i do love a good room redo myself. you’re awesome layla!!

    love, a stranger (who thinks you’re pretty great!)

  11. Laura says

    Great kitchen! Bummer about jury duty! I have managed to avoid it for nearly 18 years because of children under the age of 10 (I have 5 more years on that excuse!). My husband said when he went they were playing the clip from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” where they are having the trial to see if the woman is a witch. At least he had something to laugh at! May your smartphone stay charged and your courthouse time be short!

  12. says

    I’m so in love with this kitchen that I pinned it 4 times on Pinterest! 3 times from here and once from her blog so I would have access to both locations. I’m dreaming of a house one day…..

  13. says

    After 30 years as a professional designer, it never ceases to amaze me at the creativity that abounds in these industrious and gifted homeowners that see the vision…the potential of their spaces and ” just do it.”
    Fabulous project!

  14. says

    Whata thrifty, great job she did. I love the hutch idea instead of cabinets and fully understand how much work that can be to paint :) Lovely overall.

  15. Terri says

    love… love… that Craigs list find… what a beautiful hutch!!!! the whole kitchen turned out beautifully!!!!! … The way to enjoy “jury Duty”… (if you really get chosen to serve that is!)…. I have reminded myself that it is a “Freedom” that we are blessed with here in this country!! thanks for sharing Layla…. :)

  16. says

    Beautiful kitchen! She has a talent! G’luck with the Jury Duty. I’ve only been summoned once, but I had literally given birth to my 2nd daughter days before. They still tried to get me to come, but when I explained that the baby comes then too (since Momma has to feed her), they backed down. Crazy!

  17. says

    What a gorgeous kitchen! Thanks for sharing- I needed kitchen eye candy this morning.

    P.S… I always find that the best way to get out of jury duty, if you are so inclined, is to simply state that based upon past experience, there is no way you could be impartial. (Usually true for me!)

  18. Kristen says

    The silver tray looks so lovely about the stove. We’re in a rental and I’ve wished I could do something about the plain, flat paint above our stove. I think using a platter like that is genius!

  19. says

    We used Sherwin Williams Linen white in the spec homes we built, as well as our own home. It’s a great white that’s not too bright but isn’t an ivory either. I think it’s the perfect white! :)

  20. says

    I love this kitchen redo. I am going to do something very similar in my new home, and dread the thought of painting my cabinets. But, these look gorgeous and inspire me to tackle the project sooner rather than later. Thanks for sharing!!

  21. says

    That’s amazing! It doesn’t even look like the same home! Beautiful kitchen and beautiful photos. Love the onomatopoeus ‘doink doink’ you coined! I’d be hearing that too – hope it goes ok!

  22. Sherry Ann says

    Beautiful kitchen re-do. Bummer about jury duty. Hope you took a book and some purel. I always sit there for the entire first day then they set me free because my husband is in law enforcement. Hmmm, wonder why that is?

  23. Cathy says

    Your blog design is very similar to Sarah Richardson’s. A great Canadian Designer.

    Love that kitchen I would have it in my home any day.

  24. Monica says

    Great ideas! The same thing happened in 2009, but we still have temporary cabinets and shelving units strategically placed right now. Maybe one day soon we can add base cabinets. We need a back splash. I am trying to come up with a super economical one. Right now there is sheet rock. I was thinking bead board. What do you think? Until we set base cabinets, the back splash can’t be elaborate. Love your blog and I hope you guys get the HGTV gig! I think it would be AWESOME!!!!

  25. travellingdiva says

    Absolutely love this makeover! So cute and does anyone know what the gorgeous bowls/jugs???? are on the kitchen island bench? Just so cute……

  26. says

    Wow the kitchen looks great! I re-finished my cabinets when I moved into my house…NOT an easy job! But I’m soon going to attempt it again! Her process sounds like a good game plan so I may try it this time around! I enjoy reading all of your post and am glad that things are good so well for you guys! God Bless!

  27. Melinda says

    Thanks for sharing! They did a lovely job on this re-do. The before and after pictures side by side really show the contrast. Hope your jury duty went well…

  28. CLaire says

    I LOVE perfume trays hung as mirrors! I have a cabinet above my bathroom toilet, so there’s just enough room on the wall for a horizontal one. I absolutely crack up when a male guest returns from using the restroom! I don’t think that they expect a full frontal reflection! It’s hilarious!

  29. says

    This is a gorgeous redo! I love the fact that they refinished the upper cabinets. A great way to save money and they look fabulous. The hutch is also a lovely addition. Love it all!

  30. Tracey says

    Ooh, I love that hutch. I’ve got to find one like that. What a coincidence, I was summoned to jury duty yesterday too. So glad I didn’t get chosen..I was all kinds of nervous. When they said we could leave, I nearly ran the lady over that was next to me, trying to hurry up and get out of there before they changed their mind.

  31. says

    Thank you so much for sharing Jennifer’s makeover. I just love every aspect of it. I am trying to get my hubby convinced that the oak cabinets in our kitchen ‘need’ to be painted. He won’t have to do the job (I will) but he loves the look of wood.
    Love your blog, you are an inspiration. I am sorry to hear that the HGTV gig didn’t work out…better things are in the future for you both! Congrats you two on your latest success with the Flea Market magazine. WTG!!!

  32. says

    What type of back splash is this?

    I LOVE your remodel…already have white cabinets with these same knobs, but I have strong negative feelings about our cheap counter-tops. Already checked IKEA for prices on the wood counter-tops, they would look great in our space too. Thanks for sharing!

  33. Darcy says

    I noticed that in the “before” pictures, there are handles on the cupboards and in the “afters” they are replaced with knobs. HOW did she do that? I’m in the process of trying to remodel our kitchen and it currently has handles everywhere…I’d like to change the cupboards to knobs, but thought I was stuck with handles since the holes are already there. Any tips??? Thanks! LOVE your blog :) Darcy

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