When we moved into the house three and a half years ago, the kitchen and family room combo was a mess. The walls were a two-toned green that made the granite countertops look pink. Not a good combination. The cabinets were an expensive brand, but in a distressed "country kitchen" look that I hated. And the refrigerator was too small, and the dishwasher leaked.
Our first task was painting the walls an icy blue shade, and then stripping the cornice (top and bottom) off the cabinets and refinishing them with a glossy white. We painted over the (exorbitantly expensive -- and yet so-not-our-taste Italian tiles around the wood stove, and removed the wood mantle piece.My dad even installed a new light in the kitchen, removed the random pendant light in the "not quite kitchen, not quite family room) and installed a new overhead fan in the living room. Then we got some more furniture -- mainly from Craigslist. It wasn't perfect, but it was a HUGE improvement.
The look we were going for (with the help of my good friend and amazing almost interior designer Lauren) was "cozy conservatory". I think that she nailed it with the design, and I'm impressed that we were able to do it all for under $500 in that first round.
Over the next 2 years, we swapped the couch for something fresher, put up a big mirror, added a wall of planters, purchased new rugs, get a new coffee table/ottoman, and bought a new storage cabinet and buffet table. Then finally, this week we spent the big bucks and got the new refrigerator and dishwasher, which was installed today. Looks bee-yew-ti-ful!
There are a few things left to do (aren't there always?), like get a new desk chair, replace the countertop compost pail (will be delivered on Thursday!), and finding a better way to organize the files on the wall. (Full disclosure: I removed the pile of boxes and papers on the desk and the wall file organizer before snapping these pictures. Sue me, but I prefer not to show the world our lack of timely filing.)
Even the puppy agrees: big improvement.