W&D Renovates: DIY Kitchen Upgrade with BEHR

This post is brought to you by BEHR. Color that’s True to Hue. If you feel it you can find it. Visit truetohue.behr.com

Even with the best of intentions, projects fall to the wayside. Life takes over and priorities shift from things you want to do, to things you have to do. Take for instance, the DIY kitchen update that Joe and I planned, but never finished. Planning, as you may remember from an earlier post takes just as much time, if not more, than the actual execution.

We recently purchased a historic St. Paul home, which we loved, but some rooms needed an update to be more functional. We realized it was too big of a project for us to tackle on our own, and we needed to have professionals that knew what they were doing (i.e. not us) make the updates we requested. For many people, a full-on renovation isn’t the right solution. Before we personally decided to make the leap, we spent a lot of time thinking about how we could spruce up the kitchen without any demo.

Here’s the original layout:Screenshot 2015-06-16 16.19.15

And what it looked like when we first moved in:


In this planning stage we realized there were a couple of opportunities to make big changes, but which one to pick? Cabinet color? Backsplash? Flooring? They all seemed equally important, but our DIY skill set still needs some improvement. We love the cabinets in the space and felt that with a little paint and some new appliances, the kitchen would be more enjoyable to use.

We headed to Home Depot to pick up some BEHR paint, thinking “this is going to be easy.” One would think with the wide range of colors, it would be an easy decision. Because I am who I am, I agonized over the “right” color. Color can affect not only the feeling of the room, but also the inhabitants. I like the idea of a bright color, but could I really drink my morning coffee in a room painted Laser Lemon? What about Joe? More often than not, our styles are in sync, but would he be more of a Restless Sea to my Evaporation?

Joe and I found ourselves making regular trips to Home Depot, picking up multiple samples of BEHR paint by the dozen. We loved the experience of sorting through and choosing paints with names more reminiscent of bands than paint color: Exclusive Ivory, High Speed Access and Extreme. We carried on, every weekend painting that small square, taking a few steps back and staring, as if we were admiring a piece of art in a gallery and not our kitchen cabinets. Nothing felt right. Dove? Too feminine. Observatory? Too masculine. Pavestone? Not “kitcheny” enough.

After many, many test squares and painting the entire set of cabinets (twice!), we needed to stop, step back, and do more planning.

With all of the colors that BEHR has available, we decided to revisit what initially felt like “safe” options: black and white. We liked white because it’s universally classic, but doesn’t bring a whole lot of personality to the space. Color is more fun, but because the house is so small, we were hesitant to choose a color that would define the look of the entire first floor. Then there was the idea of going all black. It seemed like the best of both worlds – the boldness of color with the neutrality of white. Our biggest concern was if it would make the space feel way too dark. So we pulled some images of small kitchens that used black in a big way for inspiration.




I love how sharp and moody these spaces feel, but I was still missing a little bit of color and the warmth of wood. To further aid in preparation, I collected some pieces we knew we wanted in the kitchen and started pulling swatches that complemented focal points like a Cambria quartz countertop, a Lacanche range, brass Delta faucet, and Hygee & West wallpaper.

WD Kitchen Selects

We landed with these two samples: Behr Blackout N510-7  and Pixel White N530-1. Blackout had just enough gray in it to feel warm, while Pixel White was gray enough to soften the contrast.

WD Behr Paint

Since I wanted to be sure this was the right balance. I drew up a very rough sketch of what our DIY kitchen would have looked like:

Screenshot 2015-06-16 16.12.53


Screenshot 2015-06-16 16.13.05So, what happened after all of this planning? Nothing. In the end, even after all of our planning and experimenting and some execution, Joe and I realized this project was too big for us to tackle on our own. Life happens and we got busy. Even though we had our designs selected, colors picked out, and a plan in place, the project was put on the back burner until a couple weeks ago. What did we end up doing, you may ask? Well, dear reader, that is for another day. Until then, enjoy a sneak peek of the painted kitchen (and Winnie) until the big reveal later this year.

Photo May 15, 4 39 28 PM_v1

Photo credits (top to bottom): MyDomaine // Sarah Sarna // MyDomaine // The Design Chaser //

  • These colors speak to me on a spiritual level. I love them!

    Side note: I’m looking at apartments in MN and just saw a kitchen that resembled the before shot, with the same type of chairs/table. I’m assuming that’s the norm there?

  • When we moved into our house two years ago, I painted our kitchen black. My husband thought I was crazy and now he can’t imaging the room any other way. We love it!! Can’t wait to see the big reveal 🙂

  • I am in the SAME boat as you right now, well…sort of. Currently we have massive holes in our kitchen walls and ceilings and are tacking a full fledged budget reno but I just came home the other night with a ton of paint samples ranging from dark slate- black. Its so hard to pick just the “right” one! I can’t wait to see your finished space!

  • Can’t wait to see the final images. We had a very similar experience at our old home (which we now use as a rental in NE Minneapolis). Finally after avoiding the cabinet painting for months, we just hired someone to do it all. It wasn’t horribly expensive and made a huge difference. DIY is not for the faint of heart. I’m more of an approachable DIYer as in something that takes less than one day. 😉

  • We are planning in 2 yrs. Our realtor said 2 things. No buyer will even cnsider a house without 1. Granite countertops and 2. a tile floor. Easy decision not cheap.