Small White Kitchen Makeover with Built-In Fridge Enclosure

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s definitely a major factor in purchasing a home, even for us demolition-minded DIYers. Sometimes kitchens just need small changes, and sometimes they need BIG, like Texas-style big, changes. Knocking out walls, moving cabinets — big changes definitely make a difference!

But when you’re limited by space, time, or money constraints, you can still be creative and give your kitchen a major overhaul without taking a  sledgehammer to the walls. Our guest today took her small, orange kitchen and transformed it into this beautiful white kitchen, with a built-in fridge enclosure, subway tile backsplash, butcher block countertops, vinyl plank flooring… so many beautiful touches!

Small White Kitchen Makeover with Built-In Fridge Enclosure, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com #kitchen #built-in #butcherblock #subwaytile #vinylflooring

Ay ay ay, are you drooling? Drool a little bit more over these amazing and small kitchens, and then I’ll let Kaylor show you how she and her husband worked their magic…

remodeled small galley kitchen, Fabric Paper Glue via RemodelaholicFunctional Galley Kitchen | Fabric Paper Glue

small kitchen remodel with slate tile backsplash, lovetodecor8 on RemodelaholicSmall White Kitchen with Slate Tile Backsplash | lovetodecor8 featured on Remodelaholic

small kitchen with maximized space, Maureen on The KitchnMaximized Small Kitchen Space | Maureen on The Kitchen

small white kitchen redesign, She Got Married via RemodelaholicSmall White Kitchen Remodel| She Got Married

And now, here’s Kaylor to knock your socks off with the before and afters of her kitchen remodel:

(Update: See more photos of Kaylor’s kitchen and how the wood countertops are holding up here)

Small White Kitchen Makeover with Built-In Fridge Enclosure
by Kaylor of Fisherman’s Wife Furniture

Small White Kitchen Makeover with Built-In Fridge Enclosure, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com #kitchen #built-in #butcherblock #subwaytile #vinylflooring

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read our full disclosure policy.

Hi, y’all!  My name is Kaylor and I am the owner of Fisherman’s Wife Furniture.  I am a former math teacher that turned my passion for rescuing furniture and DIY into a business.  The blog started as a way to show my portfolio to perspective clients but has become a great way to share my work and ideas with fellow DIYers.

One of my favorite posts is a gorgeous dresser make over that you can see here but my most popular furniture post is a dresser turned into dog food storage and feeding station. Check out that project here. Over the past few months, most furniture has been put on hold for our house updates and getting settled into our new home.

My husband and I recently moved back to Texas and bought a 1980’s waterfront house that had only been used as a vacation home.  In fact, over the past nine years it had barely been used at all.  For home buyers that love to DIY, this is gold!  The need for updates was a great bargaining chip for price negotiations and we didn’t have to tear out anything new just because it wasn’t our taste.  We have been in the home a few months now and have painted and updated everything but the bathrooms.  Today, I am going to tell you about our unbelievable kitchen transformation.

Even an experienced DIYer would have winced a little when they saw this.

Cue scary music and the screams…EEK!
orange kitchen before the makeover, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
orange kitchen cabinets before the makeover, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
small orange kitchen before the makeover, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com

The space was dark, cramped, cave like and let’s not leave out, orange.  The home is all second story living and the overall square footage is only 1300 square feet.  There is nowhere to expand into current square footage and adding on was out of the question so I had to come up with a design to rescue this kitchen keeping the current footprint.

Of course, I had a Pinterest board for a future home so I had an idea of the look I wanted but I wasn’t sure if I could accomplish the look on our $10,000 budget, which almost half was taken up with buying my amazing new appliances.  This is our second home to remodel/update so we had an idea of what to expect and that includes the unexpected.  We were so lucky that after demo, we found there were no hidden or unexpected repairs needed.  Also, we realized the cabinets are solid wood and were custom built for the home.  They just needed some major help to bring them to the current decade.  I wanted a custom look on a budget so we did several things to make the cabinets look expensive.

CABINETS.  The first thing we did was build a refrigerator enclosure.  The custom refrigerator enclosure is attached to the end of the cabinets and has a shelf to hold my cookbooks.  I used my Kreg Jig to create pocket holes to secure it to the floor and put supports across the back. To polish it up, I added trim around all the edges, filled all cracks and nail holes then sanded smooth.   A counterdepth fridge gave us 6 more precious inches of width at the kitchen’s opening.

small kitchen remodel - building the fridge enclosure cabinet, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
kreg-jig pocket holes to secure fridge enclosure to the floor, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
interior kreg-jig pocket holes to secure fridge enclosure to the floor, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
kreg-jig pocket holes to secure fridge enclosure shelving, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com

The other custom touch we did was cover the fur down, which is the wall area over the cabinets.   I smoothed out the texture by filling it with lightweight compound and sanding it down.  It took about 3 rounds of filling and sanding to get things perfectly smooth.  Once it was smooth, we added 2 mouldings.  A crown moulding along the ceiling and a chair rail in the middle.  Adding moulding made a HUGE change in the feel of the room and was not a huge expense.  It gives the illusion that the cabinets extend to the ceiling and makes the ceiling feel taller.  Moulding can be intimidating but once you get the hang of it, things move quickly and it is well worth the time and effort.

small kitchen remodel - add molding to fridge enclosure, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
small kitchen remodel - add molding to fridge enclosure and cabinets, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
add molding to fridge enclosure, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
add molding to fridge enclosure and cabinets, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com

Once the fridge enclosure was built and the mouldings were installed, it was time to paint.  I prepped by sanding, filling any scratches, dents and holes, then sanding some more.  My primer of choice is Zinsser Shellac Primer and I chose Benjamin Moore’s Waterbone Satin Impervo in White Dove for the cabinet color.  I sprayed two coats of primer and three coats of color, sanding between all the coats with 320 and 400 grit. The finish is beautiful and smooth.

Ready for paint.
 
prep a small kitchen to paint for a remodel, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
Hanging plastic barrier to keep in overspray and dust.
hang a plastic barrier when painting to protect from overspray and dust, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
Painted and looking beautiful.  At this point it already felt like a different kitchen.
 
white painted kitchen remodel, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
white painted kitchen cabinets remodel, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
Fridge enclosure after paint.
built-in fridge enclosure in a small white kitchen, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
white painted fridge enclosure and fur down, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
 
Fur down and moulding after paint.
white painted kitchen cabinets with molding, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
white painted kitchen cabinets, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
makeover white painted kitchen cabinets with molding, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
makeover white painted kitchen cabinets remodel, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 

Countertops. Our American Walnut Butcher Block was ordered from Lumber Liquidators.  It took about a week to come in and to save on a delivery charge, we picked them up from the store.  My husband and I both liked the look of the 45 degree cuts in the corner.  We made our measurements and prepped for cuts.  This is a measure 10 times cut once kind of situation.  Both of us had anxiety and were stressed about this step.  Neither one of us wanted to be the one to mess up the cuts so we kept remeasuring.  Finally we went for it and cut the butcher block.  After making a few adjustments, it was time to install.  The joints have 3 wood fasteners to keep things from shifting.   I used Elmer’s Walnut puddy and mixed it with some saw dust to make a filler for the joints.   I filled the 2 joint cracks and sanded smooth.  Once everything was installed and in place, I put 5 coats of Waterlox.

American Heritage Walnut Butcherblock Countertops, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
sanding butcherblock countertops for small kitchen makeover, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
butcherblock countertops installed with wood fasteners, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
butcherblock countertops in a small kitchen makeover, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
wood filler for butcherblock countertops, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com mix putty and sawdust for butcherblock joint filler, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
butcherblock countertop in a small kitchen makeover, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
wooden butcherblock countertops with undermount sink, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
butcherblock countertop mall kitchen makeover, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
butcherblock countertops small kitchen makeover, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com

BACKSPLASH.  I love subway tile.  It has grown in popularity in the past several years which makes me lean towards not using it but I just love it so much and couldn’t find another pattern to replace it.  To give it a different look and more modern feel, I decided to use a larger tile.  I purchased 4″ x 12″ glass tiles in Natural White so it doesn’t make the kitchen too white.  This was my first time to do a backsplash so I had some reservations about it but it was much easier than I thought it would be.  And messier.  Be sure to protect your countertops and floor.  We will be updating both bathrooms in the near future so we decided to buy a $125 wet saw instead of renting one at $50 a day.  Buying a saw also gave us the option to use the blade we wanted, not the one that came with the rental.  Glass tile MUST be cut with a sharp glass certified blade which are available at your local Home Depot or Lowes.

installing glass subway tile backsplash, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
installing glass subway tile backsplash in small kitchen remodel, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
supplies for installing glass subway tile backsplash, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
glass subway tile backsplash and walnut butcherblock countertops, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
caulking glass subway tile backsplash, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 

THE DETAILS.  The overall design and styling of our home is what I call, Comfortable Coastal Cottage.  Yes, I made that up.  Its a mix of vintage and traditional, neutral with a pop of color, and most importantly, inviting and comfortable.   The wood countertops warmed up the kitchen space but it still needed some character. To bring some vintage into the kitchen,  I decided to use glass knobs instead of the harsh contrast of solid chrome.  They are beautiful against the white cabinets.

glass knobs on white cabinets, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com

When it came to hinges, we could not find any new ones that lined up correctly.  I know from experience that painting hinges is not ideal.  The paint chips and rubs off and I can’t have that in my kitchen.  Those cabinets are used several times a day so I need something that can handle being opened and closed many times a day.  My husband mentioned that we should look into having the original hinges powder coated or chrome plated.  After a little research we decided to take the hinges to an auto body shop that specializes in chrome plating.  They did an amazing job.  Perfect fit and perfect color.

before and after chrome plated kitchen cabinet hinges, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
chrome plated kitchen cabinet hinges, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com

The only thing we did not DIY in this space is the floors.  We had the entire house done professionally the first week we had the house while we DIYed the privacy and cattle panel fence.  At some point we had to give in and admit we can’t do it all.  After lots of discussions we decided on a luxury vinyl plank.  I was scared vinyl would look cheap but it has come a long way in recent years and is looking better than ever.  It was a great choice and I am so happy with it.

Overall it took about 10 weeks to do the kitchen update.  During this time my husband was working full time and I did not take on any client work so I could focus all my time on the house.  I did as much during the day by myself and when I was at a stopping point in the kitchen I painted other rooms, unpacked boxes, and tried to get us organized.  Not having a functioning kitchen for several weeks forced us to grill everything.  There were many mornings our new neighbors were giving me strange looks as I grilled breakfast sausage in my PJs while drinking my coffee.  Oh well.   We got our dream kitchen on budget and that makes all the hard times worth it.

luxury vinyl plank flooring in a small kitchen remodel, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
fridge enclosure - vinyl plank flooring - white cabinets - kitchen makeover, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
glass knobs and molding on white kitchen cabinets, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
glass knobs and molding on white kitchen cabinets with glass subway tile backsplash, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
glass knobs and molding on white kitchen cabinets with vinyl plank flooring, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
undermount sink front with white cabinets and glass knobs, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
finished undermount sink with butcherblock countertops - small kitchen remodel, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
double oven in a white kitchen makeover, Fisherman's Wife Furniture featured on Remodelaholic.com
 
If you have any questions, feel free to ask or go visit my blog to see detailed posts about each stage of the update.  Thank you, Remodelaholic, for featuring me and giving me this opportunity to share our kitchen update adventure.

Products:

Appliances

Sink & Faucet

Paint

Lights

Hinges

  • Original hinges, chrome plated at Speed & Sport Chrome Plating in Houston, TX

Glass knobs

Backsplash

  • Tile, thinset, grout all purchased at The Flooring & Design Center in Beaumont, TX
  • Tile is manufactured by SOHO Studio and must be purchased through a distributer
  • 4×12 polished glass in Natural White

Countertops

  • Countertops – American Walnut – Lumber Liquidators
  • Waterlox – Waterlox.com or Amazon

Flooring

  • Installed by Floors for Living – Friendswood, TX
  • Luxury Vinyl Plank –  MetroFlor Konecto Engage in Woodland Oak

 photo Signature_zps5473e161.png

 

Amazing work, Kaylor! Way to rock what you’ve got and create a beautiful style of your own!

Head on over to Fisherman’s Wife Furniture to keep up with everything that Kaylor is doing!

UPDATE: See more photos of Kaylor’s kitchen here. 

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39 Comments

  1. That looks amazing!!! I to am going to make over my kitchen. Do you think you could make a refrigerator surround if you had a frig that was not counter depth? You gave me some great ideas! Thanks????

    1. Definitely, Jody. Your enclosure will just be deeper than mine. Base your enclosure measurements off of your refrigerator dimensions. Our fridge recommended at least a 1/2″ space on all sides so be sure to read the info that comes with your appliance and calculate that space into your measurements. Good luck with your project!

  2. LOVE this kitchen design! I love all the products and the way they work so well together. I might have added added some molding – in a rectangle shape- on the flat piece under the sink- just to add some extra detail. Very well done! Thank you for the inspiration!

  3. Love your kitchen update! You did an amazing job and gave me some great ideas. Question about the fridge surround…. approximately how much did it cost you to build it? Thanks!

    1. It was a couple hundred dollars for the surround. We used a higher end plywood and trims plus screws, fillers, paint. Not much goes into it but it makes a huge difference.

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