Alma Project: Kitchen Remodel!

July 3, 2012

Greetings all, doesn’t it feel so strange that the Fourth of July is on a Wednesday?  It’s totally throwing me off but I’m happy for the day off tomorrow.  Well as I’ve been hinting at for days, we are really proud to have finished the kitchen at our Alma Project just in time for four new families to move in.

If you’re unfamiliar with this project, you can read the details and the motivation behind it here, but basically we adopt a house every year with our local Committee on the Shelterless (COTS) and we take time every few months to upgrade the spaces (playroom completed in April).  This home is shared by women with children who are making the transition from homelessness to success stories through counseling, job training, and abstinence from substance abuse.  This four bedroom home currently houses 9 people, including 4 mothers and their 5 children, each family shares one of the four bedrooms.

The kitchen was a total disaster when we started and we had limited funds and only six weeks to make the necessary changes before the new families moved in.  Thankfully,  several of you donated to the project and we were able to raise $1,550 from your donations (thank you donors, see list below) but that wasn’t nearly enough to get us where we needed to go.  So I struggled with what to do, and thankfully others stepped up to take this to the finish line.

First was Home Depot.  I’ve got to give them so much credit for this transformation, I wrote to them and asked them to donate cabinets to replace just the center island and they generously agreed.  Then when they sent their kitchen designer and cabinet supplier to the site we told them the story of the purpose of the house.  They looked around and they decided to do an amazing thing.  Home Depot decided that just the island wasn’t enough, they were going to donate all, yes ALL NEW kitchen cabinets.  I can’t explain how amazing it was to get that email.  ALL NEW CABINETS?   Wow, we’re talking several thousand dollars in cabinets donated for this cause!  THANK YOU HOME DEPOT!!

Thanks to Kelly and Nicole from Home Depot corporate, Christine, our local kitchen designer, and Keith, Craig and John our local cabinet supplies who all came together to replace all the cabinets for the entire space.  COTS was also able to allocate $1,700 to the project so with the donations by several of you, Home Depot, and COTS we were able to complete this full kitchen remodel for just over $3,600.  Without any help it would have cost us $9,000 in just materials (not including any labor).

Here’s the full tour and the story to go with it!

alma house kitchen tour


First, I’ve got to show you what this kitchen looked like before we started.  You can see there was this horrid grease covered black hood we knew we had to get rid of, cabinets that were falling apart and a range that was not meant to be placed in an island.

island before


In addition the surround cabinets did not match, they were stock cabinets from two different home improvement stores.  The barstools were too high and this layout did not make sense for four families sharing one kitchen.  It was all too cluttered and dysfunctional and it had to change!

hood view before


This was the day the team got together and decided to totally gut this kitchen ceiling to floor and start over.  Notice the florescent and “boob” lights to the left, that black hood, and the ceiling light to the right.  Ugly, weird, all wrong.

team together


Since Home Depot was supplying all new cabinets, we removed all the old ones (some were donated to Habitat, others kept for another project) gutting everything all the way down to the tile floor.  (I so wanted to replace the floor tile but since it continues all the way into the entry, it would have been a huge expense.  Since it was in decent condition we left it in place and worked with it.)

kitchen gutted


Given the abundant light, white appliances, and the number of residents, I thought it best to use wood cabinets instead of white cabinets for the surround, but chose white cabinets for island and a butcher block top.  We also replaced the hood with a sleek stainless and glass version and updated the light fixtures and seating too.

Here’s the first look!

alma project kitchen remodel after

 kitchen window alma project

Wow, it’s so different!!!

Remember that awful florescent light/hood/boob light/ceiling fan combo?  It’s all gone, waaaahoooooo!  Warren (our COTS contact and the home manager) obtained a permit to make changes to the ceiling, and he ripped out the hood, the florescent light, and the ceiling fan that was there before, added new recessed lights, and patched and painted the ceiling, a huge job!  Warren, you are amazing!

ceiling new recessed lights


The new focal point is this sleek stainless steel and glass range hood which brings this kitchen into the modern century, don’t you love its contemporary vibe?  Such a stark contrast to what was there before.   We got lucky with a new range too, Warren stopped into our local Habitat for Humanity Restore and found this older model white range for $150, total score!

new island and hood


We found a butcher block countertop at IKEA and cut it to fit the new range, and here’s a peek at the new white island cabinets and pulls.

new white island


I love how both the countertop and the window shade have those same variegated wood tones ranging from light to specks of dark, beautiful!

shade and butcher block


The far wall was another horrible mess, it had an old table that was piled up with so much clutter.  There is no dining space in this house, so it made sense to turn the far wall into an eating zone with plenty of storage.  Here is the wall before, there’s that ceiling fan I couldn’t wait to get rid of!

 sb kitchen wall before

Here is the new wall, complete with all new cabinetry for storage and a place to sit and eat.  We used standard 30” cabinets place on top of a base that was framed to lift them up, then covered the front in toe kick.  It’s now has new counter height stools for enjoying meals in the kitchen!

dining wall alma project


Four families share three refrigerators, one stayed on the wall seen above, and two were relocated to the other side of the kitchen.  I painted the pantry door with Rust-Oleum brush on chalkboard paint for grocery lists or children’s doodles.

chalkboard pantry door view

Another neat product I tried – Rust-Oleum makes an Appliance Epoxy and I used the mini touch up version to freshen the refrigerator handles.

rustoleum appliance epoxy


Here is one of the best features in this kitchen, the glass tile backsplash!   It’s a gorgeous medley of gray green glass, clear glass, and taupe ceramic 1” x 3” tile by Jeffrey Court called ‘French Palace’ right off the Home Depot shelf!  I love how it pulls together the soft green paint on the walls, the countertops, and the glass range hood!  Also from Home Depot, we purchased new Wilsonart laminate countertops in a color called ‘Perla Piazza’.

glass tile and laminate countertop

backsplash tile

We purchased a new Glacier Bay double basin sink in stainless steel, a finish repeated in the range hood and cabinet pulls.  This is such a bright and cheerful space, I certainly wouldn’t mind doing my daily dishes here.  :)

new sink plus backsplash tile

The wall paint is ‘Soft Meadow’ by Glidden, which looks just perfect with the glass mosaic tile.

glass pendant over sink

Here’s another before and after shot, from when we first started gutting the kitchen to when it was complete.

window wall before

window wall after

Another favorite detail is that glass shade above the sink that replaced the “boob” light that was there before, a much more modern fixture!

new sink blind tile


That’s the story of this kitchen makeover!  Together with some donations raised via PayPal and the Home Depot, and our sweat equity,  the three of us totally transformed this kitchen with our DIY know how, we’re feeling mighty proud!

team warren kate matt


Here’s the cost breakdown: Cabinets: donated by Home Depot; Countertops: Wilsonart Laminate ‘Perla Piazza’ countertops: $890; IKEA beech countertop: $195; Range hood (paid for by COTS) Frigidaire, $1,192; Cooktop/range, Habitat for Humanity Restore, $150; Glacier Bay stainless sink, $259; Mosaic glass backsplash, grout and thinset, $275; Pulls and knobs from Home Depot, $100; Paint $50; 4 X-Back stools Kmart, $100; backless saddle stools from Bed Bath & Beyond) $120; Kitchen accessories (rug, towels, utensils, containers, etc.) $160; glass shade pendant $89; new woven shade, $100.   Total = $3,680

alma project kitchen window view

alma project kitchen remodel after


We feel high as a kite right now having another fabulous transformation under our belts, and knowing this kitchen is for such a worthy cause, helping to improve the lives of women trying to get back on their feet.

utensil holder on island


Again, a huge thanks again to Home Depot for their amazing and generous donation of the cabinets for this complete remodel, we could not have done this without them.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to this most recent round of donors who made this kitchen a reality!  Stephanie Norris, Catie Cole, Karina Dhar, Pattie Zipper, Erika Brown, Jennifer Jones, Donna Williams, Sherrell Walker, Mary Corey, Stacey Porter, Heather Pehrson, Karla Uphoff, Lisa Bechinski, and James Debbs.

To donate to the next phase of the Alma Project (the family room) please click on this button in the sidebar, we could really use your support!

Dodonate today


Have a Happy Fourth!

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111 Responses to “Alma Project: Kitchen Remodel!”

  1. […] up is Kate at Centsational Girl. She never ceases to amaze me! Talk about talent and a heart to […]

  2. Jocie@OPC says:

    Hey Kate! Love your new kitchen, especially the tile and the chalkboard door.
    Thanks for linking up! :)

  3. Melissa says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. I have looked back through the photos three times and made my husband come over and look and hear about everything you’re doing. I sometimes get discouraged that I don’t have construction or medical abilities to go on certain mission trips, but your work with Alma reassures me that God can use us all with whatever gifts He has given us. I am praying for my own Alma Project. Many blessings.

  4. Afsana says:

    I love the idea behind this project. It really makes me feel good to know there are people like you guys who exist in this world. Awesome job with the kitchen! When I saw the before picture, I was curious to see what you were going to do with it. It looks like a picture out of a magazine now!

  5. Kim says:

    OH MY GOD KATE!! I was on vacation when you originally posted this, but I saw the link on Dear Lillie today. I am tearing up because that kitchen looks SOOOOO good. The before photos don’t really tell the story of how truly awful it was. It is so beautiful now! You are doing a wonderful thing for these families, and i know how much work you must have put into it. That kitchen is amazing!

    I am super excited to see the living room transformation.. Let me know if you ever need another set of hands!

  6. Gayle says:

    What a beautiful job. When I saw the “first look” I thought it was the inspiration photo, not the finished product! I can’t believe what you did on such a small budget. Wow.

  7. Mary Lucarelli says:

    What a beautiful job. I am so happy these ladies have such a warm,pretty and clean space to enjoy.

  8. Harmony says:

    Wow!! You gave them a space any family would love to enjoy. A few years back, my family helped redo some spaces for a live in drug treatment center. It was so rewarding. The Alma Projects are some of my favorite posts. Thank you for sharing your talents in so many ways. (I am updating my kitchen and have had a sample of that same glass tile sitting on my counter right now for a few weeks now. I am sold on it after seeing it in your remodel. Wish me luck:) )

  9. Charlie says:

    This is so beautiful! What a great transformation, and your budgeting skills are amazing! I’ll bet those women were so thrilled to see the new kitchen!


  10. nicole says:

    not sure if anyone already found it, but I believe this is the glass shade pendant used:–is0

    I’m getting it for my above my kitchen island!!

  11. CentsationalGirl says:

    That is the exact shape Nicole but it’s the clear glass version, thanks for the link, it will look fab in your kitchen!

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