Our Transitional Kitchen Reno

After nearly a year, our kitchen is finally complete!

(OK – it was completed a month after we moved in. But I took my time finding the table & chairs.)

When we made the decision to move into this home, the kitchen was one of my major pain points. It was dated, dark and completely outside of my tastes. We knew that updating it would make a massive difference, but since we hadn’t decided how long to stay in the home we wanted to do so on a reasonable budget. Here’s what it looked like before:

If you’re facing a similar challenge, you’re in luck. I’m going to share before & afters, exactly what we changed and all of our sources for this transitional kitchen renovation.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

First thing’s first: to save major money in any renovation, the first thing you need to wrap your head around is working with what you have. For us, this meant leaving the walls and cabinetry where they were and also using the original flooring. We were lucky to have solid wood cabinets that were also in great shape.

We gave the cabinets a fresh coat of paint, using Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace on the uppers and Benjamin Moore Racoon Fur on the lowers. These hues work perfectly with the colour we have on our walls throughout the house: Benjamin Moore Paper White, a shade-shifting white/grey. They pair perfectly with brass accents, a must-have for my aesthetic.

While we didn’t paint the interiors, I do wish we had taken that step and would so so next time. Instead, I scrubbed them out and then spent a day lining cabinets and drawers with contact paper (thanks, Mom!).

We were super pleased with the outcome. Even my father-in-law, who was on team “full kitchen gut” was shocked by how much a couple of coats of paint did to refresh the space.

New Quartzite Countertops + Backsplash

My favourite part of the kitchen is definitely the Quartzite countertops. I was dead set on marble, but a year in, I’m extremely happy we went with this lower-maintenance option. Our Quartzite slab has the exact marble look and natural stone feeling (it’s cold!) we were looking for without as much worry about etching and staining. I’m really glad we went with it over a manufactured stone option like Caesarstone.

A close second favourite is this backsplash, with tiles purchased for a steal at Home Depot. I’m forever indebted to Eric, who works with Mike and installed this beautiful backsplash for us. I love the arabesque shape and the light grey grout that provides just enough contrast.

Finishing Touches

Once all the big decor decisions had been made, the hunt was on for some of the smaller items that would personalize our kitchen. I paired our super-deep stainless sink (deep and wide enough for my largest Le Creuset pot and to hide dirty dishes) with this matte-stainless pull-down faucet.

A printed runner from Homesense hides any spills and also injects a pop of colour into our space. Believe it or not, our compost bin is the most asked about item in our kitchen. It’s unobtrusive thanks to its modern lines and white/grey colouring and has held up well over the last year (find it here).

Finding our table & chairs was a bit of a drawn out process. The kind of ‘drawn out’ that makes your husband bug you about it daily. I had my heart set on a certain Restoration Hardware table & chairs, but they didn’t make sense from a budget/quality perspective given they were made in China from veneers.

Instead, we found a solid wood option made right here in Canada. While we didn’t necessarily save on price, we got a high-quality item that should last a really long time. Our round pedestal table is from Naked Furniture, a local vendor that makes each solid wood piece to order. My sister-in-law tracked down these chairs that were half the price of my coveted RH version.

We’ve injected personality into our kitchen with a framed tea towel from our anniversary trip to Martha’s Vineyard and a trio of handpainted watercolours from our trip to Florence. Next up is a shelf above the espresso machine to house my set of vintage canisters and spice jars!

Before I let you go, let’s talk appliances. To keep things moderate on the budget front, we planned to install only the dishwasher. Last summer, our fridge gave out. Then, we started losing burners on the existing stove in the fall. While we hadn’t planned to buy new appliances, we got a great deal on them at Lowes. They really complete our kitchen, so I’m happy we got forced into that change.

We’re so in love with our kitchen renovation and I hope this mini kitchen tour gives you a bit of inspiration for your own reno journey.


Paint – Benjamin Moore (Chantilly Lace uppers, Racoon Fur lowers , Paper White walls throughout)
Cabinet Hardware – Richelieu Satin Brass Teramo Pulls / Richelieu Satin Brass Teramo Knobs (Home Depot)
Countertops – Quartzite via Marble Plus
Backsplash Arabesque Tile on Mesh (Home Depot)
Faucet – Moen Hensley Pull-Down Kitchen Sprayer in Stainless Steel (Home Depot)
Sink – Blanco
Appliances – Frigidaire French Door Refrigerator & Frigidaire Professional Slide In Range (Lowes)
Lighting FixturePrima Lighting

Table – Naked Furniture
Chairs – GH Johnson Trading Co.
Bar Cart – Walmart