Mum shares how she transformed her kitchen – and tips for others

Quite the transformation (Image: Danielle Parisi)

When graphic designer Danielle Parisi moved into her Buckinghamshire home six years ago, she knew the kitchen – along with various other rooms – needed a new life.

But the mother of two, who has always had an eye for interior design, decided to tackle the kitchen project herself.

Danielle, who runs Três Paper Co, said: “When we moved in we liked the spaces – but not the color scheme and style of the kitchen as it was. We were faced with dark colors on the cabinets, floor and tile and needed to bring some light in to make it feel like ours.

“We liked the layout and the units were in good condition so it would be a waste to discard them – and I always try to upcycle before replacing anything to save resources and help sustainability.”

the kitchen in front of it

The dated kitchen before (Image: Danielle Parisi)

the kitchen in front of it

It needed an update (Image: Danielle Parisi)

After searching Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration, she decided to first prep the cabinets and then paint.

Danielle did this by removing all the doors and numbering them on the inside to make them easier to put back on. She then removed all hardware from the areas to be painted and ordered new brass handles for the cabinet doors.

After that, she used sugar soap to clean each surface to be painted.

“If your units and doors are defective, this is the right time to fix them. Our doors had knots, so we used a wood spatula to make the surfaces flat and smooth,” she explains.

“Sand down the doors and units. You don’t have to remove the entire top layer of treatment, but make sure it’s rough enough for the paint to adhere to the surface. Some people actually skip this step, but we decided to do it just in case.

“Make sure the doors are on a level surface so the paint doesn’t run off, then start priming.”

the kitchen in front of it

Danielle was determined to keep the wood (Image: Danielle Parisi)

The kitchen after the transformation

So she decided to upcycle it (Image: Danielle Parisi)

Danielle used Zinsser primer and three coats of Farrow & Ball Estate Eggshell paint – as well as Cornforth White on the upper units and Railings on the lower units.

She also gave the paint enough time to cure and lightly sanded away any imperfections between coats to achieve the perfect finish.

Next on the list was painting the wall tiles – something the mother-of-two wasn’t sure about at first but is now glad she did.

She continues: “This was the biggest gamble for us as I had never used tile paint before and wasn’t too sure of the results but figured if they didn’t look good after painting we could replace them.

“It was worth a try and it was the best decision I’ve made.

“I love the tiles so much that if we had replaced them I would have chosen the exact same color for new tiles, also the color goes really well with the cabinets and the color is even in the most heavily used areas such as the bathroom cabinets. B. still intact as around the stove and sink.’

Danielle’s step-by-step guide to painting wall tiles:

1. “Clean all surfaces to be painted at least twice, use sugar soap towels to remove all grease. Repeat this as often as necessary, especially around the hearth and don’t ignore the grout, they also need to be degreased for a perfect finish.

2. “You can stick velcro around cabinets and wall anchors if you prefer at this time. Use a coat of primer on all surfaces to be coated.

3. “We used three coats, mainly because we were painting dark tiles a light shade, otherwise two might have been enough. It’s best to use a small foam roller and keep the layers thin to ensure a lasting result.

4. “Sand off any run-off paint between coats. Once we were happy with the color we used a white grout pencil to go over all of the grout lines. This was time consuming due to the style of the tiles but the result is amazing.”

The kitchen after the transformation

She even painted the tiles (Image: Danielle Parisi)

The kitchen after the transformation

She primed and painted the doors (Image: Danielle Parisi)

After the cabinets and wall tiles were done, the biggest job was replacing the floor tiles.

Danielle says: “My husband tore down the old tiles and prepared the floor for the new tiles and within a week we had them installed. The switch from dark to light flooring made the kitchen seem so much larger. ‘

In all, the DIY kitchen makeover cost £1,365 – of which £505 was for the tiles and £860 for other materials and the labor of an extra tiler.

The kitchen after the transformation

Danielle is pleased that she has opted for lighter floor tiles (Photo: Danielle Parisi)

the corner of the new kitchen

The finished look (Image: Danielle Parisi)

Long shot of the new kitchen

It took Danielle and her husband three months to finish (Image: Danielle Parisi)

The couple spent just over three months completing the project – as Danielle had to balance two young children and her full-time job alongside the renovation.

She adds, “It took us three months to complete the cabinets including the base, but that was mainly because I was doing it in my spare time between a full-time job and having a baby and toddler.

“The wall tiles were much quicker, taking me about four days, mainly because the layers were allowed to dry completely before new ones were applied. The laying of the floor tiles took about a week from removing and preparing to applying all the finishing touches.’

Long shot of the new kitchen

A light and bright space (Image: Danielle Parisi)

Long shot of the new kitchen

They spent just over £1,300 in total (Image: Danielle Parisi)

Shelf details in the kitchen

Danielle says she’s glad she took the time – and advises others to do the same (Image: Danielle Parisi)

More: lifestyle

But this is something Danielle would also advise other people considering a DIY kitchen renovation to do.

The graphic designer adds: “Take your time, a rushed job doesn’t last long, it’s worth taking the time to make sure you get a great result.

“And finally, don’t pressure yourself: we figured if it didn’t work or didn’t look good, we’d consider replacing it.

“As it turned out, we absolutely loved it and it suits our family life at a fraction of the cost of a new kitchen.”

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