Project: Basement Kitchen – The Story Thus Far

The project outline: Kitchen face-lift to create a more open, attractive and functional kitchen space.

Tasks: Painting, countertop, backsplash, cabinets……….

I am really enjoying redoing the basement kitchen. I love designing, creating, working with my hands and it is a fun team activity. ( Paul and me) You would think that finding the energy for a project like this, would be hard. What with full days of work, blogging, social commitments, chores (umm, I do some chores, I think) and a zillion other tasks, it is next to impossible to stay on course. But you know, so far I love it. Despite it being physical in nature, I find remodeling and decorating relaxing.

I want this space to be one of those efficiency kitchens that also doubles as a bar and buffet area for parties. Clean, defined, welcoming

The budget for this project is very limited (under 350$) and we are doing a good job so far keeping it well under that.


I wanted to paint the cabinets to a shade of white. I used a spray paint shade called heirloom white. It has a nice antique white look. I was quite happy with the contrast and softness this shade of paint added to the cabinets. I couldn’t wait to see how these would look with my new countertop. I had my heart set on a butcher’s block but the real deal is far too expensive and I wanted to keep the entire cost for the countertop under $100.


I found the perfect one I was looking for at Ikea. PRAGEL laminate countertops that are moisture, stain and heat resistant. In Walnut finish for only $39 for a 49″ slab.

Yanking out the old countertop using a crowbar was such a fun and liberating activity. I was amazed at how easily I was able to remove the old countertop. After sawing and sizing the new PRAGEL, I wanted to see how they looked before doing anything more. So we placed the new countertops on the cabinets.

Basement Kitchen

Basement Kitchen

Guess what? It didn’t quite go with the cabinets. While I liked the softness and contrast the heirloom white added, together the look was just not happening for me. To complete the look that I have in mind, I decided to paint the entire cabinets in heirloom white. The electric stove in this kitchen is also white and the hood is creamish yellow (yuk!). I am researching how to paint the hood to match the stove.

When redesigning and remodeling, I tend to take time outs to look at the space and progress thus far. I think it helps me evaluate if I am going in the right direction. A lot of times, it all works beautifully on paper, but looks very different in reality. In one of those time-outs, something about the space was still bothering me. I felt it was not as airy and open with the wall cabinets. The room appeared to be dominated by them.

A few minutes of power drill action later I was really glad with the outcome. The room looked more open and welcoming sans wall cabinets. I plan to install floating shelves and some hanging organizers from Ikea like these.

Hanging Rods and S-hooks

hanging dish rack

The funnest part so far was creating the backsplash.

Basement Kitchen

I found the perfect 2″ ceramic tiles at Home Depot for under 3$ a sq. ft. I highly recommend using the premixed mortar and grout. They make tiling more efficient and easy.

Basement Kitchen


This is how the kitchen looks as of last night. What do you think?

Pending tasks:

  • We ran out of the tiles to complete the border around the countertop. Item on Home Depot list.
  • Grouting. We have to wait 24-36 hours before grouting.
  • Painting entire cabinets
  • Painting the wall
  • Paint the hood
  • Find hood vent cover. I am looking for something acrylic or stainless steel to cover the top portion of the hood
  • Installing shelves and rods for organizing
  • Find appropriate photograph to use as art in this space
  • Install countertop ( we have placed them on the cabinets to help design the room, but it is one of the last things to install)
  • Lighting. I need to find small accent lights to complete the makeover

Posts on Mochatini to be on the look out for:

Entire kitchen makeover costs and break down – along with techniques and tips.

How to plan highly economic upgrades to kitchens.

How to install tiles and you can’t believe how easy it is.

Creative organizing using Ikea rod/Shook combos around the house

And: Reader questions on kitchen makeovers.


What’s in your Kitchen?

As a designer, I encourage clients to bright, safe, functional and sustainable kitchens.

When planning a kitchen, creating a functionality list is not only helpful but essential. How many members of the house use it, if at all? And for what purpose(s)? And yes sometimes I take into account answers that disclose using the oven as shoe storage :).

Is it just for dinners and weekend meals? Or is it the center of activity? Multi functional? Pets? Kids etc..

As a couple, we love to cook together, entertain, and experiment with our culinary skills. I am a sucker for gadgets, tools and appliances, that add to this experience. These factors and more influence the design of my kitchen.

Some of the points on my list for a kitchen are: it needs to be an organized, equipped, functional, bright and modern space. A space that inspires creativity, entertaining, recycling (compost and glass bottles) and health.

I need lots of storage space. For all daily and occasional china, beverage crystal and daily glasswares, pots and pans, appliances, and a decent sized work counter. I love to add life by keeping some of my herbs in the kitchen. Having fresh herbs handy encourages me to use them more in my cooking.

I would also love to walk out to a garden or comfy lounge seats from my kitchen. See image# 9 & 11.

So enough about my kitchen.

What’s in your kitchen? The one you have, the one you would like to have? What is important to you in kitchens? I would love to hear about your kitchen concerns.

Meanwhile, take a look at some of these for inspiration. Some of these are potential options for our new space. The search for which is still ongoing..

I am starting with Ikea. They recently released their 2009 catalog and it looks very promising. I visited their store in Woodbridge, VA to look at offerings in kitchens.  Their collections let you play with so many options as well as mix and match to suit your style and budget.

Have any of you used Ikea’s kitchen installation services? What would you say about their expertise and timelines?







images courtesy of

And if you have deeper pockets, and want an upscale, cutting edge, and the very best in quality, I recommend the God of kitchen design – Poggen Pohl.

I went to one of their showrooms in Manhattan with my interior design sourcing class (NYU). We all fellin love with each display. The finish and design are exceptional.

Poggenpohl is the innovative designer kitchen “made in Germany”, synonymous with international luxury and representing top aesthetic and technical quality. The feeling of owning a Poggenpohl kitchen belongs to style-conscious individuals who “know what counts”. In over 60 countries across the globe.






And finally feast your eyes on these gorgeous kitchens by Snaidero – Italian kitchen designers.








Change your mind about take-away yet?