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.


First Things First

Hope you all had a great weekend. It was gorgeous here in DC, bright and sunny, highly unusual in fall. I took this opportunity to get a lot done. I spent Saturday unpacking and putting things away. Haven’t started decorating the main part of the house yet. I enjoy decorating so what’s the rush anyway?

The front porch

Where we have started redoing is the basement/ ground floor. The basement is a walk-out to the back yard with plenty of natural light from the windows.

As I might have mentioned before, we plan to rent 2 of the rooms out for a while. I want the tenants to enjoy my home and give them a great place to live. A place they love to come home to as much as us. The best part of this section of the house is that it has its own separate entrance which gives everyone privacy.

As it goes for most of us, resources for home improvements and decoration are limited. This part of the house is especially low budget but high priority. So being economically creative is of utmost importance.(duh!) We decided to start with the flooring for two of the bedrooms and hall, painting for three bedrooms, and updating the kitchen.

Projects 1+2 – Painting and flooring

Mr. Mochatini, aka Paul did a lot of the work, painting, and flooring. I must say I am really impressed with his level of skill, finish and mostly initiative to undertake these projects. . The rest of the house is all hardwood floors. I wanted to give the basement the same look without the price tag of the real hardwood. So we went with vinyl tiles from Home Depot. I think you will be pleased to see the outcome. Here is a glimpse. The walls have been painted already in white.

basement-bedroom1-flooring before


Apart from the look, I went with these because they are easy to clean and replace not to mention extremely economical.

Project 3- Kitchen face-lift

I am working on giving the downstairs kitchen a new look. Nothing really wrong with the cabinets, except the impractical installation. The electric range doesn’t even fit in the narrow space! The hood is misplaced. And frankly I find the cabinets boring. They are solid and in good condition. Practically new, so buying new cabinets for a second kitchen isn’t money well spent (well not until I have experimented with them anyway). I decided to paint them heirloom white. I also got some lovely 2×2 ceramic mosaic tiles that I want to create a back-splash with. You will have to wait to see the finished kitchen to see pictures of those. Here are some before and in progress pictures.


I really don’t like the ceramic tile flooring here, but changing those will have to wait for a while.


I was so impatient to see how they looked with the paint, I screwed the cabinets on the far left upside down. 🙂 I have to take them back down anyway for the next steps. What do you think so far? I am deliberating painting the cabinet structure in the same white paint as the cabinet doors. So far I like the contrast and the softness the heirloom white paint adds to the doors. It also accentuates the handles. I plan on changing the counter top to this one from Ikea. It is in a Walnut finish.


Progress updates and initial pictures of the house to come shortly. Meanwhile have a great week. 🙂