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French Cottage Kitchen

(photo credit - Mark Lohman- for  Maison Chic Magazine)

I have often asked myself why I fell in love with this house.
Why I decided to take on all the work it needed... 
along with all the headaches,
 aching back
 and hair pulling that came along with it.

 (photo credit - Mark Lohman for Maison Chic magazine)

 There were several reasons why we bought our house...
and when I think about it...part of what talked to me was this kitchen.
It was the first thing that greeted me when I walked in with my realtor

Tall white cupboards.
Old red lucite hexagon knobs
Planks of grooved knotty pine on the walls 
and a lot of space to work with
The kitchen had a few good points that were untouched and original
in this vintage loving girls eye.

But just a few good points...
they were THE ONLY good points.
The bad points stood out much more.
This is what the kitchen looked like when we first walked in.

Ceiling fans -especially in the kitchen are totally not my thing
and that beer bottle pull on the fan string was the topper
that put me over the edge.

A vintage oven...
Now, normally a vintage oven would be charming and a nice feature if it worked
but this was vintage and not in a good way.

Mottled brown linoleum- laid over hardwood I might add.
The entire cottage had old original hardwood floors except for the bathrooms where they had put tile over the hardwood and the kitchen where they put old linoleum over the hardwood.

Most of the house had old double hung wood windows... 
but in the kitchen and living room they were in process of replacing the windows with aluminum. 
Well those aluminum windows were barely in place and with no trim,
There was unfinished sheetrock ceilings as well.

 It was a big old mess.
Beyond a big old mess really. 

Have I told you before that I see potential to a fault?
Well, I do.
It was easy to look at the kitchen and say 'gut it.' 
As a matter of fact, I do believe that was said by several people...
But I have always been a sucker for a diamond in the rough
this cottage was especially rough
 and in that roughness...
 I saw a glimmer of shine coming through.
 I knew that it could become so much more than what was right before our eyes.

I had something in mind...
 I loved those old original cupboards.
Loved. Loved. Loved them
those knotty pine walls? 
Well, they were covered in creamy paint immediately in my mind.
I saw hardwood floors, stone counters and chandeliers with a lot of bling as well
Open display cupboards for favorite dishes and collections.
Baskets in place of old drawers
A mantel above the stove 
A big center island 
 lots of French charm added to the already there cottage character.

We did the remodeling ourselves (A LOT of work!)
 and the new look for the kitchen was achieved on very little cost by working with existing
 and creating the charming space that this house needed.

This is an overview of the kitchen-
 but I will be sharing more pictures and information on details soon.

The original cupboards are constructed of thick pine-
and were perfect for removing a couple of doors on and using as open cupboards.
 I  created a little arched top for each of the cupboards by tracing a platter, 
cutting out the arch and 'caulking' the new piece into place. 
Very sophisticated construction, I know

We replaced the cracked tile with granite, the backsplash
 with bead board and found a new Kohler sink on clearance 
The original small window above the sink became a beautiful tall window that was bumped out a bit 
for a plant ledge and we replaced the other window with a taller wider window as well.

There were four drawers on each side of the sink that were removed
One of the spots became a place for the dishwasher and the other I decided to turn into shelves
for baskets  by taking wood and lining the drawer supports to create shelves.

New dark stained hardwood was laid over the linoleum 
and bead board and beams were put up on the ceiling to finish it.
(yeah... that was a job. We did this ceiling before we had a nail gun)

the hallway went right through the kitchen down to the kids bedrooms.
We changed the flow of the house by closing off the hallway and relocating it.
(this photo is from down the original hallway looking towards the kitchen)

Adding 3 unfinished cupboards stacked on each other to create a tall cupboard 
and a custom made wine rack for the extra inches that were left over-
the old hallway has become a useful area.

We then moved  the stove over to the end of the original cupboards
We constructed the mantel area above the stove
out of wood and stucco and then added corbels and a shelf.

The little breakfast nook is sitting right in front of where the original
'2nd' front door once was.

The black farmhouse island came from Costco several years back
but it had the look and size that I wanted.
I added crystal knobs to it and called it good.
It's absolutely perfect.

The double chandeliers are both vintage and both thrift store finds.
I found the first one several years before I found the second one.
I brought it home and my husband tossed that fan out 
and put the chandelier in.
Though at the time- 
everyone thought it was a little crazy (and that I was a little crazy) 
to have a chandelier in the kitchen.

A few years later in another city at a favorite thrift store- 
I bumped into the second one.
It was missing it's crystals and a few of the upper arms
but it was a perfect match.
I knew 2 chandeliers in our kitchen would be better than one
this is a long space and so here they are.

We estimate (because it was not all done at one time so give or take)
the kitchen was remodeled for somewhere around $1500 -$2500+
which includes the island, new counters, hardware, new ceilings, cupboards, lighting, windows, flooring
 and even the kitchen sink (clearance find for $5)
(but not including the appliances)
(photo credit- Mark Lohman for Maison Chic magazine)

It would have been easy to tear out the old and put in a whole new kitchen
but I loved the vintage feel of this one and wanted to keep that charm and character.
 Though we do have a couple changes planned for the kitchen coming up shortly
it already feels like it is the perfect kitchen for my French Country Cottage.

I love that this crusty neglected kitchen has turned into something 
pretty and so much like the kitchen I imagined it could be when I first saw it.
I'll share details on how we did everything in upcoming blog posts~ this one is already too long!
 I'll also share the other changes we are working on in here when they get finished up too!

You can find more about the open cupboards HERE 

Thank you Whisperwood Cottage!


  1. Courtney what a treasure. I love that you did so much yourselves and it turned from everyday ho hum to amazing and lovely. A kitchen has to show your heart and your heart shows through here.
    We have so many happy memories in our needs to be a place where you want to be. I'm sure you will enjoy all that you do...every dish washed...haha...
    Just lovely.

  2. Hi Courtney. I know how you feel, our house has needed a lot of work but the potential is just screaming in some houses. Your kitchen and whole home for that matter are delightful and you must be incredibly proud of the work you've done. Have a great day :)
    Cas x

  3. I love that you had the vision and you made it happen. You brought life back to this house. So admirable and inspiring! I read every word! Love it!

  4. I love that you had the vision and you made it happen! I read every word and loved that you brought life back to this house! So inspiring!

  5. Courtney, your kitchen is filled with so much charm. I just love it and can't wait to see what you are working on.

  6. I love, love, love your kitchen! Especially the chandeliers =)

  7. Thump....that's me falling over. I have no words...okay yes I do. It's GORGEOUS, FABULOUS..a dream! I am drooling over every detail. You (and this kitchen) are simply amazing my friend, simply AUH-MAZING!


  8. I don't even know where to had such a great vision and it's gorgeous. I love everything about your kitchen and can't wait to see how you will further improve it.


  9. Courtney,
    You have such a beautiful kitchen and it is all the more remarkable when you see those before photos! A lot of hard work but so very worth it! It is so very gorgeous!!

  10. And it couldn't be prettier! Cheers to you and your vision, courage and diligence.

  11. Beautiful kitchen! I love it that used what you already had, not too many people do that now. Several years ago we painted our old kitchen cabinets white and they look great! Love the chandliers, too! Thanks for the inspiration:)

  12. Your hard work is so evident in the beauty that this kitchen became, Courtney. You did a fabulous job while keeping the expense down.

  13. WoooooooW, that's all I got to say!!!
    Your pictures are amazing...Blessings Lori

  14. Courtney, your kitchen is truly a work of art! I see your beautiful touches everywhere, love it!!!


  15. Bravo!! The transformation is stunning! It is quite charming now - so much character! Love the chandeliers.
    I have the same corbels above my cooktop.

  16. I LOVE what you've done with that kitchen! I'd like to come over and sip a cup of tea and just soak in all that beauty! I know what you mean about work. We've been remodeling and redoing our house for the past 15 years. Doing most of it ourselves. It is WORK!
    And I've just got to say - the chandis in the kitchen are awesome! Adds the finishing touch.

  17. It is beautiful. I love that you saw the diamond in the rough. Everything turned out so nice.

  18. Courtney, your kitchen is so dreamy... it's charming and filled with special touches. No new kitchen could ever be as fab as yours. The mill work and that island are completely fabulous! I would have your kitchen in a heartbeat!!

    But it would have to come with your roses too ;)

  19. How d e l i g h t f u l!!! I do so love to see home renos! You have done a great job. I too see the potential in a place when I look at it, no matter the condition. My mother says she can't see past the mess and dirt. We are all so different. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Oh wow--your kitchen is amazing..and when you see what it came from it is almost hard to believe! Thanks for sharing. You are a hard working lady!

  21. It's just beautiful! Every detail is stunning and I love that you used so many existing elements in your renovation. It truly is a perfect french country cottage kitchen.

  22. You are living in my dream kitchen! I'm hoping to start on ours this summer, a little at a time, and turn it into a farmhouse/French/shabby chic warm and inviting place to be. Yours is absolutely gorgeous! Congratulations.


  23. Courtney~~ What an amazing transformation. I just am in love with your beautiful kitchen.
    have a wonderful day and thanks for sharing your home:)

  24. Beautiful kitchen and I love the cupboards too!

  25. I am seriously speechless! Everything is so lovely....I love it all! Can't wait to see what you're changing! Even though I can't imagine what you could do to make it better!?! :)

  26. Courtney your kitchen is beautiful and filled with so much inspiration! All that hard work paid off. Love it!!

  27. It's amazing that you did all that work yourselves on such a limited budget! I love the idea of the arches you added into the open cabinets. It gives the illusion that they were built that way. Lots of creative thinking!

  28. What an amazing transformation! It doesn't even look like the same kitchen! I absolutely love the two chandeliers. Gorgeous!


  29. Such a keeper! You guys did a great job.......

  30. I could live in your kitchen, Courtney. Such a stunning makeover, for so little money. That nook is quite inviting.

  31. I LOVE this kitchen!! What you've done in the little tweaks looks like a million dollars...and completely custom :)

    I really liked your ideas for the custom arch {using platters and caulking!!} removing the drawers, adding the baskets.

    Of course the budgeting factor is pretty impressive too!

    Thank you for sharing!

  32. Hi Courtney: I have loved every picture I see of your kitchen. I love that you kept to the old and just amped it up. That's what we have planned for our kitchen remodel, but the times have sure changed. We couldn't even get our counters for your total price..Happy May Day to You..Judy

  33. you have an amazing kitchen. my favorite is the open cabinets and the center island. You said you got it at the big box store, could you share which one?

  34. So amazing I just love to look at the prettiness

  35. Absolutely stunning! You are so talented to have such a clear and beautiful vision. Most people would not have seen the potential, but you have transformed it to an incredible standard. That kitchen must look on you as it's fairy Godmother. I don't think that even Cinderella scrubbed up so well - breathtaking!
    Love, Love, LOVE your blog! x

  36. ABsolutely gorgeous, Courtney! I LOVE the chandies and all of the hard work you guys put into it. I'm telling you ... it's only a matter of time before we see your beautiful space in a magazine!

  37. Now you have done it! I am in French Country Envy~I already am French Country Crazy!!! I also collect red transfer ware and normally do not like all these chalkboards but of course yours is heavenly,some people just have what I call the touch and you have it and it is a wow!!!! Honestly thank you for sharing your pride and joy

  38. Your kitchen is stunning! What a tremendous amount of work you have put into it too. It looks every bit worth all of the effort. Your choices in architecture/construction are beautiful but so are all your other choices in decor as well! So gorgeous!

  39. Oh my goodness. This is amazing. I am getting too old to do something on this scale, but nonetheless, you inspire me. Can you come to Nashville and teach a class? I can find some willing sycophants! Blessings!

  40. That is such a beautiful space! You did an amazing job with your transformation. I hope you're having a good week :)

  41. Stopping by for the first time and am now a new follower :)

    Kindly, Lorraine

  42. I love your beautiful kitchen! And I love that you didn't "gut" it, but worked with what you have. I also have a box store island, but in white, and am inspired to replace the knobs on the door and drawers to personalize it to our space. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  43. Courtney this is just beyond amazing! What you have done with this kitchen is one of the biggest transformations I have ever seen and your hard work paid off big time. :-) Every single detail is gorgeous and I know you must feel so proud of how it turned out. Well done friend!

  44. Courtney you have accomplishes so much! Plus importantly you had the vision of what your home could be!! Beautiful!!

    To see some more Artistic Beauty.......2012 Artist Series featuring Designer and Paper Artist; Anita Rivera ( of Castles Crowns and Cottages)is in on my site! I hope you will visit...

    Art by Karena

  45. Courtney it's just gorgeous, and you have such an eye for possibilities. I think of everything my favorite is your mantle/shelf above the stove. just perfect!!

  46. That is just stinkin' amazing!!! I love the contrast of the black island against all the white. Fabulous, Courtney, really. The little breakfast nook is great and I'm wondering if you have chairs as well? I used to have one of those built-in banquet seating areas that took up a huge amount of space but I'm thinking that what you have there would be perfect! All we'd need is one bench and a table! Love!!!

  47. This is my dREAM kitchen!!! How did you paint your cabinets? I am currently looking for a black island! Please visit me for a chance to win an Annie Sloan book! Would love to link if you have future linky parties.

  48. love the...heck, i love it all:) gorgeous, courtney!

  49. Courtney, your kitchen is just so pretty and looks just like you - pretty! I don't think I've seen those before snaps and I'm just amazed at all y'all did to make it what it is today! Love your chandies and your oven mantel.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  50. Hi Courtney,
    Your kitchen is absolutely lovely! All your hard work has paid off and its perfect for you and your family.
    It was very creative of you to use two chandelier's I love your idea.
    Have a sweet day, Elizabeth

  51. I love those chandeliers! I love your gift of photography also - you take the loveliest photos.

  52. I love the chandeliers and your gift of photography. You take the loveliest photos!

  53. I love your kitchen! I was wondering if you might tell about painting the knotty pine walls. That's what is in my kitchen and I want to paint them SO bad, but I am scared and everyone tells me not to. How do they look up close?

  54. Your kitchen is just amazing I love everything

  55. Courtney,
    You should be proud of how lovely your kitchen is.What a beautiful gem.

  56. I felt like I was standing in your kitchen and you were giving me a private tour. And I loved every single minute of reading it and looking at every detail in every photo. Love love love everything you do. My you are absolutely amazing and I am so thrilled that you have shared it with us.


  57. A true Cinderella moment for this is just beautiful!
    A room that was a labor of love and now a room to love to labor in!

  58. Courtney,
    You did a wonderful makeover's sooooo stunning my friend!!!


  59. Courtney your kitchen truly was a work of art. You certainly had a vision that came to life in a big way. Your kitchen is beautiful.

  60. Courtney I absolutely love your kitchen. You have amazing vision. Most people would have just gutted the old kitchen. I have a couple of chandeliers in my kitchen and love them. You island is perfect for the space. A lot of work, but it is beautiful.

  61. Courtney,

    Let me also add to the glowing reviews of your gorgeous kitchen remodel!Your email had me at twin crystal chandeliers & corbels- two of my absolute favorite home decor accents. Bravo to you and your husband, the DIY undertaking, and the fabulous finished look!

  62. Wow, Courtney!

    I am very rarely at a loss for words. Stunning. Perfect! *drool*


  63. What a beautiful kitchen!
    Just gorgeous!
    Would you share what paint color you used?
    Thank you for inspiring us!
    Will visit again soon.
    The Porcelain Rose

  64. Just BEAUTIFUL my dear can see all the love and work you guys have put into this kitchen..Love it girl..Maybe one day I'll see it in person..Hugs and smiles Gloria

  65. Absolutely gorgeous-love it. You did a fabulous job here on a budget.

  66. Love your kitchen! - What a transformation :)
    Greetings from Australia♥

  67. Courtney, I love your story of your kitchen! right down to your creative way of making those arches. You are a woman with vision for sure! This kitchen you have created would have cost 30 grand if you gutted and started all over. i love that you used your vision and created such a fabulous space. And I think it is fantastic, the amount you saved, by using your creativity. You go girl!
    eileen @ Cottage Beach House

  68. Newest follower! LOVE the kitchen!!

  69. I love what you've done. We too moved in an old beat up house, that we're trying to work our way through. Your kitchen remodel gives me hope it can be done.

  70. Beautiful and inspirational, especially on that budget. Wow!!

  71. I am just now seeing your GORGEOUS kitchen and WOW!!!! I love every single detail!!! what a beautiful space you have created! I know what you mean, the diamond in the rough! I can see it every time! :) Lovely, ALL of it! :)

  72. I found you via Pinterest! I LOVE this ceiling and have actually just done my own kitchen this way as well. I am wondering if you will have a post about how you did yours and the finish you applied to the beam? I also made a beam (I assume you made yours) but painted mine white but now I am considering distressing like yours!

  73. What a wonderful kitchen and great vision!
    Could you tell me what you used for counter? I love how it looks and how you finished it :)

  74. Oh my. Came across your kitchen on Pinterest. It is a dream! What a marvelous job you have done!

  75. Absolutely won-der-ful! Your breakfast nook is a dream of mine. I could live all year round just in a kitchen like yours. Bravo!

  76. was your cost $15,000 to $20,000. We have a small 11oo sq foot house and the kitchen is very tiny we spent $9,000 without the cost of new vinyl. Beautiful kitchen.

    1. Actually it was only somewhere around $2000. We did all the work ourselves- kept most of the original cupboards and only added a few hundred dollars worth of new ones, the chandeliers were only $15 each at the thrift store, etc. That amount does not include appliance costs.

  77. You kitchen is just beautiful, and is inspiring me for an upcoming remodel that is still in the planning stage. Thanks for sharing all the details!

  78. I couldn't resist commenting and telling you this kitchen is so beautiful! I'm building my own house now and am going to use a bunch of these ideas! Thanks!

  79. I love your kitchen! I had something of yours pinned, and now finally had a chance to check out your blog. Love!I can't tell you how or why I adore French style ( I am an Italian girl born in Brooklyn), but it just makes my heart sing .. Thanks for sharing so much beauty. I'll be back....

  80. I'm using this as inspiration for my kitchen! We have rickety drawers made of plastic with wood fronts from goodness-knows-when, probably 1970s (our house was built in 1894, but I think the previous owners last updated in the 70s). The drawers don't close properly and one of them broke completely, so it's just screwed shut. I can't afford to completely remodel the kitchen, but your idea for baskets in place of drawers will work PERFECTLY! And the fluted trim/rosettes you use are almost IDENTICAL to the ones we used to trim out the space for our dishwasher, so it will look GREAT! Plus, I've been dying to get beadboard for the backsplash! Can't wait to do this. (Just have to convince the hubby that we don't need drawers, that baskets will do.) FYI, here's a link to my blog where I remodel furniture (mostly in a French Country style).

  81. Bravo! It's simply incredible! I wish I could see it in a video form to get the full affect. Lovely!

  82. Courtney, I just love every detail of your kitchen! It is so romantic and elegant at the same time. We are currently remodeling our kitchen, and our decorating style is french country/cottage. We would appreciate if you shared what paint color you used for the wall/beaded board backsplash. Also, how did you transitioned from beaded board to stove back splash? Thanks again for inspiring us!

  83. Who would ever thought this is the same kitchen. What a grand transformation!!! So beautifully done. Great work! Totally love it!

  84. I LOVE your kitchen and your home. Just featured this on my Friday Favorites post :) Have a great weekend!
    ~Katie @ Upcycled Treasures

  85. Amazing Kitchen!! I love everything that you certainly had a vision when you bought your house!

  86. I love your kitchen! You certainly had a vision when you purchased your home!

  87. Beautiful space. We are on a limited budget and are redoing our kitchen as well. What did you use for your countertops to keep your cost so low?

  88. You did a wonderful job! It's just beautiful ! Iam with you on the beer bottle motif !

  89. Your kitchen is amazing, and what is more amazing is that you could see what a beauty it could be!! Your hard work has paid out in ten fold with such a wonderful space that is the heart of your home!! the transformation astounds me!!!

  90. Such a lovely blog i love your idea it gives me a idea thank you...

  91. Your vision and hard work truly paid off! I never tire of looking at the beauty of your home and your kitchen. You are a true artist.

  92. Hi Courtney! I love your kitchen! Great Job! Can you tell me where you got your pretty curtains?? Thank you

  93. Hi Jo!!
    They are actually from my mom- and are from the 1980's haha! I asked her about them because I loooooved them when I was growing up- and she had them all boxed up in the garage and gave them to me :) They were a custom order from JCPenney though if that helps?

  94. i love white kitchen cabinets on first picture. its look elegant & adorable