The kitchen in Danette Richards’s house hadn’t been updated in over 20 years and was in need of improvement. To bring the kitchen into the 21st century on a limited budget, we tackled the following projects.

Inexpensive kitchen makeover projects:

    • Kitchen Cabinets: To dress up the cabinets, we applied mitered molding to the plain plywood doors, replaced a damaged hanging cabinet, painted the cabinets, and replaced the hardware.
    • Kitchen Countertops: We replaced the old countertops with molded Formica plastic laminate countertops.
    • Sink & Faucet: To improve the function of the kitchen, we installed a new stainless steel sink and Moen Walden pullout faucet.
  • Range Hood: We install a Broan range hood over the stove to remove smoke, moisture and odors from the kitchen.

Further Information

  • Great Updates for Your Kitchen (article/video)

Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner, we’re taking on a cool kitchen makeover that’s bound to give you some ideas and make a big change for one happy homeowner.

Danette Richards: You think I can throw it in the dumpster?

Danny Lipford: Sure. Sure.

Danette Richards: It’ll make me feel great.

Danny Lipford: Kitchen renovations capture people’s imagination. Maybe it’s because there’s so much you can do with one, or because there’s so many dated kitchens out there.

For Danette Richards it’s mostly the latter. She shares this beautiful older home with her two dogs, and it has lots of curb appeal but the kitchen, not so much.

Danette Richards: Well, the house was built in 1927, and I’ve lived here 22 years, it is my forever home, I believe. It was definitely a fixer-upper. I spent a lot of time, first few years going through each room. After a few years, you know, you kind of move to something else in the kitchen. The kitchen never got, never got touched. And it is definitely in need of work. You know, kitchens are complicated. And a little intimidating.

Danny Lipford: That sounds like my cue to check this kitchen out.

Danette Richards: They cut the bottom of the cabinets out…

Danny Lipford:Oh! Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

Danette Richards: Yeah, I guess to… I know.

Danny Lipford: Wow.

Danette Richards: I guess they had to fit their refrigerator in and…

Danny Lipford: Well, you don’t have a hood, now originally I guess there was a hood.

Danette Richards: I had one just kind of put up like that but it never connected. And one day I was cleaning it, “boom,” it just fell off.

Danny Lipford: It had to go.

Danette Richards: It had to go. So, I’ve never… I haven’t really had, a good vent hood. And I don’t cook that much, that might be why.

Danny Lipford: Do you like this color?

Danette Richards: Well, the problem with the color is… This kitchen doesn’t get a lot of light.

Danny Lipford: Right.

Danette Richards: It stays really, really dark. That’s why I have the sheers here just to try to get as much light as possible.

Danny Lipford: That’s great. You know the doors are fine but… There’s a lot of ways to dress up existing doors and that kind of thing. Now are you fond of the countertop?

Danette Richards: Gosh, you just… Yeah, not necessarily. I really would like to have a new countertop that looks, more current, more up to date, cool.

Danny Lipford: The old edge band like this, was something that they did, I don’t know, years and years they did that but now you know, things are built a little more sleek, a little more easier to clean, that type of thing. Because I imagine you battled with that a lot. I’ll tell you what, everything you have here, we can make a big improvement without spending a lot of extra money. And I have a few ideas.

I’ll tell you what, let me get a few measurements, let’s make, you know, a few notes here and then let me see if I can put together a plan to figure this thing out.

That plan will include new countertops, a new range hood, and a solution for the cabinets that house it. So my daughter Chelsea and Danette head to the local Home Depot to select the materials we’ll need.

Danette Richards: Oh… I think….

Chelsea Lipford: That looks really good. It matches.

Danette Richards: I think we may have scored on that one.

Chelsea Lipford: I like that.

Danny Lipford: Once everything is selected, Danette gets busy cleaning out the kitchen before Allen and I arrive to start taking it apart. You’re going to have fun getting rid of your ugly countertop.

Danette Richards: Oh, you better believe it. Here we go.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, there’s a seam right there. I believe Allen had just mentioned water damage.

Allen Lyle: Yeah, that’s water damage.

Danny Lipford: Falling apart.

Danette Richards: Ugh!

Danny Lipford: Ready, one, two, three…

Danette Richards: Whoo-hoo! All righty! You think I can throw it in the dumpster?

Allen Lyle: Sure.

Danny Lipford: Sure.

Allen Lyle: Would that make you feel good?

Danette Richards: Oh! Oh, yeah. It’ll make me feel great. Mmm.

Danny Lipford: Once we have the appliances and the countertops removed… Why is it crooked?

Allen Lyle: Cause it’s on my toe.

Danny Lipford: Both Allen and I can start checking out the cabinets. I don’t think we can rebuild these things, I think you need to just tear all this out.

Allen Lyle: I think so too. I think we need… Well, you’re right. We need a three here. The refrigerator is small though, it’s like a 30 inch refrigerator. Let’s at least put a 33 on this side. Because if we do that, that gives us a nine-inch here and that way we can bring that down to the height of this one, where it comes down to a 30-inch level. Yeah. That gives us a spot to snug a new range hood, just because there’s no range hood here.

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Allen Lyle: Danny, what do you say after doing that let’s put a nice inch base down here to separate that…

Danny Lipford: Is there enough room there?

Allen Lyle: I think there’s plenty of room for that nine. That separates…

Danny Lipford: Well and this will fit a little section of countertop there.

Allen Lyle: Yeah, yeah, cause I hate seeing a stove right next to a refrigerator.

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Allen Lyle: Let’s give it a buffer in there.

Danny Lipford: All the baking grease gets right on the side of it.

Allen Lyle: It does. All right, I’m off to shop.

Danny Lipford: While Allen gets started building our new cabinets back at the shop, Danette and I get started removing the old ones. Why don’t you take and start bumping down on this rack here? Just see if we can get some movement.

Danette Richards: Like that?

Danny Lipford: There you go. All right that’s good…

Danette Richards: Whoo-hoo!

Danny Lipford: There you go. Just keep throwing it behind you there. Yeah, there you go. There you go. There you go.

Danette Richards: Man, this makes you feel good, doesn’t it?

Danny Lipford: It does!

Danette Richards: Now, what’s… What’s up with that? Is that supposed to be like that?

Danny Lipford: That’s not much ventilation. No, not at all.

Danette Richards: Welcome to my house.

Danny Lipford: This will no longer be needed. You know, Danette I don’t really know if we did that by removing some of this or it’s been that way but… It looks pretty dangerous.

Danette Richards: Wow.

Danny Lipford: We’re going to have to get an electrician in here to… To take care of that part of it.

Danette Richards: Well, Danny, I’ve got a really good friend, Mark, who can take care of this.

Danny Lipford: Really? Oh, perfect. Perfect…

Danette Richards: He’s an electrician.

Danny Lipford: We’ll have to call him and also… To solve this mystery, I mean this looks like a speaker wire.

Danette Richards: Mmm-hmm. Well, he can take care of that too.

Danny Lipford: Good, good, good. Because I’m sure that’s not sufficient for the new range hood we have, I don’t know where that came from but we’ll get him to take care of that. But, first thing we need to do is good old fashioned task of removing wallpaper. So…

Danette Richards: Oh, no!

Danny Lipford: So, while we get started on that chore, why don’t you check out Joe’s simple solution for this week.

Joe Truini: One of the most useful accessories you can add to a kitchen sink is a pump soap dispenser. The problem is you have to refill them constantly because the bottle attached to the pump is only about a pint sized bottle.

And so it’s empty, and you have to refill it. Now, how do you fill these easily? Well, there is no way. Either you have to remove the bottle, fill it with a larger bottle of soap. Or you have to remove the pump, and try pouring it down there. But then you can’t see when the bottle’s full, and it has a tendency to overflow onto the sink.

So here’s the solution. Go out to a hardware store or a home center, and buy a length of flexible, clear tubing—this is about a quarter-inch diameter. And what we’re going to do is extend the tube on the pump. So just stick the fill tube from the pump onto the tubing—just wedge it on maybe a half-inch or so.

And now take the other end of the tubing, feed it down through the hole in the sink, put the pump back, and now reach under there and find the opposite end. Now what you can do is take it and just put it right into an economy size jug of liquid soap—put it right through the top, all the way down there. And now just start pumping.

Now it might take a few minutes for the soap to come out, but with that giant jug down there, you’ll only have to refill this maybe once every couple of months. Maybe not even that often.

And now once the tube is filled with a couple of quick pumps the soap is coming right out. And now there’s one less excuse for not doing the dishes.

Danny Lipford: This week we’re helping Danette Richards to rehab the kitchen in her 87-year-old house. Allen is back at the shop building the replacement cabinets, while Danette and I remove the existing cabinet doors to get them ready to paint. We’re going to patch a few of these holes to where we have this handle here…

Danette Richards: Mmm-hmm.

Danny Lipford: And I know you’ve selected just the knobs.

Danette Richards: Mmm-hmm, yeah.

Danny Lipford: So, we’ll take both of these out, and we’ll patch these holes. And then we’ll see if these holes line up with your new hinges.

Danette Richards: Mmm-hmm.

Danny Lipford: And then we can start sanding and painting.

Danette Richards: Oh, yay.

Danny Lipford: Okay, I’ll let you take care of that. So while Danette removes the rest of the doors, I get a work station setup outside to prep them for paint.

Danette Richards: Okay, it’s the last one.

Danny Lipford: You already finished?

Danette Richards: Oh, yeah.

Danny Lipford: Boy you did that fast.

Danette Richards: I try to work fast.

Danny Lipford: We’re actually using automobile body filler here instead of wood putty because it dries harder and much more quickly. And also any little indentation that you might have, this takes care of it as well.

Danette Richards: I’m excited, cause it’s going to be a lot lighter kitchen in there.

Danny Lipford: All right, let’s just turn those over and we can go ahead and get you started on the sanding. The fun part.

Danette Richards: Oh, sanding.

Danny Lipford: All you want to do is keep moving. And you want to go with the grain. So we’ll turn it on… That’s all you want to do. So, we don’t have to strip all of the paint off. You just mainly want to get… We’re just kind of knocking the gloss off of it a little bit.

Danette Richards: Okay.

Danny Lipford: And we’ll use a finer grit paper later. But that… Is really all you’ll want to do on the first pass. That’ll be good. Now, I would like to give you, something here. There you go.

Danette Richards: Oh. Real attractive.

Danny Lipford: And some really cool shades here. You’ll really like these. And then, I’m going to skip out on you again and go back inside. Don’t look at me like that. And then go back inside and I’m going to do the drywall, try to patch up where we had a little bit of damage on that.

Danette Richards: Okay, so I see why you’re so clean and I’m not.

Danny Lipford: Well it’s all in the planning. Danette has the cabinet doors under control but when I get inside to tackle the drywall, her friend Mark has arrived to handle our electrical problems. So, Mark, see, I don’t know what happened there, we broke the bottom part of that thing off.

Mark Hutcheson: Yeah, it’s just a broken receptacle behind the refrigerator, swap it out real quick.

Danny Lipford: And what’d you find here? I see a new wire but this doesn’t look like a new wire.

Mark Hutcheson: Well, it’s an old wire. They had that old piece of speaker wire tied into a junction box up there above the ceiling. So, we just cleared that up and we got a wire for the vent hood now.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, that’s lucky, well… Maybe you can stick around and do some drywall work.

Mark Hutcheson: Okay, I could do that.

Danny Lipford: Once he’s finished in that area, I’m back on track with the drywall touchups. I’m also filling in the screw holes in the low places in the cabinet boxes before I clean them with degreaser to prepare them for paint. The last step in getting these ready to paint…

Danette Richards: Mmm-hmm.

Danny Lipford: Is a little more sanding.

Danette Richards: Danny.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, come on, you were so good at it though, so… Here’s your little friend. Just, just… Sand the outside of the boxes and we’ll be ready to paint in the morning.

Danette Richards: Yes, sir.

Danny Lipford: Once Danette and her sander have done their work, we start masking off the floor in preparation for painting. But that will have to wait for day two. Hey, hey good morning.

Danette Richards: Hey, good morning.

Danny Lipford: Once we get inside, we’re able to quickly install the new cabinets. The crucial element here is lining up the faces of the old and the new. That’s why Allen is clamping and screwing the face frames together before we attach them to the wall. It is also important that each piece be plumb and level so that it all looks good together. The cabinet boxes are looking great now, so it’s time to trick out the doors. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the cabinet doors the way they are right now, but there’s a way that we can kind of dress it up with applying some molding. And I picked up four different kinds and, maybe you’ll like one of these.

Danette Richards: I like this one, the simplicity of it…

Danny Lipford: Mmm-hmm.

Danette Richards: But, it seems a little bit wide.

Danny Lipford: We can actually, use the table saw, cut it down a little bit, make it more like a bead molding. So, that’s what we do before we lay one out, to see how it works. Okay, we’ll line this up and… What do you think?

Danette Richards: Wow! Perfect!

Danny Lipford: You want to do ’em all?

Danette Richards: I think so.

Danny Lipford: All right. All right. Easy enough. While Danette and I begin applying the molding to the door fronts with glue and brad nails, Allen is inside getting ready to spray the cabinet boxes with primer.

He’s using a high volume, low pressure sprayer from Wagner that’ll create a very smooth finish without lots of over spray which is very important when you’re spray-painting inside your home. The key to this kind of application is slow, consistent passes that overlap each other by about 50 percent until the object is uniformly covered.

The beauty is that it goes quickly and leaves no brush marks. While we keep plugging away at this kitchen remodel, why don’t you check out this week’s best new product with Jodi.

Jodi Marks: You know there’s nothing like having an organized kitchen because it makes cooking fun, but it also makes your clean up go a lot faster.

Shea Pettaway: Yes, you got the swing out waste bin. It is a great tool that you can put in your kitchen, it actually swivels on your door.

Jodi Marks: See that’s neat for cleanup. You know, when you’re retrofitting your kitchen, typically you don’t have a trash can that’s accessible inside your cabinet. And even if you do, you got to open the door and then pull the waste bin out.

But with this one, Shea, it mounts to the door. And as you open the door it actually kind of rolls out towards you and the lid pops off at the same time.

Shea Pettaway: Right.

Jodi Marks: So you’ve got, you’ve freed up your hands.

Shea Pettaway: Right. And another great thing, you can put your trash can liner in and snap it in so that it stays in place.

Jodi Marks: Now, all the tools come with it, right?

Shea Pettaway: Yes. It’s very easy to do. They have templates for you to use, and just a few screws—all you need is a screwdriver.

Jodi Marks: That’s fantastic. So not only does it make installation easy, but it’s going to make your kitchen cleanup that much easier as well.

Danny Lipford: Danette Richards’ kitchen remodel is moving along. Out front, Chelsea has returned to help Danette work on some easy new curtains for the room using a no-sew, adhesive tape technique.

Chelsea Lipford: Danette, do you sew at all? Nah, that’s not you’re…

Danette Richards: No, no, not my, … Not my skill area. This is so easy.

Chelsea Lipford: Yeah, it’s a little time consuming, but I guess, sewing a curtain the same length and stuff would take the same amount of time, really. All right, that looks good.

Danny Lipford: While they’re working on that and the paint is drying, I decided to finish day two by installing the new roof vent for the range hood. When we install the hood tomorrow it should be ready to go.

We’ve had two very productive days here on Danette Richards’ kitchen facelift project. And our doors are completely dry and our countertops are on the way. By the end of the day, this project will be complete. But considering the condition of the kitchen right now, I don’t think Danette believes it’s going to happen.

Danette Richards: He said it was going to be finished today but… I’m just not sure how… There’s a lot more to do. And you only have so many hours in a day. I do like the way this is turning out though. I think… I think the colors look great, really lighting this room up.

Danny Lipford: Obviously, she’s a little stressed. But I think we have just the thing to lighten her mood. Hey, perfect timing. I want to show you something. First of all, go around the other side… Okay…. and I want you to imagine you’re in your kitchen… Okay…in front of the sink…looking out the window, preparing gourmet meals, on this countertop.

Danette Richards: Oh! Wow!

Danny Lipford: It’s actually a plastic laminate. This is kind of neat how they’ve created this edge…

Danette Richards: Oh!

Danny Lipford:…looks a lot more like granite, what do you think?

Danette Richards: Oh, my gosh! This is way better than I expected. I don’t know what I expected, but this is amazing!

Danny Lipford: Thankfully, this top isn’t as heavy as real stone, so we can install the sink and faucet out here, before we carry it inside. One of the steps people often overlook is caulking the underside of the sink before it goes in the countertop. That’s probably the reason the old top was water damaged.

Danette Richards: Are my clips in the way… Ow!

Danny Lipford: Oh, watch your finger.

Danette Richards: Thank you.

Danny Lipford: Eventually the sink is installed with no major injuries and the whole thing is ready to go into the kitchen. We’re using construction adhesive to secure the tops to the cabinets and to secure the back splashes to the walls.

It’s really amazing what a difference these few surfaces make to the look of this kitchen. Back outside, it’s time to get that new hardware on those freshly painted cabinet doors and a gauge block is a great way to make sure the hinges are consistently spaced on the doors. Then we just have to get them back in the right spots. Yeah, there you go.

Danette Richards: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: When you’re installing the doors, the important thing is keeping them square to the frames and the margins consistent from the top and bottom, then the pulls complete the doors.

Danette Richards: Oh, those look good.

Danny Lipford: Mmm-hmm.

Danette Richards: Wow!

Danny Lipford: Finally Mark is back to install the new range hood and offer some friendly advice.

Danette Richards: Wow! It’s new and shiny.

Mark Hutcheson: Let’s keep it that way.

Danette Richards: That means don’t cook, right?

Mark Hutcheson: Right.

Danny Lipford: But even if she does, this Broan hood will clear the air. Its four speed blower moves up to 450 cubic feet of air per minute and it even includes a sensor that turns the fan on when it senses excessive cooking heat. So Danette is cleaning up the stove just in case. Meanwhile, Chelsea is installing the hardware they need to hang their new curtains.

Chelsea Lipford: And wait, I put them midway so that it kind of covers so… You can be in here but no one else can see you but you still get the day light.

Danette Richards: Nice. I like that.

Chelsea Lipford: There we go.

Danette Richards: Oh, yeah.

Chelsea Lipford: And then of course, you can always pull ’em apart if you want to see out…

Danette Richards: Oh, good.

Chelsea Lipford:…and be Gladys Kravitz.

Danette Richards: Uh huh, yeah. That’s me. That’s yeah. Gladys of the neighborhood.

Chelsea Lipford: Alright, let’s go get the other one.

Danette Richards: Wow, yeah. Love it, Chelsea.

Chelsea Lipford: Awesome.

Danny Lipford: Erin wants to know, “What do you recommend as the quickest and easiest way to unclog a drain?”

If your sink is clogged like this, you’re definitely looking for the quickest and easiest way to get it unclogged. And the over the counter drain cleaners work most of the time, but they can be a little damaging to your pipes.

Before you try that, try this. This is a drain snake, and it has a brush or sometimes several hooks on the end that will allow you to reach down and grab any hair that maybe clogging up your sink, particularly in a bathroom.

But if you have a lot of grease and food, you need a little pressure, and everybody has one of these. Very, very effective in unclogging the sink.

But if you have a double sink, like this, you want to make sure you take your stopper on the open side of the sink and seal that off so that that’ll put more pressure on the side of the plunger.

And then that’ll be very successful in blowing through the clogged area. Then follow that up with plenty of hot water.

Danny Lipford: Danette Richards’ kitchen was dark, dated and feeling the weight of its age. But after three days of hard work and a little good luck, she has a bright, stylish and completely functional kitchen that she can be proud of, whether she cooks in it or not. Well, Danette, I’ll tell you, you were pretty skeptical about the whole process this morning. You really didn’t think this thing was going to come together today.

Danette Richards: I was definitely skeptical but this is amazing, amazing! From the chaos that was happening today… I can’t believe it.

Danny Lipford: Well, you definitely contributed and you really did a lot to make sure that this thing worked today.

Danette Richards: Yeah, yeah it was hard.

Danny Lipford: You know, one of the things about a project like this, a kitchen facelift is, not only is it a dramatic before and after picture, it’s also a fantastic way to spend money on your home and some of the best return on your investment that you can get for your home improvement dollar.

Hey, thanks so much for being with us. I’m Danny Lipford. We’ll see you, next week, right here, on Today’s Homeowner.

Oh, it’s a cookbook. Do you use these a lot?

Danette Richards: Yeah, I do. It is? I thought that one… Oh, it goes on the nose. Okay, let me start over.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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