Kitchen Update with Open Layout and More Storage

Homeowners Jason and Beth Quave love their 1980s home, but the kitchen is dark, dated and too closed off from the rest of the house — that’s our cue to update this kitchen!

This 1980s house has been home to Jason and Beth Quave, along with their son, Aiden, and their daughter, Laurel. Its kitchen is dark, dated and closed off from the rest of the house, so we’re giving it a modern upgrade.

We’re removing cabinets between the kitchen and family room as well as a set behind the sink. We’ll replace that set of cabinets with floating shelves and paint the remaining cabinets, then we’ll add an island range hood that vents to the outside.

The Quave family's 1980s kitchen, before the makeover
This 1980s kitchen is dark and dated, but that’s about to change!

The Projects

Danny Lipford removes old cabinets
Danny removes the cabinets.

Remove Cabinets

Jason and Beth would love to see their children from the kitchen without having to duck below their cabinets.

We’re going to remove those extra cabinets and give this family a clear view. Before we do, Beth’s friend, Kandy Negus, a professional organizer, visits to help edit the space.

After the cabinets are cleared, we begin demolition. But not long into it, we hit a snag: While Beth wanted to replace a set of cabinets with floating shelves, we discover that some of the cabinets were nailed to the studs, which means we’ll have to install some drywall.

While we take care of that, Jason scrapes the ‘popcorn ceiling’ — a chore he has tackled before. He knew the ceilings hadn’t been painted, so he sprays them with warm water and applies some elbow grease while removing the texture.

Patching cabinet doors with auto body filler
Patching cabinet doors with auto body filler.

Relocate Cabinet Hardware

For this modern kitchen upgrade, Beth wants to see new hardware on the cabinets. Centered knobs aren’t her style, and they look a bit dated.

So, we remove those knobs, and the old hinges, and prepare to replace them with something more modern.

The best way to match surface-mounted hinges with your existing cabinets is to bring an old hinge to your local home center. They can check the mounting holes and the offset for a perfect match.

As for holes left from the old cabinet pulls, we patch those with automotive body filler, a two-part epoxy system. The filler dries as hard as the surrounding wood, so once it’s sanded and painted, no one will know holes were there to begin with.


  1. Where is the line between painting and replacing cabinets? How fixable are drawers that don’t open and close properly or pull out cabinet shelves whos mounting brackets have come off and are no longer usable — would I still want to paint these cabinets or replace them? Also, I noticed the room trim was also changed to white, was that painted or replaced with new trim? My house was built in the late 80’s and we have brown wood trim everywhere — I think white is more modern and would love to paint white but it seems like a lot of work.

    • Hi, Dorene,
      Totally up to you whether to paint or replace cabinets and drawers!
      You can fix just about anything — but you’d have to take time to investigate the problem and then hunt for replacement parts at the home center.
      Some folks would prefer to just buy new cabinets and drawers that are already white and be done with it. 🙂
      We painted this kitchen’s crown molding and trim and the total renovation just cost $1,200.
      Glad to hear it inspired you!


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