Updating a Family Kitchen Stuck in the ’80s

Modern kitchen makeover with white painted cabinets and new Kichler light fixture, after photo
The Quave family’s kitchen is now lightened, brightened and more open.

For four years, this 1980s house has been home to Jason and Beth Quave, along with their son, Aiden, and their daughter, Laurel.

It’s a bit dark and dated, and too closed off from the rest of the house, so we’re removing cabinets between the kitchen and family room as well as the one behind the sink. We’ll replace that one 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 bend below their cabinets.

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

After the cabinets are cleared, we begin demolition. But soon, we hit a snag: While Beth wanted to replace a set of cabinets with floating shelves, we discovered 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

Beth wants to see new hardware on the cabinets because 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.

Matching the old footprint of the hinges can be a challenge.  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 there to begin with.

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