The Kitchen Pliz-ans.

February 4, 2013

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




We're Chris + Julia

read more

What we're                   right now


browse the shop

Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

browse all

browse all

browse all




Popular Posts




Top Categories

Ah, the kitchen.  We have been thinking about it ever since we moved in nearly two years ago, when it looked like this:

We did a few, very simple, cheap and even temporary updates to get us where we are today.  We painted our cabinets and muave pink countertops and even our previously bisque oven hood.  We took out some upper cabinets that were awkwardly placed over the corner of the counters (making them very hard to get into) and put up a couple open shelves. Those are game changers and are definitely sticking around, we may even add a third!  But most of the other stuff–out.
Before our most recent kitchen planning session, we were going to gut everything.  New Cabinets.  Rip out the corner pantry and come up with an entirely new layout.  That would mean new flooring, which we were also planning on getting–because we don’t love the laminate–but as it turns out, that would be over-renovating and we may never see that money again.  No bueno.  So, instead of the $10,000 renovation that included new flooring we planned for, we scaled it down to a $3000 renovation. And by keeping the existing layout and cabinets–we can splurge (and save) on a few key pieces that will really transform the kitchen into a fresh new space.
These lights, the only two in the kitchen, will be the first (ish) to go! Ew:
In addition to moving around lighting placement and adding new fixtures, we can’t wait to get new countertops, a backsplash, new sink, faucet, hardware (!!!) and even revamp the pantry.  Here’s the game plan:
1.  A third of the budget is going toward tiling the backsplash.  We get that white subway tile is super cheap and classic, but we couldn’t resist the urge to add a little moody color in timeless subway tiles.  Okay, and this kitchen’s backsplash definitely pushed our maybe to an h-yes!:
I know. Those chairs, too. Still deciding on a grout color but we ordered a sample of this tile to make sure the color in person is all we hope it to be.
2.  We have been back and forth about butcher block counters since the beginning, but can’t shake the warmth they add to a kitchen.  We’re smitten and doing it!  Also, since adding the fauxdenza in the living room, we think it would be a cool nod to it by repeating a dark stained wood countertop over white cabinetry.  We are even adding a waterfall edge going down the side of the peninsula!
3.  This fixture is going to hang out above the window.  We like that it is classic, a little industrial, and in an antique black finish it will tie in well with the chandelier in the dining room.
4.  A nice chunk of change is also being spent on the sink/faucet.  I really had no idea they were this expensive!  Although there are cheaper options out there, we are really loving this squared off sink and a half and this one touch faucet.  Gimme.
5.  After we unofficially polled a few of you on facebook about nixing or keeping the corner pantry, we learned it was a definite must-have–even if it does take up a bunch of square footage in our smaller kitchen.  So, we’re giving it a facelift as well.  The interior organizers will have to have their own post once we figure out how to tame that beast, but we feel this paned glass door (painted black) will be the perfect update to the exterior! Right?
6.  Hardware!  Can you believe that we have lived this long without hardware on our cabinets?!  It isn’t like our drawers are a breeze to open either.  Even more shocking…this house was built in ’95…so, uh…time to get some knobs and handles. This was maybe the easiest choice of all.  I love these bin pulls for our drawers (and faux drawers–yeesh) and these knobs on our cabinets are so classic and modern–does that even make sense?  My head has been spinning between oil-rubbed bronze or chrome finishes–but we’re going with oil-rubbed bronze.
7.  Lastly, we are going to add these pendants above the peninsula.  The clear globes will add so much extra light to our kitchen without being too heavy visually. Aaaaand I love ’em.
Also in the budget is new dishware, pantry organizers, a low profile stainless range hood, and new window treatments–we just plan on addressing those things down the line.  Although this wasn’t the full kitchen gut and remodel we were dreaming about previously–we couldn’t be more excited to implement these updates that I think will drastically improve our kitchen.  Who’s ready!?
Psst.  We have been nominated for an Apartment Therapy Homie for Best Home Project & DIY blog.  We’re thrilled.  So honored. So happy. The top 6 move on to the finals and although we are up against m-a-j-o-r blogs (two I nominated myself! Ha!! The irony!) it’d be amazing to see our little blog pull through. Would you do us a solid and click over and vote?  Just once. Just a few seconds. Gahh! Thank you!!! ;)

What do you think?

  1. domain says:

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought
    this post was good. I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

  2. Can’t wait to see the new butcher block counters installed. I recently read that the best way to care for them is by using mineral oil rather than expensive sealants, etc.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I came over from AT. Just wanted to mention that you may want to frost the glass for your pantry door. Unless you are super organized, you’ll always see the mess. I should take my own advice…

  4. AviLynn says:

    Voted for you twice the other day. Love you guys & so happy I found your blog! xo

  5. Leila says:


    just a thought on the square sink, it is a pain to clean up the corners.. you will find yourself rubbing the corners to remove the dark nasty stuff that accumulates over there… just a hint.

  6. RachD says:

    we turned a corned pantry into a butlers pantry by placing a while laminate bench over deep cupboardsand then shallow shelves to the ceiling . also put a dark black stain on a single panel frosted door so the pantry looks different from the rest of the kitchen but you cant see the mess and as the stainless steel fridge is right beside it looks bright enough. I love the pendants will be looking for something similar too.

  7. I can’t wait to see what you guys do…I’ve been trying to plan out a low-ish budget kitchen renovation as well, so I’m excited to see you implement yours!!

  8. Sam says:

    One quick note about square sinks: They’re an absolute nightmare to clean. All kinds of nasty collects in the corners and you have to make a really concentrated effort to get it out. I would really consider finding a sink that has a more curved interior that you can just swipe. I’ve seen square sinks that have rounded corners and still look gorgeous!
    I’m sure whatever you choose will look amazing!

  9. Jess says:

    How has the countertop held up? We’ve considered painting ours, but are afraid it doesn’t age well.

    • We used the $20 Rustoleum countertop paint and wouldn’t change our decision at all. That being said, I would only recommend it as a short-term fix. We loved the way it covered and lasted–although almost two years later it has a couple dings in it. I don’t know about the more expensive countertop paints.

  10. Lisa P. says:

    Love love love your kitchen plans! We desperately need a kitchen remodel, but I think I am going to paint my countertops like you did for the time being.

  11. Lauren says:

    Love those knobs. Emtek makes the exact same ones for a bit cheaper. We put them on all of our closet doors in our house and absolutely love them. They come in a variety of sizes. We got them from

  12. I love the kitchen updates. I posted mine on my blog a few weeks ago and so far we have repainted and bought a new kitchen table/chairs. Yay! Can’t wait to see how it all comes together for you!

  13. Holy expensive pulls!! I have been in kitchen budget ignorance! While I know things like that can get expensive, I guess I just didn’t really know know….or connect the two that those are for ONE pull! I love this. I love it all. I actually really like the kitchen layout! I could be a LOT worse. Those upgrades will transform the space. Excited!!!

    • Not allllll hardware is expensive but we just love these ones. I am sure there are a lot of cheaper ones in a similar style. Also, it really helped us to look at the budget as a whole. We are spending less than $200 on hardware which is a pretty small fraction of the entire budget.

  14. Love your plans! When do you get started? I’m dying to see the waterfall edge countertop!

  15. Jena says:

    I can’t wait!!! Amazing!!!!

  16. Chemain says:

    This will be gorgeous! I love butcher block too. Someday . . . :)

  17. house185 says:

    Yes, yes, yes – love these plans! I am really loving the butcher block against that tile. And waterfall edge? I die. And upgrading the pantry door is genius. It’s touches like this that will really elevate the room in my humble and completely unprofessional opinion.

  18. It’s going to be gorgeous! Love that tile mixed with the butcher block!

all the latest

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

read more

Load More

Reader Faves

SHop all

What We're                     Right Now

What We're                 Right Now

Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop. 


looking for inspiration? 

Last week, Chris and I had the incredible opportunity to travel to London for work. We were invited by Williams Sonoma and William Morris and Co to preview their newest collaboration and the inspiration behind it. It was my first time in London and although it was a quick trip, they brought us all over […]

Can We Send You Our Love Letter?

Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!

Follow Along on Instagram

Welcome to our online community where we've posted home, DIY, style, renovations, and family since '09. Renovating our #cljmoderncottage in Idaho and headed for new adventures in Raleigh, NC. #cljfam #cljtransformations