The $500 Kitchen Overhaul | Part I, the Walton Fordification

Our loft is essentially one big room, so having a very oak colored Ikea kitchen hanging out in the back right corner has always been problematic for the eyes. Earlier in the week last week, I'd planned to do a pre-fall cleaning all weekend since Porter was back in KC for a wedding, but a wildly inspiring chat with an painter friend on Friday set my mind on fire with inspiration and left me thinking, Why clean the kitchen when I can completely remodel!?  So, I grabbed Porter's best friend, Chris, and we headed to Ikea for new cheap Swedish touches to enhance/replace the old ones. We left with: two butcher block counter tops, a porcelain sink, a new chrome faucet and some blue and white dish towels all for well under $500 (from a SKUs perspective, an Ikea miracle). It turns out that the old Formica was literally just stapled onto the "island" so we ripped that off in five minutes - and then discovered that the island was just sitting there, floating on the wood floor. So, in the next five minutes, it was in its new home, against the wall, looking awesome and adding about 100 square feet of scooting around space. Then Chris headed home and I went wild. I emptied all the drawers, scrubbed relentlessly, took off all the handles (that I'd always hated in the context of our place), applied spackle and painted it with the high gloss white left over from our floorboard painting project. It looked much better, but not special, so I thought, hey, why not try to make it look like a Delft tile mural? Yep. Always keepin' things simple. So, I whipped out my Walton Ford Pancha Tantra and thought a rabid-looking wolf might look great where people cook and make cocktails, so I started copying (see bottom pic). I still need to add in the fur details and additional drama on the left panel, but it's a pretty good start. I dug up the brass tassel pulls I bought out of pure joy and love on ebay a year ago and drilled them new homes. AND, keeping true to my goals, the insides of those drawers and cabinets are perfectly organized and sorted for the first time in about three years. Another miracle. Will let you see the final product once I find someone to put in that sink for me. Dinner party season is upon us!

The dark, heavy, oppressive "before"


  1. ABG says:

    Wow! Looks great HH! And I was proud of myself for going to Duane Reade(which is literally across the street)to buy hair color to dye my own hair saving at least $100. You're much more ambitious. Cannot wait to see the rest of the job.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    You are so darn talented! Can't wait to see the finished product. My kitchen sink is still missing a door from the last time I painted the cabinet (about a year ago!)- the hinge got destroyed in the process of trying to remove the screws and has not yet been replaced. One day... Actually we're designing a new cabinet to house an antique slate sink from Maine. One day...

  4. katiedid says:

    So far, so great! Waiting for the finished debut!

  5. ABG - which Duane Reade? I did all those things, too! We might live in the same building (tho there are a bazillion Duane Reades).

  6. Love the wolf, Walton ford is one of my fans and PT is loaded with inspiration! I am sure the end result met with approval. Good eye, wildly brill.

  7. Karena says:

    Wow Hollister you simply amaze me!! Now I just need an IKEA here in KC; I loved the one in San Diego!

    Very excited to see the final reveal.
    Adore Walton Fords works of art!

    Art by Karena
    2012 Artists Series featuring Harrison Howard

  8. Karena says:

    By the way did you actually find the Pancha Tantra under 2000.


  9. Karen says:

    This is amazing and a huge improvement. Wow!

  10. This is amazing. Totally inspired.

  11. peggy says:

    This is one of those ideas you see and you wish you thought of first. i think it's BRILLIANT! I absolutely love it!!! Great choice of image and great execution!

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