Author Archives: Shira Caplan

From Basic Brown to Bright White | A Kitchen Reno

The kitchen is the heart of every home and a huge factor in loving where you live. That’s why when we bought our new construction house a few months back, I knew I needed to work my magic to transform our standard builder-grade kitchen from basic brown to light, bright and white.

Let’s start at the beginning when we first closed on the house.

Not a bright, white kitchen, right? Still, there was a lot to like: the large island, the spacious layout, the mitered-white quartz countertops, the high-quality cabinets and the brand-newness of it all!  We knew our budget wouldn’t allow for us to do any major construction—nor did we want to—but we knew a few cosmetic changes would definitely make a huge difference. Down the road, we’d love to swap the microwave out for an industrial hood and upgrade the refrigerator to a Subzero.

The things I didn’t love about the “before” kitchen were easy fixes: paint the cabinets, swap out the cabinet hardware, install a backsplash and add pendant lighting.

Because I’m a visual learner, I “mocked up” the pieces I liked on my computer and immediately saw the light and bright potential of our big, brown kitchen.


I quickly moved forward with making this virtual vision a reality.

White wishbone counter stools, big glass pendant lights and polished nickel hardware were ordered. A great cabinet refinisher was hired to work his magic on our existing cabinets. I teeter-tottered between a few shades of white and in the end, I settled on Benjamin Moore’s Simply White. My dream kitchen was slowly taking shape—albeit without a definitive backsplash.


I spent a significant amount of time perusing the aisles of our local tile stores trying to decide if I wanted to go with a classic subway tile (like I initially intended) or do something a bit more unexpected.

It was fun to toy with different style potentials, but in the end, I went with a classic 3x12 white-polished ceramic wall tile and a frost-colored grout.  

I love how we had it installed to the ceiling, creating my own version of a modern, coastal, pseudo-industrial and residential-restaurant kitchen.

We are beyond happy with our new design and look forward to creating lots and lots of amazing memories in this all-white kitchen of ours!


For more white and bright kitchens: Mastering the White Kitchen | 10 Inspiring White Kitchens