From Basic Brown to Bright White | A Kitchen Reno

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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.

6141 Ocean Foam

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.  

6141 Ocean Foam

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


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Shira Caplan is a born and bred South Florida girl who moved to NYC for college and stayed for the next fourteen years. Although she majored in Art History and has a Masters in Early Childhood Education, she discovered a passion for interior design and started Shira Bess Interiors after moving back to Florida with her husband and two boys. Styling shelves and creating symmetry is her "happy place" and helping others create beautiful spaces within their homes gives her the greatest pleasure of all.