Spicy Yellow Kitchen (part 1)

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While we were in Greece, I repainted my mom’s kitchen in what we now call a “spicy yellow kitchen”. It completely renewed the space and it filled it with light. It is a much happier space now and it no longer looks dark and faded.

The kitchen itself, a 50+ years old vintage compilation of wooden cabinets, mosaic floor, marble sink, countertops and backsplash and…orange, double-pin, pulls. Big chunky, square, vintage orange pulls that mom insisted we keep. She is all about vintage that girl. She also hates throwing away stuff, which made the kitchen look like this (warning: shockingly ugly picture):

TwoPlusCute: vintage green kitchen makeover in spicy yellow. This DIY completely transformed the room and filled it with light. Turned into an attractive and happy space. Before
This was the “before”. Over 5 decades on its shoulders, this kitchen needed refreshing and decluttering.

Persuading my mom was not easy:

Me: mom, you know, we can totally re-design this kitchen.

Mom: No.

Me: but mom, the kitchen looks so tired and it would look so cool if we changed the layout.

Mom. I said no.

Me: but we can put all new cabinets and move them across and make this space rock!

Mom: It works just fine for me.

(That’s the same mom who sent me the money for our kitchen renovation)

 I didn’t give up.

Me: mom, you have a beautiful farmhouse marble sink and backsplash and countertops. This kitchen could look stunning with white cabinets! Or a black and white scheme. Or intense grey cabinets?

Mom: I’d rather die and the answer is no.

I gave her some incentive by taking this neglected (and cluttered) little helper:

TwoPlusCute: vintage green kitchen makeover in spicy yellow. This DIY completely transformed the room and filled it with light. Turned into an attractive and happy space. Incentive 1
Some of that clutter is my fault!

and after some TLC (read about how the ugly duckling turned into a swan, here),

it turned into this:

TwoPlusCute: vintage green kitchen makeover in spicy yellow. This DIY completely transformed the room and filled it with light. Turned into an attractive and happy space. Incentive after


Let me digress a bit with some crucial information. I love minimal contemporary and usually stick with neutrals. My mom is the exact opposite; she loves – and owns several – antiques and she is a person that thrives with vivid colors. My bedroom is beige and hers is purple. To her a modern white kitchen is something really boring; she needs color. Eye popping color. (Oh, and she doesn’t throw away anything!)

So, I changed my approach and said:

Me: YELLOW! We will paint a strong, powerful, warm yellow, which will go modernly great with the white and black of the marble surrounds and be relevant to the earth toned floor. Win!

Mom: …Depends on the yellow…

Me: Really, really bright and strong and intense.

Ha! I had her right there!

I had played my cards right when I suggested a color I generally avoid (like banana yellow) and emphasized the intensity her new kitchen color would have. She reluctantly agreed. Orange would have worked too to persuade her but, I refused point blank to paint anything orange. I was imagining of still pulling a modern scheme of yellow, white and black but mom rejected the idea of anything modern.


I surveyed the kitchen. The – very – old paint was a – muted from age – neutral green (one may call it hospital green), There was chipping and streaks on the cabinet doors and faces (caused from the chlorine we use with abundance to clean the kitchen). There were both water based and oil based paints used. A couple chips , some very old water staining on a wall from a broken pipe (or was it a water heater? That accident happened a long time ago).

I could do this, I thought. Some serious sanding, spackling, correct priming and paint.

How hard can that be?

Well…The walls were ridiculously easy. They don’t buckle and they take putty real well. They were already super smooth (super-super smooth), all I had to fix was a small chipped spot at the door casing. (I couldn’t find a photo after I painted the wall yellow but you can see it’s fixed in the “after” with just primer).

Looky at my smooth, smooth patch. Invisible!

TwoPlusCute: vintage green kitchen makeover in spicy yellow. This DIY completely transformed the room and filled it with light. Perfect patching.


I also found an amazing primer with crazy coverage (and practically no odor). I worked in a medium size room and I actually put my nose in the primer bucket to check if there is any smell. There was. But, I actually had to go that close to find out. Seriously awesome primer.

Look at THIS:

TwoPlusCute: vintage green kitchen makeover in spicy yellow. This DIY completely transformed the room and filled it with light. Look at all that light!


Let me elaborate on what we see. I did not over-expose the photo (in fact I had to add shadows in picmonkey because it was so white it was hard to tell). Guyyyyysss, that was ONE coat of the super primer.

It worked over flat wall, high gloss oil-based paint on walls, high gloss oil based paint on wood (the doors) and even on the gypsum trim (both of them – this is an approx 12-14 feet tall room and the fridge is 6.6 ft).

The cabinet doors however, proved to be a different story. All I can say about painting them is that,

I failed dismally.


And even my super primer didn’t work on them!

I have all sorts of excuses to share concerning repainting half a century old kitchen cabinets from oily green to sunshine yellow. I’ll tell you all about them in part 2 because part 1 is getting too long and I am sure you have work to do (or a party to attend).


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14 thoughts on “Spicy Yellow Kitchen (part 1)

  • January 22, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Ha! You had me cracking up with the dialogue between you and your mom. 🙂 It’s fantastic that you were able to do this for her and that is definitely a sunshine, happy yellow!

    That bar cart looks amazing! Simple updates can make such an impact. AND, your mom has marble backsplash and countertops, and a marble farm house sink! Wow! Because I was curious, I looked up some prices for a 30 inch wide carrara marble farmhouse sink can cost anywhere from $2500.00 to $4500.00! This is just for the sink! Yikes.

    Your mom has a timeless and classic kitchen. 🙂

    • January 22, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      I placed dibs on that sink many years ago! This particular sink, is not carved out of a slab but out of a piece of marble rock. I love it.
      And I am SO happy to hear from you. 😀

  • January 19, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    This is such a typical Greek kitchen, youhad me laughing so hard. Are you sure you are your mother’s daughter? You’ll have tot ell me the name of that super primer so I can get some for next time. Looking forward to part 2.

    • January 22, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      I will have mom looking because I forget the name of the primer. As soon as I persuade her to check for it, I will drop you a line. 🙂

  • January 17, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    I love the cart. And you can’t find pulls like that any more, I am with your Mom, they had to stay.

    • January 17, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      Everybody seems to like those pulls! (Mom will be all “told you so”.)

  • January 17, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    Happy New Year, Two Plus Cute!

    Really enjoyed Part 1 of this Spicy Yellow Kitchen reno! Kudos on both the shelving unit and the brightly painted cupboards, orange pulls and all! Those ‘after’ shots are super!!!

    Staying tuned for Part 2!


  • January 16, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Uh oh! What happened with the cabinet doors?! I love the bright white with that super primer. And that cart is AMAZING! It looks brand new 🙂

    • January 17, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      Wellll, the new paint wasn’t hiding the old paint.
      Glad you liked the little cart. 🙂

  • January 16, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Beautiful job and your color choice was spot on! Looking forward to reading part 2. Painting over old paint can be challenging, but I’m sure you figured it out:)

  • January 15, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Awesome start and I can’t wait to see part 2! I love what you did with the cart and I’m totally with your mom on the knobs. They are great! 🙂

    • January 15, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Mom will be “Ha!” when I tell her you liked her pulls.
      By the way Anni, your blog is not loading a few hours now. Will try dropping you an e-mail, too.


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