You be the interior designer and help me with kitchen makeover decisions

Pamela Lutrells inspiration for a kitchen makeover

Let’s have some fun today…I would like you to be my interior designer and help me makeover my kitchen.  Mr. B and I have been planning this for some time now and are about ready to take the plunge.  We have lived in our custom built home for 18 years and it was already about 15 years old when we purchased it.  We have slowly made upgrades,, but it is time for a big one…the appliances are tired!

Here are some things you need to know before we begin:

  1. There is nothing modern about me.  I love French Country design and would even go so far as to say that I decorate my home as if it were a Texas Hill Country B & B…some of you will know what that means. I like warm and inviting decor.
  2. Our saltillo tiles on the floors stay put…non-negotiable.
  3. The photo above is my top inspiration photo at the moment. I am thinking antique white cabinets, and I love this bronze country sink…though I do not know yet if it is out of the budget



Over 50 Feeling 40 Home Kitchen Before

I am going to give you three views of my kitchen.  In selecting colors, I have to consider the tile on the floor, the bricks on the far family room wall, and you will see another view of bricks on the bar.  At the other end of the family room is a breakfast room, and French Doors to the back patio area.

Selecting Colors for a Kitchen on Over 50 Feeling 40

Here are my main questions:

  1. First, feel free to tell me what you would do without my inspiration photo in mind.
  2. Would you leave the family room red or paint and if you say paint…What color?
  3. If I stick with my inspiration photo, would there be any place else you would accent with the dark brown…since I do not have a fabulous window like that…but I could do the frame around the French Doors not pictured here.
  4. Finally, it is a large kitchen and I have considered an island, but I am concerned it would limit space and I would eventually regret it.  Thoughts?

OK, I am your client, give me your best.  I am anxious to hear what some of you think.  Of course, I had to do a home decor slideshow today!  What’s the fun of a re-do without thinking of decorations.  Thanks for the help, everyone!!

Thank you so much for being here… stay home…stay safe…stay hopeful  and…………

Remember, in our social distancing world, your smile is the way you send hugs!  


By Pamela Lutrell


  1. Love the tiles. You may have to keep the existing cabinet footprint unless you could find matching ones. But you could have a full stove and eliminate wall ovens. However, you may want to stay with wall ovens for ergonomic concerns. Maybe accentuate the light from the window above the stove with taller cabinets as in your dream kitchen photo. Those cabinets would look lovely. Definitely change wall color to a coordinating neutral. Creamy dreamy.

  2. Whew! I guess my first question is: can you get more of those exact tiles, if you start moving things around? ie: island vs breakfast bar? That determines how much flexibility the floorplan has.

    Do you want to keep any of the cabinets? Because they can be beautifully painted if structurally sound?

    Tie the two rooms together with the creamy color scheme: maybe consider outfitting the fireplace wall with a more French look: Panel out with wood and paint- that could become a nice country focal point for entire space. Plus providing a mantel for more decor!

  3. It feels strange to suggest things when you have such a beautiful kitchen! I’d go lighter. Yes, paint the wall, I’d do white or light gray and definitely go with the whitewashed, antique white cabinets. It will brighten everything up and make you happy! In a kitchen that size, I think you’d really enjoy an island. Maybe paint or change out the dark bricks. The island could be a place you’d go with a different finish from the cabinets, nothing drastic, but maybe different, maybe natural wood. That always looks nice with lighter cabinets and would give it that country B & B feel. It looks like the cabinets are in great shape, they could probably just be painted to get the look you’re after, maybe even add some hardware. If you were going to do countertops, I think given you are lightening up, I’d go with quartz or marble. Really though Pam, you have a lovely kitchen with so much space!

  4. I have never been one to like white cabinets, but in your kitchen, with the floors and brick, antique white cabinetry would be gorgeous and would brighten the room immensely. I would somehow add some natural, or reclaimed wood, for contrast and added warmth. It would still have a cozy and warm vibe because of the brick and tile (which I love). If you go with the bronze sink, what color appliances were you thinking? As far as wall color, would you consider a warm sage green? I think the color would look great along with your brick, tile and antique white cabinets. If I were to ever update my kitchen, I would probably get quartz countertops. I have heard great things about the durability and ease of upkeep. Quite the project ahead of you, but so much fun.

  5. The floor tiles are beautiful! And we painted our oak cabinets like your white several years ago- turned out great! I might consider whitewashing all the brick to soften it., and neutralize the paint color as well. You have a lot to work with; it is already charming! I’d pick up the colors in the floor with accessories or even pick up a color from the floor for the walls or an accent wall. Save money & the environment by reusing cabinets & splurge on a lovely farmhouse sink.

  6. Hi Pam! You have a wonderful large kitchen, and great bones to work with. I would paint the cabinets for sure, probably a cream color, and paint the brick for sure! You could even cover over the brick with ship lap or bead board or something similar. The bronze sink is gorgeous, I hope you can afford it or something similar. Will you keep the black appliances? I don’t love them, and maybe the fronts can be replaced with stainless or white or something. The walls could be a pale neutral, a gray, pale green, etc. The kitchen is overall dark, and you will love it when it is lighter. Check out the blog–she has great low budget decorating ideas.

  7. I would go creamy white rather than stark white. Soft grays and blues are also popular and would lighten the area. Try taping an imaginary island out on the floor and living around it for a week or two to see how it would feel.

  8. IMHO, as the upgrade of the kitchen will be the largest of the expense I recommend you concentrate on it first. i.e.: New appliances / sink / plumbing hardware / possible hardware for the cabinets / back splash / counter top etc. whereas paint is cheap and the sky is the limit! As for an island; actually they are on their way out so if you feel your kitchen is functional with its present layout I would consider putting the funds towards something else. (i.e.: Refacing or replacement of the brick.) All said; for counter tops they have some beautiful ‘engineered quartz’ on the market that is easy to maintain so that is something I would highly recommend. -Brenda-

  9. I think antique white cabinets would be perfect and I love, love, love the bronze sink. Hope it is in budget. Your floors are beautiful and would go well with lighter cabinets. Lighter walls would also brighten everything. You have great bones and this should be a fun project for you.

  10. Get a portable kitchen island like maybe a square butcher block. Then if it doesnt work you could use it elsewhere. I love your inspiration photos. And the saltillo tiles are gorgeous !

  11. Yes love the top photo you post French country look and that sink….yes ! I also prefer lighter granite counters as shown in your inspiration photo! Love them!
    Lighting absolutely must be addressed! The right lighting helps you work efficiently plus gives off a wonderful aesthetic. I would hire a lighting consultant without a doubt! Beautiful choices…..

  12. Pam, paint here is your best friend. I would paint the walls in both rooms a creamy white.Then with the same paint. paint and distress all existing brick.I would paint the cabinets a steel blue. Replace the appliances with the new black stainless.I would remove the two small cabinets above the stove and replace them with a custom built vent hood. If it’s in the budget consider new counter tops .Remove all decor and replace with French Country blue and white porcelain pieces, greenery etc. especially above the cabinets, pretty plates on easels, teapots, pots of greenery.Your kitchen just needs a face lift.

  13. I suggest checking out Maria Killam’s blog at She also offers inexpensive ebooks on choosing the right colors and does e-design as well. Before I make any decisions on decorating, I refer back to Maria’s posts! She’s fun to follow on Instagram, too!

  14. If you paint ALL the walls and the bricks the same antique, creamy white that you paint the cabinets the whole space will be brighter and more cohesive.

  15. The rules are beautiful. As to the island, think about how you use the kitchen and also the flow of the kitchen. I cook alot, and have a large island but my cooktop ,refrigerator and sink are all in an area to make the flow easy. If you do do an island spend a little extra and have outlets in one or both ends!! Does that make sense? Maybe keep one wall red in LR and the other walls a neutral? I have remodeled two kitchens and it can be overwhelming. Good luck.

  16. The mood your inspiration picture evokes is perfection. I am one of those people who turns all of my kitchen lights on even in the summer. Light makes me happy. Your sink can be your statement accessory. If you do end up with the farm sink think about how you use the sink and what pots, pans and serving pieces need to fit for washing. The grey quartz sink , in your slide show, is a good design for a sink. The disposal can be used even as you are using the larger basin. (One large basin can be frustrating.) As far as an island, can’t imagine cooking and baking without one. Have tons of fun with the process!

  17. I think your French Country look is a good direction and updating the cabinets as others suggested with creamy white is a good place to start. You might also consider weathering the brick of the breakfast bar and family room wall to give a country-ish charm. Copper counter tops would be beautiful and charming and could be used just on an island, should you decide to go that way, or on another portion. Some accents of wrought iron such as hinges and knobs would be a nice detail.
    You could be looking at french fabrics you like and could use them as an inspiration for paint color for your family room.

    Wish I had such a lovely project to plan and dream about………

  18. Hi Pam,
    I’m also on “team painted cabinets” here. I would also paint all your brick to match. When we re-did our kitchen several years ago we also painted our red-brick fireplace (including hearth) to match the walls. It looks so much better!

    If you are keeping your current “footprint”, then I agree that an island would be too tight.

    We had a similar “peninsula” and took it out. We extended our cabinets into what was the eating area and went for a smaller bar-height table and 4 chairs. We have a huge dining area for when we have the family over. (We actually turned our formal living room into the formal dining room, but that’s another story…. 🙂 )

    Bottom line…your tiles are beautiful and I hate to see the brick fighting with them.


  19. There are some really great ideas already here, including lightening the walls and covering or replacing the brick , a wood mantel for the fireplace. We love our light colored granite countertops. They look beautiful, have held up for years and need no grout to maintain. What a wonderful project!

  20. We built our dream home last year. I love your idea of French Country. I am more toward English Country which is similar. On the bronzed sink. I fell in love with a hammered copper sink. It was $1700. They require special care so I vetoed that and bought an undermount composite. While lovely, it wasn’t practical for me.
    I am not a red wall person, but if you are going creamy white on your cabinets, I would almost stay in that creamy white(ish) area for that wall. Think mortar of the brick if it is staying which I assume it is. I would go quartz on the counters. Granite is lovely and what I chose, but it is higher maintenance.
    I adore my island and simply could not live without it. As a matter of fact, it is 10 feet long; but you have an unused peninsula. Looks like you are using it more for decor. It looks like a very functional, beautiful kitchen now. New Stainless appliances and painting the cabinets will make a tremendous difference. They have stainless appliances now that show no fingerprints and stuff. Love the saltillo tile. Let us know what you decide and give us pics.

  21. When we redid our kitchen(In a house built in the 60ies)I had just had hip replacement surgery,so a lot was centered around making it user friendly. I.e.pullout drawers on everything. I passed on the country sink, because I would have to bend over too much and it would be a back strain. Used a one-piece Kohlar stainless with country look faucets. we just put wood over the existing floor and added very inexpensive Orientals with padding on top. Which gave me lots more cushioning for my hip situation. I had a small pensula which we extended further. Great for buffet service when enteratining.I would reconsider the legs on eiher side of the pictured sink. MIght be a cleaning problem down the road. Stainless appliances look great,but get the kind that do not show fingerprints.THink about where you might be in 15yrs from now. Do you do your own cleaning? How hard will it be to maintain what you are putting in. The color schemes suggested sound wonderful. I used dark cabinets,light counter tops. Then had dark green granite on the peninsula for a different look to break up the room. Now after 20 years I am still pleased with what we planned and would only change very minor items.But you will enjoy the results better the more time you spend in planning,even to the point of it being a pain and you wish it were all over. Then you are just getting started,the demo comes next and living out of you bathroom and take-out meals until it is finished.You will still be in isolation! Good luck .It will be fun!

  22. It’s all been said! I have a small Boos brand butcher block top, portable island in my smallish kitchen. Something like that might work and the wood would be warming and a nice contrast. I’d also go more neutral with the walls- creamy IS dreamy!!😉 And yes frame the French doors with wood and distress/ lighten the brick. What a fun project! I assume you know about There is so much inspiration there and free designing advice as well. Good luck!

  23. Hi Pam: I love the spaciousness of your kitchen. I like the look of the “dream” style you chose. I agree with the other comments about choosing cream colors. You would love how we decorated our kitchen. I will send Photos if you like. We renovated using semi custom cabinet named Decora. They are antique white and “distressed”. Respond to my email and I will send them.
    Karen from Michigan

  24. You are fortunate to have a spacious kitchen with many wonderful features. Your inspiration photo boasts timeless design. I’d consider staying very close to its color palette of very light and warm neutrals. I’d, also, recommend while remodeling to take advantage of opportunities that preserve and/or add to what enables aging in place. For example: keep wall ovens. They require less dramatic bending and flexibility. If one has two, the bottom can be reached from a wheelchair. A single lever handled faucet will be kinder to hands and they are the most popular, too. If lower cabinets don’t already roll out, I recommend adding the feature. To add a Country French flair and provide a focal point, consider removing the cabinet above the cook top. Instead, consider adding a hood. If the cabinet molding is deep enough, consider adding outlets above for white Christmas lights to be operated from the wall for inexpensive and dramatic lighting above.

  25. We once redid a kitchen with a floating island. We installed hidden casters under the island cabinet and it could be moved to whatever area of the kitchen was most convenient at the time. Unless you knew the casters were there you would never know. And it was easy to move.

  26. Ok, you painted your OAK cabinets? My husband says the grain will show through and not look good. Pictures? Thanks.

  27. I’m surprised to see so much enthusiasm for an island! Your kitchen is really not all that big, and there’s already a peninsula. In fact, islands are a cliche and quickly becoming passe. Given your penchant for French country, why not a country-style farm table or bistro-style table? Don’t fall victim to a trend that’s on its way out!

  28. I would definitely paint the cabinets an antique white or cream to brighten up the room. If you go with the bronze sink perhaps you could incorporate some bronze or brown tiles in the backsplash & bronze look hardware on the cabinets. Since you have the room, I would keep the double ovens, as they are so handy for family dinners. I am not a fan of black appliances, so I would change the color on them. I’m sure what is available color wise for appliances, so I won’t suggest any color for them. I would also go with a lighter color for the family room & maybe paint the bricks. Looking forward to seeing what you do.

  29. I love your inspiration photo! Without knowing the exact dimensions of your kitchen it’s hard to tell if you can add an island. You have received some wonderful advice! Personally, I’d go creamy white, add pull-out shelves wherever possible, change the peninsula to a single level countertop and lose the brick on the peninsula. Changing the peninsula to a single level would give the look of an island without changing the footprint of the kitchen. I would also paint the dark red in a soft complementary color that would work well with the creamy cabinets. I would either whitewash the brick fireplace or add a schmear technique to give it more of an old-world look. I would also choose quartz countertops and add a subway tile backsplash or possibly carry the quartz up the wall. I can’t wait to see the results!

  30. All I can see here is DARK. I’d whitewash every brick there and get rid of that dark red wall. Then light cabinets, etc would look great. You need the Joanna Gaines overhaul.

  31. Oh, boy this is in my wheelhouse! First, I’m a retired real estate appraiser. I also remodeled our own 30 year old kitchen in our custom built home two years ago. I have successfully flipped 5 houses. I would suggest having the kitchen cabinets professionally painted antique cream, lighter than the existing tile floors. Keep everything as it is if you keep your flooring. Add hardware that fits your style and matches your replacement sink and faucet. Use a lime wash over the brinks –all the bricks. I used one on our exterior red brick and it is easy. (Idea came from Joanna Gaines) They have it in different hues at It would play well into your inspiration idea and looks so natural vs the flat paint. Choose new appliances that match each other, I would suggest stainless as it is lighter and reflective visually, and could go with your black until you replace all the appliances. Do not go white as it would clash with the cream. Your counters would look great in black with cream veined granite, if you decide to go with black appliances especially, and it would also go with stainless. If you prefer a Corian counter has a more extensive selection and is just, if not more popular and wears well. If your replace the ceiling fans they should be pendant lights and a large chandelier in the same metal as used in the kitchen. If you don’t replace them, use metal paint to coordinate with hardware, then paint the fan panels cream like the cabinets. If you replace the backsplash, select a creamy rough style stone rather than glossy tile to tie into the flooring. I think these ideas would work toward achieving your inspirational picture. Have fun with whatever you do!

  32. Oh, I forgot. I suggest you paint the walls a soft beige that is the same hue but lighter than your floors…

  33. Paint cabinets a light creamy color- find a color thar blends with the floor colors. Paint bricks, new hardware on cupboard doors and drawers. If able to buy that gorgeous sink, fund hardware to match, and check if you can get appliances in that shade as well (or close) as for painting wall- decide after you do the rest. The kitchen should give you an idea of what you’d like

  34. Here’s my top suggestion. Hire a kitchen designer! We did that on a remodel as the hubby and I just couldn’t agree. There are so many decisions to make and he was able to put things together in our budget that made sense and we hadn’t thought of to do. It was money very well spent and not that expensive. We also got things cheaper using his connections and professional discounts. He knew of ways to make things look like we wanted for a whole lot cheaper than if we’d try to do it ourselves. Plus, if we didn’t like something when it was over, we could blame him, not each other!

  35. I would paint the cabinets white and add a new lighter floor. The brick wall could also be painted a lighter color.

  36. I would certainly whitewash all that red brick. I did our current fireplace and what a world of difference…and easy and cheap to do! Anyone could do it. Then paint the cabinets white or off white with the antiqued glazed look. To make it country french try having some sort of arched area over the range…I didn’t see that area in your photos. I love those floors…I had them when I lived in Santa Fe! But don’t try to match the colors in the tile. Just tend toward the warmer color palette for paint finishes….but keep it light!

  37. We have a 70’s house and remodeled the kitchen 8 years ago. We had white painted cabinets and they looked very dated and worn. We kept our cabinet boxes/frames and had them refaced with white melamine laminate and added crown molding. They look as good today as the day we had them refaced. Looking at your pictures, I see your floor as the anchor color. I would start with refacing your cabinets with white wood or melamine, (they would match the door and frames), add stainless steel appliances, add quartz countertops that would incorporate colors from your tile floor, add drop in double sink ( can choose a product that has color choices), paint the walls a soft sage color, then change the brick by either painting it the same color as the walls or a soft contract color that would incorporate the tile floor color which would warm up and lighten the kitchen. You have a good footprint-switching to lighter colors will make it fresh and more open. Good luck!

  38. Hello Pam, the wonderful ladies gave you so many super tips. You could paint your cabinets with chalk paint – and the tiles, too. Many greetings from Germany, Andrea

  39. It’s spacious, I’m sure whatever you do will be nice.
    I had some countertops with the wood trim in my current house and found that the wood stain got worn off spots where I wiped things down frequently.

    Even if you don’t decide to go big, I think new paint is in order.
    My Mother has that same red accent color in her kitchen, which was last updated in the 1990s.

  40. I would contact Carla Aston. She is in Texas, does photo and video consults. I believe Carla even did an article on your type of tile and how to update with it in place! She has an option called design in a click which I plan to use in the near future.

Comments are closed.