DIY Island Ideas for Small Kitchens!


I’ve been scrolling through Pinterest these days and seeing so many adorable kitchen island carts and little bar seating areas.  While I don’t quite have room in my kitchen for one, I just had to share with you all the amazing little ideas and creative storage solutions I’ve been finding. 

My favorite of favorites is this idea of adding a rolling cart that functions as an island with seating as well as storage… because who doesn’t need an extra drawer or two in their kitchen? And a quick spot for the little ones to have breakfast on school days while you pack lunches? 

I’ve seen so many of these in the stores, but for my DIY loving friends, I’ve rounded up some of my favorites! 

(Plus, don’t miss the end of this post, I’m sharing some of the latest open shelving snapshots I’ve been having my eye on lately!)


Build your own kitchen island from two sofa tables and a countertop. This custom solution sports plenty of storage, plus DIY bragging rights.  || Source 


FREE build plans for this DIY Kitchen Island with Trash Storage || Source

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Similar to a cart that IKEA sells, you can build your own! || Source


For a little extra seating, add a pop up top with a few colorful bar stools underneath.  Talk about a DIY project for any budget! || Source


Dreamy views out your window each morning? I love it! 




And could I even talk about kitchens without mentioning open shelving? I didn’t think so either… We know I’m no stranger to loving open shelves in my kitchen. 

Here’s quite a few designs for you to DIY in your home! || Source




This is one of the first times I’ve seen open shelving for your pots and pans… I’m LOVING IT! 


White on white on white… so fresh and clean! 


It’s amazing how these vintage candle sticks and small prints bring this space to life! 

What other DIY solutions have you found to work for your small kitchen? Comment below! 


Love it? Pin it for later! 

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 9.49.41 AM

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DIY-ing our Basic Brick Ranch into the Cottage of our Dreams – Part Three


Hey all!  

Today is the third post in my series of how we turned our basic ranch house into the cottage of our dreams.  house transformation series

First, I showed you the updates we made to the outside of our house when we moved in. 

Then, I showed you the addition that we began building to the side of our ranch. 

Now, I am going to show you our first huge renovation to the inside of our ranch, and that was our Kitchen Makeover. 


This makeover has to be one of my all time favorite.  Y’all it was a HUGE undertaking!!

Here is what our kitchen looked like when we first moved in.


Need I say more?

We had planned on waiting to renovate the kitchen, but it was more than I could handle.  

I begged Cy to let me paint the cabinets white!  I knew that it would at least help make the kitchen more tolerable. 

Well, he agreed to letting me paint the cabinets, but then I got to thinking….(which is very dangerous)….instead of wasting time painting the upper cabinets, why don’t we just take them down and put up open shelving?

And that is the point where I began opening a can of worms!kitchen-003_thumb1

Taking the cabinets down made the soffit stick out more.  ugh.

So guess what?!  Down with that soffit!!  We had insulation up to our knees when we took it down!  Let’s just say that my hubby was not as thrilled with my plans as I was.  It was not a pretty moment in our marriage.  hee.hee.


Cy patched up the walls with drywall, but we had parts of our ceiling missing where the soffits used to be.


Visually, I didn’t like how the pantry stuck out in the kitchen and made it look smaller.  So I asked Cy nicely if we could tear it down and build a new pantry?  (I was walking on very thin ice at this point.  But I was on a mission, and I wasn’t turning back!) :)

Cy took a sledge hammer to that baby, and it was gone!  Whoop!  (I’ve got a good man, don’t I?)


Look how much bigger the kitchen looked already!..


Cy built me a new long, shallow pantry with pretty french doors, and here is the pantry before we painted it


You can see how we built the pantry HERE.

We left some space to the left of the oven so Cy could build me some extra cabinets!


You can read about how he did it HERE.  I was loving the addition of these cabinets to my kitchen!

We then painted all of the cabinets white.


You can read about the process we followed to painting our cabinets white HERE.


You can see how we built them in this post.

Next step was to installed butcher block counter tops from IKEA.


I LOVE my countertops!  Almost four years later, and they still look amazing!!

You can see how Cy installed the countertops HERE.

We then needed a backsplash, so we chose white subway tile.  Click HERE to see how we installed it.


My kitchen was coming together!!

Remember the opening in the ceilings we created when we removed the soffit?  Well, we could either patch the ceiling, or install the new wood ceilings I have always dream about.  Hmmmm.  Might as well do the ceiling since we are already in a mess, right?  (Are you seeing where this is going?)


Cy helped get me started on our wood ceiling and I finished it ALL BY MYSELF!    Cy was out of town, and it was interesting trying to do this on my own!  

You can see a video of exactly how we installed our wood ceiling HERE.

You can read about our molding and baseboard HERE.

Once the cabinets and ceiling began looking good, it made the linoleum floor look even worse than it did in the first place.  And since we were on a roll, why not install those wood floors we were hoping to do one day?


Details about our wood floor HERE.


We were finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, and we built some open shelves above the subway tile.


Read about how we built our open shelves in this post.

We also installed a new farmhouse sink and faucet.


After adding some new hardware from Lowe’s and some Christmas decor, my kitchen was finally complete!!


And I got the white kitchen cabinets that I wanted in the first place!  HA!

We started this *little* project at the beginning of October (2011,) and we finished it the week of Christmas (2011.)

In three short months, we got our kitchen completely renovated from top to bottom!

kitchen makeover

It was a crazy three months, but we were both so glad we did it once we were finished.  

It’s amazing the difference you can make with a little white paint.  {wink}


Photo by Layla

To see more before and afters of this kitchen makeover, click HERE.


Click HERE for a budget breakdown of our kitchen renovation!


Wanna see some more great kitchen makeovers

that my husband has done in other homes?  






See you tomorrow with some more interior renovations on our ranch!




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5 Reasons I Love My Kitchen Open Shelves



Why I Love my Open Shelves


When we moved in our house four years ago, I knew one of the first rooms I wanted to do a makeover on was our kitchen.


Wasn’t it beautiful?!  Winking smile








I also knew that one of the first things I wanted to do was remove the soffit and upper cabinets and install open shelves.


Now my kitchen looks like this…




I LOVE my open shelves!!


When I shared them on my blog, most readers loved them too.


However, I had some readers not like the idea of open shelves, and that is totally fine.


And every now and then, I get a comment or email asking me if I still like my open shelves, or if they get dirty easily.


Well, I am hear to tell you that almost four years later, I am still in love with my open shelves and here are four reasons why.


1.  All of my dishes are easy to reach.


I love being able to just reach up and grab a dish or cup that I need.  I have the dishes that I use on a daily basis on the bottom open shelf.


There is no time wasted opening and closing doors.  I just grab and go.


2.  The shelves are easy to Decorate.


Open shelves literally decorate themselves.  To me, they look beautiful just full of white dishes, and if that was all I ever wanted to do, that would look great.


But just add a few red dishes to the white ones, and boom, you are ready for Christmas!  Smile



In the spring, I put the red dishes in my pantry, and bring out more springy dishes.




Open shelves look great with baskets on them which makes for a lot of extra storage.  I like to store my linen napkins in my baskets.


3.  My open shelves keep me organized.


Like I said above, I only keep out the dishes that I use the most.  The rest of my dishes that I only use every once and a while or on special occasions are in cabinets in the laundry room off of the kitchen.




I am amazed at how many kitchen items I almost never use!  Open shelves help me keep away the clutter.  When I had cabinets with doors, I would stuff them full of stuff because I knew that no one would really see it, and boy were they a mess!


4.  It makes it easy for guests.


Have you ever been over someone’s house, and you are trying to help out in the kitchen, but all you keep saying is, “Where’s your bowls?”  and “I don’t know where your glasses are?”


Not at my house!  Everything is easy to see and easy to find, and I love that my guests do not have to ask me where everything is.  I hope it makes them feel more comfortable in my home.


5.  They are so easy to clean and the dirt can’t hide!


So, it always seems that the main reason that people don’t like open shelves is because they say they would be hard to keep clean. 


Not true.  Yes, they do get dirty, but not like people think. 




Every couple of months, I just take a cloth and cleaner and wipe them off.  No big deal.



And the good thing is that my shelves look clean all the time, even if they aren’t.   Smile


I also like that my shelves are white, so that when they are dirty, I can see the dirt and get rid of it. I’m glad the dirt isn’t hiding on dark wood cabinets.

So there you have it!   Those are the reasons I am still loving my open shelves.


What are your thoughts about open shelves?

Love ‘em?  Hate ‘em?








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Clint and Mary’s Kitchen Renovation {Part One}


Hey friends!

I am so excited to share Cy’s latest remodeling project with you!

A couple of months ago, he started working on Clint and Mary’s kitchen renovation. It was a HUGE renovation, and I wanted to share some of the “before” pictures with you.

When you walk in their front door, you immediately see their living room on the right.

kitchen renovation

The living room leads into the dining room.  The plan was to move the wall between the two rooms forward making the living room smaller and the dining room bigger.

Cy was also going to add new French pocket doors between the two rooms.

If you keep walking past the living room, you will find yourself in their den.

kitchen renovation

Like most homes built during this time, there is a wall separating the den from the kitchen.  Clint and Mary wanted a more “open” feel in their home and wanted to tear down the wall between the two rooms.

Mary loves to entertain and host get-togethers, so she wanted a space that facilitated a lot of people.

Her kitchen was small and closed off from the rest of the house.

kitchen renovation

It was also missing adequate storage.  Mary wanted a LOT of cabinets and storage space.  {What woman doesn’t, right?!} Smilekitchen renovation

We made plans to tear out the small panty and create a larger one with double doors.  The wall between the kitchen and dining room was also going to get torn down, opening up the space even more.

If you walk through the small kitchen, you will end up in the dining room.

kitchen renovation

As you can tell in the picture below, every room was separated from the other ones with walls.  Well that was going to change….BIG TIME!

kitchen renovation

Here are a few sneak peeks of the “during” photos.

The new wall between the living room and dining room was built…

kitchen renovation

And the wall between the den and the kitchen was torn down…

kitchen renovation

The space already looks SO much bigger!

kitchen renovation

I cannot wait to show you the “afters” of this space!  It is an amazing transformation!


Stay tuned….


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Pantry Coffee Station {#keurig}


Well, I’ve given my pantry makeover a new makeover!

Let’s take a look back at what my kitchen pantry looked like the day we moved into our home…

kitchen 016

See the big orange door?  That was my small, dark pantry.  I didn’t like it at all.

So what’s a girl to do?

Well, tear it down, that’s what!

kitchen 017 (2)

Okay, so Cy tore it down.  Smile

And I made supper while he did it.

kitchen 016 (2)

Is it just me, or is seeing your husband tear a down a wall sexy or what?!

kitchen 024 (2)

Once the old pantry was completely gone, I was amazed at how much bigger the kitchen looked!

kitchen 040

Cy built some new cabinets with baskets where the pantry used to be…

microwave 002

We filled up the rest of the empty wall space with a shallow, wide pantry.

kitchen 032

I have loved this pantry ever since!

kitchen 010

It is so easy to see everything inside the pantry and nothing gets “lost” in the back of it.  It’s also easy to clean.

Even though I have loved this pantry very much, I had to make a couple of changes to it.

Why, you ask?

Because of my new Keurig.  Smile


Recently, I received a new Keurig Vue, and it sat on my kitchen countertop by the fridge.

That’s totally fine, except that my toaster, canisters, blender, mixer, and more was on my countertop too.

I don’t like a cluttered countertop, and I don’t have a lot of counter space.

So I decided I needed to “tweek” my pantry to accommodate my Keurig and my toaster.

Here is what the pantry used to look like…

pantry 011

And here it is now that I made room for my new Keurig Vue!

2013-11-05 16.46.41

I simply cut the top pantry shelf in half and cut some new boards to create new shelves.


I used my Rockwell Versacut to cut my 1×12 boards for the new shelves.


This tool is the bombdiggity!


It cuts like butta!


I glued and nailed the new shelves in place and installed an power strip with surge protection down the side of the pantry wall for my toaster and Keurig.

Luckily, there was an outlet underneath the bottom shelf of the pantry that I could plug the power strip into.

2013-11-05 16.48.21

I used screw-in hooks above the Keurig machine to hold my coffee cups.

I also got a carousel to hold my Vue cups and placed it on the shelf beneath my Keurig.


2013-11-05 16.49.51

Even though I lost some shelf space, I also gained some shelf space by creating an extra shelf on the top right of the pantry.

2013-11-05 16.47.05



Keurig’s Best Cup

Brew Stronger. Brew Bigger. Brew Hotter.®
The revolutionary Keurig Vue® Brewer works together with the Vue® packs to deliver the ultimate brewing experience.


Are you a coffee drinker? 

How do you like your coffee?


Click on the picture below to see “before and after” pictures of our complete kitchen makeover!


Disclosure:  I received a free Keurig Vue to review on my blog.  I was not told what to do or say.  Everything I shared is 100% Traci-fied. Smile

*This post contains affiliate links.

Linking this post to Home Stories A to Z Tutorials and Tips linky party

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DIY {Undermount} Spice Rack


Hey friends!

I hope you had a great weekend!

I wanted to share with you a project that we completed in our kitchen a while back ago. Smile

We created a place underneath my kitchen cabinets for me to store my spices.

DIY spice rack

This project has been a long time coming.  Over a year and a half ago, we created a cookbook holder on the other side of the microwave.

Cook Book holder

Just for fun, do you remember what our kitchen looked like when we bought this house two and a half years ago?

kitchen makeover before

As you can see, we had a soffit above our cabinets that we tore down during our kitchen renovation.

Cy tore down the small pantry to the left of the oven, and raised the cabinets to the top of the ceiling when we installed the microwave.

DIY kitchen shelves

When we finished the kitchen makeover, this side of the kitchen looked like this…

DIY kitchen makeover

We had extra space under the cabinets on each side of the microwave that I knew I would fill up someday.

under cabinet shelves

I am happy to announce that we finally have both sides finished!

On the left is our cookbook holder…

cook book holder

And now on the right is our spice rack…

diy spice rack

Here’s how we made it:

Cy used his jigsaw to cut out two matching pieces of birch plywood from Lowe’s for the sides of the spice holder.

{I would give you the exact measurements, but everyone’s kitchen cabinets can be different sizes.  If you created this, you would need to measure your cabinets to figure out how big to make your spice rack holder.}

diy spice rack

Then he used wood glue and a nail gun to glue and nail the sides of the holder to the bottom piece.

diy spice rack

Next, he glued and nailed a piece of trim to the bottom of the spice holder.

diy spice rack


diy spice rack


He glued and nailed a matching piece of trim to the top of the holder.

diy spice rack

And then one more piece of trim to the back.

diy spice rack

Next, he glued and nailed the spice rack to the bottom of our kitchen cabinet.

diy spice rack

I filled the seams in with wood filler, sanded them smooth, and then painted them white.

diy spice rack

Next, we began creating the shelves for our spice rack.

diy spice rack

We basically created them like stair steps, gluing and nailing one board on top of the other.

diy spice rack

Don’t forget to check and make sure each board is level.

diy spice rack

Here are the shelves half way through…

diy spice rack

After we had finished each shelf, I used wood filler to fill in the seams.

diy spice rack

Then I sanded and painted the shelves, and they were ready to be used! Smile

diy spice rack

I bought some glass jars at Hobby Lobby {50% off, of course!} and used some chalk board labels to label each jar.

diy spice rack

I love how I have easy access to my spices now when I cook.  I’ve added a few more spice jars since taking these pictures.

diy spice rack

This project only took a couple hours from start to finish and was very inexpensive to create.

Do you have a special way that you store your spices?



See more fun DIY ideas at Lowe’s Creative Ideas, follow Lowe’s on Instagram, Pinterest and sign up for the Creative Ideas magazine and app!


*Disclaimer: As a member of the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Creators and Influencers network, I received a Lowe’s gift card to complete this project.  All ideas, instructions, and opinions are completely and totally mine! Smile



Linking this project to Home Stories A to Z’s Tutorials and Tips Linky Party!

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A New Tile Backsplash!



Cy recently finished another kitchen project.  A client wanted him to help install a new tile backsplash in their kitchen.

They were doing some of the renovation themselves, and here is a “before” picture after their new countertop was installed…


Cy began removing the old tile, but before he did, he made sure that he had on his 3M™ TEKK Protection™ Holmes Workwear™ Safety Glasses.  He had a pair of clear protective glasses, but we didn’t look near as cool in them as we did in the dark protective glasses. Smile    Players don’t play.

phone 011


The tile can easily be removed with a hammer, box knife, and a pry bar, but Cy had to be sure to wear his protective eye wear because bits and pieces of tile can break off and fly in the air.  It is so super important to protect your eyes!

When the tile is removed, it usually damages the dry wall behind it.



So once everything was removed, Cy installed new drywall above the countertop.


phone 001


Once the old tile was removed and the new drywall was up, it was time to install the new tile.


phone 002

Cy wore his 3m protective eye gear and Digital WorkTunes™ Hearing Protector and AM/FM Stereo Radio while he worked.  For this project, hearing wasn’t a big concern because we didn’t use power tools.  However, Cy likes to wear them to block out any noise during noisier projects and wore them during this project for added safety protection and to listen to music while he was working.

He was trying to cut out the hole where the outlets would go in the wall.

phone 003

You have to be super careful with this part.

phone 006

Before applying the new tile to the drywall, he spread tile adhesive on the wall with a 1/8 inch V-notch trowel.


phone 008

Then he used his grout float to push the individual tiles firmly into the adhesive.  During this process, keep a damp sponge near and wipe off any excess adhesive that pushes through the tile before it dries.

The homeowner was going to grout the tile himself after Cy was finished installing it.

phone 009


I stopped back by to get some “after” pictures, and the tile looked beautiful!


The new tile definitely gives their kitchen a more updated look!


And the cutouts around the outlets worked out perfectly!


You can find other great 3M products here:

3m tekk protection, 3m tekk, safety, respirator, tekk protection, safety projects

3M™ TEKK Protection™ website

And connect with 3M here:

3M DIY on Facebook

3M DIY on Twitter


This post is a collaboration with 3M™ TEKK Protection™ Brand, but all words and opinions are my own.

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Kitchen Makeover Reveal



Remember back in March, how I told you that one of Cy’s first jobs in his new business was remodeling my brother and SIL’s kitchen in their new home?

Well, he finished it a couple of months ago, but I just now got over to their house to take some “after” pictures!

Sorry for the delay. Smile


But I am so excited to show you Cy’s fabulous work!

Let’s remember what it looked like before….


painting oak cabinets


And the after!….

painting oak cabinets


My brother, Blake,  and sister-in-law, Ande, are absolutely thrilled with how it turned out!

It is amazing how much of a difference was made by painting the kitchen cabinets white!


painting oak cabinets

He used Benjamin Moore’s White Dove on the cabinets.

painting oak cabinets white


The oak cabinets completely dated the kitchen…

painting oak cabinets white


But now the cabinets look fresh and current…

painting oak cabinets white


To paint the cabinets, Cy used the Homeright Finish Max Sprayer.

HomeRight Finish Max Fine Finish HVLP Sprayer

Finish Max Fine Finish HVLP Sprayer


You can read about how he painted the cabinets HERE.

painting kitchen cabinets white


Ande chose to paint the island herself, and Cy installed a new granite counter top on it.

painting oak cabinets white


Isn’t it gorgeous?!  I believe Ande got those stools at IKEA.


painting oak cabinets white



Cy also installed IKEA butcher block counter tops just like the ones in our kitchen.


IKEA butcher block counter tops


I cannot get enough of butcher block counter tops!


painting oak cabinets white


Ande picked out a beautiful stainless steel farmhouse sink for her kitchen.  Cy had to rebuild the cabinet below to make it fit, and it looks great!


IKEA butcher block countertops


Blake and Ande also had the floor refinished, which added even more beauty to this space!

kitchen makeover reveal


So there you have it!  What do you think?

Did Cy do a good job?  Smile


kitchen makeover

Next week, I am going to show you the makeover he completed on my Aunt and Uncle’s master bathroom.  You won’t believe it!


If you have any questions about the kitchen makeover, feel free to leave it in the comments below.  Thanks!

Linking to…

Home Stories A2Z


*This post contains affiliate links.

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Kitchen Makeover {with wood beams}



One of the things I love about blogging is when I get emails from my readers telling me about transformations they are making in their own homes from inspiration they received on my blog.

I love that people read my blog and follow my crazy DIY life, but when someone tells me they tried one of my recipes, or painted a similar piece of furniture to mine, or made one of my crafts, it just blesses my socks off!

When I shared how we installed faux wood beams from AZ Faux Beams in our master bathroom, I got a message from a reader, Alix, on my blog facebook page asking me for some more information about them.

faux beams 032

We exchanged several messages, and Alix told me they decided to buy some of the faux beams for her kitchen.

I told her to share some pictures with me after they installed the beams, and so I was thrilled when I received this email from Alix:


We finally finished out beam project and I wanted to share the before and after pics. We had white beams that our contractor had done for us, but we never liked them and they weren’t the best quality. So these were such a great option for us. I am so happy we saw them on your blog. We did stain them ourselves to get the darker finish and it was super easy. The installation also went well. We are super happy with the end result.
Take care!



Well, my jaw hit the floor when I saw Alix’s beautiful kitchen.  It looked gorgeous in the before picture…


beams before



But WOW!  Check out the difference those faux wood beams made in the “after” picture…


beams after(1)


Alix, your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous!  I love the way you stained your beams to match your floors.  And your open shelves are so beautiful.

Thank you for sharing this with me!

If you would like to learn more about AZ Faux Beams, click on the button below.


This is NOT a sponsored post.  I did not receive any compensation for writing it.  I just love this product and was excited to share this makeover with you. Smile

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Our DIY Under the Cabinet Cook Book Holder



Last week, I wrote a post called Simple Ways to Store Your Cookbooks.

I shared that post because I knew I would be showing you how we created a DIY Cook Book Holder for our kitchen.

Cook Book holder


Before I show you my new Cook Book Holder, let’s take a quick look back at what this part of my kitchen looked like about 5 short months ago.

kitchen 030

WOW!  We’ve come a long way baby!  Smile

Notice the soffit above our cabinets.  We tore out the soffit and moved our cabinet boxes up to the ceiling.

DIY kitchen shelves

We also tore out our old pantry to the left of our oven, and created new cabinet space and a new, bigger pantry.

Kitchen Pantry



This is what our finished kitchen looked like the day before Christmas…

DIY kitchen makeover


Much better! 

Since we moved our cabinets up to the ceiling, we created some space under our cabinets for additional storage. 

I thought this would be a great place to store my cook books and spices.

under cabinet shelves


So I told Cy what I was kind of thinking about doing, and while I was in Utah at the SNAP! Conference, he made me a new shelf for my cook books.

Here is a video he shot of the process while I was gone…





I love this new storage space!

cook book holder



And I cannot wait to make another one like it on the other side of the microwave for my spices!

cook book holder


So if you are thinking about remodeling your kitchen, maybe you could move your existing cabinets up higher to create some under cabinet shelving as well.

cook book holder


If you would like to view the before and after pictures of our kitchen makeover again, just click on the picture below.

kitchen makeover


Do you have under cabinet shelving in your kitchen?

Do you have a space you would like to add some under cabinet shelving?

See you tonight for my “Best DIY Projects of April” linky Party!

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