Our Exciting Kitchen Makeover: Before and After

Kitchen cabinets with Sherwin Williams Thunderous

Our Exciting Kitchen Makeover: Before and After

It’s time for our kitchen makeover reveal! It’s amazing what paint (in our case, Sherwin-Williams Thunderous!) can do to transform a space:

Kitchen cabinets with Sherwin-Williams Thunderous paint

Before picture of kitchen cabinets

We had a contractor paint the cabinets as well as add hardware to them and replace the travertine backsplash with subway tile. It was a little nerve-wracking trying to choose paint and backsplash colors while still in Chicago. We just gave it our best guess and held our breath that it would work well together once it was all up. Thankfully it did – I’m so excited about the results!

Awesome kitchen cabinet makeover with Sherwin-Williams Thunderous paint

Kitchen Makeover Before and After – Remodeling Tips

Here are a few takeaways from our kitchen makeover –  while we didn’t do the work ourselves I learned a few things along the way:

1) Paint is a great first step, but hire professionals!

Just painting the cabinets can transform the space. We used Sherwin Williams’ Thunderous color on the cabinets. Painting them yourself can be a huge undertaking and if you want your painted cabinets to last, I highly recommend using a professional cabinet painter. While we used a general contractor for our initial painting in 2013, we hired Paper Moon Painting to repaint them in 2020. Unlike our original contractor, Paper Moon Painting specializes in cabinet painting. They serve the San Antonio and Austin area if you are local and in need of a great painter!

All painted cabinets require some maintenance to address chips and dings that develop from wear and tear. However, a quality paint job can minimize these issues. Paper Moon Painting took the time to sand our cabinets, prime them, and then spray them with a furniture-quality lacquer finish (rather than oil- or latex-based paints). The lacquer finish is durable, smooth, and free of brushstrokes. Our original painters did not prime the cabinets and brush painted them, leading to a noticeable difference in quality. Consider it a lesson learned!

2) Don’t overlook the power of lighting

We added some pendant lights over the counter area where there were previously none (one of the three pendants broke during installation so we are waiting for another one to come in). In addition to providing some additional lighting over the food prep area, they also help set the tone of the kitchen.

New kitchen pendants with Edison bulbs

The amber glass of the pendants adds a nice warmth to the room and the Edison bulb inside puts off a cool industrial glow at night!


3) Hardware helps

Adding some hardware to the cabinets changed their look considerably. It also saves the cabinets from the wear and tear of handling them directly. The finish on the original cabinets had started to wear off in the areas that were frequently grabbed.

New hardware on kitchen cabinets

4) Invest in key areas

While the original travertine backsplash wasn’t bad, we realized that replacing it would be key to truly changing the style of kitchen and decided it was worth the additional cost.

Green-gray subway tile blacksplash

5) Aim for consistency in finishes

Think beyond your kitchen to other parts of the house. For instance we chose brush nickel for the fixtures in kitchen and the cabinet pulls, and carried that through the bathroom fixtures as well. The style of pendant lights works well with the other lighting we added in other areas of the house.


6) Add additional color and pattern through accessories

Now I’m in the process of incorporating some fun rugs, dishtowels, etc. to give the space some character. I want to create a little coffee station with a tray for spoons, sugar, etc. next to my coffee pot – currently a work in progress!


 7) Use inspiration images

Finding a couple kitchens that I particularly loved was a big help in being able to envision how this space could look.

It was a fun process to see it all come together. I am looking forward to enjoying this kitchen for many years to come. Hope you like the results! Want to check out the other rooms in our home? Here’s our home tour!

Kitchen Makeover Update – November 2020!

As I mentioned above in tip #1, we had our cabinets repainted by Paper Moon Painting in 2020 (7 years after our original paint job). Here is how the cabinets look today! We took the opportunity to update them with some sleek new black hardware while we were at it:

Kitchen cabinet remodel with Paper Moon Painting

Their lacquer finish creates such a smooth cabinet front! I’m still loving this cabinet color seven years later. I know these cabinets will stay looking great for many years to come!

Kitchen cabinets painted by Paper Moon Painting

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  1. So pretty! I love the cabinet color and that gorgeous glass tile backsplash. Everything looks great with the existing counters and floor and yet it really looks fresh and updated. I also like that it's not the same old white kitchen you see everywhere. Great job!

    1. Thank you! The flooring was added by the original owners of the house. The type of tile is called agglomerate. I had never seen anything like it before we moved here!

    1. We purchased the subway tile from Daltile, but unfortunately I don’t remember the exact color we chose!

  2. Hello! I went to our local Sherwin Williams store to find the thunderous paint color and it’s a very dark gray color. Did you adjust your color any? I love that color so much!

    1. Hi Abby! Nope, we used the color as is. I always recommend first painting a test area (like a plain piece of plywood) and propping it in your kitchen to see how the color looks before painting the cabinets. The color appears different shades over the course of the day based on the amount of light coming through the windows! Good luck!

  3. I love it! Great job! Im going to painting cabinets too, but I bought the Plascon colour. And I’m a little nervous about it. I don’t know will I succeed)))) Do you know something about Plascon?

    1. Hi Anna, unfortunately I’ve never heard of Plascon and had to look it up! Sorry I can’t provide any advice but I wish you luck!

      1. We got a bid from Paper Moon. Are you still happy with your cabinets? Any chips or issues with the paint? Thanks!

        1. So so happy! We have had zero issues with chipping since they were repainted. They look like new. The finish they create with their process is a lot more durable than what we had on our cabinets previously.

  4. Hi love your kitchen the paint looks green, after reading another comment, they said it was actually a grey I’m looking for a green Can you clarify this for me Great job.

    1. Hi Ann! It is a greenish gray. 🙂 It really is in between the two and can look more green or more gray depending on the time of day and amount of light in the kitchen. I love the color. It is called Thunderous by Sherwin Williams. I always recommend getting a sample and trying out a small area in your kitchen before committing to a color.

  5. We recently painted our cabinets almost the exact color. Beautiful but now we are trying to find a paint for the walls. What color did you use for the walls?

    1. That is great! Our wall color is beige (the best I can describe it!). Unfortunately it was some type of custom blend that the previous owners had made, so I don’t have a name to provide you with!

  6. Any chance you have the SW paint color number or a picture of the can showing the paint input ratios? Their current “Thunderous” is in no way green but local store said they could match it knowing the inputs! Thanks!

    1. It’s the same Thunderous. It is a gray with green undertones. I always recommend getting a small sample can to try out before you commit. It looks different in different lighting situations. Best of luck!

    1. Yes it is, but unfortunately I don’t have a name for it. It was installed by the previous owners of our home!

  7. Hi! What direction does your kitchen face? Your room is very similar in terms of wall color, counter tops, and layout to my kitchen and I want to emulate the effect. However, mine is north facing and it’s making the counter color selection difficult. I’m just wondering if I should even bother picking up a swatch of Thunderous or if I should go straight for less grayed out yellow-greens.

    1. Hi Emily, Our kitchen faces North, with a windows on the East side of the room. I say give it a try! Best of luck!

  8. I commented on a different picture with a picture of single cabinet on the Pinterest cover page that looked like these. However the other picture looked like you painted the cabinet and then put brown stain over it to give it a weathered look. I was wondering if you did use a stain, what color stain was it. I’m looking to use a moss color & making it look weathered but don’t know what color paint or stain. Any ideas? Thanks

    1. Hi Deb, Thanks for your comment! We actually didn’t put any stain on our cabinets to give them a weathered look. It is just the Sherwin Williams Thunderous paint and a clear sealant. It may just have something to do with how the photo was taken. I really do recommend trying a sample of the Thunderous paint if you like the look!

  9. Hi, I love the flooring in this kitchen. Is it real tile? Vinyl? Do you have any info on it that you could share?

    1. Hi Jordan! Yes the flooring is real tile – the style is called Agglomerate. It was installed by the initial owners of our home 20 years ago so I don’t know too much about it, but it is beautiful! I haven’t been able to find a close match for the tile on the internet.

  10. When I got the paint chip of the color Thunderous from Sherwin Williams it is a gray not the green color shown here. Please help. Thanks

    1. Hi Linda, You got the right paint chip! All I can say is that it is a greenish gray. It takes on different tones in different lighting, and some may due to my camera settings. It is a beautiful color and I recommend trying a sample quart of it to see it on the wall in your space!

    1. Thank you! Unfortunately the walls were painted by the previous owners using a custom paint blend, so I don’t have a paint name to give you. Sorry!

  11. Hi – I love how your kitchen turned out! The color is fabulous and I love the pendants too. I have a contract signed for mine to be painted this summer and have looked at so many colors LOL. I have a beige countertop so want something that contrasts, but is not too dark. I ruled out Thunderous Gray as being too dark, but I do have a lot of light. After seeing this, I will include it in my samples to check out a bigger area in my kitchen. Do you feel like it is almost a neutral? My kitchen is very open to our family room and I worry about introducing too much color. I only have one chance to get it right as I will not be doing it again! I am planning on doing the uppers white and lowers and island the other color because the uppers have different doors and I want to make it look intentional. Are you still loving the color? Thanks for your input.

    1. Hi Karen, I apologize for the delayed response. You’ve probably picked your colors already, but I just want to say that if you do pick Thunderous, I don’t think you will be disappointed! We have been loving the color for over 9 years. I do feel like it can work as a neutral and they are not too dark. I always recommend trying a small tester pot of paint and use it to paint a piece of plywood. Prop it up in your kitchen so you can see the color at different times of day. Best of luck!

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