Prepare to Copy Every Budget-Saving Hack in This Gorgeous $12,000 Kitchen Flip

Designer and Coterie member Jana Bek loves herself some color (see: her palette-happy decor collections). She also really, really loves to cook. So the fact that her Ann Arbor, Michigan, kitchen was stuck in brown, 90’s design anonymity was a bit of an issue. When the opportunity to take place in a blogger design challenge arose, Jana decided the time was nigh for that overdue renovation.

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Courtesy of Jana Bek


The space already had gracious windows, lovely flooring and a big ol’ island. But the cabinets, countertops and fixtures all screamed 1998. (To say nothing of the wonky upper cabinet configuration.) Jana’s mission? Make the space bright, airy and contemporary. By handling the bulk of the labor (alongside her husband) and rehabbing as much existing material as possible, she pulled off an epic, budget-savvy transformation.

Here’s exactly how she did it...

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Marta Perez; Courtesy of Jana Bek

Cabinet Rehab: $1,500

The first matter of business? Getting rid of the dated cherry wood cabinet color. To brighten up the space, Jana had the lower cupboards, island and refrigerator paneling painted in Farrow & Ball James White, which was crisp and clean but offered enough warm tones to complement the green tile she selected. To save a few extra bucks, she then re-attached the existing brushed nickel pulls and knobs.

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Marta Perez; Courtesy of Jana Bek

Floating Shelves: $350

Since she had ample lower cupboard storage, Jana decided to rip out the goofy multilevel cabinet uppers. In their place, her handy husband built two tiers of open wooden shelving to wrap around the walls. They made the space feel infinitely bigger—and provided the perfect gallery-like setting for artwork, vintage finds and prized dishware.

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Marta Perez; Courtesy of Jana Bek

Counters: $1,800

The shiny granite counters had to go—but demo and new material simply wasn’t in Jana’s budget. Her clever solution? Having her granite counters honed on site by a professional. This process of vigorous wet sanding took the stone from gaudy and glossy to matte and soapstone-reminiscent—for a fraction of the cost.

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Marta Perez; Courtesy of Jana Bek

Tile: $6,000

Jana knew the kitchen needed at least one design dare—so she selected a punchy, kiwi-toned Fireclay subway tile as a backsplash—and then took it all the way up to the ceiling for a super-dramatic effect. Psst: Jana and her husband did this massive tiling job themselves. Impressive, right?

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Marta Perez; Courtesy of Jana Bek

Lighting: $850

Next up: Decorative touches. Jana swapped out the undersized, outdated lights over the island for three antique bronze pendants from Ballard Designs. With their large scale and black patina, they perfectly tie into the new countertops and make a strong focal point.

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Marta Perez; Courtesy of Jana Bek

Stools: $1,500

Sayonara, chocolate pleather stools. As a final flourish, Jana added three cream colored Chippendale stools from Ballard Designs, which she then upholstered in her own aqua shagreen fabric to tie into the green tiling. What can we say? Girl loves color. And now, it’s safe to say she loves cooking in her kitchen too.

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Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.