This checkered and blue kitchen reveal puts some major charm back into a 1980’s renovation. With brass fixtures, blue cabinets and checkerboard floors this kitchen is a budget friendly makeover.
Today is the room reveal from Tux House that I’ve been most excited to share. It’s the most outside of my neutral loving comfort zone but it delivered in a big way. I’m talking about the Tux House Checkered & Blue Kitchen Reveal!
We were working with a super tight budget on this space so everything you’re seeing here is incredibly budget friendly. From reusing the cabinets that were here before to probably the cheapest (but so dang beautiful and durable) flooring you can find to painting the cabinets ourselves… honestly, it’s affordable but in the best way with a few splurges to keep it looking classy. Let’s remind ourselves of the before, shall we? (see the rest of the before photos from this house here!)
Orange?! Red?! YES. It was orange and red and yellowing white that I couldn’t tell if it was meant to be cream or just ended up that way after years. These before photos are the listing photos and there’s a significant amount of whitening that must have happened to them. Ha!
This kitchen is one of the spaces in the house that had been renovated we are assuming in the early 80s and the character and charm from the original 1945 home had been stripped right out. But here’s the thing… the kitchen was functional. So we couldn’t justify gutting it when it actually worked and our budget and timeline could only allow for one gut job (that bathroom!).
This room makeover features products that have been provided in partnership and affiliate links. These are noted with an asterisk*. See all my policies here.
Our goal with this space was to refresh it and make it feel more intentional while also bringing some of the charm back into this room. You can see in our design board that we planned to do that with a classic checkerboard floor and blue cabinets. I’ve painted cabinets so many times now, that didn’t scare me but checkerboard floors is new to me.
We did change the layout of the cabinets a tiny bit. The layout in here wasn’t ideal with the oven being on the end of a cabinet run. It’s not safe and given that it was going to be a short term rental that welcomed kids, we wanted to move that. Without moving plumbing, we didn’t have many options so we just moved it over one small cabinet. This looks much nicer and is better for workflow for the countertops but that corner cupboard sucks to get into now. If were were living here, we would have pulled everything out and really reorganized those cabinets (dishwasher to the right of the sink), but hey, this was a compromise for the timeline and budget.
We also took out the upper cabinets on the left side of the kitchen. That beam that runs through the kitchen made the upper cabinets look really small. By removing the cabinets that interfered with the beam and to the left, the kitchen feels so much more spacious. We added an open shelf on the wall and a range hood. There is a pantry that first door in the hallway that fits the microwave and a ton of small appliances and foods, so storage wasn’t a huge deal in this space.
Since we removed a few cabinets and under counter lighting, we did have some repair to do. We patched the drywall and used that wiring to wire in a sconce above the sink. I love this cutie arm sconce with the wavy shade, it’s just so charming.
As for the flooring…
I hit up my favourite local flooring store with my ideas and budget and they pointed me towards a type of flooring I had never heard of- VCT Tile (vinyl composition tile). It’s super durable- it’s the same product they use in commercial buildings quite often but it’s come so far in how it looks, this one has amazing texture and more of a matte finish. Plus, it’s much more affordable than ceramic tile. I had to go in and see it in person because I was unsure, but once I did- I was sold.
Plus, it was glue down, so we didn’t need to spend an extra day grouting after laying the tile. This helped us on our tight timeline too! Shane laid this while I painted the cabinet doors in the garage.
I used my Wagner Flexio 5000 to paint these. It’s my most used sprayer and it did a wonderful job. I used the Benjamin Moore Stix® Waterborne Bonding Primer and then two coats of the Benjamin Moore Super Kote 5000® Waterborne Acrylic-Alkyd Satin in Province Blue. I chose this colour since it was a really saturated blue but with classic undertones that kept it from reading too bright. I’m so happy with how it went on and how it held up to us installing the doors, cleaning and getting everything ready for guests.
We painted the walls white (Baby’s Breath from Benjamin Moore) to balance the bright blue and we chose to go with a black countertop in here to keep it from feeling like a white box. I love the contrast of a black countertop and the black IKEA countertop is just really pretty for the price point. We installed this ourselves and matched a black sink to help it blend in.
Just like with the rest of the house, we chose satin gold or brass finishes for the hardware and fixtures wherever possible. I love how this leans classic but trendy in such a fun way. It also helps bring in warmth to cooler colours. The light fixtures and tap are all saves from Amazon (the dining room light can be found here and the pull down faucet here– although we were a bit bummed we didn’t read reviews better and it totally doesn’t switch to a sprayer mode).
The beautiful cabinet pulls are higher end, brass pulls. I love this because you touch them every day and can feel the quality weight of them. They’re the Trail Pull from Emtek* and honestly some of the most beautiful pulls I’ve ever held. I wanted to bring them home to switch for our own kitchens but the size wouldn’t have matched- ha!
Originally, we’d planned to do a floating shelf with a brass gallery rail. Then the gallery rail got delayed and eventually cancelled so we changed gears and ordered these brass brackets to add behind the floating shelf. We stained the shelf to match the deeper wood trim and doors in the rest of the house and routed the edge of the shelf on top and bottom to give it a more ornamental look. This really made such a difference! It’s just a 2×10.
We used the extra tile from the bathroom walls for the backsplash. I did this backsplash only a day or two before we had to have the whole home finished, so I went with a basic stacked square lay instead of the staggered brick lay that the tiler did in the bathroom. I cheated by skipping the mortar and using an adhesive tile mat so I could go directly to grouting. It was my first time using this and it went really well, I was definitely impressed! The grout is the colour frost from Mapei. I like how the all white adds some shine and interest to the walls but is totally classic and in line with the 1945 design of the house… it’s also neutral so doesn’t compete with the blue kitchen cabinets.
We decided to upgrade the appliances upstairs and reuse the ones from this kitchen in the basement suite. You can see the basement suite reveal here. We chose stainless steel for an updated and honestly to keep costs down.
This home doesn’t have a dining room, so this eat in kitchen needed to be functional. We had bought a table off of Facebook marketplace to refinish but when I uncovered it in the garage we realized it was definitely not real wood. There happened to be a wood round table top in the rafters of our garage so we pulled that down and frankensteined a table together from the base of the one we’d bought on marketplace and from the top in the garage. It had great character from whenever it was put up there and we just routed the edges to give the same detail as the shelf in the kitchen.
I stained it all dark to match the other furniture in the house and really love how this brings some of the warmth that the wood trim and doors in the rest of the house lend to a space. The chandelier fits perfectly above it for a bit of a statement.
I had my heart set on beautiful black chairs. I was looking at windsor style chairs and we went to a few Facebook Marketplace pickups only to be disappointed by broken pieces so I eventually just ordered these beauties from Wayfair so I could get exactly what I wanted. I think they play perfectly with this table and all the elements in this space. I didn’t want to have too many colours or wood tones or finishes in this space, I thought the blue kitchen cabinets, brass hardware, wood table and black and white were enough without adding in another wood tone or finish for the chairs.
Up until we were finishing up painting and starting to move things in, I hadn’t decided what to do with those patio doors. Shane suggested painting them blue to match the blue kitchen cabinets and I loved the idea. I came back from picking up dinner and he’d gone for it. I’m so happy he did- isn’t the blue on here gorgeous!? It helps balance things and keeps the room from feeling lopsided with all the blue on just one side.
The hardware on this patio door is absolutely stunning too. This is going to be the main entrance for the AirBnB as the front door is an original wood door with art deco handle. We didn’t want to drill into that for a smart lock, so we put it back here. Since it’s a part of the kitchen I wanted to make sure it all coordinated and looked as just as beautiful as the other side of the room.
This one is the Emtek* EMPowered Motorized Touchscreen Keypad Smart Lock Entry Set with Baden Grip and T-Bar Knurled Lever… and it’s the prettiest smart lock I ever did see. The gold on the inside plays with all the other finishes we’ve chosen and the outside is perfectly functional to help guests inside. We chose another brand for the basement suite and have regretted it as we’ve had to change the batteries several times and fix jams since starting to rent it out earlier this summer. This EMPowered entry set hasn’t had a single issue- I’m so impressed!
We have recently switched to a property manager to manage our AirBnB since we are out of town and since the EMPowered locks work with Yale Access Technology, they could hook up to it without adding extra hardware to our door. It’s been one of the best things we’ve chosen for this home.
While we were on a roll painting doors blue, we decided to paint the doors in the hallway blue as well. The doors in the hallway were old, no character 1980s hollow core doors. We replaced these with some beautiful doors that matched the design of our original wood doors throughout the rest of the house. These are the Metrie* X Masonite Expo™ Heritage® Series Logan™ Moulded Panel Door and honestly they match so beautifully, other than lacking the dings of the originals, you’d think we just painted the 1945 classics! We chose a beautiful beefy trim for around the doors- this 3 1/4″ casing also from Metrie.
I love how much of a statement these closet doors turned into with just this change! It was a bit of an eyesore part of the house, but now it’s stunning! We added glass door knobs and a star flush mount light here in the hallway to finish it all off and it totally ties in to the blue kitchen.
For decorations, we kept it pretty simple. Functional decor on the shelf with Some art from The Poster Store* and dried florals from my garden on the table. We also hung a linen look apron (from the dollar store, can you believe it?!) with a vintage brass hook we found in the garage workshop. It definitely helps fill that giant blank wall without being too busy. The cocktails poster is so cool here- I would like to eventually find a brass look cocktail shaker to keep on the open shelving as well. Here is the little sun print on the shelf.
Phew! Well, that’s the space… I’m so happy with how this blue kitchen turned out, it’s honestly just as good as I imagined it would be! We got to enjoy some time here in August as a family for a few days when we travelled down to meet with the property manager. We so enjoyed playing games at this table, looking out at all the birds and rabbits in the yard and sipping wine in the living room, I am beyond happy that other families will get to enjoy this home away from home when they travel!
Tux House is our AirBnB property in Calgary, Alberta.
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