Well folks, here it is. The first project in our new house. It took less than a month to get started on a major renovation… the kitchen. Before we even moved in, I was brainstorming ways to transform this eighties throwback into our very own Scandinavian farmhouse kitchen… or at least that’s how I’m labeling it today. While I was certainly tempted to start with new appliances, I’ve had enough projects under my belt to know better. So we made our list and started at the at the top—quite literally—with the ceiling.

Project Cost

Total – $80

  • flush mount led ceiling light – $30
  • 1 gal. Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water Based Interior/
    Exterior Primer – $17
  • 1 Gal. Behr Premium Plus Ultra Paint & Primer in One, Matte – $25
  • 2 12″ x 3/8″ rollers – $6
  • 2 Tray liners – $2

Where it all began.

Here it is. The original ceiling in all its beauty. I’m sure this look was quite desirable in its day, but for us, it was the first thing to go in a long list of kitchen updates.

Getting started.

We started our kitchen project with the necessary demolition work. Specifically, this involved the ceiling, but as you can see, we also cleared some cabinets along the way (more on that to come). We began by taking out the ceiling tiles and the ceiling grid. In true 1987-style, it was all oak. Most of my woodworking endeavors have involved pine due to its affordable price and rustic aesthetic. This beast was no pine; it was quite heavy! Thankfully, Josh was there to pick up the slack after I grossly underestimated the mass of the large grid suspended above our heads. We got it down without any injuries and proceed to pry it apart so we could fit it out the door. After taking down the bulk of the ceiling grid, we unplugged (yes, unplugged) the fluorescent lights and installed a hardwired LED flush-mount fixture in their place. While it’s not the most beautiful light, it’s clean, simple, and lights up the room until I have time to build the barnwood beam lights I’ve had lingering in my mind.

Popcorn should stay at the movies.

The next big step after taking down the ceiling grid was scraping off the popcorn texture. This was a first for Josh and me. I’ve never particularly liked popcorn ceilings, but they hadn’t made it high enough on the priorities list to get addressed during past projects. With the combination of nail holes from the ceiling grid and scrape marks from the cabinet demolition, removing the popcorn was necessary for our new kitchen. As many how-tos will tell you, scraping popcorn is not hard. You get it wet, let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrape it off with a drywall knife. The biggest problem is that it is extremely messy. Add to that trying to keep multiple dogs out of the way, and it was quite an undertaking. We spent three times as long cleaning it up as we did scraping it down. Next time we’ll be trying the putty-knife-duct-taped-to-a-shop-vac approach.

Finishing touches.

After the popcorn-scraping fun was complete, we patched and painted the ceiling (and the rest of the kitchen) with a fresh shade of white. Since the drywall above the drop ceiling had never been painted, we applied a generous coat of primer before painting. This extra step ensured thorough paint coverage without too many coats. I tried five different shades of white before selecting “Simply White” by Benjamin Moore for our kitchen. It’s a slightly warm white that works well with the terra cotta tile and medium wood trim. It’s amazing how much fresh, white paint lightens up the space. I can’t wait to spread this color to the rest of the main level. Note: the walls above the sink and cooktop will be getting subway tile, and we’ll soon be painting the cabinets, so we didn’t bother masking them off during this phase of the project.

The results.

Although this is really more of a “during” than an “after” picture, it’s the first completed step in our kitchen renovation. Removing the dated ceiling and lightening up the walls made the entire kitchen feel bigger and more open. What do you think? Drop me a comment below and be sure to subscribe to keep up on the next phase of this and other projects.