This 1970s basement kitchenette got a big makeover using unexpected wood products from Woodgrain and budget-friendly DIY techniques. Sponsored by Woodgrain
Last month I announced I was starting my very first project of 2022, and I was kicking off the new year with quite the undertaking. The basement in our 1970s Fixer is split into two sections. One side is my Studio, aka Organized-ish HQ, and the other side is my husband’s man cave, aka The Collections Room. Nestled in between those two sides is a narrow kitchenette with old, stained cabinets and a big hole in the wall from a repair that happened 20+ years ago.
The kitchenette stood out like a sore thumb with the black and white decor in the rest of the basement, so it was time to give it the makeover it desperately deserved. After a few (okay, a lot of) hangups, we finally made it to the finish line and today I’m so excited to show you how it turned out. Ready for the reveal?
Studio Kitchenette “Before”
Not going to lie, I really love the wallpaper mural and pink countertops in the kitchenette before the makeover. But after I remodeled Organized-ish HQ and took away all the bold ’80s colors and replaced them with a more calming black, white, and green color scheme, the kitchenette was a bit too loud to hang with us.
One thing I knew I needed to change was the cabinet space. The pathway between the cabinets and the wall was very tight, and made it really hard to open the cabinet doors and get to what you needed without being smushed up against the wall.
It wasn’t in my budget to tear out the cabinets and move them, so I decided I can do without the doors and rock some open shelving instead. Usually I have paint on my hands from a project in the Studio anyway, so it’ll be helpful not to have doors to deal with.
Studio Kitchenette “After”
Wowza! Can you even believe this is the same space?! It’s part swanky hotel bar and part Starbucks coffee lounge, which is exactly how I dreamed it up in my head. I was actually inspired by Starbucks while I was sitting inside a shop sipping my Honey Oatmilk Latte, and realized I felt cozy and creative every time I visited. I knew that vibe was perfect for my own Studio Kitchenette.
Don’t you think it’s better without the cabinet doors? I didn’t actually add more walking space between the cabinets and the wall, but it sure feels like I did. I left the cabinet doors under the sink because that hides the trash can and plumbing, but the open shelving on the front side means I can get to my snacks and cleaning supplies easier during workdays.
The Wood Tiled Bar
When I saw this reclaimed wood tile from Woodgrain on display at a conference, I knew I just had to use it somewhere in my home. There’s so much texture and dimension, but still warm and inviting. The tile was really easy to cut with my miter saw and I only had to cut the straight edges for the sides of the bar. The rest of the pieces go together like a puzzle.
To install the Woodgrain Accents wood tile, all you have to do is give the back of the tile a wiggly line of construction adhesive and secure them in place with a few brad nails. It’s really important to use a laser level to draw a level line with a pencil for the first row of the tiles. Don’t rely on your baseboard or walls to be perfectly straight, because they rarely are.
Woodgrain Accents Wood Tile Installation Tips
- Let the wood tile acclimate to the room at least 48 hours before installation.
- Open all boxes and mix up the tile. The colors and patterns vary per box, so blending them makes it look more natural.
- Make Level Lines on the left side and top side of the wall you’re covering.
- Create one row from the top to the bottom on the left side of the wall.
- You can use a hammer wrapped in a thick cloth to smash the tiles apart if you need single pieces to fill in the very bottom to avoid cutting lengthwise.
The Fluted Casing Wall
With all that horizontal texture going on on the front of the bar, I wanted to break it up with some vertical texture on the back wall. I love the look of reeding on walls, but just the thought of attaching hundreds of tiny dowels individually makes my wrists cramp. To mimic that look, I decided to use fluted casing instead.
I used 4″ fluted casing from Woodgrain, which is actually a type of moulding made to go around doors and windows. But when the moulding is butted up side-by-side, it creates almost the same look as a reeded wall for a way more affordable price tag. I didn’t use construction adhesive with the casing, just brad nails to hold the planks in place.
Fluted Casing Accent Wall Installation Tips
- Let all pieces of fluted casing acclimate to the room for at least 48 hours to prevent flexing.
- Cut pieces 1/4 inch shorter than the wall to allow for expansion/compression during temperature changes just like you would for a wood floor.
- Use a laser level to check vertical alignment. Remember, walls and baseboards are rarely perfectly straight.
- Seal every connection seam with paintable caulk, even if the seam is very close together. This makes the wall appear to be seamless.
- Fill nail holes with putty. (I used Plastic Wood)
- Paint with flat paint to enhance the deep grooves and make them stand out. (I used this paint, it’s the best!)
How I Organized The Studio Kitchenette
Now that all the construction work was done, it was time for my favorite job —organizing! I started by setting up the coffee station, which is what I use the most in the kitchenette. I work in the Studio five days a week, so this coffee zone is my BFF. I added a wood tray to prevent accidental coffee stains on the vinyl-covered countertops and packed a Penny Jar full of coffee pods. I also swapped the teal Keurig for a black one.
Below the coffee station is Winston’s water bowl. He typically comes to work with me every day and lounges on the sofa while I’m shooting videos and writing blog posts, so I wanted to make sure he has his own little water zone. We go upstairs for lunch, so I didn’t need a food bowl down here for him.
Speaking of food, I’m a total snacker. I love to keep little snacks in the Studio to fuel me through the day, and I’m always craving something salty and sweet around 1pm. And if you’ve been hanging out with me for a while, you know every craft project is accompanied by handful of M&M’s. It’s a must. I stashed some airtight containers with my team’s fave snacks and added some XL mugs to use as snack bowls.
On the other side of the bar cabinets, I have all our cleaning supplies separated by category in easy-to-access metal baskets. This makes it quick to find what we need to clean up a spill, a paint splatter, or a smushed M&M in the carpet. I lined the shelves with leftover countertop vinyl to make them easy to clean up any accidental leaks, too.
Shop The Kitchenette On LTK
All the product sources for both the building and organizing of the kitchenette are available in my LTK on this page. You can shop the entire room there, and if you’re looking for a product source that isn’t on that list, drop a comment below and we’ll try to track it down for you.
What’s Next For The Studio?
We are almost done with the basement remodel, and the Kitchenette really makes it feel much more put-together already. My Studio side still needs a new table for myself and my team to work and craft at, the lounge area needs something fun (hopefully a pool table!), and Nigel’s Collections Room needs new paint and furniture. We still have quite a list ahead of ourselves, but by the end of 2022 we expect be completely finished with the whole basement.