May 27, 2015

David's DIY Kitchen Upgrade - The Final Reveal


created at: 05/27/2015

The kitchen is the center of the home. It's arguably the most important room in the house, and, for many of us, it's the room that gets the most use. Unfortunately, my kitchen was kind of a bummer. Like the weird roommate you got stuck with your freshman year of college - you know, the one who never left the room and sort of started to blend into the beige cinderblock walls after awhile - that was my kitchen. 

So, after years of living with the basic and boring, I decided I'd had enough. So, I set out to upgrade the room with new Frigidaire Professional appliances and a bunch of DIY projects and repairs to transform it into something dramatically different.

Frigidaire Kitchen Upgrade Revealed
After several busy weeks of work, I'm thrilled to share the final reveal with you today. Here we go! (To catch up on everything we did, check out the first two posts: the planning, and the process)Galley kitchen - left side with professional appliances

The great thing about the appliance upgrade was that it only involved delivery and a simple switch-out. The new appliances took up the same footprint as the old ones, so once that Lowe's truck showed up, it was a fast transformation to the new, shiny Frigidaire Professional collection. 

This project was interesting, because once we started upgrading, it materialized quickly. Painting the cabinetry consumed the bulk of our time, but the other DIY projects happened quickly and made a substantial impact on the look and feel of the room.

Painted cabinetry with added crown molding

The skylight was an easy and impressive improvement, and brought tons of natural light into the space.

A DIY skylight adds a ton of natural light

A simple faucet switch-out made the whole sink look new.

New faucet

Faucet in use

 With the painted cabinets installed, we were so excited to see the new stainless steel show up. Lowe's delivered everything to the front door, and within a few hours it was set up and we were cooking our first meal.

The difference professional-quality appliances make on both ease of cooking and the tasty results is hard to describe; cooking with them was, seriously and honestly, a completely different experience. Not only was it simpler to get great results, but the ease of use and cleanup made dinnertime fun again in our house (and all the appliances have a Smudge-Proof Stainless Steel feature that resists fingerprints and makes them really easy to clean).

Frigidaire Stove

The most impressive upgrades were the stove and refrigerator. The stove replaced a glass-top electric range and the switch to gas was a major change. Pans heat up fast and evenly, and the control is exceptional. The Frigidaire Professional range has great burners, cleanly laid out controls,  heavy-duty control knobs, and it just feels like high quality tool. 

Stove detail

The refrigerator has so much storage, adjustable shelves, and makes a substantial amount of ice quickly, which is perfect for when guests come over. The two large ice makers filled up over the course of a day, and kept up with demand easily.

Frigidaire Professional French door refrigerator

The new microwave hood added a feature we didn’t know we needed until it came along: a convection oven mode. This allows the microwave to become a small electric convection oven that works well for small jobs that don’t justify heating up the large gas oven. We cooked sweet potatoes and chocolate chip cookies in it the first night and both turned out perfectly in about the same amount of time as the larger oven. This is a great feature to use as a warming area while prepping a meal for guests to keep everything an even temperature.

Frigidaire Microwave Hood

Frigidaire Professional microwave

Convection mode for cooking sweet potatoes

The soft LED lights on all the appliances are a huge upgrade from the old yellow bulbs, and even though it may seem like a small change, the crisp white glow makes everything easier to see. Another great feature we didn’t expect were the audio alerts on the appliances. No more obnoxious timer noises, now there are soft beeps that do the trick just fine, and without the rancorous 80s electric blams.

The dishwasher upgrades we most enjoy are the clean front with hidden top touch buttons, adjustable racks, and 30 minute quick cycle.

Frigidaire Dishwasher

Full Product List:


This project was a big undertaking, but we totally love it. It’s brighter, more functional, and when we're in there, it just feels like a great kitchen should feel. It’s such a great space where family gathers, friends are fed, and life is lived. And, that's what a kitchen is all about. 


This post was sponsored by Frigidaire, but all opinions are mine alone. Thanks for supporting the brands that support ManMade!





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Julie on Jun 08, 2015:

Gorgeous! What is the paint color on the walls?

David on Jun 08, 2015:


@Kate - The cabinets were painted by me, here's the post on how I did it: http://www.manmadediy.com/users/david/posts/3659-david-s-diy-kitchen-upgrade-how-he-did-it-step-by-step

@Anne - The doors are builder-grade oak. I sprayed 3 coats of heavy primer on the doors and that took care of the majority of the wood grain look. Take a look at the link above to see how I did it in more detail. I used TSP to get off the grime, but the heavy primer and spraying were key to getting a smooth finish. The Paint was HGTV's showcase line and I'm very impressed with the quality. Well worth the investment for a job well done!

Thanks for reading!

Anne on Jun 07, 2015:

Beautiful result. Your cabinets look like oak. I,also have had oak since 1996 and I am so ready for a change. However we put in a granite countertop a number of years ago so need to keep cabinets. Your cabinets don't seem to show any signs/wood grainy look of the oak. Did you do them yourself? What products/s did you use to strip/ clean them? Also what type of paint did you use? Thanks!

Kate on Jun 07, 2015:

Just beautiful did you paint the cabinets or have them done by Lowes

Anonymous on Jun 04, 2015:

Bar keepers friend is amazing and u can buy it in liquid or powder form they're both excellent

bruno on Jun 04, 2015:

@jeannie: Product numbers are:

Range: Back-Control Gas Range FPGF3077QF

Refrigerator: Counter-Depth French Door Refrigerator FPBC2277RF

Dishwasher FPID2497RF

Microwave: OTR FPBM3077RF

Nicole on Jun 04, 2015:

Omg, I love it. It looks very elegant now. You did an excellent job, I can't wait to do mine. Its beautiful enjoy your new kitchen.😃

jeannie Trujillo on Jun 01, 2015:

What is the style number of these appliances please?

David on Jun 01, 2015:

@Bev a hood extractor would be nice, but there are two ventilation lines directly over that spot and it also would have needed additional drywall work above the cabinets. The recirculation fan is fine in many cases to filter any smoke from cooking and a quick opening of the windows clears the space fast when I forget to turn off the cast iron after pulling the steak off!


Cheers, David

David on Jun 01, 2015:

Hi Mark!

We added a small 1.5" trim piece along the bottom edge and also added a 3.5" piece of crown molding across the top. If you're doing crown work, I highly reccommend the Bench Dog Crown Molding jig from Rockler!

Cheers, David

Mark on Jun 01, 2015:

Awesome job! Quick question, did you also add trim to the top of the cabinets? 

Bev on Jun 01, 2015:

Oh my mistake, the microwave is an extractor. (I've been living in a cave)

Bev on Jun 01, 2015:

It looks great. Do you not feel the need for a hood extractor? I've never seen a make over without one.

David Skinner on May 29, 2015:

@quarterswede Thanks! We're really happy with how it turned out! The sink is actually cast iron with the ceramic coating, but I agree white tends to get beat up! One thing I found that really works well on minor staining and scratches is Bar Keepers Friend. It's amazing how much it can bring back a battered sink!

Thanks for reading and let me know if Bar Keepers Friend works for you!

QuarterSwede on May 29, 2015:

Beautiful remodel.

However, I wouldn't have gone with a porcelain kitchen sink. We've had one, that's exactly what you have, for 7 years and it's now scratched to hell. You can't repair them. It always looks dirty even when clean now and they chip. I will never buy another one. Stainless is the way to go.