Courage–and Redoing My Kitchen Cabinets

Over the years, I’ve spilled gallons of paint, so I’ve stayed away from painting, but a few weeks ago, I got an idea.

A very brave idea. 

My talented daughter-in-love Brittany rescues old furniture and animals. Chase was a rescue puppy.

She rescued her grandmother’s end table–

The “after” picture comes first. 🙂

Brittany found this piece of furniture on the side of the road.

It was a mess, but she knew it had potential.

My grandmother’s antique dresser–

We gave it to Brittany and Thomas.



About a month ago, Brittany and I were in their bedroom near the newly restored dresser when an itty-bitty idea tiptoed up my spine.

“Do you think you and I could possibly redo my kitchen cabinets?” I said then started backpedaling. “Never mind. It’s probably not even possible. Painting’s way out of my comfort zone, and my cabinets are red and shiny. It would be too much work, and I have a ton of them. Plus, you’re really busy.”

Her brown eyes twinkled.

No fear whatsoever.

“Of course!”

A few days later, she came over to assess my kitchen. “Tell me how you want this room to feel when we’re finished.”

“Warm and welcoming.”

“What feels warm and welcoming to you?”

“I love anything rustic. Old farmhouses. A beaten-up, rugged look.”

She glanced at my rooster clock. “The colors in this clock will be our palette.”

I took a step closer. “Great idea. A color palette! There’s a tiny bit of blue in his tail.”

“Yep. And green-grass.”

“It’s not that I don’t like red, but the cabinets sort of clash with the color around the windows. I want something brighter. Lighter. Honestly, I want to be brave enough to make a change.”

“We can do this, Julie. I promise. You’ll see.”

We made a trip to Home Depot for supplies.

Back home in my kitchen, Brittany handed me a paint roller. My hands shook.

Like I was stretched out on the operating table awaiting surgery.

“You can do this. Just trust me.”

TRUST is a big word when it involves me and painting.

First, we painted the cabinets white.

I gotta be honest. At this point, I was close to hyperventilating. I did NOT want perfect, white, pristine cabinets.

After Brittany went home that night, I wanted to call her and say, “Come back! Don’t leave! What if this doesn’t work?”

The next day, she turned on music while we painted–which helped me relax and stop asking so many questions. 🙂

She thought it would take three coats of white paint, but we only needed two.

Then came the real fun.

We started our first coat of glaze/stain.

Watching her spread brown on the cabinet door, I thought I might pass out.

Thomas helped with the first coat.

I stood behind them and held my breath.

Brittany handed me a paintbrush and shoved me off the high-dive. “Come on, you can do this.”

I listened very carefully and did exactly what she said.

I brushed on the glaze then wiped it off softly.

Even if you’re terrified, you can still do your job. 

Each coat had to dry for several hours. Then we had to add three coats of protective polyurethane.

At night, I’d get out of bed to take sneak-peeks. 🙂

One day when we were close to finishing, my BFF from All Things Heart and Home called. I told her what we were doing.

“Great idea! You might want new knobs for your cabinets.”

“What kind?”

“Think about what you love.”

Same thing Brittany said when we started.

I remembered a wall-hanging I found at Kirklands–with glass knobs that remind me of my grandmother’s house.

I found glass cabinet knobs on Amazon at Knobs and More Home Décor! ($5.50/each)

And a rug that blended with my color palette at T.J. Maxx. ($59)

My cream and sugar roosters matched the color palette too.

On the final day of the project, I felt so at home in my home. 

“This went much deeper than redoing my kitchen cabinets,” I said. “We redid my heart. You helped me demolish walls of fear and try something new.”

“I knew you could do it. You just needed a little encouragement.”

Brittany looked beyond my fear to my potential and shared her courage with me.

When I redid my kitchen cabinets, my heart got a makeover too! (click to tweet)

Has anyone encouraged you to try something scary and new? Having a cheerleader is a powerful thing, isn’t it?

Can you think of someone who could use a little bit of your courage? 

Share the story in the comments!












  1. Julie Gilleand says:

    Julie! I love your new cabinets and knobs! I’ll bet it feels so refreshing each time you enter your kitchen. I can understand all your hesitation and worries. I would be the same way, mostly because I have never done anything like that, but I think also because change is hard. There is comfort in familiarity and if you’re like me, you cling to it! But almost always, going forward turns out to be freeing and gives us growth and new strengths. Still, just getting there can be so hard. I think of my heart pounding so fast and my hands shaking as I held the pen in my hand that would sign on the dotted line, the first time I ever bought a car on time. As a single mom at the time, on a limited income, that was really scary! But it was the right decision. I never missed a payment and it was the best car I ever had and I drove it for 13 years, my Black Pearl, I called her. And I cried when I let her go last summer, thanking her for being so good to us for so many years. But it was time. It was a litle easier signing on the dotted line when I bought SilverBell. Isn’t that how it is? Once we do something that scares us, we are a little (or a lot) stronger to do it the next time. And that’s what it takes, too. This year, as you know, we signed on a much thicker dotted line, buying our first house! How frightening was that?!! It still is, even though we’re all moved in now. But we still did it. I could name a lot of other things like that and I’ll bet you could too. Thank God for the strength and grace to do the things we have to do and face the hard stuff. And for the blessings on the other side, once we do. I have this thought in my head as I’m typing this, and this is of a soldier facing battle. How scared he or she might be, not knowing if they’ll make it out alive, but they go forward, scared or not, because it is what they have been commanded to do and what they signed on for, all the way praying or hoping for the best. Somebody said that courage doesn’t mean not being scared. It just means you do it anyway — and that’s what you did, isn’t it? And so did we!

    Blessings to you Julie. Fall is arriving for us both I think with cooler temps and even a few leaves turning already — woo hoo!

    — Leafy

    • Leafy, I was so excited to see your name pop up in my inbox this morning with a comment! We left right after that for a funeral.

      Couldn’t wait to get home and respond.

      You’re SO right. I’m sitting here like we’re at the same table together talking. YES! This is exactly how I felt–and it was only about paint. And change.

      I’m thrilled for you (as you know!) about your home. How many owls have you seen since you moved in? 🙂

      So, you’ve had Silver Bell and Black Pearl. 🙂 I love how you name your cars. Growing up, we had the Blue Goose.

      You know something else that thrills me? When I noticed on FB that my bloggy-friends are friends. Just melts my heart.

      Thank you for being first to comment and for being such an encourager!

      Leafy Two

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        You had Blue Goose and before Black Pearl I had Old Blue!

        I have not yet seen a real owl yet since moving into our new house but I thought one night I heard one. Maybe as fall comes in more I will see one. Their breeding season is late fall around these parts!

        I love “Chester Drawers”!!! Oh that is just wonderful!!!

  2. sandy Coffey says:

    I would have loved the red cabinets and the white was way to stark for your amazing kitchen but the end results were breath taking. I am so glad you had a hand in this venture. Look how beautiful it turned out like grandma’s chest of drawers. If I trust someone I will do it. Love the story. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yes, yes, yes, Sandy! It feels like my grandmother’s chest of drawers. (Which I used to think was spelled Chester Drawers) 🙂

      You nailed it. Thank you for being excited with me and for me.

      I think the biggest change was a spiritual one for me…like God worked through Brittany to help me try something new.

      I love first thing every morning when I walk in my kitchen–feels like childhood and going to my grandmother’s house. And I love turning off my lap at night. Maybe I already told you this on Facebook? I can’t remember.

      Anyway, thank you, my friend.

  3. Ah…so pretty. Your daughter and Lynne Gentry have similar talent. I’m an IDEA PERSON and can cut out photos in magazines and say “That….that is what I want.” But the doing? I’m severely handicapped in the decorating arena. SO proud of your project….and such beautiful results. Clap, clap, clap….!!

    • You and I are TWINSIES, Kellie. But sounds like you’re more advanced that I am. I decorate by feelings more than sight…if that makes sense.

      I just wanted it to feel a certain way but didn’t know how to bring it home. Ha! “Home.”

      Love you!
      And thank you!

  4. Marjorie Hill says:

    Thanks for sharing, Julie. Your home is lovely. I know you enjoy it!

    • Feels like Home Sweet Home now, Margie. 🙂

      It did something big time in my heart.

      Hugs from your friend in Georgia~~~~~~

  5. Melinda Franklin says:

    Oh, Julie! I LOVE it! and how brave are you to go for the change. I am another one that is very reluctant. My kitchen now probably needs a redo and I KNOW my den does but it’s so hard. I love your cabinets and the knobs and the rug! Everything looks beautiful together and how wonderful that you have a d-i-l who is so creative and encouraging and loving.

    • I know, Melinda. I wanted to take back my words after I asked her—like NO!!

      But she’s so amazing. And confident. And good at anything creative.

      And it really wasn’t very expensive at all. I think we spent $60 at Home Depot the first thing. Then the stain/glaze was $35. Knobs were about $100.

      So much love, my friend–and I’m praying for your sissy!

  6. Anna Haney says:

    Oh, Julie, I love this. “Even if you’re terrified, you can still do your job,” That sentence has applied to me countless times in my life. I was the new kid in school a lot, very shy and introverted, so I was terrified. God has always seen me through. I think that 99% of what I do as an academic advisor is be a cheerleader for my students. That wascale tremendous amount of what I did as a teacher, too. My friend Michelle tells me I am her biggest cheerleader. Thankfully, I have felt the prayers and encouragement of others like you cheering me on as I struggle with my mom’s death.
    My word for this year is ADVENTURE. I had envisioned something like hiking. Little did I realize that more often than not, an adventure can come to us in our daily lives. Yours was found in changing kitchen cabinets.
    Love you

    • Anna, you can’t know how much you mean to me.


      It’s like we’ve known each other for years. Surely God creates some of us to be Cheerleaders–and you’re one of those people!

      I can’t–in my wildest dreams–imagine you being shy.

      I felt the power in the sentence when I typed it–Even if you’re terrified you can still do your job.
      Glad you caught the Power too.

      So much love–praying daily, sometimes hourly for you. One day, we will meet. Before Heaven.

  7. I love your courage, and Brittany’s skills! What a gorgeous kitchen and a wonderful transformation of both your cabinets and YOU! Yes, what a bit of encouragement and support can do.

    • And you’re on my Support Team, B.J. You are INCREDIBLE at cheering people on.

      Including Yours Truly~~

      Love you dearly~~~~

      Thank you. Looking forward to talking soon.

  8. Brenda E. Greene says:

    Love this, Sweet Julie Girl and I can SO relate!

    I’m not one to change things, just content with leaving things as they are. However, I gave birth to two daughters that are incredible creative and not the least bit afraid of change! Their favorite statement to me is “it’s just paint, Mama! If you don’t like it, just paint over it!”

    Having lived in our house for 16+ years, I had grown tired of the “warm/earthy color” of our bedroom and bath. I knew I wanted to change it but had no idea what color until I helped our youngest daughter paint her new home last summer and immediately fell in love with the Sea Salt color she had chosen… kind of a light blue/green beachy color. When we were finished with her walls, she gave me the left over paint and encouragement to just “do it, Mama!”

    So last August I did it! I painted the two rooms, updated the bathroom with new mirrors, lighting, fixtures, then added white towels/rugs. In the bedroom I hung new (white) drapes and bed coverings. And now…a year later, when I walk through those two rooms, I can’t help but grin…love it and the light, airy atmosphere I feel! And you are right…it’s SO homey! Oh, the daughters comment? “Welcome to the new century Mama!”

    What a beautiful daughter-in-law…inside and out you have! Love the new cabinets and antiques! Welcome to the land of change…fun, isn’t it? Brenda


      Yes! Yes! Yes! I love the way sea salt sounds. I bet it’s beautiful. I even felt light and airy just reading your descriptions!

      Wish I could see pics. Have you ever posted any on FB of “the new you”?

      Sometimes all it takes is a tiny bit of encouragement!


  9. Marci'a says:

    Oh, Julie, you give us courage to step out of our comfort zone. To fly! You give us wings– through your willingness to step out, and set aside your fear. And just look what you created! And you make me think, what is it that I can do that is outside of my comfort zone? What leap of faith can I make?
    So glad to see your blog today. You are such an inspiration. Thank you.
    Blessings and Love,

    • Marci’a, that’s my prayer. I so hoped my courage would shine through this post!

      I can’t wait to see what Next Brave Thing you–and all our friends–do!

      Thank you. Your encouragement means so much to me. I loved on your beautiful green prayer shawl today!


  10. Your cabinets turned out so great! I love them!!!

    • And I just keep staring at your kitchen re-do! I love it. One of these days, we’ll have coffee/tea in one of our kitchens!

      Coffee for me. 🙂

  11. Kim says:

    Julie, your project turned out beautiful! I was so glad to read you had been doing something other than working on your book revisions. Doing things that are different creatively can have a positive impact on your other creative endeavors. Blessings!

    • You are 100 percent right, Kim. Yes, yes, yes, yes.

      I sent my rewrite back to my agent a few weeks ago…maybe 3? I can’t remember. I have another book idea percolating.

      It helps–big time–with the creativity flow to change ears for a while. Do something totally different.

      So much love,

  12. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Wow. I’ve wanted a makeover of our kitchen since we bought the house 17 years ago. I tried one time, bought new paint and some woodland decals. I hated them instantly! I tried an off-white for the cabinets (same reasoning you probably had for not wanting “pristine” white), but it came out somewhere between cream and a yellowish white which constantly looks unclean. And the decals didn’t have the natural, “Creation” look I’d envisioned; they looked fake. So much for my first try at redoing my kitchen! (Oh, and the bottom cabinet doors were put on the wrong cabinets!) That was over ten years ago. My next try will need huge amounts of courage.

    But someday…

    I have a dream of how I want to redo the cabinets, including fabric in the top doors, similar to what some people do for curtains on a window in a regular door – with a dowel rod at the top and bottom, and the fabric accordioned onto both dowels. This would make the color changeable, with the seasons or whenever, and add a homey/country feel. Can’t you just imagine how it would look at Christmas, with that fabric with the deep green holly leaves and ruby red berries, rimmed with sparkly gold?!!

    Yep…someday… Um…could I borrow your daughter-in-law?

    • Ohhhh, yes, I can just imagine what you’re talking about, Cathy. I hope you’ll find a way to go for it. Sounds right up your alley! Love your descriptive words!

      I don’t even leave dishes in my sink now. Well, hardly ever. 🙂 And I leave a little lamp on all day long in the kitchen. For some reason, this just makes me so happy.

      Let me know if you take the plunge~

      And Brittany has mentioned wanting to go into business redoing furniture. She’d be AWESOME. And she’d love her job, for sure.

      So much love, my friend,

  13. Reluctant to change. That’s me raising my hand over here! It’s scary! I might change a few pictures or put down a new rug…but painting is way out of my league. I applaude you, Julie, for letting go of your fear and going for it. The change is amazing and does give your kitchen a very warm and homey feeling.

    Love and hugs dear friend!

    • Thank you, Eileen.

      Sounds like we’re Twinsies! 🙂 If I hadn’t had Brittany, I wouldn’t have done it. And still, I was scared. I’m with you.

      Your sweet comments always mean so much to me.

      Hugs from Georgia~~

  14. Jan Olson says:

    Very pretty! And I’m glad you love it! And I can see your red stand mixer–have always wanted one of those–and all the other color pops here and there! A BIG change but so refreshing–WOW!

    • Jan, my mother gave me the red mixer. It’s one of my favorites things! I use it almost daily.

      Thank you so much for reading–and for your sweet words.


  15. Julie, you and I were on the same page. My recent blog post is on trying something new. No one really encouraged me … except the desire to want to try something new. But I didn’t have anything to lose, like you did. If you didn’t like your cabinets, you’d have to repaint or live with them. My project was much simpler. I love you, friend. Your cabinets are gorgeous, comfortable. I love rugged anything. The more chipped, the better. And your daughter-in-love … priceless. Way to go, Brittany!

    • Ohhhh, Shelli–I can just feel how alike we are–even from just this one comment.

      Thank you for being my friend and for getting me. Now….to read your blog post. Somehow, I think I missed it!

      Your sister in Georgia

  16. You’re right. She’s amazing to have eye for potentials. Not only in animals but even in furniture and home interiors. What a transformation. She should have her own TV show or something.

    It would be a joy to visit your home that looks this cozy and elegant. Now it’s even prettier. Too bad I’m across the globe. LOL.

    Hey, it’s fall. Enjoy the new season!

    • I know–wish we could get Brittany her own TV show. Maybe I could write this up for a decorating magazine. 🙂 I’d love to.

      Isn’t it just miraculous that you and I even connected? And all because of God’s kindness and our blogs.

      Yes! Fall is so close now.

      Much love, my friend.

      • I know! Sometimes when you think about it, it’s mind blowing how different people from across the globe find each other. LOL

        Enjoy the season…and your new kitchen!

  17. First things first,your daughter-in-love is not only talented, but beautiful, and I bet sweeter than honey too! Your kitchen is warm and inviting, I give everyone an A+.

    Yes, I know someone who needs courage,(me) I need you and Brittany to come and help me redo, my cabinets, ~wink~, I have been debating this for years, dealing with the fear, they might not turn out, I am so encouraged by yours, we have the same countertop too! and I love glass knobs.
    Enjoy the new change, thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you so much! Such kind words, Sue. 🙂 🙂

      Can’t believe we have the same countertops! I’m telling you, it was Brittany’s courage that got me through. She just kept smiling and smiling. No fear at all.

      Let me know if you jump off the high dive.

      Much love,

  18. The kitchen looks beautiful! Fear is something we all face in different forms. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you, Barbara! You’re sooooooooooo right about fear. Agree!!!

      So kind of you to read and respond.


Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.