Before & After: A Grandma’s “Bland, Neglected” Kitchen Transforms Into a Dreamy Paradise (for Only $1,200!)

Kitchen with light neutral cabinetry, white oven, and water cooler.

Some homes aren’t just structures to live in but are actually steeped in family history. Take hairstylist and DIY content creator Alisa Chavez’s home in Tempe, Arizona, for instance — it was built in 1958 and belonged to her grandmother.

“[My grandmother] was from the Depression era, so she was a saver and worked really hard to get this little house,” Chavez, who creates TikTok content, explains. “So I love this house. It’s more than a house for me. It’s a part of her. It’s small, but it still has so much life left.”

White stove and oven next to white hutch in kitchen with light cabinets.

Even though Chavez’s home holds a lot of sentimental value, some areas needed a bit of love and a modern touch. For example, the kitchen lacked storage and a pantry, which made it less functional than she wanted. She also felt it needed some aesthetic upgrades. “The kitchen was very bland and neglected,” Chavez shares. “It was neutral and needed a good cleaning. It’s a very small and narrow kitchen.”

Kitchen with pink cabinets, marble countertop, white tile backsplash and flooring, and water cooler.

Chavez pulled inspiration from Barbie’s Dream House and Scandinavian style because she liked the idea of incorporating bright colors and unique shapes.

Pink cabinets with marble countertop holding small appliances and flowers in front of white tile backsplash with neon cherry sign.

Chavez painted over the original beige cabinets using Backdrop’s “Barbie Dreamhouse Pink.” To add some dimension and help her glassware collection stand out through the cabinet’s glass doors, she added Spoonflower checkered peel-and-stick wallpaper to the back of her cupboards. And new, heart-shaped knobs help the pink cabinets pop, too.

Fruit decor on shelf above double sink in kitchen with white tile backsplash and pink cabinets.

The walls also got a makeover — Chavez painted them white and covered the trim in the same bright pink. The white subway tile peel-and-stick backsplash anchors the room while balancing the rest of the vibrant colors. Instead of replacing the floors, she used Rustoleum’s white tile paint kit and black grout marker to refresh that area.

One of the biggest challenges in Chavez’s kitchen was the lack of storage. To combat this, she added a base cabinet and two top cabinets from The Home Depot (and painted them pink, too!). One of her favorite parts of the process was organizing her fruit-themed, colorful, mismatched dishes in her new cabinets. 

“I feel like I’m in a completely different space. Cooking no longer gives me anxiety now that I have extra storage,” Chavez says. “It’s pretty but also functional. Mixing old with new.” Overall, she spent around $1,200 on the kitchen refresh, which only took two weeks to complete. The upgrade helps Chavez honor her grandmother, while making the home a space she can continue living in comfortably and stylishly.