Country Kitchen Gets DIY Update

Mini DIY kitchen makeover made a crafter's country kitchen feel warmer and cozier.

Kristen's country kitchen

Country Kitchen Gets Colorful Kitchen Updates

Kristen Brandenburg warmed up her country French kitchen by glazing cabinets, painting the island green and changing out appliances. She suggests using larger items atop cabinets, instead of smaller ones, to avoid a cluttery look. Photo by Jim Wieland, Country Woman Magazine.

Dining area in the updated kitchen

Country Kitchen Gets Colorful Kitchen Updates

Kristen searched for months for a round dining area rug, before finding it—at The Home Depot! Its black and tan pattern adds interest, without competing with the color elsewhere. Photo by Kristen Brandenburg.

Window treatment in the updated Country Kitchen

Country Kitchen Gets Colorful Kitchen Updates

Kristen fashioned a custom kitchen curtain, using a hot glue gun rather than a sewing machine. First, she removed fringe from the coral curtain underneath, replacing it with ball fringe. Then she added green trim, and draped a piece of black print fabric over the coral, knotted in the middle and with a central tassel. Photo by Kristen Brandenburg.

Fall table in the Country Kitchen

Country Kitchen Gets Colorful Kitchen Updates

Kristen switches out her table settings, and other kitchen accents, to reflect the seasons. Here, shades of autumn grace her table. Photo by Jim Wieland, Country Woman Magazine.

Kristen crafting in her country kitchen.

Kristen crafting

Kristen's experience in a floral shop is reflected in decorating accents throughout her home. But you don't have to be super-crafty when arranging flowers, she says—just place flowers in a pretty vase and pull carefully to arrange, making them look like they were just picked. Photo by Jim Wieland, Country Woman Magazine.

Craft ribbons stored neatly in the updated kitchen.

Country Kitchen Gets Colorful Kitchen Updates

A peek at how Kristen organizes her spools of wide ribbon for crafting. Photo by Jim Wieland, Country Woman Magazine

Crafty accents in the country kitchen.

Country Kitchen Gets Colorful Kitchen Updates

More accent pieces crafted by Kristen. Photo by Jim Wieland, Country Woman Magazine.

Brandenburg family portrait

Brandenburg family

Kristen and Kevin Brandenburg, with 13-year-old son Chase. Photo by Jim Wieland, Country Woman Magazine.

Before the kitchen update

Country Kitchen Gets Colorful Kitchen Updates

Kristen's kitchen before the update was functional, but lacked character and warmth. Photo by Kristen Brandenburg.

Kristen's country kitchenDining area in the updated kitchenWindow treatment in the updated Country KitchenFall table in the Country KitchenKristen crafting in her country kitchen.Craft ribbons stored neatly in the updated kitchen.Crafty accents in the country kitchen.Brandenburg family portraitBefore the kitchen update


By Barbara Schuetz

She may not be the chief cook, but Kristen Brandenburg can sure whip up a delicious-looking kitchen! A homemaker who worked as a floral designer for 15 years, Kristen treats her pretty kitchen—and the rest of her home—to stunning seasonal floral arrangements and accessories.

But even the prettiest of kitchens can’t always disguise the need for improvement.

“We built our house in 2004, based on a model home up the street, and brought our appliances from the other house,” says Kristen, whose husband, Kevin, is a database administrator. They live in Van Buren, Arkansas, with son Chase, 13, and a mini menagerie of pets: a dog,  two cats and a chinchilla.

Although their old black stove and microwave were still in fair shape, the hand-me-down dishwasher worked only on the quick-wash setting, and the 13-year-old fridge (which they’d hauled to an auto body shop to have painted black) had a broken ice-maker and chipped exterior. So last year the couple invested in new appliances, splurging on stainless steel.

“The black appliances were so dark,” Kristen recalls. “The stainless steel ones really brightened up the kitchen. They made it look so clean and fresh.”

They also made “everything else look bad,” she told followers of her blog, which chronicles her creativity.

Island Update

Kristen’s comfy kitchen was already a charmer,  with country French-style cupboards and Formica countertops, tile flooring, and a handy pantry and island for added storage. And neutral colors—light-gold walls and cream cabinets—painted to order when the couple built their house, “because I planned on accenting with lots of color,” Kristen notes.

When they first moved in, she highlighted the cabinets with a coat of walnut gel stain. “But I always thought they still needed another coat,” she says. So she began by giving the cabinets a second coat of glaze. “It wasn’t a huge change,” she says, “just enough to add a little more warmth and update the kitchen.” [Find how-tos on her blog.]

New doorknobs and drawer handles in a classic birdcage design fit right in with the country French style.

The island proved the most time-consuming project; Kristen thought about painting it green for more than a year. After picking the perfect shade, misted fern, she applied three coats and glazed the whole thing with walnut stain. Not satisfied, Kristen brushed on, here and there, a bit of darker green paint she found in the garage. She then anded the edges to let some of the original cream color peek through, and  added black iron corbels underneath the tile countertop.

“Kevin was a little concerned about how the green island would look, but he was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out,” she says. “Believe me, it was all trial and error.”

Kristen’s other experiments worked equally well. For contrast, she painted the cream-colored iron light fixtures brown, then added a layer of metallic gold. (She actually spray-painted the fixtures without even taking them down!)  And she had new granite countertops installed on both the cabinets and the island.

Kristen’s tasteful seasonal accents throughout the kitchen complement the update.

“I was very crafty as a child,” she says. “My favorite class was art. The first wreath I ever made was for my grandma—she still hangs it on her door every Christmas.”

Frames, Flowers and More

Kristen still fashions wreaths but also creates fun frames, silk flower arrangements, ribbon tassels and seasonal items like scarecrows to hang on doorknobs or walls.  She also works with fresh flowers and decorates several local homes at Christmastime. When the shop where she worked for 15  years closed, Kristen opened her own online.

Kristen’s kitchen update is done—t for now. “I would love to add crown molding sometime, and I plan to paint medallions around the tops of the light fixtures,” she says. “If you’re like me, your house is always a work in progress.”

That might be why Kevin is the main cook in this family; Kristen prepares meals about twice a week and enjoys making desserts. But truthfully, she says, laughing, “I’d rather decorate the kitchen than cook in it!”

Click here for a look at Kristen’s floor plan.

Need an easy way to accessorize for fall? Check out Kristen’s craft tutorials for a Decorative Scarecrow Tassel and Fall Leaves Accent Frame.



Raegina 1 August 30, 2012 at 9:12 am

The article is fantastic and you look so pretty Kristen!!


vivian 2 September 12, 2012 at 11:59 pm

love to order your magazine but i guess i cant because i live in canada please let me know how to go about it thanks vivian


sharon 3 September 13, 2012 at 5:43 am

Hi, Vivian, It’s easy to subscribe to Country Woman. Just go to our international customer form at this location: (You can also find this link on our home page, top, right corner, where it says “Subscribe.” Click it and it will take you to a form that includes a line reading Canadian and international subscribers click here. That link will take you to the correct order form.) There is also a toll-free number on the form, should you have any questions.


June Choiniere 4 September 22, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I absolute love Kristen’s kitchen. I love the style and color of her cabinets and island. I think she is one of the best designers I have ever seen. I went to her blog that showed more of her home. Every room is so warm and inviting. I would have liked to see the window that was mentioned in the article.


Betty Brown 5 March 19, 2014 at 10:45 am

I love everything Kristen does and have bought from her online store.I have the same color palette as she does so anything she makes fits my house perfectly. Love the island even tho her kit hen isn’t very big it works.


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