An ’80’s Caribbean Kitchen Gets a Facelift

Last month, we decided to take on a complete remodel of the kitchen in our condo in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.  The last update was in the ’80’s and it was complete with fake wood countertops, white cabinets and dirt.

Because we had to complete the remodel in a little over a week, we had some help with the plumbing and electrical.  We discovered that everything has a second life on the island.  Our plumber had someone who could use the cabinets and appliances, so when we arrived, most of the demo was complete.  Here are a few “before” photos:

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The first step was to decide on the cabinets.  We decided on stock cabinets from Home Depot and chose the Hampton Bay Cognac cabinets.  They are of good quality and pre-assembled so that would save us time.  We contacted Home Depot in St. Croix and their kitchen designer helped us order everything down to the 2 x 4’s for the raised bar.  She also helped us with our appliances and all the little things you never think about.  We decided to save the floor tile because it was in decent shape and we opted for a microwave/vent fan to save counter space.

We arrived at the condo and completed the remaining demo, painted and waited on our delivery from Home Depot.  We had to remove the popcorn texture from the soffit’s, but since it is very humid down there, it came off with a paint scraper.  The next day, the delivery arrived!

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You can see we decided to go with a Caribbean turquoise blue as an accent wall and yellow for the rest of the walls.  This is more bold than our usual choices, but we wanted to give it a dramatic look.  Now that the cabinets were here, the real work started.  We started with the upper cabinets and discovered the wall was concrete, so we took another trip to Home Depot for a Hammer Drill and Tapcon Screws to install them.  Once we got the hang of it, they went up pretty fast.

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Next were the lower cabinets that were much easier, with the exception of securing them to the concrete wall.  After we completed that, it started to look like a kitchen!

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We built a 40″ high raised bar with a 10″ wide top and then the next step was countertops.  We really wanted solid surface, but because of the time involved to fabricate them, we went with 18 x 18 porcelain tiles that looked like marble.  To add a little bling, we used metal tiles on the edge and backsplash.  We started with 1/2″ plywood on top of the cabinets and 1/2″ Plycem board as the base for the tiles.  I used premixed mud because I think the consistency needs to be just right and don’t trust myself to mix it just right.  The tile took some time, but it is my favorite thing to do.  We did buy a Rigid portable tile saw for the job.  We could have rented one, but I needed it for the bathroom tile anyway…a girl has to have her own tile saw right?

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The final steps were the appliances and the plumbing.  We also faced the front of the raised bar with bead board and added a couple of bar stools.  All in all, we were happy with the outcome.  It is always fun to take a tired old place and make it beautiful again!  There are still a few items on the wish-list for the kitchen, like new lighting and drop-down pendant lighting over the bar, but this is good for now.  We estimate the renovation costs were about 25% higher then on the mainland, but it is what it is!

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9 Responses to An ’80’s Caribbean Kitchen Gets a Facelift

  1. Kim Lucas says:

    Looks great Cindy!!! Amazing and wonderful transformation!!!

  2. Russ Johnson says:

    Well done, the remodel turned out fantastic. I think the bold color choices give it an added touch of the Caribbean flair and make it pop. I too have been considering doing a marble or granite tile countertop. I’ll have to have you stop by give me some pointers, and get your opinion. As always, top-notch! You should start your own TV show.

  3. Jody Murray says:

    You truly are amazing Cindy!! I wish you could come out here and help us with some renos……I could pay you in wine.

  4. Deb Lougheed says:

    I LOVE the bold colors!!! think I’m going to quit my job and split my time at the I street house and in St. Croix. I could be your housekeeper!
    Awesome job guys, can hardly wait to see it!

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