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Intentional Design for Soulful Spaces

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The before, the demo, and the grand plan | week 1

May 6, 2021

I can often be found in the dance studio (or my kitchen) working on my bachata form or creating with my kids and husband, who inspire me daily and are the "why" behind what I do. An avid baker, I am often making a new bread recipe, baking homemade cinnamon rolls, or desperately trying to drink the rest of my coffee while it's hot. My mission? To help others create and cultivate a home that they love!

I'm Catherine

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Thank you again, Better Homes & Gardens for sponsoring this event that helps to bring us all together in community to share our projects and experiences along the way.

To say that I’ve been looking forward to this project would be quite the understatement. When we moved in, about 3 years ago now, I was still in a postpartum haze after having my son and very much still learning how to navigate our life with two kids on the move. I was less concerned with how the kitchen looked, and more concerned about keeping curious minds out of the cabinets.

Fast forward to today, where I can get away with leaving a majority of the cabinets unlocked so they can help feed the dog, among other things.

I decided it was finally time for a MAJOR overhaul.

I began to do what I do best, and compiled all of my ideas in a concept; soft, airy, and a natural feel to bring a welcome freshness to a room I spend a lot of time in. But, before that could begin, I had a few tall orders in front of me: it also happens to be one of my favorite words…


The first order of business was removing the existing granite backsplash, repairing the wall as I went along. I watched a few YouTube vides on how to remove it, and felt pretty confident to give it a go! I discovered that I didn’t need a heat gun to remove the silicone caulking at the base where it meets the countertop, and was pleasantly surprised.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I scored the surface several times using a fresh blade in my utility knife

  2. Used a flathead screwdriver to create a opening between the granite, the wall and tapped with a hammer to create a pocket

  3. I continued this until I had a opening large enough to add a wood shim, which I then hammered in to create space and break the backsplash from the wall

  4. After separating enough areas (you can feel it loosen), I pried it from the wall gently to minimize damage to the drywall

  5. Filled and repaired any holes with joint compound

  6. Sand and apply primer (you’ll want to do this before applying paint of mortar)



I really need a shirt that reads: “I heart demo” because let me tell you, this was my favorite!! I love making a mess, especially when I know exactly what to do to clean it up. Peeling back all the layers of granite backsplash was so much fun and there were some surprises along the way! Did you know that using paper towels behind the backsplash was an accepted strategy? I didn’t. It’s not something I would consider, but after finding what I found, you might say the same.

It felt so much different in the kitchen with each piece of granite that I removed and the new concept began to take shape and feel real in my mind. Originally, I had wanted to use the existing granite, however I wondered if we could find something better and achieve the look of my dreams.


My plan includes quite a few DIY’s, with the list growing daily:

⬜ removing the existing popcorn ceiling
⬜ placing a new backsplash
⬜ building a new dining table
⬜ refacing the cabinet fronts
⬜ replacing countertops
⬜ level bar area to one level
⬜ replace flooring
⬜ priming and painting walls
⬜ build and install floating shelves
⬜ replacing light fixtures (including the “b00b” one over the sink area)
⬜ replacing faucet & sink
⬜ cleaning and painting vent covers to match walls
⬜ priming & painting cabinets
⬜ updating cabinet hardware
⬜ replacing switch places and outlet covers


I took off one afternoon and went to look at slabs at a local fabricator and my heart fell madly in love with one particular slab for the color variations in it (mainly the subtle mineral green), but after showing it to my husband, my little pitter patter fell flat. I went back to the drawing board and looked for some slabs with color variations that we would both appreciate, and found a some different styles to consider. My fabricator was also very helpful in helping me find something similar.

Here’s the one that made my heart flutter:

Here’s the “before” , taken the day we moved in:

I have a love/hate relationship with the flooring. While it’s gentle if you drop a mug or vase, it’s not really pretty to look at in my opinion and is more practical than stylish. I get it, and while I appreciate it, I still want to cover it with something more visually appealing AND practical.

Before we get carried away, here’s what we’re starting with:



I’ve updated the cabinet hardware to an almost-black oil-rubbed bronze, but other than paint, this room has been untouched. I know, shocking!! If you know me, I like to paint and several rooms have already been painted more than twice. It’s my thing. And yes, my family teases me about. Do I care? NOPE!

Thanks for following along! I’m so excited to share this process with you!!

The concept of where I’m headed

Check back next week for the latest updates and current projects to turn this kitchen around! Also to come: a conceptual render of what my complete plan will look like!

For more ideas and projects, check out the ORC blog!


See you again next week!



Catherine Perez

founder, Peacock + Dahlia Interiors

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