Alice Massie thinks there are two types of homeowners – those who wait to renovate until they want to sell, and those who keep their homes market-ready through on-going maintenance.

Massie identifies as the latter, and she was eager to refurbish her kitchen for the first time since she and her husband bought their historic brick Monument Avenue home in 1998. At the time, Massie had designed an original layout to match her vision of white painted cabinets and soapstone counters. But after a color snafu involving the cabinets, she put her plans on hold and settled for practical countertops that could take a beating.

When Massie brought in Mako Builders, Inc. to tackle her kitchen again this spring, she hoped to achieve a fresh and crisp look by making major changes to the cabinets, countertops and lighting. “You take a kitchen matching the aesthetic of a house from 1910, and clean it up a lot,” Massie said.

But Massie said she was shocked to learn that the costs of replacing her cabinets had tripled since her last renovation. Instead, H.J. Holtz & Son was brought in to repaint her cabinets for a tenth of the cost and keep the overall project on budget.

To achieve Massie’s vision of a kitchen gleaming in pure white, our painters used Fine Paints of Europe Factory White with a satin finish on every cabinet door and drawer. This same brilliant shade of white was carried over to the ceiling, walls and woodwork surrounding the kitchen’s bay window. Applying a matching coat of white paint to the bare birch barstool pulled together the kitchen’s bright new look.

The white surfaces and white painted cabinets dazzle under luxe new LED lighting, which emits museum-grade white light to illuminate with a completely balanced color spectrum. The plaster ceiling was molded up to the lights themselves, creating a seamless finish. Massie’s kitchen also contains Calacatta borghini marble installed by H.E. Satterwhite, Inc. of Richmond. She opted to give the bottoms of the cabinets a shiny touch with a stainless steel toe-kick – a practical alternative that will resist dirt and wear longer than white paint. Keeping clutter off her beautiful new countertops was a priority for Massie, who said the most challenging aspect of the renovation process was retrofitting her modern appliances into the cabinets.

“People don’t realize that the chair or electric plates or where you put your switches – those details make a difference,” Massie said. “A $20 choice matters just as much as everything else. It’s the little things that make it.”