Update: Modernizing Our Mediterranean House

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The start of the new year will mark almost 5 years in our home and we finally are taking the leap to modernize our mediterranean house. We are renovating our kitchen, updating 2 bathrooms, painting all the dark baseboards and trim white, painting all the interior doors and refinishing the floors to a lighter natural tone.

We have several remodeling projects planned for the upcoming year in our house and all them entail lightening up the interior of the house.

If you have been following us for a while, you know we bought this mediterranean style house in 2018 with big plans to modernize the exterior and interior. Well, life got in the way and several of those projects got put on hold. Shortly after we bought the house, my grandfather died and I got divorced. I won’t lie, life was pretty messy in my brain after all that (read more on Meet Jessica Page) and I had zero desire and minimal enthusiasm to embark on updating our house. At the time I was like, how did this happen? How did I end up in this house that was not my style, not something I loved (don’t get me wrong, it’s very nice but dark wood and a dark kitchen is not my thing) and now I am divorced? Say whaaaaat! Yes, it was a challenging time for me to say the least. I struggled for a long time and had a lot of resentment with my new home.

I am happy to say fast forward 5 years later, we are moving forward with our original plan from a few years ago and really excited about it and yes with a totally new man 😍 – yes Jim has met his match with me 😂! My mom and I are excited about the updates, my dad and Jim think we are nuts. 🤷‍♀️

European Mediterranean Home with hip roof and cherry stained front door

How to Lighten A Mediterranean House

Lightening the interior of a mediterranean house is as simple as painting your walls, woodwork and interior doors an off white neutral color.

Our house currently has dark kitchen cabinets, dark woodwork, dark interior doors and flooring. This style was very popular in the 1990’s and early 2000’s and while it served a purpose, it’s time for an update.

1. Kitchen Renovation

We are finally renovating our kitchen! The kitchen currently has dark stained cabinets with an orange undertone and dark brown Tuscan style granite. The backsplash features an old world Italian style as well as ornate Italian detailing on the island.

To stay on budget, we decided to keep the existing cabinets and have them professionally painted an off white with a slight warm undertone.

Modern homes tend to have straight lines, while mediterranean style homes tend have a lot of curves, architecture and arches. Our goal is to keep the European style but lighten it up and add contrast through lighting, hardware and painting the island a different color.

dark cherry kitchen cabinets, brown granite, dark cherry floors
mediterranean kitchen with dark cherry cabinets

The existing kitchen layout works for us and and we love the appliances.

Our kitchen renovation plans:

  • sand, prime and paint the kitchen cabinets an off white neutral with a warm undertone
  • update cabinet hardware
  • install new faucets
  • update lighting
  • remove ornate sconces from the island
  • paint kitchen island (have not decided on a color yet)
  • remove granite and replace with quartz counters
  • remove existing backsplash and install new (have not decided on color/style yet)
  • add cabinet lighting to upper cabinets near ceiling
  • install pull out drawers in lower cabinets to increase storage

I know some of you, especially if you are my parents age, are probably questioning why we would change the look of this kitchen.

While this kitchen is beautiful the way it is, it’s outdated in my opinion and we are always thinking resale value. Most buyers who would be purchasing a house of this size would be my generation or younger with large families. The majority of them would want an updated modern kitchen.

At some point we will sell this house so we would like to enjoy the new modernized kitchen while we still live here. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it! 🙂

2. Painting Stained Woodwork and Doors White

All of the interior doors, staircases and woodwork are currently a dark stain. I have never liked the stained woodwork and updating the color to white will not only lighten up the house tremendously but add a modern fresh style to the home.

Updated: The trim as been painted white! See this post, “how to paint wood trim” to see the after and step by step instructions one painting trim white.

dark stained window trim, stained doors, living room with sectional
large foyer entrance with stained stairs,arched wood door, italian columns, black iron balusters, wing back chairs

A few years ago, we did update some of the lighting in the dining room and foyer which helped to modernize and lighten up the room above.

The light fixtures when we bought the house were old world Italian and very large. If you check out this post, you will see that we also had all the walls painted white eliminating all the faux brown wall paint when we bought the house.

3. Refinishing Dark Stained Floors To A Natural Oak

In February, we are planning to sand off ALL the dark stain on the floors (I seriously cannot wait!!!) and refinish to a natural tone.

dark cherry stain floors, kitchen table, stone fireplace

The floors are red oak (I wish they were white oak!) with a Cognac stain finish. Once the current stain is removed, we will evaluate the red grain (which can give a pink look) and do a couple stain samples to see what the best way is to neutralize the red oak/pink look. In a perfect world we will make our red oak floors look like white oak (or as close as we can get!)

We have a tight budget so keeping the red oak with a clear poly finish may be the most economical choice. BUT the lighter red oak will be much better than the current color so it’s a win in my book.

4. Master Bathroom Renovation (my parents)

My parents master bathroom is large and a dramatic old world Italian style. My mom cannot wait to update the bathroom and is excited to lighten it up and add a modern feel.

old world Italian master bathroom, dark cherry floors, Italian sconces, dark stained vanities, walk in closet

Plans for the master bathroom:

  • replace all lighting
  • paint all woodwork white
  • replace and install new vanities, countertops and mirrors

We already painted the walls Sherwin Williams Westhighland which we used throughout the entire house. We will be keeping the existing shower, tile and sunken tub (my dad loves that thing!). All of the woodwork will be painted white and floors will be finished which will help modernize this bathroom.

Update: See my parents bathroom update with white trim

5. 2nd Master Bathroom Renovation (mine and Jim’s)

The bathroom below was originally part of a jack and jill setup but you may remember that when Jim moved in over 2 years ago, we turned one of the jack/jill bedrooms into a large walk in closet and created a 2nd master suite in the house.

We started to remodel the bathroom below earlier this year as part of our 2nd floor master suite but the lake house purchase/renovation took up all of our extra time and we didn’t get it finished. SO, we are hoping to get it finished in the next couple months.

One Day Bathroom Refresh with Big Results

Plans for master bathroom #2

  • remove tub/shower unit and install custom walk-in shower with glass doors
  • new flooring
  • new vanity, mirror and lighting
  • remove wall between linen closet and bathroom to enlarge the bathroom
  • paint walls white

Modern Mediterranean House

Our modern mediterranean house plans are fairly lofty but with any luck, we will be done by mid Spring and fingers crossed we stay on budget! Over the next few months, I will share everything from the painting the trim, doors, kitchen and bath renovations as well as the flooring refinishing process. If you don’t follow us on Instagram or Facebook, be sure to find us at @fourgenerationsoneroof to see live real-time video updates.

So what do you think? Are we crazy or would you do the same thing? Leave us a comment below.

Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.


  1. Totally agree with your reasoning.
    It’s alot of work but exactly the changes I too, would want to do mske with this house. It’s beautiful just the way it is, but way to formal and dated for my liking. I believe you are making a smart move. Can’t wait to see it when it’sfinished!

  2. I support everything you are planning but I hesitate at painting the trim and kitchen cabinets white.
    New homes have painted white trim and cabinets and it is usually MDF and not the good solid wood like you have. Real wood is making a comeback and a lot of people will wish they had the budget for the good wood rather than the painted MDF and cabinets. It is a hard decision but a good decision to be in the position to make. I struggle with the same issue. I have Oak cabinets and trim everywhere, stained with a brownish stain. At least it is not orange, pick or gray… I thought for a long time I wanted white cabinets and have finally decided to stick with the stained real wood and try to do better with paint colors and area rugs. Good luck and I am sure it will be beautiful when you are done.

  3. We made many of those very changes in our last house. Changing all the wood – cabinets, moldings, doors – to white and getting rid of that orange woodwork (next to a red brick fireplace! Talk about clashing! Ugh!) Plus removing some uppers. I wanted to stay!
    We made all the changes we loved to the (smaller) house we bought.
    There are only 2 changes I’d make: 1) paint the lowers a color! White on the lowers with spills is so disgusting! You spend your whole day just whiping them! 2) raise the levels of the counters in the kitchen. As I’m nearing my 70’s my back aches when I cook, put together meals, or use the sink because the low counters! (They are stove height. I need at least 4″ higher.)

    1. I was saying the same thing about our house haha. We are going to make all these great changes and will want to stay forever haha. I can definitely see how white is hard to keep clean, we had white in our other house. I do love the two toned look too, it’s popular!

  4. While I love your plans, I have to tell you a story. When I was about 25, my mother was wanting to update their split level house. She looked at exterior paint, interior paint, new kitchen cabinets, everything. I guess I didn’t get the memo on that she was just talking about it. I assumed that it was going to happen. So we had a discussion and I put in my 2 cents worth. She gave me a funny look. (I’ll never forget that look.) She said you act like you are living here forever and this is your house. I said to myself… Hmmmm. I guess it hit me at the time that I needed to get my own house and I can remodel it as I see fit. LOL.. That was the eye-opener for me. But I have loved every project you have done.. I think I started with the fireplace at the other house. That got me hooked. Good luck and God Bless.

  5. Well I love seeing before and after pictures but all I get is a how-to!

  6. Well I love seeing before and after pictures but all I get is a how-to! Do you have pictures of the before and after?

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