This is the story of a kitchen whose time had come. It was time to redesign this oak kitchen to a lovely new shade of white. If you love before and afters, this should rock your day.
This townhome kitchen is standard issue, with sturdy oak cabinets and laminate counters. The dealbreaker here really was this wall of cabinets dividing it from the dining nook, seen in the right foreground of this picture. Just beyond this wall there is TONS of natural light pouring in from a vaulted-ceiling sunroom. We could not wait to get started. In fact, those squares you see taped to the cabinets and on the floor are the swatches that started this project.
Below, you can see that darned wall of cabinets again. Sure, sure, there’s lots of storage there, but dang, I’ll take light over storage every time. Well, almost every time. Keep an eye on that top cabinet to the right, ok?
In this view you can see that stark contrast between kitchen and sunroom, dark and light.
We did this project in stages, which is a very sensible and gentle way to go through a big project like this. Each part of the project really only takes a day or so, so you never really have to be out of service for long. Below shows the new flooring. By this time,we had already agreed that the cabinets were to be painted white.
The client really wanted to get things off the counters, including the microwave. A good carpenter can lift existing cabinets over the stove just enough to properly install a microwave, creating a bit of architectural interest. You’ve seen me raise the cabinets for a new microwave before, when we worked on the little kitchen that could. That wall of cabinets is still peeking in from the right.
While the floor was being installed, we were hunting for granite counters and a backsplash. The client fell in love with this backsplash, and let me tell you, this is so perfect for her! But I always ask my clients to take home samples and try them in their space. This backsplash went completely flat without natural light on it, so we chose a completely different option instead.
I loved the granite she chose, which had a beautiful swirl pattern and just a bit of mica for sparkle.
Here’s where the big change starts to happen. She’s got a new floor, new microwave, new counters, and a whole new view now that the cabinet wall is gone. It’s really starting to open up.
It looks nearly done at this point. The sturdy cabinets were professionally painted white. Ahhhh. We can all exhale at this point. Check out all the light! All the shine on the countertops! All the shimmer on the backsplash!
Remember that top cabinet all the way to the right? We asked the carpenter to re-hang it on the outside wall, and we asked him to attach a shelf directly underneath it. The corner cabinet no longer made sense there, and it was cost-effective to re-use the cabinets. We already had what we needed to fill out that wall. In fact, the door to the corner cabinet became the back of this shelf. Check out the treasure that was hiding behind that wall of cabinets in the other room. The client had a custom mural commissioned a few years back, and now she can actually enjoy it from her kitchen. Don’t look under the sink; those drawer fronts hadn’t yet been re-installed.
We added finishing touches, including basket weave cabinet pulls and handles. Builder-grade cabinets typically don’t have hardware. When you redesign a kitchen, adding hardware is a must. It not only looks great, but it will help keep your cabinets in better shape longer.
That new decorative shelf is the perfect place to display some unique dishes. It’s so great to have your favorite things around you, on display.
All decked out with her beautiful accessories, this kitchen looks at least twice the size, and even with the dark floors and counters, it, too, is now drenched in light.
If you are wondering if she missed the storage from the cabinets, you’ve gotta see what we were working on over on the other side of the room. We added an entire wall of storage from Ikea Billy bookcases which you can read about here.
If you are feeling stuck with your kitchen, I hope this gives you real inspiration. You don’t have to do a $40K “gut job” or take it down to the studs to get a beautiful, fresh kitchen. A few well-chosen updates and minimal contractor involvement can get you a much larger bang for your buck. Remember, no matter where you live, I can work with you to put together the plan for a kitchen redesign like this.
Not sure yet? Organizing your kitchen is a great place to start. My latest best-selling book is now available in print, and you can order an autographed copy here.
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