Monday, January 13, 2014

kitchen renovation before and after


this has taken me forever to post. mainly because it took so dang long to finish this kitchen and also because i have no motivation to post things during this first trimester unless someone is dangling a bean burrito in front of my face.

but alas, with no further ado. here she blows.
you'll notice mixed metals and wood as a theme. i wasn't scared to mix it up! not everything has to be matchee matchee. if you you include several of the different metals around the room and not just in one concentrated space, then you win.
the brass talks to the brass. the stainless talks to the stainless, the black talks to the black elements. it's a big conversation!

we did consider taking out that wall where the oven and fridge are, but it presented a lot of problems as far as mapping out the space. it also cost a crazy amount more to do. and we were on a budget. we did take out the awkward and narrow closet and pantry to make give us three more feet which made a world of difference.

let's look at the pictures!

we'll start with that far back corner. 
the eat in nook.

we had benches built in and wanted them open for baskets. of course i haven't filled them all. one has dog food in it, so basically i feel like we're pretty amazing. i hated going into the cold garage to get dog food!  i'll live with the kitchen for a bit and let it tell me what the other baskets should be used for. 

you're wondering where the decorative pillows are? wellllllll. my kids are messy. so no cushions ( i find them annoying) and no pillows. maybe when they are grown up. a mother can dream!

by the way, the green small ladder gets fought over everyday. it's like shotgun. i almost want to hide it, but i find it too useful for the high up places in the kitchen.

above the nook are 2 shelves that store art supplies that i don't want the kids getting into. we keep the spare change up there as never know when you're going to need to make an ice cream run. 

this light fixture is actually an industrial mixer whisk that we found at an antique mall here in KC. it already had the light fitted in it and everything. we had to support it with the chain, but c'mon! how can you say no to a whisk light!

to the right of the nook, we have our original to the house built ins. when we moved into this house, i was immediately sold when i saw these. all we did was repaint them, add new brass hardware and tile the back splash. and who doesn't need a pencil sharpener if you have children in elementary school?

i love that the wire basket is ginormous and leaves plenty of air to circulate. but most of all, i love that it came from my grandpas junkyard in texas. 

inside the cabinets to the right are all my specialty gluten free flours and mixes. 

and to the left is our everyday kitchenware. 
i actually don't have china, as we are not fancy people. 

the cake plates are from minted. i wanted to use accents of jadeite. i know that one of these days the color mint will be a thing of the past...but jadeite is such a classic. i remember seeing it in martha stewart's kitchen 10 years ago when i was horseback riding on her estate... wait. or in a magazine.
anyway, even then, i thought it was so beautiful against her cream shelves. 
there's just something calming about monochromatic-ness. i have a busy brain and a busy life, so sure...i like my kitchen to be somewhat visually unstimulating. sue me. 

i love this little cabinet feature next to the fridge. i keep all my spices and canned goods in them. each item has it's own space so there's no blind spots. no digging around looking for the cumin! it's literally right in front of my face like my mom always yelled.

moving over a bit. we kept our original oven. it's a gas stove and works great. the fridge makes ice and water. what a glorious invention! you just put your glass up to it and BAM. we got a deal on it at lowes because it was scratched somewhere that we have still yet to find. so, because of that, it's not counter depth. but it saved us a grand. yes, please. 

if you get to redo your kitchen, get these slatted cabinet separators. they are a dream as far as organization.

across from the oven is the sink and dishwasher. again, we kept the dishwasher since it worked fine and we were on a budget. our trash can is tucked neatly to the right in one of those drawers. so magical. 

i love love love this faucet. i could spray the stove if i needed too.
the apron sink undermounted is also the jam and makes cleaning up to easy. just swipe all the yucky things in the sink with no annoying ridge to stop you. 

we went with classic white subway tile because, well, i know it's in style...but this is also in our original to the house bathroom. it just goes with our 1920's house.

and all my honest products just hanging out waiting to be used. by my husband. 

 here's the angle from the other side of the room. this island is gigantic! but i bake a lot and cook, so it makes a lot of sense. it's a little weird to have it blocking me off from the sink when i'm at the oven, but i'm getting used to it. and i'm ok with it because of all the storage.

and yes, that's a skinny little chalkboard but you know i need my chalkboard!
we went with butcher block to warm up the space and hello! so functional for avid kitchen users. 
the other countertops are a play on marble...but not marble because i'm just not that careful. so i chose a quartz that can handle any spill and most rough use. 
it's called Frosty Carrera. 
there was a more grey option called London Grey, but it read a little too green for me in warmer lighting. i really wanted to keep it fresh and simple so we stuck with lots of whites.

below was a pretty creative and inexpensive fix to having a double oven. usually they are stacked and take up a good amount of space. but a great electric oven fits nicely in that island space and doesn't scream, look! i have 2 ovens! 
even though, glory of glories, i have two freaking ovens! cupcakes all baked at once. imagine it!

i have pan drawers now instead of stuffing them under a cabinet. stacking them and making a clatter when i need to get the bottom pan. this is so much easier. 
and when you shut the cabinets, they don't slam. the gently go back into place. 
heavenly when you have children...

the lights above the over are just simple school house looking lights. i fell in love with them immediately. 

in the dining room we also had our cabinet maker build matching buffets. the counter space is amazing when we're hosting! 
the backsplash is just a mirror. i didn't want tile, that seemed awkward in the dining space and i didn't want it to be left naked, so a mirror seemed fitting. 
for someone to come out and measure, cut and apply, it was $30 a mirror! cheap-o. and much more reliable than trying to cut a mirror yourself. 
now it looks like one piece. 
liquor cabinet and pretty serving dishes buffet. 
underneath the cabinets is where i keep tablecloths and napkins and anything i want to hide. 

i tried to put the before and afters close to each other so it would help you see the change. i think it won't be a ginormous change for most people who hadn't used the kitchen. but for me, the cabinets were cheap, would'nt shut all the way, chipped paint everywhere, and not enough counter space. 

it worked well for a bit. but you know when you jimmy rig a project and use all the cheapest stuff, paint  improperly and don't lay out the space thoughtfully? ha. ok that was my experience...but it all added up to be a bit of a mess. it was totally workable and served it's function. but having a cabinet maker make the cabinets custom to your kitchen with real wood, makes an incredible difference! and honestly you're not going to pay that much more. it's almost comparable. 

i am just in love. after not having a kitchen for almost 3 months, i'd take anything. but i'd say this was worth the wait. 

so budget, we spent $20,000. geez, that's a giant number. and that was with pinching pennies but still getting a higher end look. that includes all the demo, decor, appliances, cabinetry (even in the dining'll see that farther down), electrical, plumbing, painting, and redoing the floors on the whole first floor. you might be able to tell that they are a little lighter. can you believe i didn't go super dark? me either, but who wants to see every speck of dirt anyway? plus, we didn't have to add any stain, it's just pine with a poly coat on top. i love letting the wood talk here.

we were able to do that by being our own contractor, basically. a super annoying job-but i'm saving $15,000-25,000 by having a little bit longer of a construction time and little bit more annoyance and headache (ugh! it really is annoying trying to get people to show up!). sure you go crazy a bit and loose sanity. sometimes you might melt down and throw a frozen dinner across the room, but that's neither here nor there now. 

butcher block: boos
cabinets: custom built
school house lights: home depot online
brass hardware: home depot online
fridge: lowes-- scratch and dent section in store
undermount oven: lowes
gas oven: sears
microwave: lowes in store
cake plates: minted
mint colored tins: Ikea
wood clock: target
green ladder: someone's trash
whisk light: flea market
nook table: flea market
baskets under bench: target
barclay sink: lowes online
faucet: joss and main

wall paint: dover white, sherwin williams
cabinet paint- (we matched it to the existing color, so not sure. but it's a bit warmer. go for a slight contrast)

tips for self contracting: 
1)   if you're going to be your own contractor, have everything written down, item by item that that particular hire needs to do. then have them sign it. 
we had lots of our people try and double the bid in the middle of the project and towards the end. 
sometimes there really is more work or something hidden they didn't know about. however, on the front end, tell them that right when they see an extra expense, to go ahead and let you know. then, not at the end! 
and even then, you can negotiate that price. 

2) people were right when they said that everything will take so much longer than you think. take your reasonable timeline...and then double it. 

3) people were right when they said everything will cost more than you think. take your erasable budget and add 30%. especially if you live in an old house. you think you're not going to be those people that blow the budget, but you are. you really are. add more to that budget!

4) check the scratch and dent section at any appliance store if you're looking for a deal. it's so crazy what you'll find. and for so much cheaper. 

5) hire people who you've seen work from. don't let anyone off the street come in and sell you something they can't do. we paid so much more for electrical because we wanted a deal, but in the end, had to have a trusted electrician come in and fix all the shoddy work. it was painful for everyone...and so much more expensive than doing it right the first time. 

6) don't get too crazy with design elements. 
there are so many cool things out there for kitchens. but when it all comes together, it can get super busy and  be a visually stressful environment. i went way way way simple, and know that's not everyone's taste. however, i really do believe you can do any style tastefully, without exhausting a trend or "style". 

if you want to see some of our other renovations you can find our attic here:

and our cheap and easy entry way makeover for under $100 here


  1. ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. yes. yes to everything. did you sneak into my dreams and steal this kitchen from it? cause it's my dream kitchen, yo. well done. and the whisk light?! i die.

  2. Love the kitchen!!! Awesome job. I'm also a big fan of simple, plus it lets you see the great details - like the jadeite playing off the adorable stool, the whisk light, the sweet wooden it all. Also great job on the budget, looks like you spent much more. Enjoy.

    1. i heart simple. the more simple, the less dated it feels 10 years later, you know?

  3. This is so beautiful! Honestly, it looks like something you would see in a magazine or all over Pinterest. Absolutely stunning!

    1. i feel like i'm in a dream! thanks for your kind words.

  4. looks like you should be in a magazine :)... and wait first trimester? did I miss something?

  5. Ah, GORGEOUS! Some major kitchen coveting going on over here.
    Enjoy it! =)

  6. Brava! I LOVE the way it turned out. That whisk light is dreamy.

    1. it was such a random and wonderful find. the LOrd showed me he loved me that day in a whisk light.

  7. This is beautiful! My 1920's kitchen could stand to have a few of these lovely updates too. Did you put any wax or oil on the butcherblock counter?

    1. Yes , I've oiled it once a week since we got it. I won't have to do it that much once it gets older !

  8. Soooo pretty! And functional! And pretty! My fav thing may be the fact that you have all white dishes rather than fancy china
    . I got so much grief when I registered for all white dishes w/a few pottery pieces- 11yrs later I'm still loving making that choice!

    1. um yes. best choice. i have some colorful dishes but they're so dated now. thankful someone gave me the advice to go all white when i was getting married.

  9. Absolutely love your kitchen!!! You have pretty much all the elements I want in my dream kitchen!!!

    1. agh! i feel so blessed. thanks for your kind words.

  10. Magazine worthy!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, worth the wait. Yes, you will probably find me in there pretend cooking & baking in the middle of the night, wearing an apron talking to imaginary guests. ;)

  11. You live in a magazine! I know you'll say "I have three kids and I'm pregnant and it never really looks like this" but to that I reply "Whatever dude. You live in a magazine!"

    1. i truly, threw all the clutter in the dining room. ha. there i said it.
      but yes, i feel grateful that i got to get it just the way i wanted it. such a treasure. more hosting! everyone hangs in the kitchen even more so now. :)

  12. I just have to say.... it's like you are in my head and my Pinterest board for my kitchen! I love every single aspect of this kitchen and cannot believe I found one post that has essentially all my wants in them. Beautiful work and design!!!!!

  13. i love all the details you put into your kitchen now i am getting even more anxious for mine to start. hopefully soon. this 80's wood cabinets need to GO. also when did you repaint your stripes in the dining room?

    1. where did you see stripes???

    2. There are stripes seen in the dining room when taking the old kitchen picture.

    3. She said dining room...not kitchen. There were never stripes in the dining.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. wow just wow.. shut up! this is what kitchen dreams are made of! I live in a 1930's bungalow and have a fairly large kitchen - that needs an update badly.. I have so many ideas and you pretty much made them come to life right here. I've wanted a banquet type seating for our eat in table but never thought of the open shelving underneath - I was thinking lift bench on a hinge but this is better! I think our most expensive part is going to be the flooring - it's peel and stick over linoleum I think... and so ugly. Part of our kitchen is an old old add on and I think only half was wood from the original kitchen - which is a big bummer because matching now would be impossible! Anyway, enough of my kitchen's life story. This is gorgeous gorgeous!

    1. if you can, try and make some freezer meals before hand. wish i had done that. eating out and packaged dinners get real old!

  16. This is beautiful, Jami! I love it. We just finished a kitchen reno - well a whole house reno - on a 1928 bungalow, and we have similar kitchen vibes. The white is so great, eh? I just love this for you. What a space to cook and bake in.

  17. It's look great! I appreciate your creativity. where I am going to do the same renovation in my kitchen with the help of Avonlea kitchens and bathroom. They give me a lot of suggestions in order to make my kitchen amazing and I am hoping to do that.

  18. Found u thru instagram. Love the way it turned out! Love the cabinet on the side of the fridge! What a great spot to put your 2nd oven. We're about to do our kitchen-love your tips! & that whisk light is amazing! Great job! I'm sure you're glad its done!

  19. Oh my goodness, what a dream! It's so airy and bright. And all that counter space! I just had an embarrassingly long daydream about cooking in your kitchen (awkward), which was not at all spurred on by my current two feet of counter space and half-sized oven that burns everything. Not one bit. Enjoy it!

  20. I love everything ! Looks so beautiful !
    I'm getting ready to redo my cabinets they are dark wood and I want them to be be white to brighten it up since our floors are dark wood . Thanks again for posting everything turned out amazing

  21. Wonder Ful Fitchens are experts in Kitchen Renovations Sydney for more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Our 10 year warranty provides peace of mind. Trust us for your kitchen renovation Sydney and provide unmatchable service and quality.

  22. This is just beautiful - every last bit of it!

  23. I think that you did awesome on a budget of $20,000! Esp since you had all your floors refinished, too!!! Beautiful, classic kitchen. Love it!!! hugs, cathy

  24. LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE and then some more LOVE of this!!!! It looks amazing!

  25. Just stunning! We are going for a very similar look... white kitchen, brass hardware (and mixed metals), grouted subway tile. I love your grout color - dark enough to be noticeable but also subtle. Can you share the color you used? Also, are your pulls Martha Stewart from HD?

  26. Hey! I would love to know the grout color as well!

  27. Hi! I love that I found your blog. Mainly for the message, but your "old" kitchen is pretty cool too! It's just my style. Nice job mama! Anyway, may I ask what brand the facuet is and if you ended up liking it? It seems like your arm would get sprayed with water when turning it on based on where then knob is. Also, what color or wood and thickness did you choose for the Boos butcher block?

    1. I bought the faucet on one kings lane. I'm not sure what brand it is but check overstock for the same bargain prices . The boos block was just a standard width, but our cabinet carpentry guy ordered it to our measurements. So in not exactly sure!

  28. I have a really hard time believing that all of your kitchen was only $20,000. How did you find a cabinetry person and what was the cabinetry cost?

    1. Yes. I was lying?

      We're actually penny punchers. We bargain for everything, including work we hired out. Our cabinetry guy is extremely reasonable. My brothers did the tile work, I got scratch and ent stuff at Home Depot.

  29. I love everything!! What is the material/color of the 'white' countertops and where did you get it from??

  30. Beautiful kitchen! We are in the process of remodeling our 1950s cottage kitchen and I am using a lot of your finishes as inspiration. I am assuming your cabinet latches are the Martha Stewart ones from HD online? They don't have the best reviews on the website so I was wondering how yours have held up over the past year? Thanks!!

  31. Happy Friday! My mom is currently in the middle of a kitchen renovation and she asked me to help her find pulls and knobs for the cabinet. I was able to find the HD Martha Stewart pulls you used, but do you happen to remember what the name of the knobs that you chose is? Thank you so much! You kitchen turned out so great!

  32. Beautiful!!! What are the white countertops? Quartz? If so what brand and color is it? Thank you!!!


leave a message after the beep.