It’s been a while since I have written a before and after post but today I have a good one for you. I recently completed a kitchen make over for a lovely couple who had a challenging request. They wanted a fresh looking updated kitchen but they did not want to replace the cabinets or the appliances. When I went to see their kitchen for the first time it was indeed dated. They had designed the kitchen themselves 32 years ago when they first purchased the home.
The kitchen was quite large and nice and bright but the white laminated cabinets, white laminate counter tops and white 4″ x 4″ back splash tiles made it feel cold and somewhat hospital like. The only color in the room were the dated red metal blinds.
What my client’s loved about their kitchen was the layout. They are both passionate cooks and initially designed the kitchen around their cooking and entertaining needs which they said has not really changed. Although the cabinets were old they were solid wood and of high quality and in surprisingly good shape. Their insistence to keep the cabinets was somewhat related to budget but even more of a factor was that they did not want the dust and disruption of ripping out what they felt were perfectly good cabinets. The appliances were also staying because they were less than two years old (except for the cook top and trash compactor).
They did request a smaller tv in the kitchen because they like to watch cooking shows while they cook but their old boxy tv ate up too much space and was an unsightly black hole.
The one area that didn’t function for them was this desk tucked into a small wall at the back of the kitchen. The deep overhanging laminate counter top became a clutter gathering zone and the clients never used it as a desk. What they did need was a recycling center as you can see by the newspapers and bags collected on the stools. Also, the cabinets below were so shallow and it was such a hassle getting into them that they were essentially useless.
So, my clients asked me to come up with a plan that would allow them to keep the cabinets and appliances, find a spot for a smaller TV, and create a recycling center where the desk currently was. Also on the wish list was: new counter tops, new flooring, new back splash, hardware, sink, faucet, an induction cook top and a wine cooler to replace the trash compactor.
Here is the new updated kitchen.
To give the kitchen a little more visual interest and to break up three full walls of cabinets we removed the upper cabinets on the sink wall and used budget friendly subway tiles on the entire wall. Two sturdy open shelves hold their everyday dishes and new blue and tan roman shades pick up the colors in the adjoining sun room.
Now I know it’s hard to believe these are the same cabinets but they are. My contractor kept all the cabinet boxes but replaced the existing laminate doors and drawers with new shaker style wood doors and drawers. On the sides of the cabinets that were exposed he applied a thin sheet of plywood over the laminate and it was painted to match.
The floor decision actually ended up being the most challenging. The homeowners were on totally opposite pages about what they wanted. One wanted tile, the other wanted wood and neither wanted vinyl. After weeks of weighing multiple options we ended up choosing a solid warm gray colored cork. The floor has the appearance of a wood floor but is soft and there are no worries about water spills. It was easy to install as it came in planks that snapped together just like engineered wood floors. Both clients got what they wanted.
The new induction cook top is Bosch .
The faucet is the new Beale pull down touchless faucet by American Standard. We chose Top Knobs for the hardware and the new counter tops are Silestone Blanco Orion quartz. Quartz was a great option because my clients loved the look of marble counters but wanted something that would wear like iron. We also eliminated the curved counters and corner cabinets and squared it off for a cleaner and more modern look.
This is what I came up with for the TV. We replaced that origional open box with a full length new door which added extra hidden storage and the TV is now mounted on the side cabinet and can be flipped out or pushed flat as desired.
To fix that non functioning desk area, we replaced the existing shallow cabinets with brand new deep cabinets that house smooth gliding, pull out recycling bins. These are the only cabinets that are new.
They now use that area as the coffee station with recycling below. We also replaced the flat trim with something more traditional and truer to the style of the house.
Here is the before one more time
and the after
Once again the before:
And the after:
I want to go on record and say I would not recommend keeping thirty year old cabinets when doing a kitchen make over but in this particular case it worked and my client’s have absolutely no regrets. The final addition will be a new 15″ wine cooler just to the right of the sink where the trash compactor is now. They don’t plan to make the purchase until this Summer though and I didn’t want to wait that long to get photos.
Lastly, I know the limitations of my iPhone so a huge thanks to architectural photographer Emily O’Brien for the AFTER photos.
Please let me know in the comments below what you think.