Our Kitchen – Before and After

June 5, 2017

Our kitchen was the biggest renovation project in the house. The original layout was terrible. Awkward, not functional, and closed in would be words I would use to describe it.

To remind you where we started…

To recap what has changed – we removed all three of the doors you can see in this photo. The door with the windows is now an exterior door that leads to our backyard. The rectangular door is now gone, doorway and all. My dad drywalled over that opening to allow us a more functional layout. We also got rid of the bulkhead above the range/microwave area, so we could take the upper cabinets to the ceiling. The door leading to the dining room was on a double hinge, but it took up a lot of floor space in either direction. It’s a gorgeous original walnut door, but we prefer more openness to the house and are storing it in our basement for now. Oh, we also removed the ridiculous chandelier that was hung way too low for a family of tall people.

Here’s another before of the area directly across from the range, on the other side of the doorway to the dining room.

And after…

The wall around the fridge was total wasted space. The strange cabinet in the corner was useless because it contained an old laundry chute to the basement. The fridge nook was already there, so we added cabinets around it and just pulled the fridge out a little farther to accommodate the new depth. I was also happy there was a random counter height outlet already on this wall, so it made perfect sense to locate our microwave there instead of over the range. I absolutely love having my cookbooks easily accessible here too.

The sink wall changed the least. Because of the doorway to the backyard on the right, the counter originally angled in a strange way to allow standard cabinet depth on the rest of the wall. It always looked awkward to me and we found a way to make it look much more intentional in the new design.

As you can see, the middle section is pulled out a few inches to accommodate the dishwasher and sink, with slightly shallower drawers and cabinets on either side.

Here you can see the new location of the back door. That entry area used to have a metal screen door to the outside and was previously unheated space. We knocked a hole through to the now laundry/mudroom directly across from the door to the kitchen, and I think this layout is 100 percent more functional for us.

I love having just a quick walk to tons more pantry space, and it’s so convenient to quickly switch a load of laundry throughout the day. That room is two small steps down from the kitchen because it was originally a garage.

As far as materials and sources, all the cabinetry was made by Benchmark Wood Studios. I highly, highly recommend them. We love our cabinets, which look great, and work very well. I met with their layout designer once, before we officially closed on the house, and then had to work with her to design it from 600 miles away while we were still in Pennsylvania. I sketched out a rough plan and told her which interior features I wanted (spice drawer next to the range, vertical dividers for sheet pans, pull out drawers within cabinets for pots and pans, pull out trash next to the sink, etc.), and then she made it work. The cabinets are painted Benjamin Moore Simply White.

Cabinets and backsplash are honed Carrara marble. I chose a honed finish because it doesn’t show etching as much as polished finishes do. If you leave anything acidic like tomato or lemon on the counter, it can affect the finish. I want our house to look lived in and like this kitchen could have always been here, so I don’t mind imperfections. This is also a reason I chose slate for the floor. It takes a huge beating and holds up so great. It hides dirt and crumbs, doesn’t scratch and wipes off well. We are in and out of that back door constantly, and nothing shows.

While the original appliances looked okay on first glance, they were actually all around 15 years old. The separate cooktop/oven combo they had was really strange. Not sure why they decided to go that route instead of a normal range. We ended up donating them to Habitat for Humanity, as well as the granite countertops, which unfortunately wouldn’t work with the new layout.

All the cabinet hardware and lighting was ordered from Amazon. I ordered anything I could from there because we were long distance, and it was such a convenient process. My dad would give me a list of what he needed and I just had everything shipped to him. Perfect! Bathroom vent, range hood, toilets, lighting, a bathroom vanity, various hardware, three sinks, faucets, lightbulbs, furnace filters, you name it. Amazon is my jam. #notsponsored 🙂

This kitchen is my dream come true. I love to cook and bake, so this is very much a working kitchen. I use it as much as I can, and have put a lot of thought into it to make it work for me. Everything can live in its proper place, which really appeals to my obsessive side!

You can also check out the adjacent butler’s pantry/breakfast nook from my previous post here.



By Katie

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