Before & After: A Loving Kitchen Update That Would Make Grandma Proud

Tarah lovingly updated the kitchen in her family home, holding onto history while creating a space that meets her needs and matches her style. She’s kept pieces of the old kitchen throughout the new one, lending a true vintage charm to the room.

From Tarah: My grandparents built the kitchen of my grandma’s dreams when they installed indoor plumbing in the home for the very first time in 1958. They also put the bathroom behind the kitchen . I can only imagine how exciting it must have been for them: a brand new kitchen AND indoor plumbing! I will be the first to admit that tearing out my grandma’s kitchen was a very hard thing to do and, looking at it now, my heart aches a bit… however, my dream was a wide open country kitchen filled with light. We saved the majority of her cabinets which my grandparents’ built by hand and re-purposed them.

After removing the bathroom and relocating it to another part of the house and pushing the kitchen back, I was given two outside walls to bring light in. I chose two glass doors, one on either side of the kitchen. I always dreamed of having a kitchen I could open up on hot summer days and that’s exactly what we accomplished. When we grill out in the summer time our outdoor kitchen literally feels like an extension of this one, with our grill only steps from the back door. Above the sink, instead of a window, I chose to add a shelf we built out of barn wood and the light above the sink came right off of the pole in the yard as it had been my grandparents’ yard light for over thirty years.

With budget in mind we chose to build all of our kitchen cabinets – including our sink base. The cabinet doors are windows off of the old wood shed and the wood we used to build the sink base came right out of the barn. The antique cast iron sink itself we also found in the barn. Those wood floors were hiding under three layers of linoleum and, though it was a lot of work to refinish them, they remain one of the things I love the most. Also, right out of the barn, are our oak kitchen counter tops. A big wood burning stove replaced my grandma’s old kitchen stove and heats our whole house all winter long. Wood storage is under the stairs, behind a screen door I built out of an old window screen I found by the machine shed outside. The kitchen island I built out of an old radio stand of my great grandpa’s and this kitchen just would not have been right without my grandma’s old Cosco step stool, which I gave a little makeover.

I wanted this kitchen to feel old and unique and though I look and see our inexperience as wood workers in some places, I feel like we have the most beautiful kitchen in the world! It is not perfect and it is certainly not everyone’s taste, but I think my grandparents’ would be very proud.

Thank you, Tarah! You can see more on Tarah’s blog Grandma’s House DIY.


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