Before & After: Letting the Light Into an Outdated Kitchen


Stephanie decided to open up her kitchen for both design and keep-an-eye-on-the-kiddos reasons. Wanting to add functionality, style and maximize the natural light, the reno was a mix of big projects (like knocking down walls) and quick last minute fixes that resulted in a gorgeous, classic kitchen.

From Stephanie: The kitchen in our home was closed off, isolated and a mix of semi-updated and original features. We really hated that all of the natural light that came in through the kitchen widows was blocked off by a partial wall and that there were absolutely no sight lines from the kitchen to the main living spaces – a major concern for this mom of two kids under three.

We knew when we purchased the house that we would renovate it, and we could see how naturally the layout would flow once we removed the bank of cabinets and the wall that was dividing the kitchen from the living room. Once we realized we could brick over an exterior door that lead to nowhere (we can only assume that at some point the property was larger, but now the door lead straight into our next door neighbors drive way!) and move the fridge into its place, we could see the transformation coming together seamlessly.

We wanted to keep as many of the original cabinet boxes as possible as they were real wood and really well done, but we felt like they somehow looked off. We added large crown molding throughout the house, including the kitchen, and the effect made all of the difference.

There was one major snafu, and it was all my fault. Somehow I assumed our contractor was building a custom cabinet for above the refrigerator and it wasn’t until the very end that I realized no one had ever discussed that space. I ran to Lowe’s and grabbed in-stock, plain white shelves and brackets and added them above the fridge, giving us an area of open shelving to display and store some of our glassware and serving pieces.

I love the kitchen counters, which are granite, and I love our wine refrigerator! I’m also really thrilled that we decided to remove the bank of cabinets that held the oven and microwave. It opens the space from the moment you walk in the back door (which is the door we use most often) and provided much needed symmetry and balance to the kitchen. We built a microwave nook into the island and also snuck in our wine fridge and a pull out trash can.

Thank you Stephanie! You can see more on Stephanie’s blog Olive and Tate.

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