Before & After: A Sleek Overhaul for a Sad ’80s Kitchen


I think the best word to describe the “before” condition of this kitchen would be: ew. Discolored black and white floor tile, sad sagging laminate cabinets, perma-stained countertops, and a fluorescent light fixture like something out of a ’70s municipal building. Again, ew. And then there was the exposed exhaust hose sealed with duct tape. This kitchen was more than overdue for a change.

Much better, yes? The layout of the space remains the same, but everything else about the kitchen has been transformed. Gone are the old sagging plastic laminate cabinets, replaced with cabinets with a lovely wood veneer (for the lower cabinets) and a bright white lacquer (for the upper cabinets). The countertop is a bright white quartz, which is durable and also resistant to stains.

If you look closely you’ll notice that the lower cabinets have brass hardware, while hardware on the upper cabinets is silver-toned. It may be a controversial choice to some, but I actually quite like the effect this produces. The silver hardware on the upper cabinets matches the stainless steel of the new appliances, and the undermount sink, while the brass hardware beautifully complements the warm wood of the lower cabinets, and matches the brass toe kick — a lovely and unexpected detail.

My favorite element of this renovation is one of the more subtle ones: the sloping subway tile on the backsplash, which, laid vertically, creates a beautiful basketweave pattern, which changes slightly depending on what direction you view it from. It’s a subtle and elegant way to add a bit of texture to the space — the perfect finishing touch.

This homeowner found their contractor on Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with local general contractors. You can read more about the project, see more photos, and find sources on the Sweeten blog.

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