It’s here, it’s finally here! I’ve been dying to share our kitchen renovation with you for months now, but pesky little unfinished projects kept getting in the way. I know I’ve mentioned before that when we took down a wall between the kitchen and living room, we discovered an old brick chimney that had previously been plastered over. We immediately decided to expose it, loving the architectural interest it would bring to our home, but the ceiling and surrounding walls and flooring needed to be trimmed out once the plaster came down. It was one of those seemingly simple but actually complex little details at the end of the renovation that was just easier to ignore for a while since it didn’t really affect our day to day lives, aside from being an eye sore and preventing me from having photographs taken of the otherwise finished space.
A couple of weekends ago, we finally found the motivation to finished it up, and like any project that you keep putting off, we have been saying ever since, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” It’s the little final details that make all the difference, isn’t it? And now, thanks to my sister Amanda, who came over with her fancy cameras and mad skills and started clicking away, I can start sharing a tour of our home with you! I am kicking it off with the room that has undergone the biggest transformation: the heart of the home, the apple of our eye… the kitchen.
I have never had the privilege of completely gutting and renovating a kitchen in one of our homes before. We have either lived in rentals or homes that already had good enough kitchens, where we couldn’t justify taking out a nice stone counter top or decent cabinetry even if it wasn’t what we would have picked… you know the story. But this time, the gutting of said kitchen could absolutely be justified. If you want to read about the whole process, (progress photos, the reasoning behind our design choices, design plans, and hiccups we encountered along the way), click back to this post. Otherwise, we are going to skip to the fun part and show you the finished product! But first, some before pictures, because who doesn’t love a good before and after?
Phew. Those drop ceiling tiles and that faux marble peel and stick flooring still manage to give me the chills. I would also like to draw your attention to the rusty appliances and the weird mirrored back alcove, because it’s the last time you’ll see them.
And now, for the after! Starting with the sink area, because that’s my favorite part:
Sigh. Have I ever told you before that one of my wish list items for my dream home was to have a sink in front of a window? It’s sort of a small and silly thing, but there’s something so nice about looking out the window when you’re stuck at the sink washing dishes.
I cannot tell you how happy I am that we opted for open shelving instead of upper cabinetry in this kitchen. We have to keep them looking neat all the time, sure, but it forces me to only have dishes that I love the look of and that we absolutely need, something the minimalist inside of me appreciates. It also opens up this tiny kitchen, which is a major bonus. We used leftover butcher block from the counter tops to make the shelves, and the cobweb cast iron brackets are one of my favorite little details in this kitchen.
I originally switched over to wood handled scrubbing brushes because they are just so much prettier than sponges, but now I am a convert. Touching a stinky soggy sponge is gross you guys! These last longer and end up costing less than the amount we used to spend on sponges, and they work wonderfully. I also love the look of the amber glass jars for dish and hand soap.
Our coffee station continues to serve us well each morning, and I love having everything we need right out in the open (including that little milk frother on the upper shelf to the right- not sure what I ever did without it!)
Now lets move on to the area that used to house the rusty old fridge, and is now a counter seating/prep area.
Taking down the top half of that wall to create an opening into the dining room has been life-changing. It opens both spaces up so much, and makes the kitchen feel so much less isolating. The girls sit on those stools all the time to watch or help us meal prep (and by help I mean sneak peanut butter fingers straight from the jar), and it is one of our favorite hang out spots in our home.
This view seriously makes me so happy.
And right now, I have to interject to let you in on a little secret. That adorable trailing succulent on the wall…it’s fake. It’s taking a lot out of me to admit that to you, because I have always been very anti-faux plants. I have like 20 plants in every room of my house, and each and every one of them is alive and well. I love real plants so so much. But for some strange reason, every plant that I have put in this spot has died a quick and brutal death. I don’t know if that particular spot just doesn’t get enough sunlight or what, but I felt pretty strongly that that wall needed a plant, and when I saw this one at West Elm I decided to give it a whirl. I’m kind of loving it. Don’t judge too harshly.
This little stove is my dream stove. I love the retro look of it with the cute little clock.
I have been coveting library sconces for a while, and this seemed like the perfect place for one, highlighting our shelf above the stove.
You can tell we have children because of the gold fish crackers in the canister. What do they put in those things that makes kids go so nuts for them?! On second thought, don’t tell me- all I know is that that canister can never be allowed to go empty.
And finally, here is the little space that I told you in the previous kitchen design plans post that we weren’t sure what to do with. After knocking down the mirrored wall that led into the living room, we were left with a wide hallway and some extra space under the arched window. We debated a little bistro table and chairs, but ultimately decided that a pantry storage piece would be more functional for us.
We couldn’t put more cabinetry under the window because the window was too low, but when I saw this piece at Nadeau, I knew it would be perfect. It brings a little of the french country feel I was craving into the kitchen, and the open shelving is ideal for storing serving pieces and pantry food items inside of baskets.
I love turning on that lamp at night. If you have a place for a lamp in your kitchen, do it– it is such a cozy soft glow that I greatly prefer to harsh overhead lighting.
And now I’m going to show you the view from the living room, and tell you my one regret with this kitchen renovation: the fridge placement.
From the moment that fridge was moved inside, it immediately felt huge to me. It sticks out so much, and it drives me crazy that when I see the space from this angle, it blocks so much of the pretty open shelving and subway tile that I love. It just instantly makes everything feel tighter and smaller.
Our solution is to move the fridge and put another cabinet and counter top in its’ place- this will give us more storage and also some prep space right beside the stove. And do you see that wall space opposite the arched window, beside the hanging apron? That will be the new fridge location. The plan is to recess it into the wall so that only the doors are sticking out, and we will have to borrow some space from the half bath that is behind that wall in order to do it. It will be a bit of a headache, but I really do think it will be worth it in the end (and if you agree, please tell my husband, who is not looking forward to another project and could use a little convincing). With small kitchens, every extra inch of space you can get counts, and I think that moving the monstrosity of a fridge will make all the difference.
With that one regret aside, I am still elated with the way our first major renovation turned out. When you are working within a very short timeline, mistakes are bound to be made, simply because you are forced to make decisions quickly and don’t always have the time to think everything through as much as you would like.
Still, as I scroll through these photos of our kitchen, I am feeling all the heart eyes, partly because of my sister’s photography witchcraft, (seriously, I am convinced that she could make a dumpster look beautiful), but also because we had a say in every little detail that went into this kitchen. We certainly didn’t go crazy- this is a budget friendly kitchen if ever there was one. But we kept it light bright and white just the way we like it, with wood and gold tones for warmth, and just enough vintage farmhouse charm for it to feel like it belongs in our older home.
One thing is for certain- I won’t be tiring of this space any time soon. I want to spend time in here, cooking meals for my family, pouring wine with Kevin and having sticky peanut butter-laced conversations with my girls, and that is what makes a home.
Let me know what questions and comments you have, I want to hear your thoughts!
For more information and links to the materials used in this renovation, click back to the Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Design Plans post.