Before & After: A Modern Vintage Loft Kitchen Makeover

I'm so excited to share with you today a before & after of my very own kitchen! I live in a converted hard loft in the eclectic neighbourhood of Kensington Market in Toronto. It was converted to lofts in 1999 — which you can see by this before photo. There was nothing absolutely terrible with this kitchen (well maybe those countertops), but it just felt dated and didn't match my colorful and eclectic personality and the rest of my space. I decided to give it a major makeover.

What a change right?! That dark, blah and dated beech wood kitchen is now a modern space with a major pop of color and lots of vintage touches. I love the layout of my kitchen so that was not an issue—it was more about updating the look. Believe it or not, many of the transformations were DIY. Those are the same cupboards and aside from removing the counters, there was no major demolition involved.

This was an on-going process and it took me a little longer than I expected being more of a designer/stylist than a reno DIYer but once the ball was (finally) rolling, it happened pretty quickly. After months of collecting my favourite kitchen inspiration on Pinterest, I put together this moodboard with the actual products I had sourced.

  1. Gold Pendant light fixture, Wayfair, $111.99
  2. Whistle Knob Hardware in Pearl Gold, D.Lawless Hardware, $2.45 each
  3. Cupboards spray painted by Paint it Like New with Sherwin Williams colors Cooled Blue and Tricorn Black.
  4. Black granite undermount double sink by Kraus, available at Home Depot Canada, $359.95 (CDN).
  5. Novecento White Hexigon Mosiac Marble Tile, available at Home Depot Canada, $16.77/sq-ft
  6. J25 Kitchen Series Modern single leaver faucet in polished gold, Wayfair, $381.22
  7. NUMERAR wood countertop in beech, IKEA Canada, $249 (96")
  8. Granite countertop in Absolute Black

I think I stayed pretty true to my original inspiration and mock up. There were definitely more than a few moments of frustration with some of the projects, but once they were done there was so much personal satisfaction and I'm really happy with end result. You can follow the detailed DIY how-to and process via the series on my blog The Sweet Escape. Here are some highlights and details:

I'm thrilled with the whole kitchen but my favorite element is definitely the open shelving I created. I think mostly because it gave me a spot to style some vintage goods. The vintage tea cups were gathered over a few trips to the thrift store. Obviously they're perfect for afternoon tea, but I also love the idea of serving cappuccino in them.

The easiest decision was replacing the one hanging halogen light fixture with two of these great gold pendants. Just changing the lighting alone can make a huge difference in your kitchen if you're just looking for a small but significant change.

The cupboards were professionally spray-painted by local company, Paint it Like New and I think they definitely look like new. What a great budget-friendly way to get yourself some new cupboards in absolutely any color you can imagine. I'm usually a quick decision maker but this was tough! After much testing I went with Cooled Blue by Sherwin Williams.

The kitchen had no backsplash at all before so anything would add some great style but these white marble hexagon tiles also add great shape & texture and a more luxe look. I liked them so much that I decided to take them all the way up the walls which really helps to define the kitchen in an open concept loft. (the art is a framed tea towel design by Donna Wilson)

The black granite counter was my splurge but it's a classic look and will only add to the value of my property so I thought it was a worthwhile investment. It also really helped to tie in the black appliances. I felt that with the black counter that a black sink made the most sense and I totally got sucked in by this black granite undermount sink by Kraus. Make sure you do your research first if you're thinking about a granite sink and make sure it's the right product for your kitchen.

The biggest challenge of making this kitchen come to life was finding a gold faucet that was under 13" tall. My cupboards are a bit low so all the really tall faucets that are so popular just wouldn't work but I was set on having gold to go with the dramatic black counters & sink. Thanks to Wayfair I finally found the perfect gold faucet for my space. I just don't think it would've looked the same with a faucet in any other finish. Sometimes it's worth it to just stick to your vision and not compromise. Even if it holds up a project by 10 weeks and you have to wash dishes in your bathroom.

The physically biggest project was the island makeover. I've always loved the look of butcher block and a waterfall counter so I decided to combine the two. With a little help from a handy friend, I took two Ikea wood countertops, stained, cut and fitted them around the island that was painted in Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black. Voila! A way more hip and modern island. You can see the full DIY process here.

Once everything was complete, I decided that with the slick new counters and the black island that although the appliances blended in more than before, they now looked a little dated. I took advantage of a great promo at Leon's and decided to get a modern front control stove and fridge with french doors from the Whirlpool Black Ice collection. They are pretty slick and sexy looking and fit in beautifully with the new design. I love having the controls on the front of the stove because it creates a clean line across the kitchen and shows off more of those beautiful marble tiles.

Overall I'm so very happy with the final result and love cooking in my new kitchen. It just makes me smile every time I walk in the door.

Of course after all the hard work was behind me it was time to get fun and colorful with styling.

If you're curious about the wood chevron pattern feature above the kitchen, that was the first big before & after project that really motivated me to turn my space around. You can check out the before pics on my blog from a few years ago.

Thank for letting me share this big makeover with you! I hope it inspires you to get started on that space that you've been dreaming about changing.

(Image credits: Melissa DiRenzo)