Before & After: Third Time's a Charm Kitchen Reno

Before & After: Third Time's a Charm Kitchen Reno

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Emily Billings
Apr 8, 2016
After the first renovation
(Image credit: Ulises Serret)

When interior designer Melissa Miranda moved into the bachelor pad of her now-husband, builder-by-trade Ulises Serret, she wasted no time adding her own signature touch to the space. The open layout kitchen was the first project she undertook, and while the original renovation that Ulises completed prior to Melissa living in the space functioned, it wasn’t the right fit aesthetically for the couple, and so the kitchen underwent a third facelift. Click through to see how this formerly dark, sophisticated bachelor’s kitchen was transformed into an organic, timeless space perfect for their current family of three.

The second stage of renovations
(Image credit: Melissa Miranda)

The first step Melissa took to brighten the space was to remove the black countertops and backsplash in favor of white stone countertops and glass tile backsplash. The couple also reassessed the configuration of the space, relocating the fridge and allowing it to recede into the kitchen rather than obstruct the view. While these changes significantly revamped the overall feel of the kitchen, the dynamic duo decided to go a step further and enter a third stage of renovations.

After the third renovation
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

The most striking aspect of the third stage of renovations was the refacing of the cherry cabinets, with the couple opting for a cool gray. This step, while intimidating, made the space feel significantly more open and airy. Melissa explains, “The only thing that has stayed with the kitchen through all three looks is the cabinets.” In order to make the preexisting cabinetry work for their kitchen remodel, the couple also reconfigured the cabinetry, removing the upper units and replacing them with open shelves. “Ulises built them for me. I love to display my cups and plates,” says Melissa. The couple completed the look with classic hardware, updated light fixtures, and shiplap in place of the glass tile. With plants spilling in from the conservatory, the space is open, organic, and begs to be enjoyed.

Since Melissa and Ulises are not only partners in life but also in their careers, their unique background renovating buildings in the Boston area gives them endless inspiration for how to design their own space. Read on to hear more about the renovation from Melissa's perspective, including how they balance work and pleasure and what Ulises thinks of the drastic change from his original space!

Cabinets are painted Benjamin Moore's Smoke & Mirrors.
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

What made you want to begin the third stage of kitchen renovations? What were your hopes in redesigning the space? I wanted the kitchen to feel more classic, more timeless, and more organic. Being an interior designer, I have a constant flow of new ideas so the way you see the kitchen today is one of the many visions I had for the kitchen. It took me about a year to convince Ulises to paint the wood cabinets. He wasn't convinced initially but once it was done he was thrilled with it.

The refrigerator was relocated.
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

Did you paint the kitchen cabinets yourself or did you hire someone to do the work? Did you find the overall project straightforward? We renovate houses for a living so we always have people on hand who can help us with the actual work. We had one of our own painters paint the cabinets. It took a while because it really has to be done right to look good. It's quite a painstaking process. The project was fairly straightforward in that we did not encounter any problems as such and we didn't really make any big changes. We just replaced some of the old fixtures with the new, like replacing the old wall sconces with the brass sconces and swapping out the stainless steel cabinet hardware for the brass pulls. The shiplap backsplash was installed straight over the old glass tiles and we wrapped it around the existing hood fan. The stone countertops, which are often a huge expense when renovating a kitchen, did not change from the second renovation so we saved a lot of money there.

The shiplap was wrapped around the existing hood fan.
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

The final result is a major departure from Ulises’ original kitchen. How has he reacted to the remodel? He absolutely loves it! I'm sure he never imagined that kitchen with the black granite counters would one day evolve in to something so completely different. His style has evolved, as does mine, all the time.

The upper cabinets were replaced with open shelving.
(Image credit: Emily Billings)

How have you found designing the space together has been? Do you each contribute to the overall design or has Ulises let you take the reins when it comes to redesigning the space? I'm usually the one who comes up with the design and he lets me have my way because he trusts me completely, but Ulises has some great ideas, too. He is especially good with laying out spaces and he often comes up with brilliant practical ideas that I would never think of. We complement each other very well working as a designer/builder team and that work relationship is really just an extension of our personal relationship. We don't draw a line between work and pleasure... it's all mixed in together and we like it like that.

Thank you, Ulises & Melissa!

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