Before & After: Lauren's Brighter Kitchen

Before & After: Lauren's Brighter Kitchen

(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)
(Image credit: Photo Submitted by Lauren)

Before — Click through to see The Big Reveal!

(Image credit: Kaela Speicher)

After — Scroll down to vote for this entry!

(Image credit: Kaela Speicher)
(Image credit: Kaela Speicher)

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Pittsburgh, PA
U.S. Owner
My room makeover::
This is our first home - a 1964 split-level in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. The kitchen cabinets were dingy; the space was dark and closed off from the rest of the house. We like an open feel but wanted to maintain some separation of space, so we opted to open only part of a load-bearing wall to connect the kitchen and living room. We eliminated the eat-in area and moved the refrigerator so that we could add a pantry. Our ceilings are not standard height so we ended up maintaining the old soffit above the cabinets. We did most of the work ourselves with the exception of some of the structural and electrical work. The new cabinets and quartz countertops are from IKEA; the tile is all from The Tile Shop. It took us about 3 months to complete the whole process but we did it for around 12K. We were also able to salvage all of the old cabinets and reuse them in our garage and laundry spaces, which has given us big savings in other areas of our home.
My makeover advice::
If you're doing a DIY Kitchen like we did, double your expected timeline. Due to some hiccups (an old asbestos floor) and just general inexperience, it took us about twice as long as we thought to finish the job. I also recommend making friends with a contractor who can advise you if you have questions. Taking classes at our local home improvement store and watching YouTube videos can also be helpful. Also, be sure to get samples of your finishes to carry with you as you're selecting and keep in mind the colors in the other rooms visible from your space. Flow is important!
What I love most about my new space::
The chalkboard/spice wall is my favorite thing in our entire house. I work as a professional organizer and nothing makes my heart sing more than seeing those little tins all lined up and ready to go. I also love being able to write my grocery list on the wall so that we can keep track of the things we run out of. My living room is teal so it was important to me that my kitchen be neutral. I love how understated and classic the black & white finishes are. The carrara marble backsplash really just ties the whole space together for me. I'm also really spoiled by my IKEA soft close drawers!

Photos are by Kaela Speicher.
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