Before & After: Mousy Kitchen gets an IKEA Makeover

Is this the worst kitchen you've ever seen? Well, it may not look like it. But behind its benign, if somewhat bland, appearance lurked a dirty secret... a really dirty one. Mouse poop. Rob and Liz, the homeowners, were only using about 25% of their cabinet space, thanks to these uninvited guests. Additionally, the kitchen was freezing in the winter — standing in the right place, you could actually feel a breeze blowing across your feet. Lovely. Add to this layers of peeling linoleum on the walls, and damaged floors. It was time for a change.

Rob and Liz both hated their kitchen, but they felt deeply conflicted about what to do with it. So they brought in designer Shannon Tate to give them a little direction for the inevitable remodel. The couple are both lovers of midcentury design, and they wanted the kitchen to feel light and airy and open.

Shannon created a redesign based on simplicity and classic materials. And since they were doing just fine with only 25% of their kitchen's storage space, she decided that open shelving was the way to go.

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The new kitchen has plenty of space above for pretty things, like Liz's collection of medicinal herbs and teas, stored in glass jars, and plenty of room below for not-pretty things that are better concealed in the cabinets. IKEA cabinets (with ABSTRAKT high-gloss fronts) and an IKEA butcherblock counter are budget-minded solutions. White subway tile is inexpensive but timeless.

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Another practical solution that turned out especially lovely is the reclaimed wood panel, created by the designer, that covers the ductwork above the stove. Moving the ductwork would've been cost-prohibitive, so Shannon elected to make it a design feature instead. It adds a nice pop of color in an otherwise subdued kitchen.

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Another solution we love? The clients' old dishwasher was in perfect working condition, but didn't match with the new appliances. So instead of replacing it, Shannon covered it with a faux stainless steel sheeting. Et voilà — new look, no waste.

The floors in the kitchen were refinished using a non-toxic coating called Vermont Natural Coatings, which meant that the homeowners didn't have to relocate while the floors were drying. The contractor, Jamie Rourke, built the open shelving, and anchored it into the walls so it's extra strong.

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But you're probably wondering — what about the mouse poop? What did they do about the mouse poop? Well, once the contractor tore out the old cabinets, he discovered that the kitchen walls were completely uninsulated. After Jamie added insulation to the walls, and fixed some problem areas, the new kitchen is mouse poop free, and a lot warmer, too. And the whole budget for the kitchen was $13K — definitely on the low end for something so comprehensive.

You can see more of Shannon's work at her website, Shannon Tate Interiors.

(Image credits: Shannon Tate)

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