Sandra and Justin's Kitchen: The Big Reveal

Renovation Diary

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Name: Sandra & Justin
Type of Project: Kitchen remodel
Location: Arlington, Texas
Type of building: Single-family home, 2,450 square feet

We've been following along with Sandra and Justin's kitchen remodel, from their cramped, oddly configured old kitchen, to the first steps of demo, to the last little finishing touches. After all the long hours of work, it's time for the part we've all been waiting for... the big reveal.

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Before: small, dark kitchen, dominated by the awkward stovetop island.

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After: much better. Sandra and Justin moved the sink to the wall and opened up the room.

From Sandra:

We are so, so happy to have a kitchen again. We use this room more than any other space in the house. And because it feels so light and fresh, it is the place we love best. Since completion I've tested the kitchen out: putting up seventy-plus bottles of tomatoes and jam, holding an "after" party to reveal the kitchen to our friends, and hosting a few large-crowd dinners for family and friends. The kitchen is a work horse, and it is fabulous to have space to host the crowd without the traffic jam of the old kitchen.

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Before: the old kitchen, looking through to the dining room.

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After: the microwave and cabinets have been moved to the right wall. The opening to the dining room was also enlarged. Sandra says: "We love the large drawers. This is the morning station: in the top drawer we have silverware, below that: bread, granola, cereal and assortment of tea. In the lower drawer we have the kids indestructible dishes stashed so they can easily get them out for themselves, and replace them when they empty the dishwasher (big hooray)."

The new kitchen has made this old house feel young and fresh, and like ours. In the beginning of a renovation it's hard to determine exactly what the outcome will be, and hard to see the limitations of the space that will come out as you go along. So, the renovation isn't a perfect model of what I had in my head in the beginning (that just couldn't logistically happen), but it is so, so good. The hard work and time paid off, and we are so pleased with the results.

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Before: looking from the kitchen to the former breakfast room.

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After: the new kitchen fills the space once occupied by both the kitchen and breakfast room, and is much more spacious.

Justin loves the big basin sink: you can soak whole cookie sheets in it, and best of all it hides the dishes from view. I love the bright light in the space. Opening the wall between the dining room and kitchen, shifting the stove and sink to the side walls, and demolishing those awful soffits made so much difference. The area is bright and open now, with space for everyone to walk around. The kids run around, have room to pull out a stool to help, and eat up at the counter bar, which we all like.

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Before: looking from the dining room into the kitchen.

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After: the enlarged opening allows for much more flow between the rooms.

It's hard for me to say that we're completely done. In the last few days I've finally bought and put up curtains and decided to paint the door. And still there are other projects I would like to get to. I still have art that hasn't been framed and put up, and blank spaces that are waiting for the right piece. We have done so much shopping and planning and thinking about the space it is exhausting; so much that I don't want to force the details. I want the rest of those pieces to come about at a slower pace, a bit more organically so we can get it just right, and it feels like us. We did everything we set out to do, which was build a kitchen functional for our family, my love of cooking, and the way we entertain. And it does, fabulously.

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The big basin sink. From Sandra: The sink is the silgrant super sink by Blanco, and we love it. It is easy to clean and super spacious. We opted against cabinets over the sink (which many people questioned our judgement on) in favor of a more open look with the shelves. We really like the break from all white cabinetry, and having another nook to tuck some favorite cookbooks and serving pieces into.

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Left: Painting the laundry room door gray was a last minute decision that really helped break up all the white. Right: Orange stools pop against the wood counter, and can be easily changed out if Sandra and Justin tire of the color.

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Left: having recycling right next to the trash helps remind the kids to recycle. Right: The corner pantry, tucked into the corner between the fridge and the window. This was the cabinet shop's idea for using the space as efficently as possible.

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The wood shelves are reclaimed salvage yard finds that were sanded, vinegar-stained and oiled.

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Congratulations, Sandra and Justin (and family)! Readers, Check out the full series to see the whole renovation process, step-by-step. And be sure to join us next week for a full budget breakdown.

The Renovation Diaries are a collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

(Images and diary text: Sandra Jergensen)

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Renovation Diary: Sandra & Justin's Kitchen

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