Before and After: A 1920s Home Finally Gets a Kitchen That Fits (and Functions)

published Jun 11, 2020
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It can be hard to enjoy cooking when you’re stuck with a cramped, run-down, less-than-ideal kitchen. But the idea of a total reno can be intimidating—the work can be both time-consuming and expensive, not to mention stressful. But Lyndsey Hinkle’s kitchen reno is proof that you can totally change the look and functionality of a kitchen in a tight timeframe and on a tight budget to boot.

Lyndsey’s 1920s home had lots of history, in more ways than one. “Prior to us moving in, it was a rental property so it was obvious the kitchen needed some TLC,” Lyndsey says. The previous owner had assembled a hodgepodge of cabinets—some with arched panel doors, some with square panel doors—but all were low-quality wood, and many of the cabinets were crumbling. Not to mention, the lighting was dingy and non-existent, making the small space feel even smaller. Lyndsey knew the space needed an upgrade, and as an interior designer, she decided she’d tackle the project herself with the help of her husband and neighbor. 

The project took around six to eight weeks to complete, and came together with a budget of $10,000. Lyndsey and her husband both pitched in to demo the old kitchen, tearing out the cabinets, countertops, and floors. To replace the grungy old oak cabinets, Lyndsey chose Recessed Panel 17 cabinets from Kraftmaid. Buying these secondhand meant she could get a high-end look for less money.

Wood floors replaced the old beige tiles, and sleek black counters were subbed in for the old speckled brown ones. The new black-and-white color scheme feels timeless, and more in line with the style of the 1920s house. Lyndsey called in reinforcements—her friendly and helpful neighbor—to assist with wiring new lighting and installing the new backsplash. It’s made with geometric tile from Red Rock Tileworks.

Lyndsey’s newly conceived layout allowed the couple to put in a small island—useful for prepping meals and eating them. “We never had an island before and we love sitting at it every day,” Lyndsey says.

The hardest part in all of it, according to Lyndsey, was choosing the appliances. “You would be amazed how hard it is to find white appliances that look modern,” she says. “I believe that white appliances are on trend, but when I re-did my kitchen that trend was just beginning, so finding the right look was tough and to find them in budget was even tougher!”

While Lyndsey’s happy with the overall functionality of the kitchen, there was one small hitch: “The cabinets went in perfectly per my plans, but the only downfall is, due to the small kitchen, my fridge had to smack against the wall so the left fridge door doesn’t open full clearance,” Lyndsey says. “But I am willing to live with it, because we were able to change our layout which functions better for us. The fact the door doesn’t open all the way is worth it because the layout is so much better!”

For anyone looking to take on a full-blown kitchen reno, Lyndsey has some words of wisdom: “A full gut like this requires a lot of patience. Make sure you have handy friends and hire someone for the tricky stuff! And be prepared to eat a lot of takeout.”