Before & After: Della's Punchy and Practical Kitchen

Before & After: Della's Punchy and Practical Kitchen

(Image credit: Lindsay Ribe)
(Image credit: Submitted by Della)

Before — Click through to see The Big Reveal!

(Image credit: Submitted by Della)

After — Scroll down to vote for this entry!

(Image credit: Submitted by Della)
(Image credit: Submitted by Della)

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San Francisco, CA
U.S. Owner
My room makeover::
I love that my 1908 San Francisco condo still contains most of its original Edwardian details. But my love for "original" didn't extend to the kitchen, which had a horribly awkward layout and almost no cabinets or counter space, not to mention gas and electrical lines outside the walls! I made some temporary fixes when I moved in, and saved and planned the remodel for 18 months. I designed the kitchen myself and was frugal wherever possible without sacrificing style: I bought Ikea cabinets, Sears Outlet appliances, and a remnant slab of calacatta marble. I bought overage Heath Ceramics tile and my boyfriend and I tiled the backsplash and painted ourselves. And we bought and restored vintage Craigslist furniture, like our antique bar cabinet and antique Chinese elm door-turned-dining table. All in, it took about 8 weeks and the total came in under $50k - which is a lot of money, but if I’d hired a designer and architect and paid retail prices it would have been closer to $65-70k.
My makeover advice::
My biggest piece of advice for a kitchen remodel is to definitely use Ikea cabinets, and shop during their kitchen sale to save 15%! I bought all the cabinetry, dishwasher, hood vent, and sink and had it delivered for a total of $4,000. And the best $200 I spent on the entire project was having an Ikea designer come to my home and help me plan the cabinet design, which I was a little nervous about since I hadn't designed a kitchen before. He knew all of the possible hacks for Ikea cabinets that you can’t do with the online kitchen planning tool, and as a result I was able to get the double row of cabinets stacked to the ceiling. Working with the Ikea designer not only vastly improved the visual design and added more storage, but it also made the ordering process a snap (with the guarantee that all parts were in the order), and as a bonus it came with architectural plans which my contractor used to install the kitchen.
What I love most about my new space::
Of all the features, I love the backsplash tile - not just because we installed it ourselves, but because looking at it feels like taking a tropical vacation. But I really love how much more functional and usable the kitchen is. We host a lot more gatherings now that we have a beautiful, usable, functional space - as pictured recently while prepping for my birthday party! I absolutely love it and I wouldn’t do anything differently.
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