Before and After: A Blogger Turns a Wonky Kitchen into a Warm, Welcoming Cook Space
Blogger Kat Jamieson of ”With Love From Kat”, who is author of the forthcoming book “Blended,” knew the kitchen was going to be the heart of her Connecticut home. Having relocated from a Soho apartment in New York City, she and her husband, Thomas, were jazzed to have more room for cooking, hosting, and entertaining. Even though the couple loved the location and size of the cook space, they knew it could be better suited to their design tastes and needs.
“The previous farmhouse kitchen was absolutely fine before, but I wanted it to be even more functional and aesthetically pleasing,” says Jamieson. “It had white cabinets and stainless steel appliances, which were great, but the appliances were about 10 years old and started to look really dated.”
Beyond the age of the appliances, some of the layout decisions that had been made weren’t really optimizing the kitchen’s footprint, either. “The microwave over the stove felt clunky, as did the fridge and cabinetry jutting out on the smallest wall in the kitchen,” says Jamieson. The cabinetry stopped short of the ceiling, and Jamieson thought the original kitchen island appeared cluttered because of its cut-out shelving.
After living with the space for a few months, Jamieson was eager to get started on a full makeover to add more warmth, charm, and functionality to the space. Fun fact: Jamieson actually went to school for interior design, so she was up for the challenge of updating the space herself and planned on bringing in the pros to do the bulk of the work. To salvage the hardwood floors, the couple skipped taking down walls, opting to just rejigger the room’s layout instead.
The plan was to build the space out around a striking focal point — her dream black and brass La Cornue range — a huge splurge that took eight months to get. Due to its size, this pièce de résistance made the most sense on the longest wall in the kitchen, but to center it, the Jamiesons would have to close up a window. Because the idea was to surround the range with a seamless Calacatta Gold marble backsplash and opening shelving installation — plus, ProKriss custom Shaker-style cabinets painted in Sherwin-Williams’ “Sandbar,” a taupe-like gray green — Jamieson figured she could make that sacrifice and still keep the overall look of the room bright and airy.
The room also had other windows and a set of French doors nearby, so natural light wasn’t really an issue. She also planned to install very classic-meets-modern farmhouse fixtures and finishes that would add shine to the space, too, including an unlacquered brass Rohl faucet, Rejuvenation knobs and drawer pulls, and a large white apron front sink. The half-sized side wall would also get a bank of glass-fronted cabinetry.
Even though the couple wasn’t going to knock down walls, they did utilize a few smart space-planning tricks. They closed up a hallway closet and opened it on the kitchen side to accommodate a paneled fridge (which you can see below), and they also made the island larger so it could house their dishwasher, microwave, and hidden shelving for extra storage. They also made the decision to forgo an indention in the island for stools, as the kitchen opens up to the dining room, so seating at this spot wasn’t a priority.
For a little bit of extra design advice, Jamieson ran her design ideas by Charlene Miranda of Miranda & Co., who reached out to offer some counsel when Jamieson shared her reno plans on her social media account. “She worked with us remotely to answer any questions or concerns we had over everything from the counter thickness, to the backsplash height, cabinet style, and sconce selection,” says Jamieson. “She also did all of the elevations for the cabinets and island.”
Miranda also made herself available when hiccups occurred in the process along the way. One such challenge Jamieson encountered was forgetting to take into account the electrical for her sconce lighting along the kitchen’s long feature wall. Opening up the wall to run the lines would have been far too expensive, since the marble was already installed at that point. So Jamieson came up with a smart solve: She hung the sconces and then outfitted them with faux LED bulbs that are wireless and rechargeable.
Nine months later, the kitchen was complete, but most of that time was waiting for appliances and materials; the active construction took the pros about two months. “The end result is a kitchen that feels so much bigger, more elevated, open, and inviting,” says Jamieson. “It makes a huge statement when you walk in the door and is easier to cook and entertain in.”