Home Projects

Before & After: A Sister Steps in From Across the Country to Give This Kitchen a New Look

published Jun 18, 2017
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(Image credit: Jillian Lare)

Jillian is not only a talented designer, she’s also an insanely generous sibling. She helped her sister and her fiancé tackle their kitchen renovation long distance. That’s love.

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(Image credit: Jillian Lare)

From Jillian: My sister and her fiancé purchased their first home in the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore late last year — a traditional brick rowhome. They asked me to help them decide what to do with the kitchen, which had probably been updated in the last ten or fifteen years but wasn’t their taste. They initially discussed painting the cabinets, switching out the counters, and getting new appliances.

(Image credit: Jillian Lare)

After I saw the floor plan (I’m in Iowa, by the way, so this was all long distance design), I knew that would be a waste of money to update without remodeling the cabinetry plan. Without asking them, I completely redesigned the kitchen and priced it out using IKEA cabinets. The difference was really not that much more in the grand scheme of things, so they decided to go for it.

(Image credit: Jillian Lare)

Rowhomes are typically dark, so we wanted the space to feel really bright and open, but it was also important that the style and design details worked well with the historical features of the house, like the exposed brickwork, hardwood floors, and generous moldings. We selected the white BODBYN doors from IKEA, which have a traditional raised panel and paired them with a marble looking white quartz countertop and 3 x 12 subway tile from TileBar.com, which has a wavy handmade appearance. The oversize black lantern pendants are a modern take on a traditional design. We sourced both the pendants and the stools from Ballard Designs. The floor tiles are black slate, which tie in nicely with the pendants and counter stools, but also feel appropriate to the period and style of the home.

(Image credit: Jillian Lare)

Originally, the kitchen had a little wood stove set within a brick chimney that had been covered in tile. The tile damaged the brick, so it couldn’t be salvaged. We refaced the fireplace with white painted shiplap and a reclaimed walnut mantel shelf. We used the same walnut for the open shelving on the other side of the room. The accents on the shelves and mantel are pieces that Kate has collected over time and her travels.

The result of the remodel was a complete transformation of the space both functionally and aesthetically. Kate and Andrew love entertaining their friends, and the large island is the perfect place for everyone to gather.

Thank you, Jillian Lare!