Before and After: This DIY Kitchen Reno Nearly Doubles the Storage

published Jan 18, 2021
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Credit: Kimberly Bahelda

While older homes often boast solid construction, sometimes they’re lacking in other key areas. After all, what you need from your home today is a lot different than what people needed from their homes in, say, the 1950s.

Kimberly Bahelda and her husband’s 1953 kitchen, for instance, was “lacking in key areas,” she says. “There was wall space for more upper and lower cabinets that wasn’t taken advantage of. The fridge needed to be replaced, but the space left when we removed the old fridge was too small to accommodate a new model. The shelf heights were fixed, some switches weren’t connected, the lighting was dim. The appliances were quite old, and the range hood was original.”

Credit: Kimberly Bahelda

But, Kimberly adds, the kitchen was solidly constructed, usable, and (most importantly) clean, so she saw the potential. She just wanted to make it a little more modern and functional, while also keeping costs low.

Credit: Kimberly Bahelda

Another goal: Open up the kitchen to the adjacent living area to give a little more breathing room, and eliminate the awkward pass-through window.

Kimberly and her husband decided to mostly DIY the reno themselves, enlisting help from Kimberly’s dad — a professional skilled tradesman. Kimberly’s dad was able to do some light plumbing and drywall for the couple, and provided nearly all the tools and construction know-how the couple needed to transform the kitchen. “We saved a lot of money on labor, which is typically a huge portion of any renovation cost,” Kimberly says.

Credit: Kimberly Bahelda

First, the DIY team knocked out the wall between the kitchen and the living room. It not only opened up the area, but also provided space for breakfast bar where Kimberly and her husband can pull up a chair to eat.

Credit: Kimberly Bahelda

Kimberly ordered semi-custom cabinets to replace the old ones, choosing a deep navy for the base cabinets and bright white for the uppers. A pro installed the new quartz countertops, which are durable against both scratches and stains.

The newly renovated cook space also (finally!) features space for a new, modern refrigerator.

Extending the cabinets also helped eliminate the need for the old freestanding wire shelving unit that had been in the kitchen before. But even with all the added storage, the kitchen still feels bigger, brighter, and more open.

Credit: Kimberly Bahelda

“For me the best ‘after’ of the renovation was taking down the wall between the kitchen and the living room,” Kimberly says. “Instead of the pass-through window we now have an open peninsula, and the whole space feels much larger.”

Furthermore, she adds, “I feel a huge sense of accomplishment knowing we did it ourselves, and I’m very proud of my husband for taking on such a large project with no previous experience.”

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