Before and After: A Bright “Margaritaville” Kitchen Gets a Luxe Nature-Inspired Makeover

published Jan 15, 2022
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Before: Kitchen with whitewashed wood cabinets, purple island, and green and teal walls
Credit: Teresa K.

Not all cramped quarters feel tight because of an actual lack of square footage. Sometimes, the problem is poor use of that square footage, with awkward layouts or inefficient storage.

That was the problem Teresa K. and her husband Chris faced in their home’s kitchen. When they bought the house, the colorful kitchen earned the nickname “Margaritaville” from friends. “While it was very bright and cheery, the L-shaped island layout was far too obtrusive in the open space, leaving little room for a living room or dining area,” Teresa says.

Credit: Teresa K.

Aside from that, the flooring was mismatched in both spaces, with the living room laminate starting to show its age with wear.

Teresa wanted to reconfigure the cook space so that she had more room for dining and living spaces — without sacrificing any function in the kitchen.

Credit: Teresa K.

Since the cabinets in the kitchen were in good shape, the couple figured they could salvage them for their new design. But a quote for additional boxes made to match came in at $11,000 — way more than made sense. So instead, Teresa and Chris ripped the whole kitchen out down to the subfloor.

After installing a new underlayment and new flooring, Teresa and Chris tapped IKEA for the new cabinets. To give them an upscale look, the couple outfitted them with Semihandmade doors as well as actually handmade doors, all painted a rich mossy green. “We painted the cabinets Sherwin-Williams’ Urbane Bronze because it was a perfect match to the evergreens outside,” Teresa says.

Credit: Teresa K.

The new cabinets are reconfigured to cover the whole corner of the kitchen rather than just one wall, making them more space-efficient. Another space-saving swap: trading in the giant L-shaped island for a smaller (but still substantial) rectangular one. It still has plenty of space for food prep and is deep enough to serve as a breakfast bar, too.

The new mossy green cabinets are complemented by sleek white counters and natural wood accents on the back of the island and on the range hood. Chris, a former finish carpenter and a current owner of his own handyman business, “sourced reclaimed American walnut and lovingly handmade the mini tongue-and-groove treatment,” Teresa says. “Yes, those aren’t just slats, they are fully overlapped!”

Teresa and Chris also added in new pendant lights with a classic cone shape that feels timeless.

Credit: Teresa K.

Teresa and Chris did almost everything themselves, aided by Chris’s substantial experience. But they did hire out a contractor to install the two new windows on either side of their range. When it comes to DIY, Teresa advises, “know your limitations on the construction side and hire out what you don’t know for sure you can do.”

Now, the kitchen is a dreamy design-forward cook space that functions perfectly for Teresa and Chris. “We love everything about the after,” Teresa says. “Any idea I could dream up, Chris made a reality. We learned a lot in the process and enjoyed every minute.”

Even better: It suits not just the rest of the home’s interior, but also its surroundings.”As we have expansive mountain and forest views, we brought a bit of nature inside,” Teresa says. “The kitchen is open, functional, tons of counter space, a hidden coffee station with pocket doors, an integrated refrigerator prevents appliances from overwhelming the living space visually… everything about it is beautiful.”

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