Before and After: A Dated Kitchen and a Dull Living Room Get a Bright-Yet-Inviting New Look

published Jan 31, 2023
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Before: Dark kitchen with brown cabinets and white walls
Credit: HGTV

When you finally find a house in an ideal location that’s also within your budget, it often comes with some caveats — maybe it’s a little too small, or the layout isn’t ideal, or, as was the case for homeowners Ashlee and Jake in the latest episode of “Married to Real Estate” on HGTV, it’s just a bit outdated. “Obviously the location is wonderful,” Ashlee told her husband after first touring the house. But, she added, “It needs a lot of work to be what we want it to be.”

Credit: HGTV

If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, check out what “Married to Real Estate” hosts Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson did to bring Jake and Ashlee’s home up to date. The renovation included the kitchen, living room, and powder room, and took all three spaces from old wood and tile to “organic, modern, luxe” — all while maintaining a cozy and inviting feel.

The kitchen was one area where the home’s dated vibe especially peeked through. Although the original wood floors were in good shape, Ashlee was not a fan of the matching wooden cabinets in the kitchen. The layout of the space was also an issue, according to Jake, and made everything feel “tight and dark.” To top it all off, the room featured outdated appliances and an awkwardly placed peninsula.

Credit: HGTV

The same floors extended into the nearby living room, which featured a fireplace with old checkered tiling. “I love the idea of a fireplace,” Ashlee said when they first walked in the door. “I just don’t know if this tile is our style.” The ideal makeover would keep the fireplace but give it a fresh look.

Credit: HGTV

After kicking off the renovation, Mike and Egypt replaced that antiquated tile with a cast stone mantel surround, which created a contemporary focal point for the living room. To give the couple somewhere to perch their TV, Egypt used old wooden cabinets and shelves from a previous project to craft a custom entertainment console. Mike secured the piece to the wall, which made it a built-in piece of furniture and added value to the overall home. From there, Egypt and Mike accessorized the room with gray chairs, a white couch, an orange rug, and complementary artwork. They also added a mirror over the fireplace to help open up the space and make it feel even bigger.

As for the kitchen, the most obvious fix was also the first: knocking down the wall that divided the kitchen and dining room. The adjustment allowed the room to gain double the kitchen space and triple the amount of storage, according to Egypt. They were also able to increase the amount of natural light that entered the kitchen by crafting a small skylight.

Credit: HGTV

Ashlee and Jake wanted a white kitchen to help modernize the space, but Egypt worried that it would come off as too “sterile and boring.” Instead, she convinced them to let her use a creamy off-white (Benjamin Moore’s Collingwood) on the new shaker cabinets. “This will give you the feeling of having a light, bright, white kitchen without it being sterile white,” she explained. In an effort to keep the hardware from feeling too dark, Egypt opted to only use black hardware on the overhead lights and the faucet. She picked lighter satin brass handles and doorknobs for the cabinets; a matching range hood helps pull it all together.

In addition to new appliances, Egypt and Mike’s team installed white stone countertops with gray veining throughout — including the new island, which offers enough room to serve a prep area and a breakfast bar. Finally, Egypt and Mike pulled the entire room together by introducing gray window shades, three high-top island chairs, a warm-toned rug, and a similarly-colored piece of art.

“I think the investment we made in the home, making it more livable for us and a place to grow and stay for a long time, that investment will pay dividends,” Jake said after seeing the final renovation. “We’re not leaving.”

“Married to Real Estate” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV.