Before and After: This Kitchen Took Five Weeks, and A Bunch of IKEA Products

published Jul 14, 2018
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(Image credit: Chase & Leigh Johnson)

This kitchen had a somewhat odd configuration—water heater and washing machine, but not a dryer?—and two of our readers were plumb sick of it. In just over a month, they transformed this slightly confused space into a kitchen that’s as practical as it is elegant. Plus it has a bonus laundry room!

(Image credit: Chase & Leigh Johnson)

This is so different and exvellent. The fridge and stove have swapped spaces, the fridge is incorporated into the new cabinetry, the peninsula has been removed, the floor is new, the cupboards and countertops are different, the walls are new, the lighting is different, and there’s no water heater or washing machine in sight.

That takes care of the logistics, but what of the aesthetics? Well, I think it looks great—no surprise, since I’m a loyal fan of white and black and wood. The new black and white surfaces are new and swanky (glossy white, matte black, brushed metal), so the presence of the wooden floor adds a warm coziness.

I love the presence of the new storage unit—remember that fabulous green one, also from IKEA?—and the way it grounds the fridge (refrigerators have a tendency to lurk if they’re not corralled). Thanks to that and some other clever changes, there’s now more storage than there was before, even with the removal of the hanging cabinets. Readers Chase and Leigh Johnson utterly transformed this kitchen and did a bang-up job.

(Image credit: Chase & Leigh Johnson)

Let’s let Chase and Leigh explain what inspired them to tackle this renovation:

The space was full of odd doors and a bad layout. On one wall there was a door leading to a old porch/laundry room, then a stove and fridge followed by a pantry in the corner. The other side had a hot water heater, a washing machine and the sink and dishwasher. There were only two base cabinets and not much upper space either. the kitchen just didn’t work, it was not functional and we wanted to relocate the washing machine out to where the dryer was on the porch.

This view does a good job of showing how the refrigerator’s position interrupted the flow of the room—and how much valuable space the washer and heater took up. It also shows something we see a lot in older kitchens: a near-uniform shading, in which the walls, floors, and cabinetry are all similar levels of brown/beige.

(Image credit: Chase & Leigh Johnson)

Those open shelves are delightfully chunky, and it was smart to position them away from the stove. The faucet is VIGO from Wayfair, the sink is an Elkay quartz sink from Quality Bath, and the stove is the NUTID from IKEA.

(Image credit: Chase & Leigh Johnson)

This range hood is great—I really enjoy big industrial-looking range hoods—and I appreciate the way it coordinates with the stove, fridge, and dishwasher. The tiles are really cute chunky squares, and they pair well with the gorgeous marble counters.

(Image credit: Chase & Leigh Johnson)

Finally, here’s a glimpse of the laundry room, which, as you might remember, only contained the dryer. Before we check out what it looks like now, let’s hear what the project as a whole involved:

The process took about five weeks from demo to completion. We brought in a contractor to help with the work. The main setback we had were the floors. The kitchen is small so getting someone to just do those floors was almost impossible. At first we wanted to refinish the old floors but they were in too bad of shape and finally decided to just replace them.

We used IKEA [cabinet] bases but had Modern Kitchen Pros make custom doors for us and we love them!

Five weeks is pretty impressive for such a major transformation!

(Image credit: Chase & Leigh Johnson)

Here’s the new laundry room floor, and I’m pleased to see that those amazing windows have been preserved. It would be very tempting to reserve this room for basking in the sun, but it looks like a lovely, sunny room to do laundry in. You can see the water hookups for the washing machine so just imagine it there!

Now that the kitchen is complete, Chase and Leigh have some insights to share:

It takes more time than you think and more money. But seriously take time to plan the renovation before you start. We redesigned the kitchen 10 times before we got it right, and planning made the reno much smoother. Also if you have the time buy your appliances as they are on sale not all at once. If you can wait for the IKEA kitchen sale that also saved us money.

One way to shop thriftily is to download various stores’ apps, fill your carts with your top appliance picks, and then check on them weekly to see if anything is on sale!

Thank you, Chase and Leigh!