Kitchen Before & After: From Dark & Dated to Light & Glamorous

updated Jul 15, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Ever since Denise and her husband Brad moved into their 1937 California Ranch style home six years ago, the dark and dated kitchen was always a sore spot for her. Not only was it stuck in the ’80s, it also lacked adequate storage.

It wasn’t until the birth of their daughter that she realized she would be spending a lot of time in the kitchen as a stay-at-home mom — and she needed a space that was open, warm, and reflected her love of old world glamour.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

With a budget of $20,000 for the kitchen and an adjoining breakfast nook, Denise designed the space herself, sourced all the materials, hired her own plumber, handyman, and electrician, and acted as her own contractor while supervising the whole renovation over several months. All with a two-year-old in tow!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Before they began to live off take-out, Denise had a pantry custom built in a corner of the nook, which kick-started the project and served as storage while the renovation was underway.

Preserving the original Spanish tile floor, the kitchen was gutted and the stifling 18-inch soffit with overhanging cabinetry was removed. That brightened up the room and gave Denise her much-needed storage, as the new 42-inch cabinets could extend to the full height of the ceiling. The original size of the kitchen was maintained, but the space was rearranged to allow better flow between the kitchen and nook. Denise moved the refrigerator, which she felt had blocked an entryway, and added an L-shaped counter with casual seating that let her entertain guests while she cooked.

In keeping with the old world charm of the new kitchen, a wood hood (painted to match the pantry), travertine tumbled stone backsplash, and elaborate corbels round out the look.

The dining table and chairs in the breakfast nook were replaced with a custom built banquette, which offers additional storage. The nook is now a favorite place for the family to gather, eat, and enjoy conversation.

Resources of Note:
Cabinets and granite countertop: Cabinet Wholesaler
Wood hood: Custom Wood Hoods
Pantry: Custom built; etched glass door from Lowe’s
Lighting: Designers Fountain
Paint: Benjamin Moore “Manchester tan”

• Renovation Inspiration: 10 Kitchen Before & Afters
• Kitchen Transformation: Photos of a Step-by-Step Renovation Process
Before & After: An Expanding Kitchen Renovation

(Images: Bradley Hebdon)