Before and After: This Dramatic Kitchen Redo Only Cost $800

published Aug 7, 2018
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A common point of discussion regarding renovations is that what we consider to look classic now will inevitably look dated someday—possibly someday soon. This kitchen, renovated less than two decades ago, is getting a much-needed (according to its owner) update.

Let’s learn a bit more about what this kitchen was like, because photos never tell the whole story:

We fitted our kitchen 18 years ago and, although it’s a classic design, it was starting to look very dated. The cabinet units are made from beech but they had yellowed with age and the walls were an off-white. The unit doors were scratched and the plinth had fallen to pieces.

That gorgeous beast of a stove is irresistible, and I love the perfectly over-the-top notion of having basically a fireplace surround above it. The new dark palette is dramatic, while all the gold details add light and warmth. The cabinets have been painted, totally changing their look—now the vertical lines just add a bit of subtle texture, and the skinny columns look more unified with the ornamentation above the stove. This kitchen was reimagined by Rachel Edmonds of Raspberry Flavoured Windows.

I’d assumed that the beautiful farmhouse sink was new, but no, Rachel just knew what was up. The floor was an awesome choice, and the black marble counters are very nice. Unfortunately, everything was past its prime:

I could no longer stand to walk into the kitchen, it was so depressing. Everything was looking old and sorry for itself. I couldn’t afford a new kitchen and just replacing the doors was out of the question as they were odd sizes and I couldn’t find any replacement pilasters. In truth the room no longer reflected my style.

It’s really exciting to see what a difference a coat of paint and some thoughtful gilding can do. Here’s what it took to totally transform this room:

All in all the complete redecoration took around four weeks and all the work was done by myself. In total I spent around £600 [approximately $780] but this included all my DIY materials, a new tap, and all the accessories. I did have a couple of setbacks: Firstly, the sink was so well glued down I though I was never going to be able to remove it to replace it; and two, the cords for the large sash window had snapped so I had to remove it to fix them. I also had to think of a way to cover up the damaged plinths and came up with the idea of cladding them in brass. That has got to have been one of my best ideas ever, it was cheap and easy to do and didn’t cost that much either.

An entirely transformed kitchen for that price is very impressive, and I salute Rachel’s vision. And if you’re wondering about practical aspects, here’s some insight from Rachel’s Instagram:

I have a huge American Fridge in black which is behind me in the shot. The dishwasher is integrated next to the cooker.

Look how cool this is. The way the plates shimmer between the black dividers is beautiful, all the gold is sparkly without being ridiculous, and the few white accessories tie the sink into the rest of the space. It’s amazing to see how incredible the black tiles look now surrounded by darker paint.

I love everything about the after, it’s completely transformed the room. Where it felt gloomy and tired, it now feels welcoming. And by staying within a limited color palette, the room now feels so much larger. I think the only thing I would have done differently (if I had the extra budget) would have been to invest in a paint sprayer, as I think the finish would have been even better had I used one.

That hits the nail on the head, I think: It’s not necessarily that dark colors make a small room feel smaller, but that limited colors make a small room feel bigger. To me, all of the black/charcoal serves as a neutral, clean-slate backdrop the same way an entirely white kitchen would.

I’ll leave you with this beautiful glimpse of the petite eating area and this good advice from Rachel:

The end result is always dependent on the preparation. Although prep work is arduous and time consuming, the finish will be all together more outstanding if you invest time in it. Also, do not be afraid of dark colors. In a small room they often open up a space rather than make it feel smaller. Finally, if like me you love a pop of gold, don’t overdo it, there is a fine line between elegant and trashy.

Thank you, Rachel Edmonds and Raspberry Flavoured Windows!