Before and After: This Rental Kitchen DIY Is the Best Thing on the Internet
There are only so many changes you can make to a kitchen you do not own. Jess Bunge, Senior Market Editor for Emily Henderson, faced many of the classic challenges of a rental—dated floors, lackluster countertops, an oddly shaped floor plan—but brilliantly worked around them to make the space one to sigh over.
The real star of this new kitchen is the countertop cover. With help from her dad, Jess cleverly cut plywood to fit over the gray granite, and built a matching backsplash. The warm shade and organic texture set the tone for the whole room, making it look a lot more welcoming.
Jess also had an ancient fridge sitting in the center of the kitchen, which the landlord didn’t want to replace. She adopted a Smeg fridge that had been mistakenly delivered to a colleague for another makeover, and she got to keep it—what luck!
The signature, retro-style Smeg appliances lend so much personality wherever they reside. The neutral color of this one, however, allows it to blend seamlessly so it doesn’t detract from the rest of the room.
Those aspects are brilliant in themselves, but the personal details are what really shine through in the end. Kitchens are, first and foremost, designed with function in mind so the room is typically pretty devoid of personality. Because Jess isn’t much of a cook, she had a bit more space to work with, and therefore, a lot more leeway for creativity. She filled the shelves that weren’t being used for dishes or cookware with an eclectic compilation of colorful vases, baskets, and glassware. She also incorporated tiles she purchased in Spain, a painting she picked up at a local flea market, and a mirror that has been in her family for generations. Those small additions breathe a lot more life into her already inviting kitchen.
The small kitchen layout didn’t give Jess much room to work with, so she had to get creative to fit in enough seating for herself and any friends and family she invites over.
Jess designed a banquette that fits snugly in the (very) limited space she had left over for a table. From the velvet cushions to the table mounted on the wall, Jess and her dad built the entire thing from scratch. Weighing in at $750, the banquet ended up being the most expensive part of the project, but for a custom piece, it’s a steal.
Thank you Jess and Emily!