Before and After: 3 Changes Made a Big Difference in This $12K Kitchen

Before and After: 3 Changes Made a Big Difference in This $12K Kitchen

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Tess Wilson
Oct 17, 2018
(Image credit: Mario Lopez)

When the new owner of this loft realized that completely renovating the kitchen would be quite expensive and not all that exciting, a "refresh" was undertaken instead—and three big changes made an enormous impact.

(Image credit: Mario Lopez)

First things first: The tiled countertops have been replaced. The new quartz countertops are a major upgrade, and I enjoy the fact that both horizontal surfaces are organic, forming a counterpoint to the sleek black cabinetry. Speaking of sleek, the new stainless (and black) appliances are enviable, and they look like they were made to go with the black cabinets and stainless handles. Finally, the new subway tile backsplash fits right in with its black grout, rounding out my favorite kitchen (and bathroom) palette of black, white, and wood. It always looks good! The black and white are modern, clean, and classic, while the wood keeps everything from being too chilly. In this particular kitchen, the beautiful wood cutting boards pull that warmth upward into the space.

Here's how reader Mario Lopez arrived on the "refresh" solution, and what it took to complete it:

After five years of living between Las Vegas and Los Angeles we decided to live in L.A. full time. On account of the parameters of the loft, if we'd done a full remodel the cabinets and appliances would have ended up in the same location. We decided on a "refresh" instead, because of the good condition of the cabinets: new subway tile backsplash, new quartz countertops, and premium stainless steel appliances. After getting a high quotation from a contractor, I decided to subcontract the project myself. With a bit of planning, I coordinated the backsplash installation, countertops, and appliance delivery/installation. The refresh took three to four days total and cost approximately $12,000.

Twelve thousand dollars seems like so, so much for a refresh, and that's no disrespect to Mario's decisions—money simply doesn't go far at all! Especially in L.A. Stainless appliances are super expensive on their own, and getting a kitchen completed in a couple of days (as opposed to many months) is precious.

(Image credit: Mario Lopez)

Everything in this kitchen seemed pretty nice. The stove has that awesome bonus burner, and all the finishes appear to be in good shape.

(Image credit: Mario Lopez)

But now it's so much better than "pretty nice." Mario has done a nice job juxtaposing modern elements (appliances, cabinetry) with pieces with mid-century charm, such as the KitchenAid mixer and schoolhouse clock. I also love the addition of all the cheerful, colorful books, bowls, and globes; they add such a playful pop to the kitchen, but can easily be swapped out for handmade ceramics in earthy neutrals, elegant white porcelain pieces, or a collection of sunny yellow vintage accessories. That's part of the beauty of the monochromatic palette: It can generally go in any direction you take it.

Also the new subway tile arrangement has a much better flow than the earlier backsplash did, with its weird interruption of the horizontal border.

Thank you, Mario!

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