Before and After: A Cramped Kitchen Gets a Much More Practical Layout — and an Updated Look to Match

published Apr 3, 2022
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About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Rental Friendly
Wooden kitchen cabinets and silver fridge
Credit: Virtuance

While the details of some dated kitchens aren’t ideal, they can usually be sidestepped until updates get underway. But a cramped layout is harder to move past — literally. And that was the case when realtor Celine Crestin (@realty_reimagined) purchased this home. 

“The stove was in the main entryway, and if you were cooking, you would be blocking the only path into the room,” Celine says. “It also only had two very small pieces of countertop on either side, which is not at all conducive to cooking!”

Credit: Virtuance

Layout aside, the kitchen wasn’t much to look at either. Beige vinyl floors, honey oak cabinets, light tan walls, and a clunky overhead fluorescent light all felt distinctly ’90s.

Credit: Virtuance

Thankfully, Celine didn’t have to grin and bear this layout for long, since she bought the home with the intention of flipping it. As a Realtor, Celine knows what buyers are looking for and felt confident that she could create a stylish, airy design within a better floor plan. But she also knew that a lot of work was needed to get this kitchen to that point. “The far wall had cabinets that were added by previous owners years ago and were not done correctly,” she says. “They did not line up from top to bottom, nor were they evenly spaced on the wall. Furthermore, since the far wall is traditionally a breakfast nook in this type of house, the two lights in the kitchen operated on different switches.”

Put succinctly, she says: “It was abysmal.”

Credit: Duston Haley

To pull off the transformation, Celine and her boyfriend took down and sold the old shiny wood cabinets on Facebook Marketplace, and then put in new lowers in an L-shaped configuration that Celine drafted herself. The back wall was reimagined as a focal point for the stove, with upper and lower cabinetry surrounding it.

There was an initial snag during the process — “I had not accounted for spacing between walls and cabinets, nor for lining up the wall cabinets with the lowers,” Celine says — but once they got the design down, the new white cabinets instantly brightened up the room. Celine had less trouble getting the blue-and-white backsplash into place, as well as the new floors. “It was the first time I’d ever removed and installed cabinets and a backsplash,” Celine says. “It was my first time gutting a room, period!”

Credit: Duston Haley

As for the rest of the project, Celine enlisted her parents for help in painting the walls, and hired professionals to assist in installing electrical, plumbing, quartz countertops, and the range hood. 

Credit: Duston Haley

In all, this project cost $4,500, and Crestin is proud that she and her loved ones were able to make it happen. “You will learn as you go, and sure there will be mistakes, but that’s part of the fun,” she says. “The journey is worth it.”

As for how she feels about the newly transformed cook space? “I love how open and spacious the kitchen feels,” Celine says. “It makes you want to cook!” And that, of course, is the most important part.