Before and After: A Dark, Dated Kitchen Gets a Smarter Layout and a Brighter Look

updated Apr 28, 2021
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Before: Kitchen with brown cabinetry white appliances
Credit: Jessica Erickson

At their best, mudrooms can serve as stylish and utilitarian entryways to the home, and at their worst, can feel cluttered and disjointed from the rest of the house. In homeowner Jessica Erickson’s case, the mudroom was only holding back the adjacent kitchen.

The mudroom took up valuable square footage between the kitchen and garage that could be converted into kitchen space — previously at a premium in Jessica’s ‘80s-style kitchen. “Cabinetry and counter space framed the corners of the otherwise open floor plan. This made food prep and the general flow of the room really strange.” Jessica says of the old, mostly brown kitchen. “We did the best we could with the space, but I knew it had way more potential!”

Credit: Jessica Erickson

Jessica knew that the family wouldn’t miss the mudroom, which was a catchall for clutter — so during her kitchen renovation, when her contractor George Karalis figured out they could eliminate the mudroom to create an impressive kitchen and dining space, Jessica was all for it.

Credit: Jessica Erickson

The process took eight months (including four months of construction), but the end result is a gorgeous and family-friendly kitchen that’s also huge.

“The renovation has changed the way we live in our home,” Jessica says. “The space went from disjointed and cluttered to open and vast. There is so much more storage and working space. The flow for guests is much more connected and easy. The opening of a door into the living room majorly improved the traffic flow of the entire first floor.”

Credit: Jessica Erickson

One of her favorite parts? The now-spacious dining area with a walnut sideboard from Article and a long blue banquette from West Elm. In addition to the banquette, Jessica selected a brass geometric pendant from Shades of Light and added a gallery wall to make that corner feel extra cozy. 

Credit: Jessica Erickson

In the cooking and prep area, Jessica opted for new shaker cabinets from, a porcelain tile backsplash (Brixton tile in fog), and quartz countertops. (The countertops and appliances, as well as new doors and an added skylight window, were the higher-ticket items in her $75,000 reno.) 

In hindsight, she says, she might have gone bolder with the cabinets, but she added pops of color with yellow barstools from Target and sky blue wallpaper from Spoonflower. 

Credit: Jessica Erickson

“The wood-nosed laminate countertop and flimsy oak cabinets were just so brown and blah,” Jessica says of the kitchen before.

With calming gray walls (Sherwin Williams’ Useful Gray), fresh white cabinets, a comfortable new dining area, new doors, a new skylight, and pops of color throughout, this kitchen is now anything but brown and blah. It’s airy, cozy, and a complete breeze for Jessica’s family to cook and live in.