Before and After: After Recovering from a Sewage Leak, This Kitchen’s Better Than Ever

published Jan 17, 2020
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Credit: Jenn Salsich

Sometimes accidents of epic proportions actually make way for dramatic improvements. Take Jenn Salsich’s kitchen: “When we bought the house the kitchen was great—nothing special but it worked,” she says. “We painted the cabinets white and upgraded the decor. About six months later we had a sewage backup and had to rip it all down to the studs. All that cabinet hand painting was ruined!”

Credit: Jenn Salsich

Luckily, Jenn had a positive attitude about the whole thing (a must when you’re recovering from a sewage-soaked kitchen disaster). “We had to rebuild our kitchen from the ground up… or we got to!” she says. Jenn designed the kitchen herself, hiring out much of the labor.

Credit: Jenn Salsich

The total process took a while, but once the walls and floors were back in—necessary in a kitchen, we’d say—the nuts and bolts of the cook space part took only four weeks. In addition to new floors, cabinets, and quartz countertops, they also added new upgraded appliances. The house is over 100 years old, and thankfully some original features were still visible post-flood and post-remodel, including beautiful red brick.

Credit: Jenn Salsich

The new built-in island has a cool wood back with geometric details for a modern spin. Jenn built the panel herself. “Everyone said just go simple and white but I knew I wanted a surprise element that I had put my personal stamp on,” Jenn says. “The panel hides the kid scuff marks and adds so much personality. I love love love it and am so glad I took the risk.”

Another new add? Open shelving, which makes the space feel extra airy and bright. They’re backed by classic white subway tile; installing it all the way to the ceiling is an extra fancy-looking touch. Some people might get scared off by the open shelving combined with a white-on-white kitchen, but not Jenn: “I don’t regret the open shelving or the white on white… in fact, I would do it again! It’s been such an easy kitchen to maintain and the place to hang when we entertain.”

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