Sunday, January 3, 2010

defining my design style: kitchen before and after

When our house was purchased in May 2006, there was little to be said except it was graced with “Kentuckiana Builder Style.” And what does this mean? It means oak cabinets, beige carpeting, brass hardware, and green accents (linenolium flooring and countertops to be exact.)

Here is a picture (not the best…but it is an old picture from the seller’s website) that I have saved just to remind me where we came from.


Luckily, Mr. B (this is what his students call him and I thought it would be a delightful reference for him within my blog domain) and I were seasoned newlyweds of 2 years, teachers (which meant summers off), and without a child. It was a perfect time for us to find a place to call home.

During the summer months, Mr. B spent most of our summer vacation as a camp director in Michigan..which meant I was home alone…which also meant I needed something to occupy my free time..which also meant I needed some sort of distraction for me to not notice his absence. Now I could have taken a summer job as I did the previous summer, but I had bigger plans. I was going to create our home.

Now prior to purchasing this home in May 2006, we were actually going to own a new 2 bedroom loft downtown…but after “crazy” issues, negotiations, and closing changes… we backed out. It was truly a blessing in disguise because 1 year later, the company went bankrupt and all current tenants received notices of leans on the property that the company never paid. Whew! We escaped that by the skin of our teeth. Why bring this up? Well…I noticed after the whole debacle that my design style had somewhat changed from a soft urban style to a more pottery barn infused look. Yes, I will be the first to admit it, Pottery Barn had me at hello.

To me, perfection can be found in colors and materials such as:
Textures (I have always had a fondness for wicker, rattan, caning, and now burlap)
Sparkle (mercury glass, silver, and I love thee)
Chocolate Leather
Dark Wood Floors

This picture captures an ideal palette for my kitchen:

picture courtesy of Pottery Barn

Even though this is not a picture of a kitchen, the elements interwoven here are absolutely within my style spectrum.

So…by using a palette I adored and inspiration from my many online and offline friends, I pieced together a kitchen that is all mine:


I painted cabinets, ripped up carpeting, laid down wood laminate, changed out hardware, changed countertops, and hung a new chandelier..oh and I finished 1 day before Mr. B returned. I quite pleased with my work. And if you are curious as to the fluff on top of the cabinets, yes, that is our kitty on top of the cabinets. He adores sleeping in the nooks up there.

There are a few elements that have been changed since this picture was taken (no more high chair) and a few elements that I am considering introducing to the space, but that is what this blog is for and I am quite sure that I will love the kitchen/dining space even more when I am done.

Also..let me promise you that I plan to master photography a little bit more...I just wanted to share with you a space that has evolved beyond my hopes and these were pictures that I already had at my fingertips.

Update: Wanted to include a new AFTER picture that I took today..and yes, Atticus still loves the camera (1/5/10):

I still smile when I am in this space, so therefore it perfectly defines my style and more importantly, represents the home that I am creating.



  1. Just found your blog and am so excited because we have almost identical 'before' kitchens. ...mine is still in the 'before' stage! :) We have your exact same cabinets...oak, right?...and I really want to paint them. I find their current state, hideous. How much of a pain was it for you? And were yours solid wood? We have parts that are wood and then the sides seem to be the fake stuff. How long did it take you? Sorry for all of the questions, I just need to convince my husband that this is possible and necessary for my sanity! :)

  2. Thank you for "finding" me! :) Yes, we were blessed with oak cabinets. Ours were in fact all solid oak and had that lovely slight orange undertone. For me, the whole process was a pain and pleasure process. It was a pain b/c it did consume time and energy, but it was sheer pleasure with the end result. Because I attempted this renovation over summer break, I did it in stages over 4 days.

    Stage 1: Remove & label the doors
    Stage 2: Sand the doors & frame
    Stage 3: Prime the doors & frame
    Stage 4: Coat 1
    Stage 5: Coat 2

    I basically was painting the great room and working on other projects as I worked on the kitchen which allowed me the benefit of breaking a LARGE renovation into smaller doable tasks.

    I hope this helps as well as inspires you to tackle your orange demon. Please drop me a line if you need more details or specifics. I am more than willing to share the learning curve from my experience.


  3. Simply GORGEOUS! Our kitchen looks almost exactly like it did in 1996 when we bought the house...hideous cabinets and awful carpet and all. I can't believe we didn't work on it when we were child free. Maybe it didn't bother us back then but now it is killing me to start working on it. I guess now that school is back in session (I homeschool our 10 year old son) it will have to wait even longer before it gets done. Blech. : )

  4. Thanks so much for the info!! You really did a great job! Now I just need to convince my husband that we NEED to do it. :)

  5. Did you know that seeing your painted cabs way back (on the Nest, I believe) convinced me to see the potential in old oak cabinets? So when we bought our current house, I took one look at the kitchen, thought of your gorgeous one, & knew it could look fresh & chic if I put some work into it.

    So THANK YOU 100x over. =]

  6. I love your kitchen. You did a great job. That chandelier in particular is amazing!

    And I wanted to say thank you for the nice comments you always leave on my blog. They never fail to make me smile. Thanks!

  7. I love it. Can't go wrong with white cabinets. I LOVE the chandelier. It is the first thing I noticed and it is stunning. I'm so glad I found your blog!

  8. Your kitchen looks so good! Great job on the makeover.


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