When we bought our home 8 years ago, we knew we had to gut the kitchen. At the time, this was so overwhelming, but it helped us get the house we wanted, could afford and could grow into.
Over the years, we transformed the space, starting with a renovation when we moved in. We not only stripped this kitchen down to the studs, we opened up walls and squared it off with a little “addition” (a couple feet by a couple feet) in the corner of the room. Every inch of this room is different. There’s more light, it’s a more functional space, and it’s so much more open.
The “before” picture here is from when we first walked through the house and the former homeowner’s things had not yet been removed. I wish I had more before pics, but this gives you an idea of what we were starting with. We are only the second owners of this 1948 home. When you buy a fixer-upper, and have to gut the kitchen anyway, starting with an original kitchen is amazing. Why pay up for a more recent, yet still terrible kitchen?
Save vs. Splurge
Because we were on a serious budget when we did this kitchen, we went with a mix of high and low. We saved money on the white cabinets. They are semi-custom, meaning we could customize the width of each unit but not every aspect of the design. We also saved on appliances, which are all Viking, but a lower-end line that sadly no longer exists. I’d compare it to the GE Cafe line.
One other area we saved was on counter tops, which are Silestone counters from Home Depot. When we recently renovated upstairs, we saw how many more “marble-looking” counter tops are available now. I’m not in love with these kitchen counters and would love to swap them out some day for something else. Don’t tell Chris.
We splurged on a custom island, our Kohler farm-house sink and later, on some accessories like the Serena and Lily stools. Here’s a pic from the day our sink was installed when the girls were so little:
Our house being so open makes the kitchen feel a lot bigger than it actually is — that’s a big plus. The minus is that we have so few walls and hallways and very little storage. After we renovated, I complained to my friend Lindsay that I really wished we had space for a kitchen desk. She suggested this small-space solution of the Crate and Barrel desk. It fits so perfectly in this space and is perfect for the kids to do homework and for me to store my cookbooks.
We love our kitchen and spend so much time here. Since it’s open the rest of the house, it feels like we’re here and everywhere all at once. I love cooking and spending time with my family in this space. We feel so lucky that we were able to renovate and make it our own.
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