Kitchen Transformation: Before and After

The kitchen is the heart of the home.

I didn’t have a list of kitchen must-haves except that of a bright space that would feel clean and unruffled. Sometimes therapeutic and sometimes invigorating, our kitchen has become just what we needed it to be. And for this we are grateful.

We painted the walls pearly white and the trim sharp white which immediately freshened our transforming kitchen.

The island is the hub of the kitchen.

Whether it’s mixing batter for batches of muffins, stirring ingredients for Saturday morning pancakes, rolling out pizza dough with friends, the island is the perfect place for children to help. The kitchen didn’t have an island, and I knew we wanted to find a solution. While Nathan took a pause from the house remodel to attend a work conference, the kids, my mom (here visiting and helping), and I went to IKEA. Our solution was in the clearance center. I saw it out of the corner of my eye as I was paying at the register. It had a large mark on the butcher block, but the price was worth taking it home. We kept it in the barn until the kitchen was ready for its centerpiece. We had the two bar stools from our old house which I painted black.

Cupboards speak style not just storage.

The cupboards are low end updated with oak doors in the 80s. Brass knobs and so many closed up spaces felt heavy and dark. We hadn’t a budget for a kitchen renovation, but we bought paint and hardware for the cupboards. I took the top cupboard doors off to show open shelves and chose a bright white for the paint. I painted to bottom cupboards a fieldstone gray for interest and depth. Inexpensive industrial pendant lights and craigslist refrigerator and stove added a modern comfort. A long woven diamond rug and a brightly patterned curtain instead of pantry doors helps to soften and warm up our kitchen. I like that these two items could be replaced when we need a fresh kitchen look for a very low cost. With a breadboard backsplash and brackets under the upper cupboards, Nathan gave it a familiar farmhouse feel.

Rethinking bare necessities.

We don’t have a dishwasher nor a microwave, which can be unusual and surprising since our family size of nine is growing. Both Nathan and I had grown up without a dishwasher, and it has been good for us all to slow down at the sink. Two of the children take turns by month doing the dishes. Sometimes mom comes to the rescue at breakfast and lunch when we’re trying to move quickly to the next activity (go somewhere, start school, etc). We recently acquired these plates, which is proving to make their job easier. The new dishes are very lightweight and chip resistant. Using canning jars for drinking glasses has reduced the amount of broken cups dramatically.

As you can imagine, we love and well-use our kitchen. It was a cost-effective renovation but well worth it.

Let’s plan a time for tea!

with love, Damaris

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