before and after

Before & After: The Shack Kitchen

With The Shack being ready for visitors, it's time to start sharing the Before & After photos and giving you guys all the sources!

(Affiliate links ahead...)

The truth about this kitchen is it was a fairly easy update, but the difference is major! The pieces were there, they just needed a little tweaking. Before the facelift, the kitchen felt disjointed and colLet's revisit what the kitchen looked like before the tweak.

This is an IKEA kitchen, I recognized the stuff immediately. I applaud what the previous owner did to get some creative storage in here, but it just wasn't feeling clean and inviting. Also, as a vacation home, it didn't need all of this storage. First thing I did was remove the upper cabinets and storage since it wasn't necessary and was contributing to a lot of chaos visually. Then I brightened and de-yellowed the space by having the entire home painted Dunn Edwards Whisper. It's a nice white that is bright but not blinding. It has a softness to it. Now I had a blank canvas. The kitchen was starting to feel less heavy.

 

Next was setting up the space to accommodate guests. I obviously needed a new range as the old one was broken. I had also taken down the stubby looking hood and cabinet, so I had to figure something out there. I originally wanted to just leave it open without a hood, but changed my mind later, bc that's what I do. There was a hole that vented the outside so I thought eh, might as well put in another hood. There really is no good reason for this change of mind because in the end the hole needed to be filled and a new one made for the new hood. That happens sometimes. I'm still happy with the outcome.

Since I was trying to make this kitchen feel nice and open, I opted for a white hood. Hoods can feel so heavy and bulky, especially in a small space. I wanted it to blend in with the wall. It also feels clean and bright without a big stainless hood hanging overhead.

Hood | Wood Utensils | Cement Tile turned trivet

This side of the kitchen was pretty much finished after figuring out those appliances. The only other thing I did was move the microwave. Next was the coffee bar area. I loved the stainless table with shelf rack that were already there. I moved the microwave over to this area so I could make room for dishes, pots and pans on the other shelf racks by the range. It just seems to me, too, that these days the microwave is mostly used for warming up your coffee. AMIRIGHT? Made sense to me. Aside from outfitting the area with all the coffee needs, the only thing left was to dress it up with some decor.

State Eye Chart | Coffee Pot | Mug Stand | Frame for Vintage Map | Round Cutting Board | Toaster

Use code FW17 for a discount on State Eye Charts!

If you followed the Insta stories I posted while putting this all together, you know it was not just as simple as throwing some stuff in and BOOM it's done. So often in blog posts and on social media it comes off like the designer or DIYer just whipped some shit up and it was done. As if every piece was planned ahead of time and went off without a hitch. 

GUESS WHAT....THAT'S A LIE.

Sure, I had ideas. But many of them I abandoned or changed in the process. For instance I had every intention of putting floating shelves above the coffee bar. But, then the $200 price tag and a week delay came and I was like UM NO THANKS. It may be only $200 and it may have been a great idea, but at this point in the project I was feeling the squeeze on my wallet. So, instead I opted to spend way less. The frame was buy 1 get 2 free, so that cost about $17 bucks for this one frame. The map was free-ish. It was laying around at my house (read forgotten) and not originally intended for this property. I think I paid $5 for it at a garage sale 5 years ago. The money was already spent. But, let's include it for shits and gigs. Then there were the two hooks I used to hang the boards, that I already had leftover from another project. Those were probably $3 each at Home Depot. The cutting boards I had already purchased for this house and were just going to lean against the wall. Hanging them up just filled in the space visually. So, the cost to fill this wall was $17 for the frame I bought specifically for this wall OR actual cost of around $28. Better than $200. Do that several times on a project and the savings really start to add up!

What was also not so easy was hanging these things. The walls in The Shack are block with plaster, so nothing hangs easily. I broke 3 drill bits, made many gashes and unnecessary holes, sweat like a mofo and dropped a good amount of F bombs. So yeah I think the kitchen is cute and simple, but that doesn't mean it was easy. Hanging the shades alone made me want to murder everyone. Even just the thinking about I was going to do to replace the original shelf idea took some brain power. Constant. Laying in bed. Driving. Thinking. Thinking. You get the picture.

No one talks about the tax all of this thinking takes on you. Seriously, though.

If you're ever renovated or updated a space, you know the drain.

Other projects that were cut in the final days were replacing the tile counters, the faucet and covering the underneath of the sink. The tile counters, while not my favorite, had to stay. The wall juts out strangely here which is difficult to see. The tile counter wraps from the left of the sink to behind it just under the window. So, the counter would have to be extra deep. It's something I'd like to replace some day but not now. The faucet is not great at all. It should be replaced soon. It works but eh. And then the area under the sink is still exposed. I hung a curtain there and I just didn't like the idea of it. I envisioned people kicking it or touching it with their dirty hands to access the trash can. It put some fluffiness into the room where I didn't want it. All in all I just didn't like it. I didn't want to have something that would just turn into a bigger eyesore due to grime. Cleanliness is a big deal when staying in an unfamiliar place in my opinion. I want to put our best foot forward.

So, with the run through wrapped up, it's time for the BEFORE & AFTER!

I loved this project because it was a house with good pieces I could work with. Aside from paint and HVAC work, there really wasn't much more to this house than cosmetic updates. And what a relief! I'll take this kind of project ALL. DAY. LONG.

I could piece some numbers together to give you an idea of what I spent, but in reality the update was in the paint (whole house), hood, range and decor. And if you're really looking at this kitchen, the decor is actual functioning kitchen items aside from the stool and rug (which I already had). The plates I bought for staging 2 years ago at a thrift store. it's not a full set but who needs a full set for a vacation rental meant for 2 (4 max with sleeper sofa)? The black and white trivets are leftover cement tiles from another project that I put felt stickers on. The small appliances, the knives, the mug stand, the utensils, cutting boards and pots and pans, and other kitchen essentials were all purchased new for this home, but I find that difficult to add into a renovation cost. A "normal" person would already have those. The microwave and the fridge both came with the house.

Let's add the up numbers.

Range $200, Hood $265, Rug maybe $150 2 years ago, Stool $5 at a Safeway that was closing, let's allocate a generous fraction of the whole house painting at around $400.....totaling $1020.

If it were just the kitchen I would've just painted it myself. Not too shabby, though!! I'll be putting together the other areas of the house so stay tuned for those. Below is a list of the sources for this house. Comment with any questions.


eDesign Reveal: Retro Fun-ky Bathroom

You guys. That accent wall. That is all I can say.

My friend Autumn gave me a ring and told me she desperately needed some help with her hall/guest bath. I had given her some advice on her kitchen before so I knew her style - MCM/funkadelic. I know Autumn from college, but haven't seen her in years. I've never been to her home in Michigan, but was up to the  task since eDesign is something I offer regularly. She sent me the photos of  her bathroom and walked me through it. 

While not the most horrible bathroom I've ever seen, it definitely was not looking like Autumn's style. Autumn is a fun, mid-century modern, retro loving girl. We decided since this bathroom was the guest bath, we could go a little more funky in here than what she had done in her kitchen. She did give me some parameters to work with, though. 

1. She couldn't afford to gut and remove everything. This wasn't a total redo, just a makeover. So we were stuck with the flooring and retro-old school shower tile. To be honest, I would've removed the shower tile if I were renovating this house for a flip. It's just not the sort of thing most people would be down for. HOWEVER, I was totally digging that we "had" to work with this gold tile. That shower tile is one of those things that I (and she) thought was pretty cool, but know it's not for everyone. Doesn't matter. This bathroom isn't for everyone, it's for her and her family.

2. We could replace the counter and backsplash tile.

3. We had to keep the sink and vanity base. Luckily, Autumn had a carpenter dude that could help us out with fixing up the vanity. The rest had to go. 

Everything else was fair game. So, I went to work on designing. Often when I'm designing I hit this sort of wall where I'm like you know this is just not fun enough....might as well be builder grade. Maybe you call it "writer's block". Nothing inspiring or special is coming out of my brain. Then I poke through to outside the box and find something that makes me think, "Hmmm, I wonder if they'll go for this." At this point I have to stop. Everything comes to a halt. If I'm about to make this super awesome decision and base everything else around it, then there is no reason to move forward without the client's consent. I hate wasting time just to start all the way over.  That moment came when I found this super funky wallpaper from Coloray Decor. I shit you not, I did not choose it for its name: Autumn Flowers.

I dread that call where I have to say, "I have a crazy AF idea and I don't know if you'll go for it." Ok, dread is a strong word. It's more of a "this person is going to think either think this is brilliant or that I'm a crazy person. No in between" Last thing you want is for your client to think you're way off base so yeah these phone calls are a little nerve racking. 

Well, she went for it! The floral wallpaper was the perfect accent wall funkiness to add to this retro-esque bathroom.  With the wallpaper decided, the rest of the design came together. 

A few things ended up getting tweaked but most of the design remained. Every design I deliver has a design board with details to the side along with a spreadsheet for each item needed to pull of the design, links to buy, quantities and total material budget. Some have an accompanying room layout. Some have a sketch to describe further detail.

To see more about my design services, click here.

The rest of the elements worked around the wallpaper and existing features that had to remain. She had a door on the other side of the room that was a natural wood (seen below) she didn't really want to paint so I wanted to bring in another wood element somewhere.

The butcher block was an easy choice. Not only is butcher block inexpensive, it is easy to cut and install.

The next element I had to deal with was the mirror and lighting situation. The vanity was super long at 76". I didn't want to be all boring and have a super large, expensive AF mirror. Nothing fun in that. Since this is the hall bath, it is conceivable that there may be a couple of people getting ready in here at once, so one mirror wouldn't do not to mention such a large vanity with just one small mirror would look unbalanced. So, we went with 3 smaller mirrors with a single sconce above each.

Also in this area was the vanity base. The doors and hinges were not looking too good so Autumn's carpenter outfitted it with new flat front doors. Such an easy way to update a huge vanity like this. Replacing it completely would've cost mucho dollars.

What you can't see in those other photos was the toilet "nook". My original design included a green accent wall instead of the wallpaper. We didn't want to lose that green so we opted to put it behind the toilet. You can see it when you look in the mirrors which is a nice touch. The vintage telephone stand makes a great TP holder and complements the vintage - retro vibe. I have one of these stands in my own bathroom and it makes for an excellent TP stand. You can put one roll on the top and it will hold 3-5 rolls below. You could obviously put magazines and other things in there if you plan on camping out for a while. :)

And the moment we all love, the BEFORE AND AFTER Photos!!!

I love how everything looks fresher. The floral wall obviously is very vibrant, but the counter just feels more natural, one of the reasons I love using real materials like butcher block.

I'm now working on a closet design for Autumn and can't wait to see how it turns out. She's an awesome friend/client who is not only not afraid to be bold, but she also gets things done fast. Right up my alley for someone who loves to get her some photos! Stay tuned for the closet!


Sources

Butcher Block Counter - Lowes

Mirrors - West Elm

Sconce Lights - Etsy

Shelves - World Market

Sink + Faucet: IKEA

Toilet Paper/Telephone Stand  - Etsy

Wallpaper - Etsy

Bathroom Makeover: Travertine Tune Up

When Joe from Constructed Matter and I launched our Room Makeover offering, I never thought our first client would be my mother-in-law. She reached out to me a couple weeks ago asking if we could do it pronto. Planning and coordinating these things with clients take time which is why we haven't had any to show yet. But, we were excited to jump in and do our first one with someone I know. Our Room Makeover deal is meant to be a small-ish in scale project lasting a week or less. And by a week or less I mean the actual work, aka labor. Two weeks ago I began the designing and planning. We have to allow some time for orders to come in, which they didn't but we made do. We finished the install in about 3 days. I want to show you the before photo first but I shan't. Straight to the result!

Ok let's back up now. While my mother-in-law would have loved to tear out the travertine tile, it just wasn't in the cards. Too much time. Too much money. She has other projects she wants to tackle so we had to deal with it. The main problem with the travertine is just how yellow and brown it comes off most of the time. Here's what it looked like before.

So, we had the travertine, fine. But, that counter that I think looks like "tiger" granite had to go. I used to know the builder grade name but I purposefully blocked out of memory bc it is not yummy. 

Granite that must die

Clearly that had to go and was going to be a huge factor in brightening and de-jungle-fying the joint. Next up was toning down the travertine. Travertine was a huge flipping trend a while back when beige was all the rage. It's not a bad tile. I wouldn't choose it for my own house, but I do like that it is a natural stone. You can have it polished, which my in-laws did, and it looks shiny and new. Only problem is it is still beige. Some travertine comes off really yellow and even more so when paired with browns, reds, and..... anything. My mother-in-law tried to work with it and painted the walls a grey blue, even tying the gray and the beige together with the shower curtain. She thought it would feel like the ocean with the sand color and the blue. If I'm honest It didn't look half bad. But, it still felt yellow-y/brown and dark. To make matters worse all of the fixtures were ORB. I mean come on. More brown. :(

Brown and brown granite and brown fixtures

So, we stripped it all back. It comes to no shock to you I'm sure that I was painting this room white. I'm telling you I really really tried to think of something else. I studied. I Pinned. I Googled. The only thing I could think of to tone down the beige/yellow/brown of it all was to paint the walls white. It worked like a charm. Actually there were a few things that really made HUGE strides in correcting the browny yellow factor in this bathroom. 

  1. Paint. Obviously.
  2. Removing the blinds on the window. Even when they were slanted open it still made the room dark.
  3. Replacing the counter

To keep from adding any beige/yellow back to the mix we opted for black fixtures and hardware. I went a little haywire here actually. I had a black can of spray paint and nothing could stop me. I didn't even mean to enter the shower area but nothing was safe. I painted the shower curtain rod. I painted the shower head, tub faucet and handle. I don't know how that will hold up but my MIL was cool with it and if it turns crappy we'll just swap out the stuff for a new black version. For now it will work. The light fixture I ordered was backordered so I just ripped that old ORB mofo off the wall and painted it. Slapped on some new shades and called it a day.

Speaking of painting hardware and fixtures, Joe made us some custom towel bars. I looked for what felt like 5 hours for a long ass towel bar. No one makes a long ass towel bar. We need a long ass towel bar in this bathroom because when guests come in town to visit, which they do, often, theres need to be room for all the towels. So, Joe welded a 5' foot long ass towel bar and it is magical. It was raw metal so I of course painted it black. If it rubs off I will get it powder coated. My photos all sucked so I stole this one from Joe.

He also made a matching TP holder and hand towel holder.

Custom towel bars welded by Constructed Matter

Obviously there is a lot of experimentation here. I was sure to get these ideas cleared before implementing. But, also, since I am over at this house often, and use this bathroom pretty often, I can check in on the things and fix as necessary. For a client (and not my family member) I would maybe not go to these experimental lengths. It's fun to test these theories though and see what happens so I can share with the world.

The last thing was to add the soft stuff. This is my favorite part. I don't care how much you do to a space in a renovation or makeover, if you leave it empty it will lack personality. If you fill it with your old stuff it will feel like a split personality. Finish it off! First I start with some things I know I want, like a piece of art or some vintage thing. In this case it was the Arizona and Ohio Eye Charts from Constructed Matter

Styled white floating shelves in bathroom

Next, I love going to Target, Lowes and West Elm and just throwing stuff in my cart. I tell this to my Design Therapy consult clients on the regular. When you finish your renovation or just want to revamp your space, go to the store and just start throwing shit into your cart. I'm not trying to get anyone to overspend by any means, but I've learned from my staging days that this job will never get done, or done well, if you don't just GO FOR IT. Sometimes shit works that you least expect. So, grab that cart and just fill it up. I usually fill up 2 or 3, honestly. Don't waste time hemming and hawing about do I really like it, will it fit, is it the wrong size, is it fugly....JUST GRAB IT. Take it all home and start grabbing from your pile to build your styled area. I can't tell you how many times I was so sure about something at the store and in the end it didn't make the cut. And guess what did? The thing I thought might be fugly. Take all the rest back. Then I finish it off by filling in with random stuff from around the house. 

Another thing, don't just stick to the departments in the store that coordinate with the room you're working in. Use things from other rooms to dress it up. In this bathroom I bought kitchen towels to be used as hand towels because they had a better pattern. I also used a cheese tray as a tray on the counter and a dining charger as "art". Whatever. IDGAF. It works.

Funny Side note: the bust on the counter is from a garage sale and cost around $1.75. He was awesome until I knocked him over and his head fell off. My MIL glued his head back on and I found him in her laundry room waiting for me when scavenging the house for more things to bring in. I sprayed him all black (naturally because watch out I have this paint can in my head) so his decapitation didn't show. 

Bust and cheese tray make a great bathroom

And that was it! Bye bye dark yellow-y tiger brown bathroom. Let's see the difference.

BEFORE AND AFTER TIME!

The bathroom turned out so nice and bright and the travertine is actually a nice sandy color now rather than all the brown and beige.

Interested in your own Room Makeover....or Restyling of a room....or Design Therapy Consult? Check out your options on my Design Services page!

Shop This Room

Shelves: Home Depot

State Eye Charts: Constructed Matter

Succulents: Target

Towel Bars: Constructed Matter

Towels Bath: Target

Towel on Rod: Target

Towel on Cabinet Pull: Home Goods

Vessel Sink: Amazon

Vessel Drain: Amazon

Wood Box: Target

Bath Rug: Target

Black Round "Art" Charger on Shelf: Target

Cabinet Pulls: Amazon

Clock: Target

Counter: Marble Look Quartz

Faucet: Amazon

Mirror: West Elm

Planter - White: West Elm

Planter - Black: Home Goods

Spray Paint - Black:

Before & After: Client Retro @Rnchhouse

Hygge & West Justina Blakeney Wallpaper and Floating Shelves in a white kitchen

Oh. My. Gosh. This kitchen. It was right up my alley. Well, I knew it was going to be the minute I walked in their door and saw all of their mid-century modern and boho treasures. SO MUCH YES. I was so excited when Client Retro @Rnchhouse gave me the go ahead to plan away. Here was their initial request:

Describe Your Project: We just bought a 1957 fixer in Central Phoenix. The kitchen got a mini-facelift in 1986. It's been untouched since then. It's a great space but feels cramped due to a peninsula. It's a full gut and will require reconfiguring.

Wish List: Clean lines mixed with boho touches (wood, color, textiles). An industrial-style range. Some open shelving without sacrificing too much storage. I really want a kitchen that reflects my personality while complimenting the character of the home. I'm not afraid to take risks with design but I don't want it to be dated quickly.

Here's what we were working with. I mean it sure was retro but not in a cool way. Also, does anyone else think this feels like a cabinet jail cell?

Before Kitchen Retro
Retro Peninsula

 My client wanted just what I wanted. It was a match made in heaven. A couple after my own heart! They wanted a nice clean, bright kitchen with fun and funky boho, retro and mid-century modern accents. We got right to it. First with the floor plan.

Obviously we were going to remove the cabinets hanging down over the peninsula. That alone would make this kitchen so much more open. We also expanded the footprint of the cabinetry a bit. Below the window (where the arrow is pointing), there was nothing but a few feet of empty space. The walkway to the exterior door was here but it didn't need to be that wide. 

Expand the Peninsula

Expanding toward the door allowed us to move the dishwasher to the right side of the sink to accommodate a lazy susan and cabinet on the left side. We could also add an overhang for seating at the peninsula. Another tweak was rearranging the other appliances to make more sense. I like the tall things to all be together if possible, so we stole a little bit of extra space from the hall to accommodate a new counter depth fridge and pantry cabinet. Removing the pantry and fridge from the current wall allowed us to have a longer more symmetrical cabinet layout that could highlight a range and chimney hood.

REtro kitchen with appliances in all the wrong places

Here's the new floor plan:

Even with removing the cabinets hanging over the peninsula and on the window wall, there is still way more storage in this kitchen than before. Client Retro @Rnchhouse still have empty cabinets they have't filled yet. Goes to show how making an efficiently laid out kitchen is so important.

And of course the new design: 

*Links to these items at the bottom. Some may include affiliate links

I wanted the one empty wall by the exterior door to be an accent wall. My client was obsessed with Justina Blakeney's Cosmic Desert wallpaper from Hygge & West. So that was easy. Done. We balanced the awesomeness of the wallpaper with a more classic style kitchen. Having a more traditional cabinet and simple subway backsplash helped to not compete with the wallpaper, as well as tick that box of having a kitchen that wouldn't date itself too quickly. It would be simple and bright in this kitchen with punches of fun in the wallpaper, lighting and my client's awesome and ever changing collection of vintage items. We allowed for one area to be open shelving for her to place these special pieces.

Floating Shelves, White shaker kitchen with marble and Hygge & West Justina Blakeney Cosmic Desert Wallpaper.jpg
Retro White Shaker Kitchen with Black and Stainless Appliances, floating shelves, mid century modern lighting and long subway tile backsplash

Some things did change during the process, though. In the original design we had the same tile but in gray. This is one of those things that can wait toward the end to really commit to since it's one of the last thing to be installed. In the end we opted for the white version. The tile has a little wonkiness to its edges so that helped in making it a little less formal and a little more boho. I like how it maintains the nice bright atmosphere, but adds a little texture to the walls.

The appliance color also changed. The white Kitchenaid appliances looked super cool and we loved the idea of them, but with no floor samples to look at and Kitchenaid not offering any sample chips, we decided to be safe and get the stainless versions. We weren't sure if the white appliances would clash with the other whites in the room. Unfortunately, the white hood did a little. It came in damaged so when replacing it my client swapped it out for the black version. This really helped tie in the wallpaper on the opposite side of the room.

As you can see by the decor, my @rnchhouse client has great taste and had a lot of input in this design from the get go. My role was to help them decide which items would work and which ones to let go (cement tile). With some very fun picks like the lighting and wallpaper, we needed to make sure we let those things stand out while keeping a more neutral backdrop. This is very common that a big portion of my job is centered around the decision making. My clients often have many ideas great ideas flowing that they need help sorting through them all and be able to visualize the end result. 

Sometimes my role is to "give permission" to use certain things...like marble countertops. We're all told that it wears over time and that it will stain. "We don't recommend it" THEY say. HOGWASH. So long as you know what you're in for, then go for it. I've never met an old stained marble I didn't like. So, I am unafraid to use it in a kitchen. If stains will bother you, then you know what to do. Don't use it. Simple as that. They went for marble. I secretly fist pumped. YESSSSSS.

And here are the all to popular before and after shots. My fave! The now much more open, way less cabinet jail feeling kitchen.

And a punch wallpapered accent wall to turn it up a notch.

And a much more symmetrical cooking area more pleasing to the eye and the chef.  

I had so much fun with this one and I know Client Retro @Rnchhouse is loving their new kitchen. Check out the rest of their house projects on Instagram!

Check out all of the finishes we used (and didn't use) in this kitchen listed below.


Colors:

Door: Dunn Edwards Barrier Reef

Door: Dunn Edwards Barrier Reef

Walls: Behr Ultra Pure White

Walls: Behr Ultra Pure White


Shop This Kitchen: