Larkspur Project: Kitchen Before and After

Builder grade...but NOT basic

Larkspur Kitchen After(1).jpg

I know I know this kitchen and house are long gone by now but I mean I had no time. And now I have time. So here we go.....I wanted to share with you guys a little about this kitchen because I love it so much.

The reason I took on this house was because it was a lower priced home compared to my previous projects. I was really looking forward to designing something bold but on a really tight budget. The budget and space constraints got me all excited.

Check out the before in all of it's stock cabinet glory.

LarkspurProject Builder Grade before Kitchen

I know the cabinets look like the downside in this kitchen (as well as some other things), but actually I was quite pleased that these cabinets were already here. In fact, it was a deciding factor to purchase this home. If you saw my Insta stories or highlights about designing this kitchen, you saw me discuss several options on how to handle this kitchen. Here were my options:

  1. Remove all of the cabinets and start fresh with new white shaker cabinets
  2. Buy all new unfinished cabinets and paint them
  3. Work with the cabinets that were already here and fill in with more cabinets from Home Depot

And this my friend is why I like to do my own floor plans and order my own cabinets. Had I taken this dilemma to a contractor or kitchen store, I would've 1. spent hours torturing some poor unfortunate soul asking them to tell me ALL of the versions OR 2. would've been pressured into buying the white shaker bc $$$. So, can you tell which version of the above 3 options I chose?

Number 3!

Here's why:

Buying all new cabinets (Scenario 1) for this kitchen would've cost me somewhere around $2500-$3000. This is PEANUTS when talking kitchen reno. I mean seriously this kitchen is small and that is not a very large sum of money if we are talking renovating the whole damn thing with brand new cabinets. BUT, I could do better.

I knew I wanted to make this kitchen bold since it was a small house and because I'm me. I love me a nice white kitchen, but I also knew I'd been there done that a million times. Don't get me wrong, I will do white kitchens again and have. I just wanted something BIG. Different. I wanted to paint the cabinets. So, I thought if I was going to just paint them, why not buy new unfinished cabinets. They are the most inexpensive cabinets alive and in-stock at Home Depot. To buy all new unfinished cabinets would cost me only $1500! Don't forget the cost to paint them, obviously. But still that would be less than all new white shakers.

The final idea was to keep what was here and fill in with the "finished oak" in-stock cabinets from HD. The tricky, misleading part was that the "finished oak" cabinets were more expensive PER CABINET than the unfinished. However, once I accounted for the cabinets I already had, to fill in with the rest came to around $900. DONE DEAL. 

***I could not fill in with unfinished cabinets, even though I was going to paint them because the cabinet door design was not the same.***

The only way this would work was if the original cabinets were in good condition and that I could work with them to form the new layout. Because of course I changed it. Here is the original floor plan. The fridge there on the left, no dishwasher and the range on the right wall. The wall opposite the sink was empty, presumably for an eat-in-kitchen space.

Builder grade cabinet kitchen before
Kitchen Layout Before

Even though this house was small, there was a room when you walked in that was not being used as anything useful so I decided to turn it into a dining room to free up this blank wall to help this kitchen double in size. Here is the new layout.

Magic Plan Layout Larkspur Project

So, you can see I relocated the range to where the fridge was so it could have cabinets and counters on either side. I added a dishwasher and also moved the fridge to the opposite wall. I  flanked it with a pantry cabinet for balance, as well as some other cabinets and a space for the microwave. I also added a butcher block island after the fact which is not shown on this plan. The red box represents where a counter would span over an empty space. In this area I'd have enough room for 2 stools, so there was some seating in here after all. The counter space doubled in the new arrangement.

I use Magic Plan to make my floor plans. It's easy and gets the job done. In my plans I label the cabinets so the installers (and I) know what goes where and what was staying. I left out filler pieces which is why you can see gaps in some areas. I get lazy on my own projects. I do this same kind of plan for client designs. See more about client consults and eDesign here. 

"I don't normally put microwaves in houses, but this one was just so cute and I wanted to stage around it."

The only cabinet that didn't make the cut from the original kitchen was the sink cabinet. To be able to fit the range and dishwasher AND sink on this wall, I had to opt for a much smaller sink cabinet. And don't you know they don't make a 24" sink base cabinet. So, I bought a regular 24" base, had my contractor take the drawer part off and affix the drawer front to the cabinet. Problem solved. The sink I bought is extra deep to make up for not having the width of a 30-36" sink. It feels huge.

Larkspur Kitchen After Island and Light.jpg

So, let's talk about the design itself. I know the black on top is unexpected and that is EXACTLY WHAT I WAS GOING FOR. How else was I going to make a bold statement with builder grade cabinets!? I actually thought I initially wanted to do black on bottom and white on top, but I've done that. In fact while I was designing this kitchen I got some photo updates from a client that I did exactly that design. I had forgotten. I needed to switch it up. So I did just that. Only problem was I was freaking out because I had never really seen it done. I went for it anyway thanks to some encouragement from a friend to "SHUT UP AND DO IT." Fine.

I had to really commit from the very beginning. I couldn't hem and haw about it. I thought I could always repaint if I didn't like it. Only thing was that this kitchen was tiny and I didn't want stainless appliances breaking up the color palette. So, I had to choose my appliances and go for it. I chose the white appliances so all of the bottom cabinets and apps could work together to pull it off. To further this commitment, I chose coordinating cabinet hardware. I couldn't find matching white knobs and pulls I liked so I spray painted some white.

TIP: When choosing hardware, think about what you want to see. It's not enough to just choose the one finish you have decided to go with in the space. For instance I could've gone with stainless, all black or even brass (the light is brass). NOPE. I didn't want to see any hardware so I made it blend. If you're designing your kitchen, and let's say you want to do black faucet and black lighting, don't think for a second you have to do black hardware on your cabinetry. Do you want to see black lines or dots all over the place? Maybe you do. But if you don't, then give yourself permission not to match.

Larkspur Kitchen Black Wall.jpg
Larkspur Whole Kitchen After.jpg

To break up all of the black and white, and to keep within a tight budget, I chose a butcher block counter and used some leftover butcher to make shelves above the sink. These were necessary. Sometimes it's not about the color (or lack there of) you are putting on the wall, it's about what you want to STAND OFF of it. I wanted that black cabinet and wall so I could have the items styled on shelves and the counter stand out.

Speaking of the wall, let's discuss no backsplash. BECAUSE BUDGET. So little. But also, I wanted something different. It's not enough to just be different for different's sake, though. It also has to stand up to splashes. The cabinets had to as well. Throw another wrench in the system in the fact that I wanted it to be matte finish. Can you imagine a big ole shine coming off of that wall? So, I headed to HD and asked them which paint I should use and they told me Glidden Diamond Flat Enamel. It was meant to be scrubbable which sounded perfect for this application. Through the construction process the paint got dust all over it and needed a scrubbing. I did. It worked. No paint was removed in the scrubbing of this wall.

Matte Flat Black kitchen cabinet and painted black backsplash

The final piece of the puzzle were the floors. I didn't want to demo the tile throughout the entire house so I chose to try this vinyl product from HD that lays right over the top of tile!

Vinyl planks laid over tile
Black upper cabinets and white appliances with vinyl plank flooring over tile, butcher block counters

I'm so pleased without how this budget kitchen turned out. We all want to break the bank when renovating a kitchen. Sometimes it is "necessary" or even exciting to start all over from scratch. In this case, I was happy to not only be able to salvage what was there but also transform it into something bold and different AF. Below is the BEFORE AND AFTER! 

IMG_0102.JPG

If you're curious about where to find the items in this kitchen, check the links below. *There are affiliate links included.*

The process I went through with this kitchen from thinking through all of my options to finding budget friendly finishes and creating a bold design is exactly what I do every single time for my flipping and homeowner clients. Clearly the design will always be different for each house and current/future occupants, but the process is the same. I always start with a consultation where we hash out the options until we come to a final conclusion, just like I did on deciding the cabinet situation here. If you're interested in learning more about design services, click below.


SHOP THIS THIS ROOM

 

ACCESSORIES: 

Artificial Cactus: Target

Marble Cheese Board (Similar): Target

APPLIANCES

Dishwasher: Home Depot

Hood: Signature Hardware

Microwave: Home Depot

Range: Home Depot

Refrigerator: Home Depot

FLOORING: 

Home Depot: Home Depot

FURNISHINGS:

Stools: Amazon

HARWARE:

Pulls: Home Depot

LIGHTING:

Ceiling Light: Amazon

PAINT:

Color: Behr Black Boudoir

Paint: Glidden Diamond Flat Enamel at Home Depot

PLUMBING:

Sink Faucet: Amazon

Sink: Amazon

Sink Garbage Disposal Adaptor: Amazon

To shop my other designs, head to the "SHOP" section in the navigation bar and choose "SHOP THIS ROOM."

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