kitchen renovation

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.


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 consults, 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."