stainless steel

DAY 20 Update, Don't Renovate Challenge: Refrigerator

How many of you have already jumped the gun and cleaned out your fridge early on in this challenge!? I told you to take it easy! There is a lot to get done. Well, I guess if you were one of the few that didn’t take the purge challenges to drastic measures and attack your entire house, then get to clearing out your fridge.

Wipe it down.

Make it feel like its new.

Paint the outside if it’s really bad.

Shit, throw some washi tape on it if it is SUPER bad.

If it’s REALLY REALLY BAD and you have been waiting for me to say, “Time to buy a new fridge.”, wellllll, ok fine I give you permission. Blame it on me if you need a scape goat. I mean honestly, replacing appliances is one of the easiest and best things to do in your house. You don’t have to move walls or take out cabinets (usually) and your quality of life will improve. Maybe that’s a little excessive but sometimes it’s the truth

Ready? Go.

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."

Before & After: Clarendon Kitchen

Ahhh this kitchen. One of the things I love about flipping and designing is there are always new projects to tackle... starting from scratch. If the project drags on for a long time, like it does when doing an addition, I get antsy. I change my mind. I redesign. This kitchen was 9 months in the making since this house had an addition added to the front and the back. Since it took so dang long, I'm really shocked that this kitchen didn't change too much throughout the process. The cabinet color changed about eleven-teen times and the lighting and hardware is different but the bulk of it is pretty much what was planned. 

But I digress. Let's go back to the beginning. Below is the original kitchen in this home.

REtro Kitchen Before Renovation

This is not the same room mind you. This room was gutted and eventually became a study. As mentioned in the exterior before and after post, we added on to the back of the house and part of that addition was the kitchen. Having the kitchen at the back of the house made more sense. It's nice to be able to look out on the backyard and be closer to the outdoor entertainment area. Plus, as mentioned in that exterior post, I desperately wanted a servery window. More on that in a minute.

I started by drawing out the floor plan of the new room and then put together the design board. I try to do this even for my own projects because it makes it so much easier for the contractor to "read my mind".

Clarendon New Kitchen Floor Plan and Elevations

This post contains some Amazon affiliate links for products used or originally intended to use for this design.

Top Kitchen: Lauren Liess, Middle Kitchen: Hale House , Bottom Kitchen: CKS Design Studio, Bar stool, Sconce, Faucet, Hardware, Espresso Machine

Side note: I'm pinning like a mofo. Follow me on Pinterest if you are an obsessed design badass, too.

I'm not an artist but it gets the job done. The sketches are necessary so everyone from architect to contractor can see what I'm envisioning. A floor plan alone can't always show these kinds of details. I'd like to say that I can do a 3D rendering but why bother with that learning curve when a pencil and a ruler are much faster and just as effective? Plus I like drawing.

You can see that there is a gray color in there for the cabinet paint color but of course that didn't stick bc...time. I don't even remember what color that was. Other things changed as well, such as the hardware and the sconces because I ultimately decided against brass in this kitchen. For the design board I also threw in staging items to finish off the look. Usually it's just a "suggestion", like the bar stools. Those would have been dope AF to put into my flip but with the cabinets ending up blue and that price tag, I decided to abort that mission. 

--> Links to what I did actually use are at the bottom of this post.

Guys it's AGONY to wait for 9 months to see your creation come to life. LIKE TORTURE EVEN. I'm serious. I lose my shit. I'm not even going to try to pretend I don't. I start staging when the house hasn't even been finished or cleaned yet. I have piles of furniture in a side room waiting for the right time, which still isn't the right time but it is MY time. Not convenient for anyone but yet I still do it. Anyway....it was eventually finished.

I am very happy with the results. I made quite a few decisions in this kitchen that were a little bolder than usual. To have one out there idea is fine but 4 is nerve racking.

Out There Decision One

At the time I was designing this kitchen, I was catching quite a bit of flack about my Haver Home's kitchen and its lack of upper cabinets, thus prompting me to design yet another kitchen without upper cabinets. Wahhahahaha!!! I'll show you guys. I'll stick a giant pantry in the middle of the kitchen and you can store ALL THE THINGS....AND I'll add an actual pantry closet. Nobody can tell me no upper cabinets. NOBODY. It's sad this is how my mind works but it does.

Out There Decision 2

Something that was a stretch for me, and felt quite naughty, was the backsplash. It felt so fancy to be putting in a full slab backsplash. Mind you I've been renovating houses mostly in the $100,000-$200,000 range for a decade now, so to be pushing the luxurious limits in this kitchen felt wrong but oh so right. This house would list for $600,000 so I wanted to make sure the kitchen fit the price tag. I went for it with the marble. MARBLE EVERYWHERE. And even MARBLE to put things on. So fancy.

Out There Decision 3

Another custom design element was the hood. Custom hoods are one of the easiest things to put into a kitchen without much cost or effort. All you have to do is build a box and install a hood insert. Boom. Done. This concept is not so "out there" for me at this point, but spanning it between the pantry and fridge and forgoing any upper cabinetry here felt like a bold move. I had a bunch of cedar that we tore off of my Haver Home so we wrapped the hood with that. It brought in a nice warm farm-y element. 

Out There Decision 4

The final fun design piece that was planned from the very beginning was the servery bar window. This had to be accounted for in the architectural drafting phase. From the get go this window was going to be implemented, but for some reason was very difficult to come up with a budget friendly solution. In the end my contractor had the cabinet maker build it out. I love how it swings open all inviting like.

So there you go. An out there farm-like kitchen. Let's get one final look at this house's original kitchen (not the same room) and the new kitchen.

Clarendon Kitchen Before & After.JPG

And just for fun I'll show you the original room, or at least part of it before the addition, and the new kitchen in the same area.

Farmhouse Kitchen Before and After
Dining Room Turned Farmhouse Style Kitchen

It's all worth it for those Before and After shots! Details and finishes for this kitchen are listed below.

Get your very own Before & After starting at $250. Click here for more info.

Click through here to see more of this house.


Color Palette:

Cabinets: Dunn Edwards Long Lake

Cabinets: Dunn Edwards Long Lake

Walls: Behr Whisper White

Walls: Behr Whisper White

Doors: Dunn Edwards Novelty Navy

Doors: Dunn Edwards Novelty Navy

Counters: Arabescato Carrara

Counters: Arabescato Carrara


Finishes Used:

Click on any photo to learn more. Some of these are affiliate links, yo.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Design: Minty Vintage

The rental property I recently purchased is in the process of being updated. It was already in good condition, for a foreclosure, but needed a little fanc-ification. The location of the house is interesting. It sits on the edge of the most desirable neighborhood in Cincinnati and shares the same zip code. It is also just one block from a town square with restaurants, cafes and cute shops. In order to attract good tenants, I wanted to make sure the home was cute, comfortable and up to the standards of the nearby neighborhood. Most changes will be in the kitchen where it was in good condition, yet builder basic and boring. 

Before

Kitchen Before with Oak Cabinets
Oak Cabinets in kitchen Before Update

You see here that this kitchen is a snooze-fest. Nothing special or blingy here. We have oak cabinets, vinyl flooring, mismatched appliances and bright yellow walls. Everything in here is usable and in good condition. Not everything will make the cut, though. I want to make this kitchen attractive to potential renters looking in this area, but I still have to keep my budget in mind. Every dollar in is straight out of my pocket and not coming back for a long, LONG time. Everything I do to this kitchen must be attractive, but stand the test of time of tenants to come.

The Plan

I need to give A Lovely Lark props for inspiring this here plan. Why reinvent the wheel when someone has already made the wheel for you? Am I right? Still, there's a little more to it. I'll need to keep as much as possible in this kitchen. Luckily, there is a lot in this room I can work with. Let's get into the what and the why....

  • Cabinets: They are in great condition and clean. They're staying. A coat of paint will update them and will be easy to repaint in the future when they become dingy or dinged up. I'm painting the upper cabinets Behr Ultra White and the lower cabinets Behr Smokey Slate.
  • Walls: Every room in the house is painted a different color. It's like a clown house. Pro Tip: don't do that. It makes the house feel segmented and smaller. I'm repainting the whole place a nice neutral gray called Behr Silver Drop. 
  • Floors: While vinyl floors are not my favorite, they are in good condition and work with the new design. This house is on a slab, no basement. So, because there is concrete below the vinyl, not wood, I'm not as concerned about water damage as I would be if there were wood subfloors. 
  • Appliances: I'm not liking the mismatched appliances. What is good news is that they are all in good condition and the stainless steel range can be sold. That money can go toward a new matching white one.
  • Counters: This is where I'm breaking the bank for the bling. Granite. Yes, I'm taking out the decent laminate counters. There's debate on whether granite is in or out. Personally, I still like it. I prefer natural materials over fake stuff. Any investor within 100 miles would tell me I'm nuts. I don't care. I have my reasons. They are:
    • I think it will completey transform this kitchen. 
    • I think a renter will prefer it over laminate. 
    • I believe granite counters will hold up for many many years compared to the laminate when it comes to tenant use and abuse.
    • The laminate is ugly.
    • I want it. I mean it IS my house. I can do what I want with it.
    • The cost of the granite is comparable to changing out laminate a few times, which I will have to do every few years give or take depending on wear and tear by tenants.
    • Did I mention I want it?
  • Backsplash: I very much dislike splattered grease and junk running down a painted wall. It's impossible to clean. So, I'm adding subway tile with gray grout which should be easy to clean up. The gray grout will hide any staining unlike white grout which will yellow over time. Remember, I'm keeping this house for a long time so style and material longevity are important. 
  • Hardware and Fixtures: This house has glass doorknobs with brass collars. It's cute and antique-y. I want to play off of that with the cabinet hardware, so I went with vintage-y looking bronze knobs, pulls and faucet. I know these colors don't necessarily match, but matching is OUT in my opinion. My contractor is skeptical, but who asked him anyway? Don't even ask him his thoughts on the base cabinet color.
  • Accessories: I won't be staging this house, or adding any artwork, but I the Etsy print and potted herbs work with the vintage theme rounding out the design.

Luckily, we won't have to wait too long to see an after photo of this kitchen. Work is underway and should be complete with in a week. Stay tuned for the big reveal very soon!

Got ugliness? Want your very own custom design? Click that box right there...

Bathroom Redesign: Modern Gray and Teal with Sneaky Storage

The Before

Jen wrote to me about her bathroom which was outdated, lacked storage space and needed to handle teenager use. The bathroom seriously lacks storage, with the only space being under the sink. I checked out the photos and quickly realized it was a small bathroom, and unfortunately, not much could be done to change it. But, with a little finagling, some storage could be added in some tricky places. Jen's budget is $10-$15,000, so there was room to add some custom elements as well as nicer finishes. She's ready to start completely over. GUT JOB! My favorite. See before photos below. 

The Design

She wanted something modern, neutral with a pop of color and worthy of teenager use. Here is the design.

The Road Map

Keeping most of the room neutral is a good call. It will allow the design to hold up over the years without becoming quickly dated. Leaving the punch of color in the decorative items, such as towels, artwork and soaps and lotions, allows you to change the color scheme easily. Tile is not as easy to change but new towels can be swapped out every season if you wished. There isn’t a way to improve the layout as that would require diminishing the size of the shower which would then be too narrow or lessening the size of the vanity, meaning less storage and counter space. I do believe some creative storage could be added next to the shower and in wall niches. Let’s dive deeper…

  1. Storage: There are two areas storage could be introduced to the space.

    1. Cubbies: Floor to ceiling storage cubbies behind the shower will add lots of vertical space to store towels. Baskets could also be added to the cubbies to hold loose items. A contractor will have to frame this to size. Accounting for the framing and drywall and leaving space for the shower, it will be pretty narrow. However,  it will be ample when considering it is utilizing the vertical space.

    2. Niches: A recessed cabinet with a full length mirror as a door will add some shallow storage space to keep items like hair products and accessories. This can fit on the wall opposite the toilet where the towel bar is currently. When the room is gutted by the contractor, they’ll remove some of the drywall and reframe to the desired cabinet size provided the wall can handle this change. If not, or if cost is an issue, there could be a smaller, narrow nook or two the size of the space between the studs. This will be a custom project so anything goes here. The new “cabinet” will be a recessed nook whatever size you and your contractor decide on. Consider white wood or glass shelves.

  2. Tile: The shower floor will be tiled which requires a mosaic for the pitch toward the drain. I recommend these marble hexagons with a gray grout. The hexagons can be carried up the back wall of the shower in a wide 3 ft. stripe to the ceiling. Consider adding a shower niche in the center of the stripe, in the same tile, for soaps and shampoos. The rest of the shower walls, as well as the bathroom floor will be in a coordinating gray plank tile. Lay the tiles in a stacked pattern for a more modern look, as well as to draw more attention to the mosaic. A Schluter strip can be used to finish off the edges where the shower tiles end on the walls.

  3. Vanity: The vanity is 36” and will sit exactly where the old one did. There is no room for improvement in size or storage here, unfortunately. The marble countertop coordinates with the accent tiles in the shower. Use the bottom shelf to store more towels, or add baskets to hold small items.

  4. Decor and Accessories: The towels, artwork and soap are your ticket to color in this bathroom. I included teal, but any color will work with the gray. The artwork is inexpensive and can easily be printed and inserted in a white Ikea frame.

  5. Toilet Seat: I added a Toto toilet seat like you wanted so we could see it in the budget and with the design. I’m not sure which one you’ll choose, but I recommend that you choose a toilet with a rounded seat. This will allow more room in front of the shower and be less intrusive in the space.

  6. Fixtures and Hardware: The finishes in the room are nickel and modern. The rain shower head will be impressive looking through the glass shower doors, as well as probably feel amazing!  The  vanity light, fan, sink faucet and towel bars all work together, but aren’t from  the same line  in order to keep from looking too matchy. Glass knobs are included in the design to replace the ones on the new vanity which don’t really work with the scheme. Their geometric shape work with the hex tiles.

  7. Paint: The paint color is Benjamin Moore’s Wickham Gray. You can buy this color anywhere you want (i.e. Home Depot or Lowes). Every paint store has other paint store’s color formulas.

If you're thinking about getting your own design, we have a Cyber Monday (week) discount for 10% off any of our virtual design products. Just use the code CYBER10 at check out. You can gift it to a friend or family member for the Holidays or keep it for yourself. Discount good until December 8, 2014.

Change some ugly.