#3: Transforming the Kitchen


What We're Workin' With

The kitchen renovation weighed heavy on my mind since walking the home for the first time. I had always imagined an open concept kitchen with a large island where guests could congregate around. After all, the kitchen is the heart of every home. It sets the tone for the entire house and provides experiences and memories for home owners and guests. However, our kitchen footprint was small and our options were somewhat limited. We definitely had to compromise here.


Everything in the kitchen had to go. Appliances, cabinets, and orange countertops... Adios. What else? Well, the door to the left of the kitchen led to a less than appealing half bath. Believe it or not, this door was actually the original back door to the house that served as an alternative entrance to the house once upon a time. When the previous home owner made some changes, it ended up as a bathroom door. I know... Huh? Saving it was a no-brainer considering it was one of the last remaining original features of the home.


If we moved the bathroom and reframed it as a small pantry, we could gain a couple feet in the kitchen. In addition to this, there was a large load-bearing wall that was obstructing the view of the living room. The wall included a fireplace with an endless amount of brick that continued 3 stories up. The chimney didn't have flashing, which caused water intrusion and decay. When our engineer took a closer look at the fireplace, he discovered that the bricks were crumbling and were no longer stable enough to hold up the entire chimney. There were no questions that the dividing wall and fireplace had to go. Stay tuned for how we repurposed the brick in a future post.


It didn't end there. The kitchen was extremely dark in comparison to the rest of the main floor so we had to figure out a solution for this. Taking down the dividing wall helped, but we felt like we needed to do more. We decided that we would need to re-frame the original single door (see above) to something that allows a little more light flow.


View from Living Room View from Kitchen Single Door off the Kitchen


A Classic Look


Of course, tackling the design was the fun part. Our builder specializes in new construction homes and works closely with an array of design teams. The project manager knew that I had a particular style in mind, so she partnered me up with the team at Macadam Floor and Design. Since we were restoring a 1908 home, we wanted a classic and timeless look. We had already chosen black cabinets and windows, but we needed to fill in the remaining puzzle pieces.


My husband and I walked into our first meeting with Macadam and immediately spotted a table filled with light oak flooring samples, black and white combinations, and patterned tile. It pretty much looked as though my Pinterest page had exploded... I was in heaven. It was evident that the team spent a substantial amount of time studying our style and that made the initial selections relatively seamless.


I made the majority of the decisions quickly, but steered towards the safer options when I was unsure. That's where Anthony came in. He was adamant and ensured that there was nothing "safe" about our choices. If I wanted white backsplash, he was going to make sure we added black grout to keep it exciting. I must say... I was impressed with some of his choices. We don't always see eye to eye on design so I was pleasantly surprised with the level of cohesiveness during this process.


However, the doubts began to set in after the meeting. With all of our house delays (discussed in previous blog post), we waited months to be able to finally tackle the design process. I felt that because our style was unique and specific, I could sabotage it with one wrong choice. Anthony tried to reassure me that all would be fine, but was aware that I just didn't have the same mindset. I questioned the color of the hardwoods and considered going lighter in order to better compliment our black cabinets. I spent countless hours looking up our tile choices online in order to gain some reassurance. In addition to this, I even forced us to make a few trips back to Macadam before signing our bid. Funny thing is... We ultimately didn't end up changing anything in the kitchen. I'll blame the level of overthinking and analyzation on the fact that I'm a Virgo. I eventually found a peace of mind as we watched our design choices go up in stages.


So. much. relief. Our long-awaited vision was finally coming to life.


Additional Decisions


1. Functionality- The lack of light in the kitchen was quickly resolved when I decided to reframe the single back door and replace it with double glass French doors. It's also a plus to be able to open them up to the back deck when the weather permits.


Original Single Back Door New Double Glass French Doors


2. Restoration- We took the original back door (used as the bathroom door) and had the paint dipped in stripper. We discovered that it had approximately 5+ layers of [lead] paint on it. After we dipped the door, we sanded it, stained it clear, cleaned up the original glass, and hung it as our new pantry door. We also had the original fixed window above the door which was exciting and rare.


Before During After

Original Back Door Stripped & Sanded Stained Clear

3. Aesthetics- In addition to this, we chose to bring the backsplash and cabinets up to the ceiling. Open-shelving was a must, so we chose a lighter oak to compliment our floors. As a growing family, quartz countertops were a no-brainer due to their durability.


Before & After:


Kitchen Before Kitchen After



Additional Kitchen Slideshow:


Ta-da! The kitchen truly turned out better than we could have imagined. As I mentioned, the footprint was small. After cabinet installation, we could only fit a 5 foot kitchen island. However, extending the backsplash and cabinets up to the ceiling makes it feel larger than it really is. The long wait was officially worth it.



Design Choices:

Hardwood floors: Cronin 5" Tumalo Silver Falls Oak

Countertops: Quartz 3cm Sequel Bianco Venatino

Kitchen backsplash: Bedrosians Uptown 2.5 x 9.5 White

Appliances: Kitchenaid


Kitchen island pendants

Kitchen sink pendant

Kitchen faux leather bar stools

Kitchen rug



Don't worry, more transformations coming soon. Subscribe at the bottom of the page for updates on recent blog posts.


- Kelli


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