Mandi’s Kitchen Renovation Reveal – A Beautiful Mess
Last April, I had the amazing experience of selling our old home just seven days after getting the crazy idea that we should move to a new house. Finding a mint mid-century home with a sunken conversation pit—in your price range—will do that to a girl! To say it was a whirlwind week would be an understatement! I remember feeling heartbroken the night we signed papers with the buyer because we discovered the dream home which launched this crazy scheme was already under contract with another buyer. But man, was I excited that we had just sold our house so quickly! … And of course I was also a little worried about being homeless and living with my parents indefinitely.
I sat at my computer scrolling through the many homes I’d seen and checked out before. Nice. But lots of work. Or else absolutely perfect, but too much money. Finally, out of desperation, I clicked on an odd looking ’80s home I’d scrolled past lots of times, and was surprised when the wheels in my head starting turning. Nay, spinning! I couldn’t stop looking at this kitchen, imagining all of the things I could fairly easily change. I was intrigued and booked an appointment to view the home the next day.
After viewing the house, we were surprised at how perfectly it fit all of our family’s peculiar needs, so we made an offer, and I went back to the house to take measurements to put on AutoCAD after our offer was accepted. Yes, I am the psycho who had detailed drawings, to-scale plans, and budget sheets made up before we even closed on the house! I thought it would be fun to show you the initial kitchen drawing I made back then, and if you’re curious, you can see more of my kitchen plans and process on my blog here, here, here, and here.
Surprisingly, not many details changed from the ideas that had popped into my head that night that I viewed the home online for the first time. For budget reasons, I wanted to reuse as much from the original kitchen as possible, and because I was not a fan of the oak raised panel cabinetry, painting the cabinets white would allow them to fade to the background and not make much of a design statement. I also wanted to make the space feel much airier, so I decided to remove all of the upper cabinets completely, and only replace them with a single row of open shelving. As far as storage goes, I had plenty of cabinets left in the island and below the countertops (the lazy susan in the corner is amazing!). The cabinet I built above the fridge as well as the wall of shelving gave me the rest of the storage I needed. (Oh, and there’s a pantry closet behind the shelving wall.)
Because most of the kitchen would be white, I wanted to make sure there were plenty of texturally interesting things, but not in a cluttered way. The wide-open wall above the cabinets was the perfect place to add texture! I covered it completely with wide subway tiles, choosing a stackbond pattern to feel more contemporary than your average white subway tile wall. I agonized over what grout color to use and am really happy with the TEC Silverado grout, because it adds definition between the tiles without too much contrast. There’s also a lot of texture thanks to my open shelving. Everything on the shelves is white or glass, so the shelving doesn’t feel cluttered, yet there’s still interest there. All of the clean white is juxtaposed with some rustic wood elements, like the huge wall of shelving I built, and a vintage spice rack that repeats the style of the shelving wall. A wooden butcherblock countertop from Lumber Liquidators, wooden cabinet knobs, wooden stools, and wicker baskets all work together to add warmth, balancing out the stark coldness of white everywhere.
Literally the day we closed on the house, Phil and I began demo! I pulled out all of the carpet on the first floor, and for a date night, Phil and I busted out and removed all of the tile from the kitchen and hallway. Talk about romantic! Then my dad helped take off the old countertop and separate all of the cabinets. We reconfigured them so we could move the stove to a different wall, making more space for a main dining area in the eat-in kitchen. (We are using the formal dining room as a play room.)
Once everything was cleaned out, and the cabinets were positioned, it was so exciting to rebuild! My favorite project that I took on by myself was the shelving wall. I may add some rustic doors to parts of this shelving wall in the days to come, but I sure do love having easy access to dry goods and snacks, plus, who am I kidding? I love stuff, and these shelves let me rearrange my stuff in fun ways with each change of seasons.
The most exciting day of the rebuilding has to be the day my new stove was installed! I had only ever dreamed of owning such a beauty—six burners, dual-heat steam oven … forget about it. I love all of our new appliances, but this stove makes it easier for me to get out of bed in the morning. (Especially if I have ingredients for pancakes, bacon, and eggs in the fridge!) I still pinch myself every day I get to use this bad boy. I also am so glad we moved its location to this other wall. Our old stove was electric, so we had to run gas lines anyway, we may as well move the stove to a more convenient spot. Rerouting the exhaust vent wasn’t bad because the joists in the ceiling happened to run parallel with the stove wall. We plugged up the hole from the old vent with ventilation and covered it on the inside with drywall and tile, and covered the hole on the exterior with a metal plate and silicon until we’re able to patch the siding.
People often ask about the jars I use to store my food. They are Le Parfait brand, and you can find them lots of places online, but I’ve also had luck finding them at discount home stores such as Marshalls and HomeGoods. I used to have labels on every jar, but now I only have them on certain necessary ones that are easily mixed up. (Once I tried to make frosting using baking soda instead of powdered sugar!) I’m frequently moving the contents of a barely filled jar into a smaller one to free up the big jars, so things get shuffled around and labels just get to be annoying in that instance.
My girls and I begin every morning at the kitchen island. I sip coffee and answer their crazy questions while they usually eat eggs and toast or fruit and yogurt. We usually have lunch at the counter, too, but dinners happen at the round antique table that I scored on Craigslist. It has three leaves, so we can make it bigger for when we’re hosting friends and family, but most of the time it stays small like this.
I carried the traditional-rustic-meets-minimal-modern vibes to the dining area where I use the antique table alongside these elegant Lippa chairs from LexMod. The vintage booster seat gives this spot the perfect mix of old and new.
I sort of freaked out with excitement when I found this beautiful chandelier from Hinkley Lighting, because it so perfectly mixes a variety of styles I love: Bauhaus-inspired shiny chrome, funky ’70s curves and globe shapes, understated elegance that feels a bit traditional … Oh, and the clincher was that there were matching pendants perfectly sized for our kitchen island!
I can’t believe I’ve come this far without acknowledging my pink sink. I chose most of the materials because their were inexpensive and because they were safe enough that I knew I’d be happy with them for years to come. But I had to have a little fun somewhere! That’s where the pink sink comes in. This is an acrylic sink by Thermocast which is undermounted beneath our white Corian counters for the perfect pop of pink. I use a tray in the bottom of the sink to keep it from getting scratched up, but also to conveniently rinse dishes when things get piled up.With all of the new materials, I hadn’t considered how junky our old outlets and switches would be until I saw them alongside the new white walls and tile. Ugh. Details matter! So we installed new paddle switches, universal dimmers, and outlets from the Legrand Radiant line. The screwless wall plates are the perfect finishing touch and just fade to the background, letting my design choices take center stage. We also installed outlets with built-in nightlights in our halls and pathways, so we can easily sneak into the kitchen for midnight snacks!
Choosing a shade of white for our walls was a little stressful (even though I wrote an entire blog post about choosing white paint!), but I’m happy with Benjamin Moore’s Super White in our kitchen. It’s a particularly tricky space because there are a lot of white I don’t have control over, shade-wise, like our KitchenAid appliances, the dining chairs, the tiles, and to some extent, the countertops. Super White ended up being the perfect neutral white for this environment (not cool or warm) that felt very bright, but not as stark as untinted white would feel. It feels bright, crisp, and modern— perfectly at peace with the other white elements in the kitchen.
If you’d like to check out some of my older posts that chronicle my kitchen planning and process, I’ve listed them out for you below. You can also see a list of products and materials I used at the end of this post! If you have any questions, I’m more than happy to talk shop in the comments section.
Thanks so much for following along on this adventure! This has been the biggest home reno undertaking I’ve attempted, and I’m really happy with the results. Now I can’t wait to get started on some other rooms in our house! –Mandi
Materials and Products:
Wall paint: Benjamin Moore’s Super White
Cabinet paint: Annie Sloan’s Pure White (not on hood vent or refrigerator cabinet)
Wall tile: Home Depot
Tile grout: TEC Silverado
Pink sink: Thermocast
Faucet: Kraus from Home Depot
Island butcher block: Lumber Liquidators sealed with Waterlox
Flooring: Lumber Liquidators maple engineered wood
Stove: KitchenAid from Home Depot
Hood vent: Whirlpool from Home Depot with DIY cover
Dishwasher: KitchenAid from Home Depot
Refrigerator: KitchenAid from HomeDepot
Coffee maker: KitchenAid
Bar stools: Sold out at Target— similar here
Dining chairs: LexMod
Art: Milton Avery reproduction
Round lidded baskets on shelving wall: Xinh & Co
Kitchen radio: TEAC
Lighting: Hinkley Congress collection
Food storage jars: Le Parfait
Bread boxes: Amazon – small and large
Rug, spice rack, utensil crocks, dining table, booster seat, various pottery: vintage