Before/After: Kitchen

I hope everyone in the path of today’s snowstorm is staying warm and safe. We’ve already gotten about a foot so far and it’s not showing any signs of letting up! As for my readers in warm places like Florida and New Zealand… can I come visit?!

For this week’s Before/After look we will be checking out the room that has seen the MOST change in the past two years… the kitchen!

We almost didn’t buy our house because of the original design issues in the kitchen. The previous owners obviously didn’t like having people over because instead of a dining table, they just had a HUGE island that seated two.

That’s it.

Just an island. There was NO dining room in the house and NO space for a table in the kitchen.

Kitchen B - 2012

Kitchen - 2012

The kitchen was HUGE and there was this random box of an island all lined up under a light on one side of the room. Here, check out another view:

Kitchen C - 2012

I guess it worked for them, but how in the heck was I going to have a Thanksgiving dinner?! Not to mention that there wasn’t really a lot of counter space in the kitchen area to prepare food. It just seemed really odd and didn’t work for us at all.

We really liked the rest of the house though, so the problem of the weird kitchen kept floating around in my mind. UNTIL, I had a brilliant idea.

Let’s MOVE the island!

That’s right. It was like it was Lost all up in here and all our problems were solved by MOVING the ISLAND!

The day after we settled on the house, I sent my dad, husband and brother over while I enjoyed my baby shower. They were instructed to rip that darn island out of the floor, move it and take the granite top to be cut down to size. I also tasked them with painting the room a pretty shade of grayish blue, because for some reason the yellow walls made my pregnant brain want to hurl.

Totally logical.

Moving the island wasn’t a big deal, but it did leave a few holes in the floor – one larger one from the electrical wires and some smaller ones from the nails that they used to secure it. The previous owners must have gone nail crazy, because the entire bottom of the island was ripped apart from the nails once it was moved. Luckily the floor holes were easily covered with the accent rug and the island mess was hid behind some matching trim.

My husband took the island top to a granite shop and had them cut it down to size, since we no longer had the space available for an overhanging seating area. If I remember correctly, to cut it down and re-polish the granite edge, it only cost around $100.

Once we moved in, I made some more changes:

After saving up for a bit, we also purchased a new dishwasher and oven. Not only did the old appliances not match, they were pretty old and weren’t working very well. Our refrigerator is also old, but we don’t plan on replacing it until it dies.

Here is our kitchen and dining area now:

Kitchen B - 2014

Kitchen - 2014

Sorry for the glare, but with so much snow outside it was causing weird bright spots. Also, I was careful to take pictures from very similar angles as the original ones so that you can see what a huge change just a few tweaks made.

Having the island near the rest of the kitchen appliances and countertops ROCKS my world. I use it every single time I cook for preparing ingredients, plating food, laying out snacks for parties, etc. The trash can is hidden inside the island, which is a nice little space-saving bonus.

Moving the island meant we had plenty of room for our kitchen table. It’s from our old house and was a Roomstore find that opens up into a huge square to seat 8 for holidays.

Kitchen C - 2014

The tablecloth is from Target, the brown placemats are from Ikea and the Car’s kiddie placemat is from Walmart. I’m pretty sure the pedestal bowl holding bananas is a Homegoods score. The snazzy orange rug is from West Elm – I looked EVERYWHERE for a similar one for less money, but I pretty much fell in love with this one at first sight. They still sell it on their website and ours pretty much looks brand-new after repeated cleaning from a messy kid. And a messy husband. And I’m pretty sure it’s been hurled on by a dog too. So, I’m going to say it’s worth the money.

I made the little café curtains myself from a pack on sale at Target. I just took one curtain panel, cut it in half and sewed up the edges. Super easy and much cheaper than buying café curtains.

Kitchen E - 2014

I found this table and chairs at a thrift store, but I’m pretty sure it’s the Laitt set from Ikea for just $19.99. I LOVE this table because even if you scribble on the top with crayons it wipes off easily. Also, the mini chairs have fit not only my butt, but my husband’s butt on them.

Oh and you totally have to check out this cute little corner of the kitchen:

Kitchen D - 2014

The kitchen cart is from Target for $149.99, I just didn’t add on the wheels. If you like it, the red version is currently on sale for $74.98. The white KitchenAid mixer was handed down from my sister-in-law – I added the “made with love” decals to it myself. The vase was something that I would gaze lovingly at every time I went to Anthropologie until I received it as a gift for my birthday a couple years ago. The wall art is from Homegoods (large picture) and Ikea (small pictures). So you see, EVERYTHING was done on a budget!

Here’s my last little detail picture. I love the way that there are lots of patterns, but somehow they kind of “go” together.

Kitchen Details - 2014

The yellow bee cookie jar is from Homegoods and I love it, even though I’ve never actually put cookies inside. The yellow giraffe head is from World Market and the calendar was on clearance at Anthropologie when I stopped by on my 24 Hour Date.

What Still Needs to Change?
I hate our refrigerator. The freezer side is really skinny and when you thrust it open to reach inside, the door pops back and smacks you in the side of the head. Also, since it’s so skinny it’s difficult to fit stuff in there. Another drawback is that since the fridge is around 10 years old, they don’t make water filters for it anymore so we don’t use the water or ice feature much. I just can’t pull the trigger to buy a new fridge though because they’re very expensive and technically this one still works… so we wait.

The only other addition I’d like to make is that I really want a china cabinet. I inherited my grandmother’s beautiful china and I’d love a place to store it and show it off. If we found one, I’d put it where the kitchen cart currently lives, or in the opposite corner where we store an extra chair.

What do you think?
Do you want to come over and have a cup of coffee? Do you think the last owners were crazy-pants for having an island in the dining area? Do you want to steal my KitchenAid mixer so that your cookies are also ‘made with love’?

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

10 thoughts on “Before/After: Kitchen”

    1. Thanks Katie! I actually wasn’t meaning to put the table and chairs there when I first bought them… but it’s so nice to have his little area right there. It’s also a good (safe) place for him to use his crayons and playdough without me worrying about it ending up in the carpet!

  1. Our kitchen is about the size of a very small shoe box… so I’m so envious of anyone who can actually have room to work in theirs! You did a great job… I love it!

  2. I love it!

    And yes it’s very warm and sunny here in NZ…blue skies and warmth. All I want to do is lounge around drinking icy cold gin and tonics.

  3. I keep looking at that before picture and can’t figure out why they put the island where they put it. It doesn’t seem very functional! I love your changes. You have an island and room for a table…it’s such a better arrangement.

    Can you take this show on the road and come fix my house next? Please? Pretty Please? I will totally beg you.

  4. I love the changes to the kitchen! I think moving the island was the right move after all! Also, I love the idea of having a small table and chairs for kids as well! This is giving me all sorts of ideas for my kitchen! Thank you for the kitchen inspiration!

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