A Kitchen Before and After

This here is a story of a sad, small, dated kitchen.  The owners, aching for a fresh, practical update, called upon my father and me to transform the space.  They wanted it to be warmer, brighter and more functional.


Originally the kitchen was a U-shape with only one exit and entrance.  It felt disconnected from the rest of the house.  There was also an eat-in peninsula that jutted out into the kitchen, crowding the entrance and interrupting the work flow.


In smaller kitchen renovations we often ask our clients about their lifestyles to help us best space plan.  Do they formally entertain, or can we “borrow” from the dining room to enhance the overall space?  In this family’s case, an open floor plan was a priority over having a separate, formal dining room.  We removed the wall between the kitchen and dining space and really opened things up.  

This reoriented the kitchen- allowing space for an island and easy traffic flow.  We also adjusted the opening into the family room, allowing for a longer wall for the range and hood.  The new opening also lined up with the entrance from the front living room.  Now when you walk into the home you can see all the way back to the sun-filled family room, making the whole house feel brighter and larger.





One thing we do during the planning process for our “spatially challenged” clients is provide them with renderings of the proposed design.  Here was the imagined view looking at the window wall.  (PS- there is nothing wrong with being spatially challenged!  wink wink)




And here is the real deal.  The original dining wall would have cut through the island right about where the pendant light is.


In the new plan there is space for a pantry (to the right of the frig) and a dedicated small appliance area.  The island serves as storage space, prep space and a convenient eating area.  The microwave is also tucked on the other side of the island- convenient to the frig and eating area and out of the way of the main cook.



The clients wanted a warm, California-feel so we opted for honey-hued maple cabinets.  To keep the space from feeling to woody and boxy, we mixed in glass doors and open shelves in the corner.  The stainless farm sink felt a little modern and a little traditional- just like my clients!


With the microwave placed elsewhere, we have room for a dedicated hood.  We chose a linear slate mosaic tile to go above the hood.  It’s a chic focal point when you enter the area.


We did a clean, neutral quartz counter on the perimeter of the kitchen and a vivacious granite on the islands.  When my clients want a granite counter, I often suggest we do the perimeters in a neutral material and allow the granite to pop on the island.  A little goes a long way and it helps the whole kitchen from feeling too busy.


Of course my favorite part are the “accessories” like the barstools and pendant lights.  The are a great way to add texture and personality into a kitchen!



  1. Wow the after is amazing. You and your father do amazing work Naomi.

  2. Erin

    The transformation is AMAZING! As a very spatially challenged person, I would never have imagined those tired, dated rooms could be reconfigured in such a way.

    Fantastic job!

  3. Looks so amazing. Love the cabinetry. And those pendants are incredible! Infatuated with this kitchen.
    Tiffany
    thedesignerlifestyle.blogspot.com

  4. So open and bright! Love the pendants, like jewelry for your kitchen:)

  5. I love, love the new layout- such a HUGE improvement over the before. Also adoring the trim detail on the cupboards and how warm the space is. Beautiful work Naomi!

  6. Ashley

    So, so good. And the decision to move the microwave and leave open room for the mosiac behind the hood is genius!

  7. Oh wow, I didn’t even know you were working on a kitchen. Good surprise to get before and afters on the same day!

    I love a more open kitchen. It’s better for entertaining. I like that you only did the granite on the island. The pendant is pretty fab too.

  8. The kitchen looks great – what a great team you and your dad are!! – and I *love* the pendant light!

  9. Unbelievable, the transformation is incredible, there is so much light now, love it so much!

  10. What a transformation! Of course I also love the rug you threw down in the kitchen to make it even cozier!

  11. What a transformation!!! Love it!!

  12. Lori

    Wow! I’m sure their quality of life is much improved with the better flow and not having to look at those scary 80’s cabinets anymore :)

  13. nkp

    Oh my gosh, Naomi, they went nuts, didn’t they! How could they not. It’s just beautiful and those gilded pendants…jewels!

  14. Tara

    Seriously, you guys either need to do long distance work or move to Columbus!!

  15. What a wonderful transformation! I loved seeing the before and after photos side by side.

  16. Naomi this is incredible! I bet the owners are blown away and so happy with their new space. So functional yet stylish, great job!

  17. Ahhh!! so beautiful, what an incredible before and after, you guys are so great at making spaces functional AND beautiful, amazing job as usual!

  18. Errr…this is stupid awesome. the cabinets…the range hood…the countertop recco…the stools…and TELL ME WHERE THAT PENDANT IS FROM!!?!? please and thank you.

  19. kristen

    What an unbelievable job! It’s almost hard to believe this beautiful kitchen is the same one from the “before” pictures – well done!

    Also, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, but I think this is my first comment. I just wanted to say that you are really really talented. As someone who has worked in the home renovation, design build industry, your work is very well-designed and high quality :)

  20. Amazing job! What a difference from the first pic. Thanks for explaining a little bit about your choices too. Kitchens and bathrooms are sort of a challenge for me, so its cool to hear why you made certain choices.

  21. Debbie

    Love the bar stools, where did you get them? These are exactly the ones I’m looking for.

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