My Kitchen Remodel Reveal

before and after photos of a complete kitchen makeover

The Yummy Life's kitchen recently got a complete makeover. As a food blogger spending most days cooking and photographing as I create recipes, my desire for a kitchen remodel was both personal and professional. Some of my choices were specifically made to make my blogging life easier, but overall I wanted a beautiful, organized, efficient place to cook in my home. 

This was a down-to-the-studs, total gut job remodel. Anyone who has lived through the months of a major remodel understands that the process itself is a hassle, but it quickly becomes so  worth it. After cooking in my new kitchen for a few months now, I am so in love with the results. No regrets. It was definitely worth the months of inconvenience during the remodel itself.

Making something old new again. Our house is almost a century old, and we've lived in it for over 20 of those years. Along with the charm of an old house came numerous challenges that revealed themselves throughout the remodel. Our house has good bones and was originally very well-built. However, within the walls we encountered a few surprises that required our architect and contractor to find creative solutions along the way.  We were glad they both were experienced at working with old houses, because they were able to resolve every hiccup we encountered.

Remodel wish list. Before the remodel began, we made a list of features we wanted the most. Here are the highlights:

  • More natural light. 2 reasons for that. First, natural light makes the house more happy and inviting--it brings the outside in and creates a better living environment. Second, I photograph the food for my blog in natural light only (no artificial lighting) and that was always a challenge in my old kitchen. I wanted a kitchen with enough natural light entering from different windows that I could easily photograph in several parts of my kitchen.
  • A  window over the cooktop--admittedly an unusual preference, but I wanted natural light when I cook and photograph.
  • Combine the kitchen and dining room into one open space.
  • Not a cookie-cutter kitchen. I didn't want our kitchen to look like every new kitchen in every new house. I wanted ours to have personality and reflect our taste. I wanted to be on trend when it suited my taste but didn't want to be bound by current trends.
  • Lots of counter space. I hoped to have an island for workspace and storage plus a bar for seating, storage, and extra workspace. I didn't know if there would be room for both an island and a bar, but that was the dream. 
  • White(ish), glare-free counters. I love the clean look, and it's also the best surface for photography.
  • A combination of white and natural wood cabinetry. All-white kitchens look too sterile to me.
  • Architectural continuity with the rest of the house. We didn't want to walk in the front door and have it look like half of the house had been remodeled. We wanted it to all flow together. We love the original archways throughout our house and wanted them incorporated in the new design.
  • A walk-in pantry with an appliance counter. I've never in my life had a walk-in pantry, and I wanted one!
  • Double wall ovens. I wanted the ease and visibility of elevated ovens and the extra capacity of having two.
  • An induction cooktop. I've used gas for years but am now totally sold on induction cooking. I'll explain why in an upcoming post.
  • Cabinetry that provided primarily drawer storage with minimal wall cabinetry. 
  • Some open shelving. It's handy and adds design interest to the room. I also wanted a place to display my colorful dishes while visually adding splashes of color.
  • Coffered, beamed ceilings. We wanted them added just because we love the look and they are consistent with the age of our house.

It takes a village!
I am in awe of the skill, ingenuity, and artistry of the talented people who transformed our kitchen. From the architects, to the carpenters, to the electricians, to the painters, to the masons and tile workers--together they made my dream kitchen a reality. In particular, a big shout-out to:

  • Killeen Studio Architects -- They understood our vision for a remodel with all of the modern updates I wanted while maintaining the historic integrity and style of our house. I explained the features I wanted in my new kitchen (listed above) and they made every single one happen while adding architectural details that made the old and new flow together seamlessly. Mike and Adam totally nailed the design.
  • Millennium Restoration & Development -- They specialize in renovating old homes and buildings and served as general contractor for our remodel. They have a team of awesome and talented carpenters, masons, and sub-contractors--I marveled at their skill every single day. They were creative problem solvers when the unexpected "old house" challenges arose. These guys could figure out how to fix anything! John, Brandon, and Chris led their talented team.
  • Henry Kitchen and Bath -- They did the cabinet design and sourcing. I totally love my Omega cabinets! Traci listened to my preferences and was agreeable and flexible when I wanted to go against design trends. Her guidance in combining a natural walnut island and walnut open shelving  with white cabinetry resulted in exactly the look I wanted. She also helped me select some awesome organizers that still wow me every day. (I'll reveal my drawer storage system and other organizers in a future post.)

An overview with more to come
Today, I'm sharing an overview of our remodel with before and after photos. In future posts I will get more into the weeds of different components of the kitchen remodel--sourcing for cabinets, countertops, hardware, appliances, paint, etc., along with organization of kitchen drawers, and my awesome new walk-in pantry. But, this post is devoted to a basic show-and-tell of the overall kitchen remodel. We also remodeled the rest of the 1st floor of our house and made a few changes to the 2nd floor too. I will share glimpses of those in future posts.

Our Kitchen Remodel -- Before and After
Below is a view of the wall that was removed between our kitchen and dining room. (Those dated paint colors make me cringe a little! 😬) Our house has original archways leading into several rooms, and we wanted to incorporate arches into our remodel in order to provide design continuity. After the kitchen was gutted and the wall was removed, an arch was added to visually define the kitchen and dining space; also we added large arched windows in the kitchen.B_A_opening_wall_labeled.jpg

Below is a before and after view of our dining room from the front door entryway. The arches matched throughout the first floor, with trim and keystones added to each.B_A_from_entry.jpg

You can see in the photos below how the kitchen and dining rooms were opened up and transformed into a lighter, brighter place. We added coffered beamed ceilings in every room on the first floor for architectural interest and design continuity. I particularly love the arch over the bar that separates the kitchen and dining room; it creates architectural flow from one room to the next.B_A_from_dining_room.jpg

Below is a different angle where you can see "thru" the old dining room wall into the new kitchen. The bar with stools has been a game changer in how we use our kitchen. It's a great place to eat, of course, but also provides additional counter prep space for cooking, a place where I work on my laptop, and is perfect for setting up a buffet with easy access to the dining table. I'm so happy that our architect was able to fit in both an island and a bar.B_A_from_dining_room2.jpg

Below is what our old kitchen looked like on the other side of the dining room wall that was removed.B_A_from_din.room_3.jpg

Below is a view of the kitchen from the opposite side, looking from the kitchen into the dining room. I went with the trend of having an island color that contrasts with the other cabinetry. I love the mix of white and wood and chose a natural walnut island. The wood tones only get richer as time goes on. ❀❀❀B_A_opening_wall_from_kitchen.jpg

Below is a view of our bar from the kitchen side. It has spacious drawers for storage and a beverage fridge.IMG_20190924_113526edit.jpg

Below you can see how the architect left a bit of the original dining room wall so there would be a place for the fridge at the end of the bar. There's also a small cabinet and open shelving for cookbooks to the right of the fridge.B_A_fridge.jpg

Among my favorite features of our new kitchen are the big arched windows. They bring so much light into the room and add a distinctive design element. The window over the sink has clear glass and looks onto our deck that is filled with plants and flowers. I love standing at my sink and looking out that window! The window over the stovetop has obscured glass, since the view out the window is the side of our neighbor's house. We wanted light from that window but didn't need the view. I had suggested glass bricks over the stovetop for obscured light, but our brilliant architect suggested a matching arched window with obscured glass instead--such a better choice!B_A_from_island_end.jpg

Below is another view of the kitchen. In the "before" picture, the arched doorway on the right leads to our old back door. We closed off that door and converted that area to a walk-in pantry. A new back door was added next to the pantry.B_A_toward_pantry_labeled.jpg

Behind the teal pocket door (repurposed from our previous back door) is a new walk-in pantry with an appliance counter. I'll share details about the pantry in a future post. For now, let me just say that I love my new pantry almost as much as my children. Not quite, but almost. πŸ˜‰Pantry_entrance.jpg

We added solid walnut open shelving in several places. Shelving on either side of the arched window over the sink is perfect for displaying my colorful Italian dishes that I bought on my trip to the Amalfi Coast of Italy. They are handy there, since I use them every day; and, I also love how they add a pop of color to the wall. I store glassware on the shelves over the small sink--that area is "Cocktail Central"! 🍸🍷🍹 Open shelves next to the fridge are for storing cookbooks.PicMonkey_Image.jpg

My white-on-white tile goes all the way to the ceiling on two walls. I love that look. I went against trend and didn't choose subway tile. I don't dislike subway tile, but I preferred something with more pattern and texture. White grout against the white tile keeps the design more subtle, while adding texture and beautiful shadows. I particularly like the contrast of the white tile against the walnut shelves, window trim and colored dishes. (Thanks to my sister, Nelda, for helping me pick out tile!)PicMonkey_Image_tile.jpg

And, for my blog...  Below, the walnut cabinet under the window was custom designed to use for my blog photography. You can't tell, but it is on wheels that are discreetly tucked up underneath. I do much of my blog photography on this cart using the natural window light. Because it's on wheels, as the light shifts throughout the day I can roll it to different locations. It's lower than regular counter height making it easier to shoot from overhead. I store my camera equipment in the drawers below. A bonus is that it doubles as a cart that I can pull up to the table if I need the extra space for serving food. It also is great for a baking prep counter--the perfect height for rolling out dough. I can wheel it next to wherever I'm working in the kitchen. I had no idea how versatile that cart would turn out to be!IMG_20190924_111159edit.jpg

That's my kitchen remodel overview. I'll be sharing more details in future posts. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!Final_collage.jpg

Make it a Yummy day!



You might also like this post about creating a 2nd floor laundry closet:

Posted on Wednesday, September 25th, 2019

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