An Older Kitchen Refresh With Before & After Photos

An Older Kitchen Refresh With Before & After Photos

While taking the pictures for the “Wall Of Baskets” post last week, I realized that I haven’t shared any “before and after” photos of our kitchen in our Houston, Texas home.

The very few “before” shots that I have are from the realtor’s listing and the furniture and décor belong to the house’s previous occupants.

On the “before” photos, the kitchen seems to be much bigger than what it is in reality ~ realtors do use special wide angle lenses to capture an entire room and make it feel much more spacious. For american standards ~ and for Texas in particular ~ this kitchen is considered small. This is by no means a complaint, as I’ve come to realize that cooking in a smaller kitchen rather than in a huge one, works best for me ~ but that’s for another post! Even still, this kitchen is about three times bigger than the teeny tiny ones I had in Greece and Germany.

The beige walls and the brown cabinets were definitely the main culprits of this dark kitchen ~ the cabinets were actually painted (not stained) with brown oil-based paint and were not pretty at all. Other than that, the kitchen was overall decent with newer appliances and neutral light fixtures.

There were only three major changes to this kitchen but they were enough to completely transform the space  (1) wood floors replaced the travertine tile (2)  the walls and cabinets were painted white (3) the backsplash was replaced with matte subway tile.

Look how bright and sunny this kitchen became! All without having to tear anything down. I have to say, that my love for white walls (and white in general) dates to some decades back. From my very first house in the late ’80’s, till today, I always end up with white.

A couple of minor changes were also part of this small reno: a white silgranit sink took the place of an old identical dark brown one (same brand/same model, just different color). And the area under the windows which used to be covered with the same tile as the backsplash is now replaced with a wooden shelf.

While house hunting, I was really surprised to see that most houses built in the 80’s, here in Texas, had island stove tops, and this house was no exception. This was a first for me as I had never cooked on an island stove top before and I was concerned about having exposed pots with boiling water, oil splatters etc., especially with an island being so narrow (the island in this house is actually big compared to other stove top islands we saw, which were literally just the size of the stove top itself). I would had preferred a plain island reserved exclusively for prepping and/or serving food, but by now, I am used to this new way of cooking and I quite like it!

Here in Texas, I also found out that many kitchens had induction and ceramic cook tops ~ and this house had one, too. I know that many people prefer to cook with gas, but I LOVE having a clean and shiny cook top – something that is never possible with a gas stove top.  Also, the island is the perfect size for this kitchen as it allows me to keep kitchen utensils close by while cooking, and it facilitates the traffic flow from/to the eating area.

The cabinets are about 30 years old, just like the house. Their shelves are not adjustable and the lower cabinets don’t have any pull out drawers – not even a pull out trash can, something that I was so used having in the previous houses. Compared to our prior home, this kitchen also has significantly less cabinets. Yet, I LOVE these cabinets. Now that they are painted white, they look fresh and clean AND, surprisingly, I was able to fit ALL of my dishes and glasses and pots and still have a little EMPTY space for more! This may happen because the cabinets are not separated inside from each other, so there is no wasted storage space!

Also, I found the way to make amazing and inexpensive DIY pull out baskets/drawers for two of the lower cabinets and I now have the conveniences of a modern kitchen. You can read about these projects here and here.

Only this side of the kitchen got a new backsplash. Subway tile will be a classic for many more years, so that was an inexpensive and good choice.

On the opposite side of the kitchen, the old travertine backsplash was taken down but was not replaced with tile. I think that this was a good decision, as it makes the desk area a little cozier. It also allowed me to add this tiny DIY ledge  that conveniently holds two oil-on-canvas paintings and sometimes a small vase with a bloom or some greenery from the yard, or even a small note. At first, I was not thrilled with this built-in kitchen desk, especially because it’s so close to the prep and cooking areas, but I now find it very convenient to answer an email or edit a post while a pot of pasta is boiling on the stove. Had I designed this kitchen, I would have made the desk at the same level as the countertop, but this was not something that could be fixed in this small renovation! Speaking of countertops, although I do appreciate the convenience and durability of granite, I am not a fan of this specific color. If these countertops were ever to be replaced, I would love to have a white surface to work on.

The open shelves above the desk are perfect for displaying some of my favorite old and new tureens, and other ironstone pottery.

The eating area is on the other side of the kitchen. I decorated the wall with a few big and beautiful baskets which add warmth and character to the space. Read how I created this wall of baskets, here.

I recently moved this green cabinet from another part of the house into the kitchen’s eating area and I love the happiness it brings into the space. You will not see many pops of color in my house, just because color is not me {apart from art}, so this is eating is an exception. The color is also along the Pantone color of the year 2017 ~ I wouldn’t have guessed two years ago when I was painting this little piece of furniture! You can see what the cabinet looked like when I first got it, and how I transformed it for just $15, here. I keep placemats on the top compartment (very convenient as they’re next to the table) and wine bottles on the bottom part {fortunately, I had not thrown away the bottle racks that were originally installed in the cabinet, so I just put them back in place}. The painting above the cabinet is a $2 thrift find ~ not an absolute favorite but it fills the wall for the the time being, until I find something more appropriate.

To add glam to this kitchen {and to our lives!} and because I didn’t want the baskets to give a “country/rustic” feel, I decided to bring out a few silver items that were reserved for special occasions only, and use them on a daily basis. I keep them polished and they upgrade the space instantly. You can read about it, here.

The kitchen has double doors to the dining room and one large opening to the living room. Although this is not technically an open floor plan, the kitchen is not totally enclosed or secluded. I don’t miss having an open floor plan in this new house – not at all! I should maybe write a post explaining the many reasons why an open floor plan does not work for me!

With only a few changes, the kitchen has a total new look. It is now such a bright and happy space that its old age really does not matter anymore. In fact, I think it may be my favorite kitchen of all times ~ and I’ve had quite a few with the many moves over the past years, some being huge and truly amazing. But still, this kitchen with its few updates has stolen my heart!

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Hi! I'm Angelica! For the last ten years I've been sharing my cooking, home projects and ideas with my sister Irene. "Once Again, My Dear Irene" is just an extension of our daily chats. Moreover "My Dear Irene" Continue Reading