Kitchen Renovation

I am so excited to finally share our full kitchen renovation! It is one of my favorite places in the house and I truly enjoy spending time in this space. You won’t believe the transformation; we spent so many hours doing demolition and rebuilding, but it definitely paid off.


The kitchen was in horrible shape when we purchased the home. A quick history: we bought a foreclosure and the kitchen wasn’t even in working condition. There were no countertops, only plywood covered in mold. The cabinets were once probably very beautiful, but unfortunately they were also covered in mold and lots of the beautiful glass work was broken. The only thing I really wanted to keep was the original kitchen sink. Kalyn didn’t think it was very practical, so we came to a compromise. I kept the sink and still plan to refinish it, but it is going to live in the laundry room.

We started demo in this room first because of the horrible smell and the mold; it was clearly the one spot in the house that needed the most attention. This is one of the images posted from the original foreclosure listing, so you can see what we were dealing with:


We ripped everything out, including a few layers of linoleum (complete with asbestos) and a plaster wall, patched and refinished the hardwood floors, and then started rebuilding from there. Lots of elbow grease and MANY hours later, this is the final result:


We left a partial wall, making the space feel more open and larger. It serves as an easy transition from the kitchen to the dining room.


The sink and faucet are two of my favorite elements in the kitchen. Even though I wanted to keep the original sink, Kalyn had a good point in regards to practicality. The sink is a single vessel and there is so much space! The faucet is equally as awesome. It’s a smart touch, so it has a handy attachment that comes out, making dishes and cleaning a lot easier. Plus- it just looks amazing: the color, the shape, the design is really solid. Super happy with the combo!


Another thing I love about the sink is the deep window above it. I have lately become obsessed with plants of all sorts and I loving lining them up in the window sill. If I get bored with a few, I just move them around or change them out; it’s a constant rotation. Kalyn thinks I’m crazy.


Even though he thinks I’m nuts when it comes to my plants, he refuses to let me touch his bonsai tree, which also lives in our kitchen window. His mother got him this tree for his birthday a couple years ago and he’s been taking great care of it ever since. The problem? The original pot it came in was plastic and an ugly shape, clearly meant to be temporary. I found this really cool vintage planter on Etsy and he came home to find it replanted. Luckily the plant survived the repotting and all is well- we’re still married.


Picking out the cabinet hardware was the second most difficult decision in the kitchen (first being the counter top). I tried buying hardware online three different times and ended up sending it all back. I struggled to match the hardware to the faucet, so I decided physically going to a store was the only option. I finally found a great store in Cincinnati, called Norwood Hardware– if you’re in the area I highly recommend; they have tons of options from various manufacturers and exceptional customer service. I went with simple and classic hardware with an antique brass finish. The really cool thing about the hardware is each piece is made from 100% recycled material!




When nearly finished with our kitchen, we ran into a bit of a road bump- the appliances. To be specific, the fridge would not fit into its designated little nook. Kalyn ended up having to freehand cut part of a cabinet out and order a new cabinet door, allowing room for the fridge. In the end, somehow it all worked out.


Overall, I love our kitchen! I don’t think there is a single thing I would change. For a small space, we made the most of it and it’s really functional. We also stayed within a pretty tight budget. We tried to get standard cabinets and appliances, but still make it look unique and custom. Here’s a little tip for making standard cabinets feel custom: build a bulkhead above the cabinets; this will make them appear to extend all the way to the ceiling or trim. It eliminates negative space and elongates your cabinetry.

We also saved a ton of money doing most everything ourself. Believe it or not, demo took the most time. Aside from that, Kalyn did all of the electrical and plumbing work, with the help of my stepdad Chris. I’m lucky to have such handy guys in my life. However, if you’re not handy or don’t have handy friends, no worries- there are so many great tutorials online. We definitely referred to YouTube more than once.

I’m sure we’ll accumulate some more fun little accessories for our kitchen, like tea towels and canisters. I’ll be sure to post little vignettes as they happen! What do you think of our kitchen transformation? I love to hear feedback!

Sources:  Apron Front Kitchen Sink  //  Faucet in Brushed Bronze  //  Hardware  //  Pendant Light Above Sink (Vintage)  //  Medium White Subway Tile Back Splash + Gray Grout  //  Counter Top  //  Cabinets  //  Brass Terrarium (Wedding Gift)  //  White Ceramic Planter (Vintage)  //  Rug

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  1. Awesome! Great job and it looks perfect for the space.

      1. Catherine Mullis says:

        Hey Sarah, what is the color of the hardwoods you chose?

  2. Josie Moffatt says:

    Omg, Sarah! It’s so amazing!! You guys have done an crazy beautiful gorgeous job!! Love, love love!!! :)

  3. Ahhh Sarah!!!! I love this so much, I’d be afraid to cook in there and splash tomato juice everywhere! I’m so proud of you two! Makes me want to do my own little renovation, BUT… I better refrain. I’m ready to see the next room!!!!!!

    1. Thanks, Karen! So far we’ve made a few big messes and it cleaned up A-okay, haha! It was definitely a lot of work, but well worth it.

  4. Nancy Richardson says:

    Wow. Sounds a lot like my house reno. You guys did an excellent job and I love how it turned out!!! Esp the sink!!! :)
    Simple. Elegant. Gorgeous. Just like you’d find in a magazine! !

  5. Tania // Run to Radiance says:

    WOW! LOVE IT!!! :) So bright and clean and happy.

    1. Thanks, Tania! That’s definitely what we were going for!

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  14. Your kitchen came out beautifully!! What a crazy before and after! Thank you for sharing how you pulled it together and tips like extending standard cabinets to the ceiling. You did an amazing job and I loved seeing the finished room.

    1. Thank you, Lisa! It was a long process, but well worth it. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing the transformation. Thanks for checking it out :)

  15. Paint colors please? Thanks!

    1. Hi Renee,
      The gray wall on the left is Benjamin Moore Nimbus Gray, the cabinetry is Dove White by Mohawk, the trim was custom color matched to the cabinetry- it’s pretty close to Sherwin Williams Pure White. Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Gorgeous! Would you share what stain color you used when you refinished the floors? Is it walnut?

    1. Thanks, Elise! The species of wood is red oak, stained with dark walnut made by Minwax.

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  18. Which color of silestone are the counters. Beautiful job!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      The Silestone swatch is called Lagoon. However, they just released new colors and if I could do-over… my new favorites are Helix and Pulsar; both will give you that same marbled look. Thanks for stopping by!

  19. Christina says:

    I love your kitchen! Would you mind sharing what brand your appliances are? I want to do an all-white kitchen too, but I’m having such trouble finding nice-looking white appliances!

    1. Thank you, Christina! Appliance shopping is super difficult. I wasn’t happy with one brand consistently from a visual aesthetic and my husband was super picky about quality. So, I ended up selecting my favorite styles from three different brands. Appliance brands don’t have to match, just be careful matching the finishes. Most finishes across different name brands are the same, they just label them different colors. My microwave and stove/oven are Whirlpool, the fridge is Samsung, and the dishwasher is GE. I wanted a glossy white finished. Most brands call this ice white. I’m super happy with everything and I wouldn’t have done it differently. Good luck! Thanks for reading. -Sarah

      1. I realize this is an old post, but I am wondering about your satisfaction with your appliances. I’ve not heard great, even good, things about Samsung refrigerators. I’m in the process of redoing my kitchen and am struggling with appliance replacement. My biggest problems are meshing quality, price, style, and availability. Current stove and fridge (both GE) are 24 years old and current dishwasher (Kenmore) is 12 years old. I’m definitely having a problem with today’s prices versus today’s reliability. The other big issues these days seems to be service after the sale. I agree that appliances don’t all have to come from the same brand but even at that, this trying to decide has definitely been a struggle.

        1. Hi Mavis! We honestly never had any issues with those appliances. My parents have two of that same refrigerator in both of their kitchens and haven’t had issues. We’re honestly struggling with our GE range… you can read more about that in this post (for a more updated chat on appliances):

  20. Cute house! Would you mind sharing the color of stain on your hardwood floor? The tone is perfect!

    1. Thanks so much! The floor stain is Minwax Dark Walnut with a satin finish (on original oak flooring). Hope this helps!! xo

  21. Ásdís Guðmundsdóttir says:

    Hi Sarah.

    Can I ask you where you got the faucet that matches with the brass handles from Norwood Hardware ? :)

    p.s. Love your kitchen !

    1. Thank you! The faucet can be found here, in the brilliance brushed bronze finish. xo

  22. Hi Sarah,
    Can you tell me about the gold/brass color in the spots? Are they custom or did you paint them? Love the idea! Thanks!

    1. Hi Kira, the recessed can lighting actually came from Lowes. They came with the brass interior… I didn’t have to make any modifications. Hope this helps! xo

  23. Your kitchen is beautiful! I was curious what type of molding/trim you used to create the bulkhead above your cabinets?

    1. Thank you Amanda! This was our very first home. We used poplar to build the bulkhead, then trimmed it out :)

  24. Love this white kitchen and wanting to do something very similar!!! I have a few questions. What’s the most durable material for apron sinks in terms of no staining and scratching? Composite granite? What kraftmaid cabinet style did you go with and in what colour? Also, was it super expensive to have the asbestos tile removed? I assumed you had processionals take that stuff out? We are going to have the same problem.

    1. Hi Steph! I can’t remember the exact cabinetry door style, as this was years ago, but it was a simple shaker style door. Emmett and I actually do the work ourselves, so we removed the tile, etc. We did have to take extra precaution and steps because of asbestos. As for the sink- is recommend silgranite, composite granite, enamel, or fire clay. Xo