Kitchen Renovation Before and After

Time for the big reveal… our kitchen renovation is complete and I’m so excited to share the before and after photos. We turned our Cape Cod 1950’s retro kitchen into a bright and modern space that feels so open and airy. 

Welcome to our new kitchen! It’s modern, bright and makes me smile so big every time I walk in. I’m kinda’ sorta’ obsessed, and pinch myself daily questioning if I’m dreaming… I still can’t believe this kitchen belongs to us.

This next shot is my absolute favorite because you can see the whole space, including the contrast of the navy peninsula with the white cabinets and backsplash, the antique brass pulls, the pendant lights and the rug.

And here’s a before photo from the same angle, just so you can see the retro kitchen we were working with before. I’m still unsure which part I was most excited to see go — bright orange walls, the tile countertops that were impossible to clean, the clunky track lighting or the bright yellow, diner-style peninsula with shelves that ended up storing my nut butter collection.

As you can see, we kept the same layout because after discussing a bunch of different ideas, we decided there really wasn’t much we could do to change the layout given the space. You can’t see it well in these photos, but we did decide to close off our small pantry (which also holds the HVAC piping) so that we could add cabinetry beside and around the fridge.

This has been a game changer, and I don’t miss our tiny pantry at all because the new cabinet situation and pull-out shelves make for an awesome pantry and turned the area around the fridge into usable space.

Sadly, the fridge photos and magnets had to go! Gotta put all those photos in a album.

One thing I was dead set on before renovating was a farmhouse sink. I really love the look and thought for sure it was what I wanted for our space, but after working with a local design company (Lustre Home) to help pick everything out, they recommended going with a square stainless under-mount sink instead. Once I saw this option I was sold! Our old sink was white porcelain (like most farmhouse sinks) and it was terribly stained and so hard to keep clean. To make matters worse, the edges around the sink were sealed, and the caulk had started peeling and turned black… not a pretty look. Given the state of our current sink, I actually liked the idea of having an under-mount sink that was stainless. And the one we purchased is super deep and has a wire rack to prevent scratching. I also like the wire rack because we’re able to use the sink as a drying rack if needed.

Two of my favorite components of the new kitchen are the backsplash and the countertops. I knew from the get-go that I wanted a bright white kitchen, so I thought about going with the traditional white subway tile backsplash at first. I’m so happy that the Lustre Home ladies convinced me to go with the fan/fish scale tile because we absolutely love it. The pattern is subtle, but it adds a really nice touch of dimension that helps offset the overload of white. It also feels a bit more unique considering I’ve never been in another kitchen with a similar backsplash.

And here’s a before at this angle because everyone loves a good before and after.

We ended up purchasing all new appliances as well. The appliances we had were left from the previous owners, they didn’t match and were quite old. Now everything matches and so far the Kitchen Aid appliances we picked out have been working great. I think the fridge is my favorite part of the appliance upgrades. After three years in this house, we finally have a working ice maker and a purified water dispenser! I’ll have to do a full fridge tour so you can see my sparkling water and chocolate drawer — it’s pretty awesome!

For the countertops, I went into the design process thinking I wanted marble, but once I realized how easily they stain and scratch, I changed my mind and decided to go with quartz instead. Plus, we have plenty of marble in the new master bathroom. For the countertops I chose a stone that has a similar look to marble called Cashmere Carrara. It’s a subtly gray veined polished quartz from MSI.

I have to mention that Olive loves the new kitchen too. She’s super funny about eating and always takes food from her bowl to eat it on a rug in the living room. Now that we have a rug in the kitchen she doesn’t have to travel far for a comfy spot to dine… haha! #spoiledrotten

So there ya have it… here’s our new kitchen! I’m so excited to start cooking up lots of delicious and healthy recipes for you in this space!

And just for kicks, here are a few side-by side-before and afters. I still can’t over the transformation!

Before and after kitchen photos. Before the stove is white, the cabinets are dark and the walls are orange. After, the kitchen is white with a chrome stove and microwave, and a scalloped backsplash.

Before and after photos of a kitchen. Before the cabinets are dark, and the walls are orange. After the cabinets are white and the walls are white-grey. There are wooden bar stools at a navy and marble counter.

Before and after side-by-side photos of a kitchen. The before has orange walls and a yellow counter top. After is a light grey wall and a navy bar counter top. A woman sits on a stool, and a dog is on the rug.

source list: paint color: Benjamin Moore Moonshinebacksplash tile / countertopsflooringpendant lights / semi-flush mount light /vintage brass square knob / vintage brass pull / square undermount stainless single bowl sink / faucet / runner /kitchen matfridge / range / microwave / dishwasher / similar bar stools

Photos by the lovely Michelle Chu Photography

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    1. Universal Stone
      April 5, 2021 AT 2:11 am

      It’s beautiful, an inspiration for homeowners planning to transform their kitchen!

    2. Mandy Reilly
      December 14, 2020 AT 10:01 am

      I was so happy to find your post about your kitchen renovation! Lovely job. Our house is a 1934 bungalow with a kitchen that’s layed out much like yours with the odd little penninsula. We too have decided that the best solution is to keep the layout mostly the same. Any chance you can share a bit more on the construction of the updated penninsula. It’s perfect! Thank you!

    3. James Jason
      September 24, 2020 AT 8:04 pm

      No doubt that this is a wonderful blog! Giving a lot more idea of how to make a unique renovation of the kitchen.

    4. Ghulam Mohyudin
      March 12, 2020 AT 3:05 pm

      This was really interesting to read! I love the range of posts, there is really something for everyone, great post!

    5. eva
      January 15, 2020 AT 4:08 pm

      what are the new floors?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        January 16, 2020 AT 4:16 pm

        Hey Eva – We used this flooring.

    6. lora
      November 29, 2019 AT 1:33 pm

      I love this, especially these stools! Can I ask where you got them?

    7. My Bath
      October 29, 2019 AT 1:07 am

      Yeah! I agreed with your post the kitchen renovation give a new look to the kitchen.Kitchen is important for taking a change in the house. Thankyou for this post

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 29, 2019 AT 11:40 am

        Thank you!! So glad you enjoyed this post! 🙂

    8. Melissa
      October 28, 2019 AT 10:52 am

      I do love your bright yellow retro island though!!
      It turned out amazing good job! I guess I will get to my kitchen eventually. I love your explanation of the sink, I haven’t ever thought of that but that is something I’ll definitely go with!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 28, 2019 AT 12:51 pm

        The retro island was fun, but also super narrow, so not very useful! But we have a downstairs bathroom right off the kitchen that is still super retro and let’s us keep some of the house’s 1949 character. It’s done with black and salmon colored tile. 🙂

    9. lisa
      October 8, 2019 AT 11:50 pm

      beautiful kitchen!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 9, 2019 AT 1:04 pm

        Thank you Lisa! 🙂

    10. Sam Li
      June 14, 2019 AT 4:32 pm

      I love what you said about the benefits of a stainless steel sink. When it comes to renovating a kitchen, it’s important to weigh different factors. My neighbor wants to get his kitchen renovated, so I’ll help him find a contractor that can bring his vision to life.

    11. Stephan le Roux
      May 13, 2019 AT 6:00 am

      It’s amazing what a big difference the right color makes to any room. What a beautiful outcome!

    12. Ciara
      April 27, 2019 AT 12:55 pm

      Love this! Do you have a source for your cabinets?


      1. Brittany Mullins
        April 29, 2019 AT 5:09 pm

        Yes, we used Koch & Company Cabinets.

    13. Sam Li
      March 12, 2019 AT 5:45 pm

      I appreciate what you said about sticking with the same layout in order to get the most out of the kitchen space. Remodeling a kitchen takes time and effort, so it’s best to work with a contractor that has an extensive portfolio filled with previous work. If I were to remodel my own kitchen, I would spend some time contacting a contractor in town that is known for their quality work.

    14. larasmith
      January 16, 2019 AT 8:05 am

      Here is an amazing difference kitchen renovation before and after. I read your article and I can imagine that really makes you smile when you walk in.

    15. Los Angeles Interior Designer
      December 27, 2018 AT 1:47 am

      I really like your new kitchen design! I love that all the accessories you have placed. Thanks for sharing such an amazing post!

    16. Gina
      October 28, 2018 AT 3:02 pm

      Gah, I love it SO SO much! It’s so funny because a lot of what you said is so similar to my thoughts as I plan out our reno for the spring (aka the farmhouse sink thing like EXACTLY! lol) Your island color is so sharp, I really love that blue and the stools you chose with it. Enjoy cooking in that gorgeous new space!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 29, 2018 AT 9:19 am

        Thank you, Gina! I can not wait to see how your kitchen turns out! <3

    17. Jennifer
      October 26, 2018 AT 11:40 am

      Wow, so beautiful! I’m sure you’re beyond happy.

    18. Joyce
      October 26, 2018 AT 11:20 am

      Love your upgrade. Sure wish I could do that.I think the quartz countertop was a very wise decision. That is exactly what I want and I love your back splash.

    19. Jessica
      October 24, 2018 AT 10:52 pm

      Gorgeous! It’s is so so bright! Did you install bigger windows or did it just become that bright simply fromswitching to white from black and orange?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 25, 2018 AT 9:32 am

        Nope, we have the same windows. Painting the walls the light gray color and changing the cabinets to white instead of that deep, dark brown make things so much brighter!

    20. Rose
      October 23, 2018 AT 3:30 pm

      It’s beautiful ❤️ Well deserved. Your healthy cooking inspires me.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 23, 2018 AT 4:21 pm

        Thank you so much, Rose! I’m so happy that the healthy recipes I post inspire you. It’s why I do what I do and I’m really grateful to have this new kitchen to cook in. <3

    21. dana
      October 21, 2018 AT 7:26 pm

      Oh my gosh, it’s stunning. SWOON!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 22, 2018 AT 1:00 pm

        Thank you! <3

    22. Erica
      October 20, 2018 AT 9:54 am

      Beautiful redo!! I just redid my kitchen, and transformed it from dark and brown to bright and white. We have the same kitchen handles and lighting over breakfast bar as you! We also did a mix of white and navy cabinets like you as well. And the countertops look basically the same and I was so tempted to go with fishscale tiles for backsplash (we settled on the Arabesque tile instead.) LOL. So I guess I love your kitchen because we have the same taste! Enjoy it!!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 20, 2018 AT 3:26 pm

        Oh my goodness… it’s so funny that our kitchen renovations are so similar. I’m sure the Arabesque tile looks lovely. I’d love to see a picture!

    23. Jess
      October 19, 2018 AT 11:56 am

      So pretty!!! Can you share the paint color you used on the island?

      1. Brittany Mullins
        October 22, 2018 AT 1:03 pm

        Hey Jess! The cabinets came in the navy color from the custom cabinet company so we didn’t paint them.

    24. Kath
      October 19, 2018 AT 10:06 am

      It’s gorgeous!!! I love quartz for the same reason. Our current house came with granite that is nice enough I wouldn’t tear it out, but quartz-that-looks-like-marble is on my wish list for a future house!

    25. Udeme Attang
      October 18, 2018 AT 3:47 pm

      This renovation came out great!

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