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. 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

  2. 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!

    • 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. 🙂

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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!!

  8. 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!

  9. It’s gorgeous! I have a lot of the same problems. We also have a 1950s kitchen but a previous owner did a “DIY” remodel which was basically putting tile on top of the old counters and I absolutely hate it. Like you said impossible to clean and I have the caulk/grimey issue around the sink as well. I would totally do the same kind of countertops you have and that “wipe into the sink” style. Looks great. I can’t wait to redo our kitchen someday. It’s not paramount right now and totally functional but more like on a wish list. I definitely want to keep the integrity of the home and create something timeless when we do redo it.

  10. As someone who loves and appreciates retro design, I actually really liked the character of your old kitchen. The new one is indeed lovely, but looks like every reno-red kitchen on HGTV.

    But to each, their peach. If you’re happy, we’re happy – and it IS your kitchen and happy place after all. 🙂

  11. Yes, that older dark decor in a small kitchen was oppressive and definitely dated. I personally prefer light, light, light in my spaces.

    Let us know how you like the squarish corners on the SS sink. I put in a 10″ deep sink a few years ago and love it. I didn’t get the wire rack at the time and regret it. They don’t seem to make my sink or racks anymore. I do use a wire basket with pull out handles to straddle the sink. It is great for an extra dish dryer or for veggies from the garden when they need to dry dry. And there is plenty of room underneath for the dirty dishes.

    Let us know how you like those squarish corners of the sink for cleaning.

    Enjoy your your new kitchen. It feels much more welcoming with good light energy.

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