Here, some of our most memorable kitchen renovations in stark before-and-after contrast
Slide 1 Of Our Best Before-and-After Kitchens
Renovations are part and parcel of owning a home, and while few are stress-free (Hmm—granite or marble, hardwood floors or subway tiles?), the end result can be stunning. We have collected some of our most memorable kitchen renovations here in stark before-and-after contrast to inspire readers who may be staring down the abyss of renovation. Read on for the fabulous results.
The kitchen needed a sturdier island that better fit the scale of the space. Appliances integrated into the custom cabinets by Casa Verde give the kitchen a furniture feel that blends with the adjoining living room. The island chandelier and the hanging lantern between the wall cabinets are from Dennis & Leen.
The original layout of this kitchen was large and utilitarian, appropriate for raising a busy family. With the kids out of the house and homeowner Susan Brunn living more independently, she desired a more updated, stylish look for her kitchen.
See another view of the updated kitchen on the following slide.
The updated kitchen is much brighter and more cheerful than the previous one. Wavy handmade glass imported from Germany and installed in cabinet fronts reflects light and adds character to the space. “Calacatta Gold” marble countertops give the space an airy, lighter feel.
Photographs: Werner Straube
Design: Rosemary Merrill
Designer (and co-homeowner) Bob Williams incorporated a mix of materials—Carrara marble, honed black granite, stainless steel, and subway wall tiles—in the expanded space. A 1936 Magic Chef range adds vintage appeal.
One island was replaced with two—one for cooking, the other for cleaning—to ease traffic flow. Pendant fixtures from Circa Lighting illuminate the counters. Stools from Restoration Hardware add a touch of rustic charm at the island for casual seating.
Photograph: Francesco Lagnese
Kitchen Design: Nancy Thornett
The two islands were combined into one large island, introducing more balance to the space. With seating for six, the island features “Amsterdam Bar Stools” in blue from the Suzanne Kasler Collection for Hickory Chair. Three nickel-banded pendants from Lauren by Ralph Lauren for Circa illuminate the kitchen and visually fill spatial volume above the island.
See this kitchen remodel from another angle on the following slide.
In the new kitchen, a window above the sink was high on homeowner Ellen Conley’s wish list. This window embraces the historic language of the original windows, notes architect Donald Lococo. The massive island, stained in a delightful chocolate brown, serves as the focal point of the kitchen work area.
See the remodeled breakfast room on the following slide.
The new traditional-style kitchen is more open. New custom-built cabinets in creamy white now complement the architectural details of the house and provide generous storage—a must-have for homeowners who love to cook and entertain. A peninsula was removed to open the kitchen to the family room, and a large island painted a soft gray now anchors the space. To bring in more natural light, two small kitchen windows were replaced with taller ones that rise from the countertops and symmetrically flank the range.
“With no redeeming interior architectural features to start with, I was able to do a complete renovation that included drawing all interior moldings, millwork, and ceiling details,” explains Lysdahl. The “blank slate” allowed him to create a working kitchen with great flow and a spacious center island for cooking and casual dining.
The galley kitchen was updated with new floor-to-ceiling cabinets (to maximize storage space) and Calcutta marble countertops that were designed to complement the elegant millwork in the home’s main living area. The cabinets are glazed with a subtle honey-toned stripe, and the ceiling is painted a deep taupe to highlight the elaborate new crown molding. Floor tiles laid on the diagonal “blow out the space and make it seem larger,” explains designer Gerald Pomeroy.
This Scottsdale condominium had not been updated since its construction in 1979. “It was in dire need of a lift to today’s standards,” says homeowner and designer Christopher Coffin. The icy white kitchen lacked character and warmth.
The only room in the condominium in which Christopher opted to retain the original white marble floor tiles was the kitchen, where, he reasoned, they contributed to his vision of chic French style. Getting that look required a complete transformation with all new cabinetry, countertops and appliances.
Photograph: Michal Venera
Design: Christopher Coffin
The kitchen was transformed with flame-mahogany trompe l’oeil over gray Formica cabinets. Bamboo details and bright colors give the space a West Indies feel. The brightest hue, a snappy lemon-lime on the kitchen’s far wall, lights up the darkest part of the space, while a duskier chartreuse defines the adjacent entry.
New painted cabinets with a mix of open shelves and glass-front doors were added. A vintage-looking apron sink with bridge-style faucet blends easily with a modern stainless-steel stove, vent hood, and dishwasher. A blue-and-white color scheme is warmed by coral accents.
See another view of this remodeled kitchen on the following slide.
The kitchen’s dining area is centered around a functional 19th-century cookstove, which was lovingly refurbished with extra-fine steel wool and stove-black polish–“just enough to show its age nicely,” says designer Liz Mitchell. Accessories reflect the stove’s vintage styling: pewter platters, iron sconces, a pewter chandelier, and white stoneware.
The kitchen received a mechanical workover as well as some cosmetic changes. The radiator and upper cabinets were removed to make room for open shelving, the sink was relocated to the window wall, and a new island was built for casual meals.
Photograph: Gordon Beall
Design: Stephen O’Brien and Eileen Deymier
Instead of replacing cabinets, designer Brad Boles changed their look with wallpaper insets. "We had a limited amount of money to make a major difference, and this was a great trick that I highly recommend," homeowner Jill Zarin says.
Cabinets in the butler's pantry were reconfigured to provide a more symmetrical layout. New countertops, a wine refrigerator, and additional refrigerator drawers were added to transform it into a workhorse prep and storage space–perfectly placed between the large kitchen and the dining room.
See this kitchen remodel from another angle on the following slide.
The kitchen work area was shifted from the rear of the home to the heart of it, and 500 square feet were added to accommodate the adjoining breakfast nook and mudroom. An oversized center island was also added, perfect for food prep, art projects, and meals on the fly.
Photograph: John Bessler
Design: Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat
A former fraternity house at the University of Maryland was in desperate need of an update as part of the 2009 Baltimore Symphony Showhouse. The before kitchen had no seating and outdated cabinetry and appliances.
Granite countertops from Brazil in Cabernet Brown are finished with wire brushes for a distressed-leather look. Wet Bar Sub-Zero refrigerator drawers and a wine cooler are near the door to the dining room, providing a convenient area for guests to gather out of the main workspace.
An addition bumped out the kitchen several feet on one side and allowed for a large center island and more seating space in the breakfast room. Wine is stored in cubbies below the island and across from the bar area. To improve the home’s rear entrance, an interior stairway that leads to a ground-level mudroom was added.
See another view of this updated kitchen on the following slide.
Only the original Wolf range remains, and even that was recalibrated and repainted. The beautiful old Belgian black stone floor contrasts with new pale Venetian plaster walls. An airy look prevails despite the black floor, thanks to his opening up the room with two pairs of transomed French doors. "I pushed out the bay. The doors, which are made of leaded 'restoration glass' that looks old, bring in light from two different directions," Norm observes.
The 18x18-foot kitchen in this 1928 Colonial-style house in Boston had great bones with less-than-desirable aesthetics. White metal cabinets, red linoleum countertops edged in steel, black-bordered pink tile wainscoting, and asbestos floor tiles begged for an update.
The modest kitchen got a modern update with retro appeal. The limited space was maximized with a built-in refrigerator, an appliance garage behind a tambour door, and a niche for the toaster. A wine refrigerator is under the counter.
See this kitchen update from another angle on the following slides.
Brand-new amenities and a cushy cork floor are sharp updates. “The cork is soft and never shows anything,” says homeowner and designer Bill Murphy. “It has a grayish cast that is nice with the stainless finishes.” The swirling grain of the brown marble countertops complements the variegated coloring of the cork floor. Mirrored backsplashes and a stainless-steel panel behind the range hood reflect the light and make the room feel open.
Photograph: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Design: Bill Murphy
The existing dining-living room and kitchen shared a cavernous space, dominated by a stone fireplace and vaulted ceilings with dark, weathered trusses. Windows were odd sizes, awkwardly positioned, and trimmed with barn board. “The house had no architectural charm whatsoever,” says designer Ken Gemes.
Walls were built to separate the kitchen and the dining-living room. "We needed some distinction between the dining area and kitchen," Gemes explains. The wide doorway still allows for comfortable interaction between the rooms.
The kitchen, redone to encourage casual gatherings, is anchored by a large mahogany-topped island where family and friends congregate. A boxed beam ceiling with beadboard insets and simple cabinets with chrome hardware give the kitchen a vintage feel. A Roman shade in Bijou Stripe from China Seas adds a pop of warm color, and caned-back bar stools from Thomas Pheasant for McGuire offer comfortable seating at the island.
Without completely redesigning the kitchen, the couple was able to retain its galley-style layout while making it more hardworking and aesthetically pleasing. Cabinets were torn out and replaced with recessed-panel Shaker-style ones, which were then painted sunny yellow, a departure from the suite of whites that illuminate most of the rest of the house. Brass hardware from the existing cabinetry was nickel-plated to give the recycled items modern spirit.
The terra-cotta tiles on the kitchen floor were exchanged for limestone. In the breakfast area, a round table and modern wicker chairs are set in front of a wall with soaring windows that light up the space and afford views of the beautiful garden.