For many families, the kitchen is the main area to not only cook, but gather and share time together. We had been thinking about renovating our kitchen, but it wasn’t until I was 7 months pregnant (and in total nesting mode), that we decided to pull the trigger on this project. Five months later and I’m revealing the before and after of our white modern farmhouse kitchen renovation.
Our kitchen has “great bones”, as they say, meaning the foundation and structure is strong and manageable. The previous owners that updated it about 10 years prior with new white cabinets, tile flooring and countertops. My decor style is best described as “minimalist modern farmhouse”, including lots of neutral palettes, vintage touches like pendant lighting and industrial accents, and some contemporary features like touch faucet and stainless steel appliances. Although the white cabinets fit well with this vision, much needed to be changed about the style and function.
When we first moved in, the walls were actually a pale yellow. We changed that to grey to make a quick and easy update.
We sat down with our contractors, Wellman General Contracting and Home Improvement, to discuss our upgrade plans. The our 3 biggest Must Haves:
- Knock down the wall and built-in cabinet between the kitchen and the family room to make an open concept floor plan. The main purpose was for me to have an unobstructed view of the kids in the family room from the kitchen. With the arrival of baby #3 approaching and two crazy toddlers, this was forefront on my mind.
- Remove the rustic tile (which always looked dirty no matter how much I cleaned it) and replace it with hardwood that would seamlessly match the rest of the main level flooring
- Change out the countertops and backsplashes from dark to light. Our kitchen is in the center of the house and therefore doesn’t receive much natural light. This change would dramatically brighten up the gloomy space.
Our smaller items on the wish-list for our kitchen renovation included (not pictured)
- Upgrade stainless steel basin sink to white ceramic farmhouse apron sink. We wanted a bit more room to hold larger pots/pans and be able to wash/rinse. Also, there would be yet another baby taking baths in the kitchen sink so it had to be comfortable for him!
- Upgrade faucet to Gooseneck pulldown with Touch activation. We’re all about smart tech in our family and many friends recommended the touch feature (definitely comes in handy when handling meats, raw eggs or anything goey)
- Upgrade cooktop from ceramic gas to stainless steel gas top. Our GE cooktop was likely installed with the most recent reno 10+ years ago and was in need of an upgrade from an appearance and functional standpoint.
Mid-Way through Renovation
The project was slated to take 2-3 weeks…with one week buffer until baby arrived. We had to make a adjustment to the plan: the wall couldn’t be knocked down. Well, I shouldn’t say couldn’t, because it was possible, just VERY expensive. This happened to be the most load-bearing wall of the entire house and would require restructuring and support beams if we were to open it up entirely. No bueno. The alternative? A passthrough window into the living room:
I know what you’re thinking. GET TO THE FINAL PRODUCT! Do you ever get annoyed by shows on HGTV that cut to the commercial before the final reveal? I get it now. So here’s what the final product looked like with details for each area. Beautiful photos taken by Brittney Elizabeth Williams, an architecture photographer from Wellman Contractors.
We chose a quartz countertop with white/silver marble style for the main kitchen and the island. With three little ones, we needed something durable and stain resistant (marble doesn’t check off those boxes very well). We also changed the edge of the island from that awkward peninsula from before to a sleek open pathway. The backsplash changed from one black slab to white subway tile and silver grout. One thing I never considered, having white grout is hard to maintain without it yellowing, and black grout really pulls out the visual of individual tiles. However, silver made a subtle pattern but also complemented the silver lines in the marble style countertop. Style details: LG Rococo with Eased edge. BTW did you know how many different edges to countertops there are?!
Now that we chose the passthrough window for the wall, we were able to make full use of the countertop and underneath for additional storage. My husband really wanted a butcher-block for the counter, and it came out beautifully. The independent wood craftsman chose a slab of wood and stain that would best complement our other furniture and flooring. The live edge on both sides is really unique and gives a rustic touch. We had the countertop stick out 8″ on the family room side to allow for bar-height stools. Functionality at it’s finest! It’s definitely the focal point of the kitchen.
We knew the passthrough window area would be great for when we entertained guests. We had a small wine fridge installed, flanked by two cabinets that closely match the already existing cabinets in the kitchen. It’s also become our “command station” in the house AKA calendar, schedule, whiteboard and sticky note reminders. Product details: Wine Fridge
The white ceramic farmhouse sink dream came true! Instead of the traditional deep sink, we compromised with an 8″ apron sink to retrofit the existing cabinetry below. To be honest, it’s perfect for my short stature and still wide enough for that baby bathtub! We upgraded the dishwasher to match the existing stainless steel appliances and opted for the hidden handle and buttons to deter little hands from pulling or touching 😉 It’s also so quiet you wouldn’t know it’s on, great for sleeping babies. Product details: Kohler Sink, Delta Overland faucet, Bosch Dishwasher
As mentioned before, we upgraded the original GE ceramic cooktop to a stainless steel style. The main features I was looking for: 5 burner with knobs on the top to prevent little hands from reaching. Since the cooktop is on the island and we don’t have an overhead hood draft, we had to replace the telescopic downdraft as well. Finding the same size/style cooktop and downdraft at a reasonable price takes some extensive searching. We also replaced the three recessed lights over the island with pendant lighting. We chose smaller, modern pendants as opposed to the larger, more antique look because we didn’t want to obstruct the sight lines and also to stay consistent with the stainless steel style. Product details: KitchenAid gas cooktop , GE telescopic downdraft, Pendant lighting
Overall we are so happy with how our kitchen remodel came out. Despite being displaced to cooking and eating in our basement for a few weeks, it was par for the course of remodeling. Although my husband might consider this my “most expensive nesting idea ever, he agrees it was well worth it. Thank you to Wellman Contractors for an amazing job, they have an incredible team. They are professional, a dream to work with, and really understood our vision the the T. Thank you to Brittney Elizabeth and Derek Calderon for the photography! The new kitchen is our favorite place in the house to gather and the boys have turned it into a roadway for their cars and trucks. There will be many memories, cookies and messes made in this space.