The Kitchen: Before and After


Guys, I’m a little embarrassed.  We’ve been pretty much done with the kitchen for a good four months now and I’m just getting around to doing the big reveal.  Of course in order to do a reveal, I had to photograph the kitchen, meaning I had to tidy it up first.  Which really shouldnt be a difficult task, but it kinda was.  See we use this space all the time and finding a time between dish cycles and meals proved tricky.  But I finally, finally got this kitchen shot with the help of my excellent photography assistant, 13-month-old Wilder, and today’s the day.

It’s been so long since we talked about the kitchen last that you may not remember what the space used to look like.  It was teeny and inefficient and completely walled off.  Let me remind you…


That picture was from day 2, just after we removed those nasty, stinky, pink carpets (and before I started this blog).  The kitchen is behind the wall on the left, just beside that cute little dining room nook.  And what we found behind that wall was an original kitchen, mostly untouched since 1926:


We tried to save the cabinets (you know, because I love all things old), but I just couldn’t make the layout work.  So those came out on the big demo weekend.  It turned out to be a good thing because the wall behind the sink was completey rotted out from a leaky pipe and needed to be replaced.  We were also disappointed to find mismatched pine flooring below the kitchen’s original laminate. This too came out and we feathered in oak hardwoods consistent with the rest of the upstairs flooring.

Here’s what the kitchen looked like after all that demo:


And after we started to put it back together:


Notice the pine plank ceiling is in (is that what you call it…plank, clapboard, bead board?) along with the lighting rough-in, plumbing rough-in, and drywall.  I know it doesn’t look like much, but we’re about halfway done here – no joke!

So let’s jump to the final product:

Kitchen from Living RoomKitchen Bench and FridgeKitchen - Wilder in the Middle

We did a lot of work to this kitchen.  New cabinets, electrical, heat, plumbing, appliances, lighting, countertops, ceiling, crown molding, backsplash, hardware, sink and faucet, flooring, open shelves, and framing and drywall where needed.  If it sounds like a lot of work that’s because it really was!  We did everything ourselves except the plumbing, countertops, and refinishing the hardwoods. And it took us the better part of six months.

That’s six long months of pizza delivery and gas station beer.  It was a rough one, I tell you.  Thank goodness the God of all pizza places, Zeeks Pizza, is in Seattle (get the Kitchen Sink pizza–you won’t be sorry)!  And that Seattle gas stations sell local microbrews.  I should put up a sign like: “this kitchen fueled by Zeeks Pizza and Two Beers Brewing Co“.  

Kitchen Open Shelves on Marble Backsplash

Our kitchen is still small at 120sf (the dimensions are 8′ x 15′).  It has limited counter and storage space but so far it’s working for us.  I find myself grocery shopping a little more frequently for food that’s a little fresher and eating out more.  Plus we still order a lot of pizza…

Kitchen Window ViewKitchen Details CollageKitchen Cabinet Hardware

One thing I get asked about a lot are the marble countertops.  Yes, we love them, and no, they’re not high maintenance…at least not yet.  It’s a little embarrassing how often I find coffee, tomato sauce, or butter sitting on the counter.  But so far, no stains.  We definitely have mild scratching and one chip near the bench, but none of it is obvious unless you’re looking closely.  Besides I’m one of those “a little scratch adds character” people, so it really doesn’t bother me.

The marble herringbone backsplash was a DIY special by your’s truly.  It was a big project.  It took two days to tile and that’s with Garrett’s help.  It was a lot of cutting, sore fingers and hard thinking, made a bit easier with tips from Young House Love.  I love how it turned out, but I’m not sure I’d tackle this big of an area again.

Before we talk about the little kitchen bench (by the refrigerator), let me warn you that there’s a preponderance of Wilder photos coming.  When I said he was my photography assistant, what I really meant was that he likes to walk in front of the camera.  And good luck keeping him out of the shot.  Some would say he’s stubborn, but I say he’s just like his dada🙂

Wilder at Bench Collage

The little bench/window-seat is my favorite spot in the kitchen.  Wilder and I trade off using it.  I like to work there.  And he likes to read or put up stickers (removable) on the window or cook alongside dad, “mixing” his ingredients with a wooden spoon.  He really is the sweetest, so I don’t mind sharing.

Kitchen - Wilder and his stickers on his bench

Kitchen Resources: Cabinets: Custom | Countertops: marble, GS Cabinet | Large cutting board: Hardwood Industries | Range: American, Albert Lee Warehouse Sale | Vent: Viking, Albert Lee Warehouse Sale | Dishwasher: Viking, Albert Lee Warehouse Sale | Fridge: KitchenAid, Albert Lee Warehouse Sale | Backsplash: marble laid in herringbone pattern, Home Depot | Chandelier: Hanging Capiz, West Elm | Ceiling Lights: Home Depot | Blinds: Home Depot | Sink: Amazon | Faucet: Katom | Table: Crate and Barrel (discontinued) | Chairs: Industry West | Oak floors: Hardwood Industries | Blue printed bowl (with cherries), West Elm | Mercury Glass Candle: Anthropologie | Drawer pulls: Home Depot | Cabinet latch hardware: Home Depot |

You may have noticed that I started this post by saying the kitchen was “pretty much done”.  Well I’d still like to install molding below the kitchen windows and there’s a giant empty white spot over the vent calling for a pair of antlers.  But even so, this room is 99% done and that feels pretty damn good.


p.s. What an amazing tent for overflow house guests.  Who wouldn’t like to stay here?  I’m pretty sure Wilder would like to move in!
p.p.s. Best beach house ever.  Really!

p.p.p.s. Fifty cities to see before you die.  I’ve been to 7, how about you?

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  1. I love that the backsplash goes all the way up. It looks perfect! I can’t believe you did all that by yourself–bravo!! 🙂

    • Thanks so much and glad you like it! To be fair, it was 10% me and 90% hubby, but I’ll take it 🙂

    • Debra Sayre says:


  2. Your kitchen looks unbelievable, but that photography assistant really steals the show!

  3. What a fantastically beautiful looking kitchen. Job very well done. We are “almost done” with our dream kitchen as well, and honestly, I hate to admit it but I like yours better.

    As well as painting the crown, I still need to hang some shelves in mine and I would love to know the source for your “brackets” They look pretty neat.

    • Thanks so much Leslie – you are too nice! We got the brackets off of Amazon. This post is all about the shelves and there’s a link to the brackets after the last photo. Good luck finishing your project!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I just found this blog through Centsational Girl. Love your kitchen! I am also from Seattle and I agree that Zeeks pizza is delicious:)

  5. I come to you from Centsational Girl. And I must say, the journey was worth it! You kitchen is beautiful, lovely, and envy-worthy! Thank you for all of your hard work and thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Gorgeous kitchen!!! Wilder is a little doll.

  7. My mom emailed me this post, and I had a literal jaw-drop when I saw your “after” photos. Now I’m hooked on your blog! Also, I think we’re practically neighbors. 🙂

  8. wow- this is gorgeous! love the tile backsplash!

  9. Where is your cutting board from? Love it!!:)

  10. Marilyn Burrows says:

    I’d say you are giving Nicole Curtis a run for her money! Great job on your kitchen. I’ve renovated kitchens before, but not done the work myself (I can’t hammer a nail straight) but I admire those who “can”! Congrats! How did you feed a toddler for 6 months without a kitchen???

  11. Barb Felts says:

    What are the measurements of the kitchen?

  12. I really like the layout of the kitchen. Looks like no windows were moved. If so, great planning. Really impressed. Great look.

  13. Natalia Markova says:

    I never get tired of seeing renovations like this that reflect such staggering levels of ingenuity and creativity. Hats off to both of you.

  14. You need to put window bars on the window by the bench!!
    I know they are unsightly but this is an accident waiting to happen. Please do it TODAY!!!

    • Good tip! I wasn’t comfortable with my son playing up there so we ended up replacing the window with a double-paned tempered-glass window. It is much more secure!

  15. Nikki Grace says:

    I have a jennair stove like one pictured but what is the stainless fan fixture above it. I shopped and shopped for a fan that I could use or liked. Finally just settled on the cabinet guys making a hood piece to cover lights. Would really have like to find a fan like that one, it was simple and small.

  16. My husband and I remodel and the job you guys did looks great. One question for this can be a big one for many. In the end how much did it cost you and how many hours did you all put into it?

    • Great questions! I’m hoping to tally the numbers soon (and post on it), but I’d guess we spent around $12k on this kitchen. We spent a lot of nights and weekends working on this kitchen – tough to quantify it, but if I had to I’d guess around 120 hours.

  17. Kitchen before and after – Really interested in the beadboard ceiling. We have a popcorn ceiling and taking it out is too big of a mess for me. Would love to do Beadboard. Was it a complicated project? I love the idea. Great kitchen.

    • That’s an interesting idea for popcorn ceilings! It sure would be a lot less messy to cover them. Installing the breadboard ceiling was actually really easy. We found a really thin (~3/8″ thick), pine product and installed using a finish nailer. Filling the knots and painting actually took longer than installing.

  18. What is the total cost to remodel such a home ?

    How many weeks did this take???

    How many people can afford to do this type of remodel ??

    • Hi Gus – I don’t have the final tally yet, as we’re still working on it, but we’ve spend around $75k on renovations (hoping to have a post about this soon). While renovating is expensive, purchasing a home that’s redone in our neighborhood would have cost $550k. We’re into this house around $350k. We’ve been renovating this house for a year now. It took us 6 months to get the upstairs livable, and another 3 months to finish the basement. We’re still working on the exterior.

  19. I wanted to share our kitchen and bathroom renovation. Our 7 month long renovation included five Maine Coon cats and living in the dining room microwaving food. Please about my story on the home tab then venture over to the Picture albums.

  20. Wow! What a fantastic job you guys did. Your new kitchen is really beautiful! Have fun with it!


  22. Rachel Taylor says:

    Beautiful work! I never found the link for the handles. Could you send to me at your convenience?



  23. Love it!! Where are the chairs from?

  24. Did you or were you able to salvage the cast iron sink? I want to renovate my kitchen and that is one thing that I would like to have. I HATE THIS STAINLESS sink!!! I think I am going to look at our local Habitat For Humanity re-store and look for things….hmmmm???

    • We kept the cast iron sink, but haven’t found a home for it yet. It needs some serious rehab, so we’ll see how far we get on it. I’ve purchased old cast iron sinks at our Re-Store and on Craigslist. Good luck!

  25. This story is absolutely fantastic. Not only the work you did but the sacrifices of not having a kitchen for a period of time. Especially having a “play” nook for junior while prepping a meal.
    I a a72 year old retired contractor and I say WELL DONE.

  26. This story is absolutely fantastic. Not only the work you did but the sacrifices of not having a kitchen for a period of time. Especially having a “play” nook for junior while prepping a meal.
    I a a72 year old retired contractor and I say WELL DONE.

  27. Alyssa Brolsma says:

    I just saw the article on Yahoo! about this blog because I happen to be starting my own kitchen remodel in a 1930’s Tudor revival next month (and am trying to mooch off of everyone else’s creativity!), and 1) I thought it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL and so well thought out, and 2) I couldn’t believe it when I saw your husband’s name attached, as I graduated from school with him 🙂

    This is most definitely getting added to my inspiration book. I cannot compliment enough – you should be extremely proud, and I cannot wait to look through the rest of your projects!

  28. My house similar, but before I can go on an adventure with the tearing down the walls, how do you know where is your main support beam. And did you have to relocate electric switches, plugs etc.

  29. My house similar, but before I can go on an adventure with the tearing down the walls, how do you know where is your main support beam. And did you have to relocate electric switches, plugs etc.

    • Yes, we rewired the entire house so relocated most of the original outlets/switches/etc. Figuring out if a wall is structural can be pretty tricky. Depends on the shape of your house, slant of your roof. I’d recommend contacting an expert before tearing out a wall if you have any question. This article is a good place to start.

  30. Hi there, could you please tell me the total size of your kitchen now? Thank you

  31. Great renovation! I purchased a couple of clear acrylic cutting boards at They are invisible and work well to protect my granite countertops. You just can’t place hit pots and pans on them.

  32. For your backsplash, I notice that you got it from home depot. Do you by any chance know the product name and model #? I tried to find that but the ones availabe don’t look as nice as yours.


  33. Hi!

    I LOVE your kitchen. We are considering the tile that you used on your backsplash for the floor in our bathroom. It is gorgoeus. Did you guys seal it? If so what type of sealer? Did it have a gloss to it? Also, if you wouldn’t mind sharing the grout color too, that would be fabulous! Thanks,

    • Thanks Kim! The marble tiles are a honed finish, although I think there was also a polished marble tile available. We didn’t seal it. Thus far no problems, although I think I would seal it if it was on a floor, just because it would get so much more wear. We used a pre-mixed white grout from Home Depot for the backsplash, I’ll see if I can dig up the product. Good luck with your project!!!

  34. How are your latches holding up? I would like to use them but they got mixed reviews about the quality.

    • Well the latches haven’t held up that well. We’ve had a couple that have broken but luckily we had extras on hand to replace them with. I’d think about springing for the high-quality latches from Rejuvenation or even Pottery Barn if it’s in the budget!

  35. Hello! I live in a century old one bedroom condo on Capitol Hill, also in Seattle, and am just starting the planning stage of my kitchen remodel. Would you mind sharing your custom cabinet source? My kitchen is teeny tiny, and I think to make the most of the space I’m going to need to go custom. I love your cabinets and would love to hear a local reference! Thank you 🙂

    • Hi there – I found a carpenter on Craigslist to make those cabinets and unfortunately, he has moved. I know there are a lot of custom cabinet makers in the city, although they may be really expensive. We used off-the-shelf cabinets from GS Cabinets in our next reno and painted them. Good luck!


  1. […] this kitchen makeover is a beauty! Visit Grit and Polish for the […]

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