Before and After - the kitchen

When we moved into the cottage, any major renovation work had already been completed by the previous owners. Lucky for us! I've done full on, back-to-the-studs renos and although I survived and loved the result, I was VERY happy to not have to do it again. After moving across the country I just wanted to settle in and nest.

But of course I cannot help but want to do some tweaking, make some improvements. And the cottage was a bit too "cute" for my taste now. Nothing wrong with that but I like a bit more edge in my decor - some mid-century modern, some tension, some quirk, some grit - something that says "us" rather than "anyone could be living here".

Here's the before.

Even though the changes were primarily cosmetic, they were made for functional reasons too. 

  • brown laminate/butcherblock counters --> grey Caesarstone

I like the durability of Caesarstone and wanted the counter surfaces to be consistent.

  • sunflower backsplash --> grey Italian subway tile

Just not my taste and not really a great match to the style of cabinets.

  • full height wine fridge --> more storage and a microwave

I like my wine as much as the next person but really really needed more storage rather than a full height wine fridge! We sold it on Craigslist to help pay for the upgrades. And luckily the company that had done the kitchen for the previous owners were available to match the new cupboards. You'd never guess, right?

  • electric stove --> gas range

What can I say - it was a splurge but I love to cook. We gave the old stove and fridge away to a couple who needed a new one.

  • old fridge --> built in larger fridge

Same with the fridge - another splurge! Seriously, though, produce DOES last longer.

  • shallow cupboards --> more wall space for bulletin board and artwork

Too shallow to store anything in and I needed room for "mission control". I organize and keep track of our lives from the white board calendar in the kitchen. They also made it too narrow a squeeze to walk around the island.

Here's the after. 

We still have a bit more to do - new drawer pulls and also the chimney cover for the stove ventilation. You know how it is, you run out of a bit of steam. I have the drawer pulls - just need to actually install them!

Here's the eating area before - it's the other end of the kitchen.

And here is the after. Thought I'd show it all fancy AND what it REALLY looks like every day. We eat at the island because no matter how hard I try, I cannot EVER keep up with the papers from school and the craft supplies and games and books and toys. I really don't mind - it's a house that is well loved and well lived in.

And here are some of my favourite details. I changed out many of the light fixtures throughout the cottage as I wanted something a little more edgy and a little more playful. I found sputnik in a used furniture store in Toronto. The tap, well you use it EVERY day so I wanted a tap that felt good. And I like the rough, uneven edges of the grey subway tile plus the darker grout.


The cookbooks - my friends the cookbooks! Having them out and accessible is both practical and also a bit of nostalgia too. I dragged the New Basics with me to Africa when I lived there for two years.

And the art. Our lives on the bulletin board. A print from etsy. An Italian print of the green pear. A menu from Chez Panisse (yes I did go there once - thank you Alice Waters!). 

So that's the kitchen. I am pretty happy with the result. Although it's a reasonable size, the layout makes for a bit of a cramped workspace at times but it wasn't worth ripping it all out and starting again. It's "us".

What do you love/hate about your kitchen? How did you make it your own?