The great kitchen renovation

As part of our “get the house ready for baby” campaign, my husband and I decided to take on a project we’d been thinking about for awhile: remodeling our kitchen. Ben loves to cook, and I wanted the baby to be able to hang out in the kitchen with him while he spends time in there, but our old kitchen was just too small, too dark, too outdated…. In fact, it was my least favorite room in the house.

Here are a few “before” shots:

You love those avocado green laminate countertops and fluorescent lights, right?

That nonsensical wall of cabinets that stuck out into the room really drove me crazy. And the super-low hanging upper cabinets and all the strange overhangs always made me feel claustrophobic.

Off the back of the kitchen, behind that tower of cabinets, was a ridiculous dividing wall that created a “laundry hallway” (where we usually put trash) and a tiny breakfast nook:

Both were too small to really be functional. So, after a whole lot of weighing our options, in the end we decided to take out that dividing wall and make the kitchen/laundry room/breakfast nook into one giant space. We also wanted the kitchen to open more freely into the dining room, without destroying the general structure and flow of our home (which was built in 1928, long before the days of “open concept” living). So I drew up some designs, and we hired a fantastic contractor — George Brunson of Brunson Restoration and Remodeling — and he took it from there! They started demo in January and we had a finished kitchen just a little more than two months later. Lest you think the whole ordeal was glamorous, here are some photos of the renovation process:

There were definitely times when I thought I was crazy to have undertaken a project of this magnitude while I was pregnant — when our whole house had random furniture strewn about and we were covered in dust and could only eat microwave dinners off of paper plates, for instance — but now that we have the finished product, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it was all worth it! Here’s how the kitchen looks now!

Can you even believe it?? Everything is so white and bright and open — exactly the opposite of the way things were before, and I absolutely love it! Here are a few more detail shots:

The kitchen has gone from being my least favorite to my most favorite room in the house. I sit on the bench in the seating area and hang out with Ben while he cooks, we eat a fabulous dinner and then clean up together — so much better than eating in front of the TV and just dumping our dishes in the sink, like we always used to do. It’s such a happy, functional room now, I can’t wait for the baby to hang out in it with us!

Just for fun, I put together a few more “before and after” comparisons that really show the remarkable differences in the space — “befores” on the left, “afters” on the right:

So the kitchen is now open for business! And ready for baby…

  • I follow you on Houzz, and now I’ll follow your blog, too! I love your style. Clean. Fresh. Modern, but with a comfortable nod to tradition. I’m in absolute love with your dining room!ReplyCancel

  • This is amazing!! I love it Emily. So proud of you. Renovating a kitchen is such a nightmare. But so worth it, yes!

    I love that we both have those blue yogurt pots…I need to use mine more often…thanks for the reminder!

    Also, La Cuisine est un Jeu is going up on the blog soon! I already snapped the pictures–I’ve had it for a couple years now. My MIL bought it at a flea market in France and passed it along to me. Such a fun book!

    Way to go!!ReplyCancel

  • Our currently kitchen in our old house looks a lot like your before pictures, and what I’m dreaming up (and hoping to accomplish in a year or two) is what you’ve managed to create. What an incredible, gorgeous, light, airy space! Want to come design mine next? 😉ReplyCancel

  • Karen d

    This is a gorgeous kitchen. Do you mind sharing details about that beautiful kitchen table?ReplyCancel

    • Thanks, Karen! The white tulip-style table in the kitchen is the Docksta table from IKEA. The farmhouse table in the dining room is a vintage piece we found at a local antique store here in Dallas.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole

    AMAZING! We begin our kitchen reno on Monday, and this has me pumped! Just wondering what color you used for the cabinets and where you got the bright white subway tile from. Thanks for posting your fantastic finish!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks, Nicole! The cabinets are painted in Benjamin Moore’s “Simply White” (in their low-VOC cabinet paint). But unfortunately I can’t tell you where the subway tile came from, our contractor handled that himself. But we just asked for standard white subway tile, so it’s nothing fancy!ReplyCancel

  • Wow this is gorgeous – so bright and cheerful. I would love it too! Our kitchen renovation is just getting underway. I’m going to pin a couple of these pictures to save for inspiration. Love it!ReplyCancel

  • stacy

    WOW! Beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly P

    Absolutely beautiful transformation. Thank you for sharing your kitchen. Very inspirational. I have been looking for a settee for our kitchen. Would you mind sharing where you found the settee also, how do you like it so far. Again, thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Thanks, Kimberly! The settee in the kitchen came from Terrain (, and I absolutely love it. It’s the place I always sit, I highly recommend a comfortable seating space in the kitchen!ReplyCancel

  • […] a TON of amazing images (even the shocking before & afters!) jet on over to Emily McCall's blog. (& all images above from Emily McCall's blog.) Pin […]ReplyCancel

  • overhang cuppards, old fashiond.ReplyCancel

  • Shawna

    Hi Emily! I’ve followed you here from Houzz as I’m trying to find out who made your cabinets. They are so lovely! If you don’t mind sharing, are they custom, or off-the-shelf? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Hi, Shawna! The cabinets were custom made by our contractor’s usual cabinetmaker. We just showed him a lot of photos of what we wanted and he came through for us!ReplyCancel

  • Beth

    I love your kitchen and we are in the early stages of planning for our own renovation. Can you share what type of countertops these are? Carrera marble? And your sink and faucet – where did you find them? BTW – My son’s name is Quinn also :) He just turned 4!ReplyCancel

    • Love it, Beth! Quinns are the best! :)

      You’re absolutely right: the countertop is Carrera marble. The sink is the DOMSJO double bowl sink from Ikea, and the faucet was an off-the-shelf model from Home Depot. Good luck with your renovation!ReplyCancel

  • great kitchen renovation. I love that stove of yours! I found your blog by searching for IKEA cabinets and saw your bathroom remodel. Impressive too! Was wondering if you would mind sharing the approximate cost of your kitchen renovation? TIA!ReplyCancel

  • Trusha Ladhani

    followed your trail from Houzz. Amazing work there! could you tell me the brand names of the appliances? fridge, dishwasher, washer-dryer?ReplyCancel

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