For her home tucked back in a quiet, wooded lot overlooking Harrods Creek, the homeowner who purchased it knew she needed to make it her own. And while she prefers to remain anonymous, the final product from her DIY renovation is too beautiful not to share. The first room to get renovated was the kitchen. Because the owner is a home chef who cooks all the time for her immediate and extended family, she knew exactly what she wanted and, more importantly, what she needed.

It’s a kitchen of subtle elegance with attention to every detail. It’s not just a show kitchen, where everything is beautiful, but unused. In fact, it’s high quality, because it has to perform.

Though the homeowner had heard horror stories of people who were without their kitchens for months during renovations, this gal didn’t have that experience. It just took some planning, scheduling and organization. Since she had previously renovated a bathroom, she learned the best way to ensure things keep moving and don’t drag on forever is to take on the role of foreman. It was not in her nature to be a micromanager, but it was the best way to manage the renovation process. She started by redesigning the cabinets and determined what needed to change in the layout of the kitchen. Essentially the same footprint remained with three noteworthy changes:

  1. The island was shortened so that when the countertop was placed, there was more legroom to use the counter as the kitchen table for their family of four.
  2. The cooktop was switched to the other side of the island, so she could cook and watch the news as she did so.
  3. She added a cabinet with five junk drawers and additional storage for office space.
Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: The before shot: oak cabinets and dark green countertops.

BEFORE: A dark, outdated kitchen with oak cabinets and dark green countertops

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef:

AFTER: The same view shows a modernized space. The only change in the footprint from this vantage point is the location of the cooktop, which moved to the other side of the island. Also, this shows the creation of a “kitchen table” with more legroom at the end of the island.

Yes, yes, yes. Good for her, you may be uttering under your breath, as you secretly wonder how she pulled it off. Well, here’s your how-to guide so you can do the same thing!

HOW TO BE YOUR OWN FOREMAN

Step 1: Select your appliances

The first step was appliance selection. This is because the cabinets had to be cut to fit those sizes.

Step 2: Cabinets are ordered and installed

Once the cabinet drawing was finalized, the countertop slabs were selected. Once the cabinets were ready, installation was scheduled and removal of the old cabinets was included. The crew arrived on a Monday and ripped out the old cabinets, and after cleaning up the mess, the new cabinets were installed.

Step 3: Countertops and appliance installation

The day after the cabinets were installed, the countertop company came out to measure and template. For a kitchen like this, they actually build a template so that when they get back to the plant to cut the stone, everything falls into place.

The following day, appliances were installed, except for the cooktop. Countertops took about two weeks to come in, but the family had their fridge, oven and microwave, so the kitchen was functioning. Once the countertops were installed, the cooktop was hooked up.

Step 4: Finishing touches and final thoughts

With all of the cabinets and appliances in place, the cabinet company returned to put in kickplates and trim.

While the homeowner didn’t change the floors, additional tiles were required to cover some spots. The tiles were fixed and paint was touched up. During those few days when they truly had no functioning kitchen, they used an old microwave in the basement. The owner says it was really about two days total that we were out of commission. Not too shabby!

Now let’s take a closer look at the before and the fabulous final product!!

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: Before shot: Opposite view of kitchen, looking towards sink area.

BEFORE: Here is an opposite view of kitchen, looking toward the sink area.

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef:

AFTER: The cooktop has been changed and the glass tile backsplash was added, in addition to cabinetry and countertops.

THE DETAILS

Here’s the nitty-gritty on the fine points of this stunning new kitchen:

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: These custom-built cabinets are maple, one of the most durable materials for cabinetry. They came stained gray. The owner's favorite thing is that all the drawers have the slow-close functionality.

These custom-built cabinets are maple, one of the most durable materials for cabinetry. They came stained gray, and the owner’s favorite feature is that all of the drawers have the slow-close functionality.

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: Quartzite countertop is shiny like a jewel.

The countertops are the headliner of this kitchen, with an island made of quartzite, which is the new thing. Bye, bye, granite! You’ve had your moment in the spotlight! Quartzite is a beautiful material that sparkles like crystal, and it’s durable, doesn’t have to be sealed and you can place hot objects directly on it. You can even cut on it. (This owner is scared to do the latter two!)

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: The surrounding countertops are Silestone. This stone comes from Spain, originally, and is more durable than granite. You don't need to seal it and it would be really tough to hurt it. The color is Lagoon and it is in a suede finish, which means it's matte  - no sheen. They wanted a matte finish next to the shiny quartzite island countertop.

The surrounding countertops are Silestone, which originally comes from Spain and is more durable than granite. You don’t need to seal it, and it would be really tough to hurt it. The color is Lagoon and is in a suede finish, which means it’s matte … no sheen. They wanted a matte finish next to the shiny quartzite island countertop. The glass tiles on the backsplash complement the counter color, the stainless appliances and the cabinets.

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: A covetable Wolf gas cooktop has a griddle in the center. The owner has loved this "investment piece" and the griddle is an extra bonus, making it easy to make pancakes, eggs and anything else the family wants to eat. This is her favorite thing in the kitchen, and for good reason.

A covetable Wolf gas cooktop has a griddle in the center. The owner has loved this investment piece, and the griddle is an extra bonus, making it easy to make pancakes, eggs and anything else the family wants to eat. This is her favorite thing in the kitchen, and for good reason.

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: apron sink with a stainless front. Also dishwasher has a panel cover and hidden operating buttons.

The dishwasher flows seamlessly next to the farmhouse sink and cabinets with its panel top and hidden operating buttons. The stainless steel-front apron sink is just right for washing the many pots and pans used to prepare a meal.

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: a vertical cabinet just for barware.

The cabinet layout and formation illustrates a great use of existing space. Here, a vertical cabinet pulls out to reveal barware.

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: spice drawer that pulls out vertically.

Another vertical cabinet that is a space saver, this one is for spices and is located next to the cooktop for easy access.

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: a custom shelf that retreats back into the cabinet when not in use especially for her Kitchen-Aid mixer.

There is a special pullout shelf for her KitchenAid mixer that retreats back into a larger cabinet when not in use. (We have seen this in another SB Kitchen here.)

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: a refrigerator with gray interior instead of bright white.

She picked her fridge specifically because the interior was gray, rather than eye-jolting bright white, as is typical with most appliances. The color complements her gray cabinets and lighter countertops.

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: owners collection of coffee mugs from everywhere she has visited.

This custom cabinet was made just for coffee mugs. The owner has mugs from everywhere she has ever visited.

Kitchen Redo for the Home Chef: A collection of junk drawers that can be hidden.

She extended the cabinetry into her office, where she hid five junk drawers. There is one large open bin for every member of the family of four, with an additional drawer just for “junk.” This can all be hidden by closing the cabinet drawer. She also puts her home office items in here, such as her printer.

And for the grand finale, take a look at this microwave. It is a pull-out drawer, and you place your item down into it.  Check out a demonstration here:

PARTING WORDS OF WISDOM

The owner has sage words of advice for anyone considering a kitchen renovation. She recommends living in your home for a little bit before you start to change things. It makes you appreciate all the new stuff so much more. Also, it helps you figure out the kitchen and what you like about it and what just doesn’t work. She learned that the layout of the kitchen mostly worked, except for the location of the cooktop. She took her time with the design too, pinning ideas and putting tons of photos in her idea books on Houzz. This helped her to stay organized, and she actually found that gray cabinet color online, saying she never would have even known it existed without Houzz!

In her words: “I honestly love this kitchen. I spend all day in there, and it’s my happy place.”

Indeed it is.

Vendors:

Paint:

Appliances:

  • Dishwasher, refrigerator, and double ovens : KitchenAid
  • Sink and faucet: Moen
  • Microwave drawer: Sharp

Photography by Adele Reding Photography