Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Kitchen Accomplished! (Before and After Photos)

The kitchen is DONE!
I cleared it out back in July, demolition began in mid-August, and on November 1st the final bits and pieces were completed.  The new kitchen works so much better it's unbelievable.  Plus it's beautiful and it finally matches the rest of the house.  I love it.  I love it and I am beyond glad we did it.  (We can't really afford food to put in it now, but never mind that...)

Some general design choices that worked out well:

The counter tops are quartz because I wanted whatever was the most durable and the least amount of maintenance.  I wanted something bright since we were going with such dark wood everywhere, and these counters make me happy every time I see them.  They are flecked with shiny metallic bits that glint and twinkle as you walk by.

The back splash is an interesting large green tile that seems old-fashioned without looking out of date.  It fits the character of the rest of the house while still being new.

The new floors are maple and match the rest of the house.

The dark oak cabinets match the original woodwork in the other rooms, and all the doors and drawers are slam-resistant which is great.  Also, there are still some high shelves we have to climb a step stool to reach, but the fact that we can see what's up there when we open the cabinets means those things aren't lost and forgotten.  (I think I donated about everything from the old upper cabinets when I cleared out the original kitchen because I didn't remember any of the things I'd stored there and I obviously hadn't missed them.)

Lots of light!  We moved around all the original light fixtures, added a new one in the middle that was a similar style, and there are lots of recessed can lights now, as well as under-cabinet lights over the counter tops.  The whole rest of the house feels dim by comparison.

Windows that work!  (Both to see out of and that open.)

Big sink!  No more divided sink.  Our cookie sheets which used to not fit in the dishwasher and sent water all over the place while trying to hold them at an angle to wash in the old sink now look tiny in the bottom of the big sink.  I love the big sink.

The breakfast nook with the archway removed is a whole new space.

The island!  I was worried it would either feel in the way or too small compared to the space we used to have on the peninsula, but it's just right.  It's amazing to cut straight across to the fridge from the sink or the stove instead of walking all around the kitchen.  It even has an outlet, so it's a good spot for occasional things like the waffle iron.

Double oven!  Bigger microwave!  A refrigerator where milk fits in the door!  A dishwasher with a bottle washer and a little shelf on top for small and flat things!  We're still figuring out all the bells and whistles of the new appliances, but so far they are all vast improvements.  (My kids were all surprised to learn that a clock and timer were standard features on most ovens because our last oven clock was broken and just blinked so we covered it in duct tape.)

We replaced the carnival glass in the basement door with a clear, wavy piece of glass that looks much better (and matches the door to the dining room now).

I feel in general that most of my choices look modern without being particularly trendy, so with luck it won't all look hopelessly dated in a few years.  Regardless, the layout is a vast improvement and makes everything about the kitchen easier.

Time for before and after pictures!

The view as you enter the kitchen from the dining room:

 The view toward the breakfast nook:

 The view from the breakfast nook:

View toward the windows:

View from the windows:

I can't thank Story Hill Renovations enough for doing such a good job.  I feel like all the stories I ever hear about contractors are how unreliable they can be, but Story Hill was organized, attentive, and stayed on schedule and on budget.  I particularly appreciated how along with their excellent design ideas they were always open to my own suggestions.  Anyone in the Milwaukee area looking to have something like this done, I highly recommend them.

It's been so much more fun to cook in a good space, and not just compared to trying to cook in the dining room for weeks and weeks.  I love our new kitchen.  (And for about five minutes it was clean!)


  1. That's an incredible transformation, absolutely incredible. Well done!

  2. I LOVE it!!! (And I totally feel you with the whole 'and now we can barely afford to put food in it' thing. TRUTH.) it looks so great and I love that backsplash tile!! Hooray for being DONE!!!

  3. Hello Korinthia, haven't left a comment in a long time, but this deserves a big congratulations. Enjoy your new kitchen. For us, the kitchen is the centre of activities and it brings warmth to the house. I wish you many, many happy moments in yours.

  4. This looks great. We have started to plan our kitchen renovation after 5 years of putting it off, and you've me! Thank you.

  5. That is an excellent-looking remodel! So smart of you to open up that nook and to move the sink under the windows! And the materials you chose look fairly timeless - I don't think you'll regret them, even 20 years from now.