The BIG kitchen reveal!

Well, it’s been quite a few months since I moved into the new house, and quite a bit of that time was spent obsessing over the kitchen during the renovation process. Gutting it down the bones, and building it back. Well, finally I give you the before and after photos!!



More photos after the jump…

(And of course, thanks to my wonderful bf Nick Steever for the professional photo shoot! Everything looks better when he’s behind the camera!)

113 thoughts on “The BIG kitchen reveal!

  1. OMG!!! Your kitchen looks just like a magazine photo shoot! I can’t believe you started with uber-rustic and ended up with such an adorable and homey space. It’s functional, it’s welcoming, it’s everything I want from my own kitchen. πŸ™‚ -Kelli

  2. Thanks guys!! I’m thrilled that you like it!! During the process it was sometimes hard to see the end. My favorite thing in the kitchen is my vintage double drainboard sink that I scored off Craigslist for $75!!

    And I’ll pass along the compliments to my bf! I’m sure he’ll appreciate it.


  3. I know! I’m loving hydrangeas at the moment. I inherited 3 huge ones with purple, pink & blue blooms. The purple blooms are the most spectacular. Soon I’ll have stripped the whole bush bringing them in for the table! Hah!

  4. All that hard work shows, it’s homely and amazing. I love the chalkboard-recipes idea, it’s so magazine-y like and charming, yet cozy real! I hope I make sense πŸ˜›

    Found you on one of the Flickr groups, and I must say, I like your blog a lot Leah! Will be stopping by often :o) Thanks for sharing.


  5. Thanks Cheryl! I decided to do the chalkboard wall after a conversation with my boyfriend’s grandmother who told me about having written her favorite toast on her own kitchen wall years ago. It made sense to me because I have a terrible memory and can never remember recipes…so I wrote down the ingredients to some of my favorite recipes and plan to keep adding when I find more things I really love.

    (As a side note, his grandmother’s favorite toast is AWESOME. It goes: “Here’s to the girls that want to be wild, and the only three things that are keeping them mild. Love of Jesus, Contagious Diseases, and fear of having a child.” We still use that toast everytime we have cocktails with her!)

  6. Hi there! I came here from MWTWT (via Decor8), and I’ve gotta say… I LOVE YOUR KITCHEN! It looks fantastic. In certain ways, it reminds me of my own kitchen re-do (some pictures here and here). I’m going to look through the rest of your house photos now! Good luck with your future renovations. πŸ™‚

  7. By the way, did you use tung oil on all of your floors? It looks great. I’ve been hesitating to refinish the floors in my house because I don’t want them to have that super-shiny poly look, and I don’t want to loose the patina they’ve gained over the years. Also, I imagine damage to a tung oil finish can be repaired much more easily than poly.

    I’d love to see a post about how you refinished your floors!

  8. Anna: Thanks! Our kitchen wall color is very similar! I originally toyed with the idea to go white on the walls too but decided against it once I got the cabinets installed. It would have been too clinical. I’m glad I switched to the grey-ish blue color. And regarding the floors…no, the floors in the rest of the house already have an old poly-topcoat (albeit a crappy one) that I haven’t messed with yet. I’d never used tung oil before, but went with it based on recommendations from people. It has a nice luster and seems to hold up pretty well to spills so far! I also really like the fact that I can apply additional coats as needed or in spots. To me that’s really key for a kitchen.

  9. i have that wooden ikea shelf, too! your whole kitchen looks fantastic. i wish i could rip my rental kitchen right out of the wall, but alas i cannot. i can only look at yours and dream.

  10. Leanne: Did you hang yours yourself? I think that wooden shelf honestly was THE BIGGEST frustration of the entire renovation because it was the last detail to finish. It took me 2 weeks to hang it because I had the wrong drill bit, then I had the wrong toggle bolts, then the wrong length screws for the toggle bolts. OMG, I was about to lose my mind over it and was cursing Ikea. However now that it’s done, I love it.

  11. What a beautiful kitchen! I love before & afters. And thank you for the Ikea link – I’ve chosen Ikea units but have been searching for the right shelves and had totally missed those in the Ikea catalogue.

  12. Hi April,
    Thanks! I used Lowes special order Diamond brand in Wittenburg Maple, painted white finish. It was a slight upcharge for the white paint, but worth it.

  13. Thank you! Would it be okay if I linked to your post on my blog? I’ll be using it as inspiration for our kitchen.

  14. Holy crap, Leah!

    That is GORGEOUS! It looks like something out of a catalog. It doesn’t even look like the same kitchen! I love the funky “recipes” wall. The style is so uniquely Leah.

  15. gorgeous! Would you let me know where you got your kitchen pendants? Your layout is almost identical to mine. What a great idea…two pendants in the window!

  16. i absolutely love your kitchen! it incorporates so many ideas i had for mine (the white shaker cabinets, white countertops, subway tile, pendants). will you do a more in-depth post on the features of your kitchen and the process of renovation (ie. did you do it yourself or hire contractors). i scoured your blog but didn’t find any posts. what fridge did you end up getting? thanks so much!

  17. Bravo! Love the result! You definitely have brought much needed light to that kitchen! Good eye and I must say, very inspiring!

  18. Very good looking kitchen. My first thought was that the old cabinets had melted and run over the floors.


  19. Beautiful!! I have to ask: Wherever did you find your light fixtures? They make that kitchen so fun!

    Thanks for the inspiration πŸ™‚

  20. Thanks for the great response and all the questions. My step-by-step renovation process was actually blogged at my previous [personal] blog which is now offline because of hosting issues. Rather than continue to try and upkeep two, I just moved to this location permanently. However, a more in depth “interview” about the kitchen was done at More Ways to Waste Time. Link:

    The light fixtures are the Fado Pendant lights from Ikea. I found some really nice vintage ones almost exactly like these here in Philly. For those of you who are interested, they’re still there as of last weekend. Check out ReStore in Port Richmond. The reason I ended up going new vs vintage for the lights was having to deal with the re-wiring, timing, and cost.

  21. That is a beautiful transformation!! You guys did an amazing job! My favorite part of your kitchen is the recipe black board. You’ve inspired me to do something similar.

  22. Hello! Absolutely gorgeous kitchen and I too have come here via decor8. Can I ask a decidedly non-sexy question which I didn’t see posted anywhere else – insulation & drywall? Your lathe & plaster walls look like ours that we just needed to take down in our kitchen (extensive water damage from an upstairs leak, we’re keeping the plaster everywhere else). And we’re trying to figure out which insulation (using that cotton denim Ultratouch? getting fiberglass w/o formaldehyde) and looking for a mold-resistant drywall. Adore the subway tile too – thanks for a lovely blog!

  23. Hi Ires,
    I’m not sure I understand the question. I really don’t know much about insulation and honestly it’s the one place I should have put more time & energy.

  24. Gasp! That is a stunning transformation. And the photos are brilliant. At first, I didn’t think it was a real house. It looked like a magazine article. Congrats on the good work.

  25. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing your amazing transformation. What kind of subway tile did you use? Where did you get it?

  26. Leah,

    Your kitchen looks gorgeous! I’m curious about the wood from the cabinets–could the wood be recycled or did it head to the landfill?

    I’m so getting up to Philadelphia one of these days to see it.

  27. Nicely done! We have pine cabinets in our “before” kitchen so I feel your pain. Your renovation is so inspiring. Love the color choices, accessories, tile, and overall clean design. Beautiful floors! Thanks so much for sharing the photos. It’s lovely.

  28. Thanks for sharing your tile source. What was the brand of your subway tile? I’m curious, because in the photos it looks like it doesn’t have an eased-edge.

  29. I don’t know the brand of tile. I chose Avalon’s version because it was a brighter, cleaner white.

  30. Thanks for all of your responses. It really is an amazing tranformation. I hope my kitchen looks as beautiful as yours someday.

  31. My husband and I have a tear out of your inspiration kitchen in a binder. It is our dream kitchen and I have to say, I think your kitchen looks better than the one in the magazine (Domino?). Your choice to warm it up with the blue-gray was a great addition to the design.

  32. Bree that’s so kind! Thanks!! I can’t remember if the kitchen tear was from Domino or Blueprint. It was definitely one of the newer ones. I collected kitchen pics for several years. It was good because it made me realize that my taste really hadn’t changed much over that time period.

  33. Absolutely lovely! Congratulations! The chalkboard is fantastic and that half-door has me thinking – we have two little pugs we need to corral but didn’t want to give up the natural light we’d be blocking by adding a solid door. Hmmmm….

    Anyway – wonderful job! Thanks for sharing!

  34. wow. one question – what did you do to your kitchen table?? did you buy it like that? or did you mask off the area you wanted to keep grey and then varnish the rest of it red? it’s fantastic, and i’d love to try to replicate something like it on mine at home. thanks!

  35. Hi Leah

    Your kitchen is gorgeous – my before and after pics will not be nearly as stunning!!

    I am wondering how you attached those Grundtel shelves to the tiles splashback?

  36. Georgie, I’m going to be honest that the guys who did the work in the kitchen hung those Grundtal shelves. I hung the wooden ones. So I don’t know how they did it.

  37. Love your kitchen! I have the same kitchen table (different legs, same top). I love it to pieces. Someday I hope to give it the pretty kitchen home it deserves like you did.

  38. The kitchen is great! I saw the details on More Ways to waste time blog. Are those upper cabinets by the fridge? Would you be able to send a picture of that view? I am trying to figure out with a similar layout what to do by the fridge in our kitchen…open shelving or upper cabinets to the windows we have in the front.

  39. I LOVE IT… You rock Leah… Keep up the GREAT work and I want to see more very soon!! you have a new number one fan!!
    I love the floors, the styling is detailed out to the nines… I am in love… I love the salt container on the countertop – nice touch. Real life – real details..

    The color of the cabinets are my personal favorite and I have it in almost every room in my own townhome… great style is are you..

  40. Just wondering about your appliances. Are all of your appliances standard size? Are there hanging cabs next to your fridge?

    Great job on the redo. It’s beautiful.

  41. Ikrier: Thanks! We DO love to cook in here. (Well, my boyfriend mostly. I do the majority of the cleaning.)

    Julie: All of the appliances are standard size with the exception of the refrigerator. It’s the smallest [width] cabinet depth fridge we could find. It’s only 17.3 cubic feet, and is 31 1/8″ wide. However, I have to say we LOVE this fridge! The layout is great and we actually get more in it than in our previous, bigger version which was a top freezer. And lastly, yes there are hanging cabinets next to the fridge.

  42. The fridge is Fisher & Paykel. I’m not sure how many sq feet the kitchen is. It’s aprox 14’x14′ square.

  43. Great job! I’d really appreciate knowing what you used for your countertop. Also, is the paint finish on your new cabinetry satin or semi-gloss? Our current kitchen layout is similar… we’re toying with the idea of busting out a wall (where your fridge is, and ours too) to open it up to our family room, but it’s nice to see that not everyone is jumping on the “Great Room” bandwagon. There’s something to be said for cozy. I look forward to hearing back from you re: the counters and paint finish. Thanks!!

  44. FANTASTIC JOB!!! I am about to start a kitchen renovation of my own (with a similiar design idea) and this provides great inspiration!

  45. just randomly found your blog! we have an offer in on a short sale in chestnut hill – we’ll find out if it’s ours next month, hopefully. if so, we’ll definitely be doing a kitchen. we don’t even own the house yet and i’m already overwhelmed! are the cabinets in yours all ikea?

    1. Hi there,
      The cabinets are all from Lowes, not Ikea. I bought the range hood from Ikea (which I would not recommend).

      1. you know – about 5 mins after i commented, i found another blog where you explained the whole thing! sorry to make you rehash!

  46. Leah, I understand you have moved from your home, and this is an older post, but I have to ask, because I am thinking about doing EXACTLY what you did. Did you have your sink with drainboards, reglazed, resurfaced, etc? And if you did, how did it hold up to kitchen wear and tear? I am purchasing one off craigslist as well and want to set on top of my counters too. Just am wondering how durable yours was. Thanks for your time.

    1. Hi Alayne,
      This is the second vintage drainboard sink I’ve had (of my own) and I grew up with one as a child too. They’re very durable! No, I did not re-glaze my most recent one, but probably should have. You should pay attention to pitting and stains that it might already have. Or where the porcelain/enamel surface appears to be thin (usually around the drain). I definitely had pits that annoyed me, which is why I say I should have had it re-surfaced…but you can find them in tip-top condition so it will depend on the one you buy. Best of luck! We absolutely adore those sinks!!

      1. Thanks Leah,

        This one does have a chip in the enamel and some scaring (not shiny any longer) on the bottom. I was wondering how well the reglazing would hold up. But it’s a double bowl sink for $75 on craigslist so I am going to give the reglazing a try. Thanks again.

  47. well of course i love it. and i was hoping you could help me. what kind of chalkboard paint did you use and does it erase/clean up well? i’ve done a wall and some cabinet doors and i just have trouble getting them to clean up well when i want to start fresh. know what i mean? yours looks so black and crisp. πŸ™‚

    1. I used the Home Depot brand chalkboard paint. But the key to keeping it look black/crisp is to clean it with a CLEAN wet sponge. πŸ™‚

  48. I tried searching for your blogs regarding your floors…. can you tell me the brand? I found you used Tung oil to coat. I absolutely LOVE LOVE the floor.
    Thanks Melissa:)

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