Reader Redesign: Things Are Looking Up

We loved Stacy’s kitchen makeover, not only because it’s beautiful (and a huuuuuuge improvement over the original) but also because we thought it was a great example of balance. Stacy found out where she could eke out the most savings and took her time figuring out what she could do herself (and where she needed a little help). And the fact that her new kitchen appraised for… well, we’ll just let her tell you the story:

Hi John and Sherry, I waited about a year after I bought this house before I started re-doing the kitchen. It gave me time to save up, live with the space to see what it needed, and figure out what I wanted. I quickly realized that the original kitchen was majorly lacking in counter space. It was hard to find a place to cut vegetables. I basically ended up using the kitchen table to prep food!

Also, the corner cabinets were placed so that the doors didn’t fully open and you couldn’t see what was inside. The fan didn’t work very well, so a lot of times the second floor of the house smelled like what we ate for dinner. Let’s not even talk about the gross linoleum floors. The one good thing is that the appliances were all in decent shape.

I work full time and also am getting my MBA part time, so spare time is very limited. I went through a contractor for the demo and installation (took about three weeks for everything), but I did the designing of the floor plan and picked all the finishes myself. I took a risk and changed the floor plan completely. I moved the refrigerator over into the dining area and created a pantry area. This let me extend the countertops into a U shape. What a difference!! Three people can now work in the kitchen at once.

I saved a lot of money by re-using the existing appliances. Although I really wanted stainless appliances, these white ones still worked well and have a few years left in them. I also saved money by finding deals on a lot of the finishes. The vent hood, hardware, and cabinets are from Ikea. I assembled them and the contractor hung them. The backsplash was a really reasonable find as well (from Home Depot).

You inspired me to include open shelving, so I re-used the open shelves I had in the previous bar area. This also saved money that I would’ve spent on additional cabinets. The sink was also a major online bargain as well as the faucet and soap pump. I really love how the kitchen turned out. I had an appraisal done for my refinance and I recouped 100% of my costs of the reno in added value to the house. Really added a cherry on top to the whole project! Hope you enjoy! – Stacy

Can I just say one of my favorite decisions in the whole kitchen is not just the backsplash, but the direction of the backsplash? The vertical orientation is such a nice touch. Makes that Home Depot tile look so much more custom! Nice choice Stacy. Thanks so much for sharing! We love all the cost-saving details and that you took a chance and moved the whole layout around to make it a lot more functional (and recoup all of the money you spent). What about you guys. What’s your favorite part?

Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winner, so click here to see if it’s you.


  1. RebeccaK says

    Oh my goodness! I am completely serious, I thought the first ‘after’ image was her inspiration image!!! It took me a second to realize that was her finished kitchen! Wow, wow, wow.

  2. Val says

    I’m surprised the recoup was only 100% and not more!
    I thought the tile was Heath at first–makes me think twice about HD for sure. Is the counter also Ikea?

    • Stacy says

      No, the counter is from a local shop my contractor regularly uses. Felt nice to support a local business!

  3. says

    Gorgeousity! Love how much lighter and brighter it is in there now – and the backsplash is such a fabulous color. We’ve done a bunch of changes in our house in the last couple of years…might have to pester the hubby to get an appraisal (it might make him more ok with the money we’ve put into the house so far).

  4. Emily says

    Can you tell me the name and color of your tile? I am doing a back splash and really like but I would love to see if they have different colors in that same style.

  5. says

    Awesome! Everything is so bright and airy! Before I read you text at the bottom, that is what I noticed too-the backsplash direction! Even though she kept the white appliances it still looks great and with the sink and fan hood being stainless, she’ll be able to transition and maybe sell those existing white ones one day to put towards what she really wants.

    Overall, a fabulous makeover! I love the little 3-tiered shelves in the corner near the sink. I had that in my old house and it’s great for displaying items or a little plant/flower. :)

    • Stacy says

      Thanks Karla! I have a couple of fun plants on the shelves there now. Brings some life into the room.

  6. Karen F says

    amazing makeover! it’s such a transformation that it almost looks like a total gut job. she did an amazing job with this! love the tile orientation, too!

  7. Victoria says

    Do you happen to know where the faucet came from? We are looking for a new one for our kitchen and I’m loving this one. I am also loving the backsplash.

  8. says

    It’s so amazing it seems like someone is trying to pull a fast one! I had to keep scrolling back up to compare. WOW!!!

    My favorite thing besides the open shelving, the backsplash (oh my!), the faucet, and recouping the cost through appraisal has to be the floor plan.

    I would love to see a before and after of her flooring since she mentioned her grody linoleum she started with.

    I said it before, but it bears repeating – WOW!!!

    • Stacy says

      Thanks GreenlnOC! I unfortunately don’t have a good picture of the old floor. Let’s just say they were kind of yellow and had a paint stain on it from the previous owners. Also, the linoleum was only in the kitchen and there was beige carpet everywhere else. Now I have all hardwood on the first floor.

    • Stacy says

      Hi Kelly B – The countertop is from a local shop out here (in California) in Kashmir White Granite. I got to pick my slabs which was really fun.

      I love it! I sometimes catch myself studying the color variations in the stone while I’m wiping the down the counters. That’s not weird right?? :-)

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