Reader Redesign: So Fresh

Karin is a pet photographer from Minneapolis and apparently when she’s not snapping pretty pictures of pooches, she’s busy creating a pretty darned awesome kitchen. We know you guys like to a see non-white kitchens when those come in, and this one is actually an all wood one. Check out her letter below, which I’ve peppered with some of Karin’s awesome before & afters. Well, and one demo-tastic during shot.

Hi Sherry and John! You’ve been an inspiration for my husband and I as we purchased our first home last summer and immediately started tearing it apart. After years of renting, we finally took the plunge and purchased our first home. We wanted something open and modern with lots of natural light. Thanks to our HGTV-watching experience, we had a good handle on what to look for versus things we could change ourselves. When we came across a semi-neglected house, it had all the “must-haves” for us and we went for it. This house was actually by far the least expensive of the ones we saw, allowing us to make some pretty big changes.

Although the before images don’t convey this too well, the kitchen/dining area was dirty, tired, and needed a lot of help. Cola (I think?) was spattered on the walls, the carpet was had a minor flea infestation, and most of the tiles in the kitchen were cracked.


Jeff and I salvaged and donated what we could and took a sledgehammer to the rest. We did as much as we could ourselves (and with the help of family) and called in the pros when it was truly necessary (installing 600 pounds of structural beams, running a gas line to the stove, etc.). We have learned so much… and more! And to save some money we shopped around for discounts (the dining chairs are from Overstock and we actually DIYed the dining table with legs from Ikea).

I frequently referenced many how-to’s on YHL (hello backsplash!) and you two helped instill a sense of fearlessness to tackle many “scary” projects with no previous experience. Thank you and take care! – Karin

We love how light and airy this kitchen feels (proving that wood cabinets can still add up to a nice bright kitchen). Karin has tons of extra pictures on her photography blog along with a source list. Oh, and since we’d be remiss not to end with a shot with dogs in it – here goes nothing!

What’s your favorite part? The dogs? Me too. Although those dining chairs, stools, and pretty island lights have Sherry oohing and ahhing, and I love the sleek cabinet hardware and that cool waterfall edge on the island’s countertop.


  1. Sarah says

    I love the puppies! How sweet that they’d pose like that.

    Also – is there source info on the lights? Those bubble-ish fixtures are gorgeous!

  2. Debby says

    From one Westie mommy to another. Beautiful kitchen, but I am loving those dogs. If they are anything like my Annie, there is a lot of intelligence sitting there and a whole lot of stubborn.

  3. Erin says

    This was a great transformation. You might let Karin know that when I clicked on the link to her website my virus blocker came up and said it had detected a virus.

    • says

      Oh no! Anyone else having that issue? I wonder if it’s one of her blog plug-ins acting up (we had an issue with our Instagram plug-in, it wasn’t a virus, but blockers thought it was for a second and then said nevermind – haha!).


  4. Angel says

    I love when people manage to do something really modern that still feels warm and homey (like this). I like many of aspects of modern design, but a lot of times it comes off really stark and cold. Great job!

  5. Alanna says

    Adorable dogs and gorgeous kitchen! For those of you in the Twin Cities, Karin is an amazing photographer. She just photographed my corgi last weekend and I highly recommend her for your doggy (or human) photo needs. She handled my grumpy girl like a champ.

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