I grew up in the house my mom still lives in for most of my life. We’ve affectionately named it the “Kirk Mansion”. This house was the place to be for all my brother’s friends growing up and the doors have swung open many times to family and friends who needed a place to stay. The white cape cod was built in the 1980’s and the kitchen still reflected it. My parents did minor updates when they purchased it in the early 90’s, but the updates were corian countertops and beige, square backsplash tiles with a tile fruit display over the cooktop.
The florescent lights were still giving off that yellow glow and the window over the sink has always been something my mom wanted to change.
My dad passed away in 1998 and this is the first time my mom has been able to make this house more of just “her”. I wish she could have done this sooner after my dad died because so much of the house was the both of them and it’s good for it to be just “her” now. I’m not trying to be insensitive to anyone losing a loved one, but I know that it’s sometimes a good thing to have a fresh start so you’re not having to face memory after memory at every turn. Also, having an inspiring space to live and cook is so good for the soul!
This kitchen renovation was a wonderful change for her and the house. Recently, Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook collaborated with others and did a makeover for Lucy who is newly widowed. Reading Jenny’s posts reminded me of working with my mom on her renovations. Her sentiments about giving Lucy a new space that was more “her” resonated with me strongly. I think anyone who loses a spouse deserves a home makeover! We should make that a show. “Hello, HGTV? I have a great idea that would benefit hurting people and bring lots of tears, which I know you love because it makes for good television!” LOL. No? Not a great show idea? Well, agree to disagree. Here are the links to Lucy’s new bedroom, dining room, and living room. They’re beautifully done as is everything Jenny touches!
So back to my mom’s kitchen. Here are some more before pictures (after we started testing paint samples, of course).
Alright, here we go. Here are the kitchen afters!
We replaced the desk area with counter height lower cabinets with drawers and added a butcher block top for a little warmth.
A built in range hood cabinet brings elegance and sophistication to the space. I’m a huge fan of hood cabinets! After looking at many, many slabs of granite and marble, we both agreed that marble was the way to go. Her neighbor, Matt Horton of the Level Craftsman, was her contractor and is so extremely thorough and careful with his work. I highly recommend him in you’re in northern Gwinnett! He discouraged my mom from choosing marble, though, as most contractors would because it is a weaker and more porous stone than granite. But just like I did with my countertops, my mom did her research and after much consideration chose to move forward with a honed marble. Definitely a good decision in my opinion!
Can we talk about how good the cabinet color is with her existing floors? The combination of the orangey cabinets and florescent lighting made the floors look even more orange. The new cabinet color tones down the floors drastically and makes them look beautiful, not clashing.
Most of the cabinets are the original cabinets, but the doors are all new. The new doors are extra tall so when you open them you see the top smaller cabinets that previously had their own door. The only new cabinets are the ones to the right of the cooktop (uppers and lowers), the refrigerator surround, and the bottoms underneath the glass front cabinets.
One thing you should know about my mom is that she’s a pretty classy lady, and that is reflected in her style. She naturally steers away from color on something pricy like cabinetry, but she told me that she likes the look of gray cabinets. She wasn’t quite ready to commit to gray, though, and kept going back to a white kitchen because it was safe. When I found Sherwin Williams Worldly Gray it was the perfect compromise in color. Very neutral, very warm, but not white. It’s a very pretty greige. We paired the warm greige with brass knobs and pulls, and as a finishing touch we used these extra long pulls on the faux drawers to be used as towel bars.
My mom finally got to replace that old window with a beautiful new one that opens and closes with a little crank. It’s her favorite part of the kitchen. The brass faucet and pendant light above the sink pulled everything together in bringing this kitchen into the 21st century.
Once the kitchen was finished my mom got the itch to keep going throughout the house, starting with her foyer. I’ll be back another day with some before and afters of her beautiful new stairs and a mini tutorial on a DIY runner.