Kitchen Before & Afters

I haven’t yet shared the stories of my house. The story of how we got our house will definitely require its own post. Suffice it to say, it was a house that needed some major TLC. Neglected for many many years, and remodeled with some bad contractors and 1970s style, this 1935 house was in desperate need of help. Four years later, we are still working away at it. At over 4300 square feet, it has a lot of nooks and crannies to work on, both inside and out. I will show more before pictures of other rooms another time so you will understand how bad it really was.

I haven’t spent many dollars or hours on furnishing or decorating like many of you have, but I have spent COUNTLESS hours designing a kitchen remodel (trying to make the best of what we had without gutting the whole thing), ripping out dirty dusty smoky wallpaper in many rooms, painting, patching, sanding, disguising problems, refinishing floors, and replacing things like windows and faucets and that sort of thing. When you buy a true fixer upper, things like getting the rat droppings out of your kitchen and having working appliances installed are really big deals. You look forward to “someday” when you have time to think about decorating and furnishing!

Today, I will show the before & afters of the kitchen. I’ve shown a few of these afters before. I apologize for the horrible before pictures. Not only the hideous state of the kitchen, but the bad photos! My computer crashed a couple of years back and I lost the original photos. All I have is this! But, you can get the general idea. It was BAD all the way around!

Here is a sheet of before pictures. Not every angle but enough to show you!

Kitchen Before & Afters

The after pictures are in the same order as the before so you can kind of follow along:

Kitchen Before & AftersKitchen Before & Afters

Kitchen Before & AftersKitchen Before & Afters

Kitchen Before & AftersKitchen Before & Afters

Here are a few more shots of the kitchen, for those of you who enjoy more details and so you can see some things the above pictures miss:

Kitchen Before & AftersKitchen Before & Afters

Kitchen Before & AftersKitchen Before & Afters

Kitchen Before & AftersKitchen Before & Afters

Well, there you have it, my kitchen before and afters! I’d say it took a good two years to do. Between the design which I did myself and having the work done (and in some parts, doing the work ourselves), it was a major project. Doing a new kitchen would’ve been a snap by comparison, working around existing features requires careful thought and planning in order to save money! We had one ugly kitchen and now the room actually feels like it belongs in my house and not in the 1970s.


  1. Wow – you did an AMAZING job! Really, really amazing. I love your style, your cabinets, your sink, your stove…everything! You should be really proud.

  2. WOW!!!! I love your kitchen! :D Congratulations on such a great job. I love the way that you worked with what you already had rather than gutting it all out and starting again. Now when are you coming to Australia to do mine? ;)

  3. Beck, oh, I’d board a plane tomorrow if I could! :-)

  4. What a lovely transformation. From dark drab to light, fresh and friendly – oh, lest not forget clean!! You have a keen eye for decorating! White kitchens are my favorite. Someday I will have one again…….. Becky

  5. Classic and beautiful. You should be very proud. I hope you enjoy it every day. I LOVE to cook, so give me a call if you need someone to whip up something, :).


  6. What a gorgeous kitchen you have, Melissa!! That is very WOW now & I’m sure it was a long time coming (2 yrs??) that is a long time! It is absolutely beautiful. I love all the little details, very much my taste too. Are those kitchen counters wood?? Just wondering how that works in the longhaul. It’s all very warm & cozy feeling. You must be proud.


  7. Thanks everyone for your kind words.

    The counters are indeed wood, they are Brazilian Cherry, a very hard wood, and they have several layers of sealant on them. We have used them daily in a large family for two years and there is not even any sign of wear around the sink, which is where you’d think you’d find it. There are a few little darker stains from oils or other products here and there on the counters, but hardly noticeable at all since the grain of the wood is variable anyways. Probably when we buff out the finish and reapply it will go back to perfection. We are minimally careful, just use trivets for hot foods (we have soapstone around the stove), cutting boards for cutting, and use coasters for drinks. Just like a piece of furniture, but quite resistant to problems! Kind of like teak, a wood used for boats. Wood counters do quite well with water if you have the right hard wood and the right sealant. This is our second house with wood counters and we really love the warmth and look of furniture.

  8. Oh wow, I love this! What is that fabulous black and white iron stove-looking thingy?

  9. Thanks! That stove is a French wood burner. It was already in the house (lost amidst the 70’s oak veneer and ugly tile!). The brand is Godin. It is actually vented to the outside, so we can burn real wood. We have some yummy smelling firewood and it makes the kitchen nice and toasty and smell fabulous in the winter!

  10. Esther Sunday says

    Gosh – you did a fab job! It is beautiful, light, bright and crisp! Love, Esther

  11. What a wonderful room and what a tremendous amount of work you had! I’m having trouble just getting the kitchen to function long enough to paint! Blessings… Polly

  12. m—
    hard work really does pay off! would love to see your home….maybe a magazine would feature it, yes!

  13. Melissa,

    Wow! You are truly a girl after my own heart. I’m shocked to see many of the things I dream for my own kitchen in your amazing re-do. Wow!! (I even have the same toile fabric that covers your chair…)

    Hi! I’m Brin. I have the blog ‘My Messy, Thrilling Life’. I found you through information gathered through sitemeter… apparently people were clicking over from your blog to take a look at mine. I decided to come check you out… and am so glad I did! What an inspiration you are!

    Thanks for letting me poke around. And thanks for the referrals! Us remodeling/renovating gals need all the help and friends we can get, right? :D

    My best,

  14. What a beautiful kitchen! It’s simply wonderful!

  15. Fantastic job on the kitchen! And you have my coveted apron sink (at least it looked like it from the photos). Funny enough, authentic popped into my mind when i saw your new kitchen. It truly does look as it was always there…


  16. I love your kitchen redo especially the little nook with the peaked ceiling, very clever use of space. Everything looks lovely, well thought out, functional and welcoming. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to seeing more of your home. Before moving to the house we are in now we had a 1935 colonial that looks a lot like your house, it was smaller but needed some TLC too. I saved many of the original elements but like you spent hours ripping off old wallpaper and tearing out old carpet. We gave everything a new coat of paint, refinished the floors and called it good and loved that house for many years. Thanks again for stopping by Life At Home and permission to add you to my favorites and adding me to yours.

  17. your kitchen is gorgeous! i love it. i thought about wood for our counter tops because they are so beautiful but my boys carved into my new dining room table with pocket knives!!! so i wasn’t about to offer up an entire kitchen! and you did the work yourself? amazing. you should be very proud and i just know you love it. thanks for visiting my blog too. we have similar taste for sure. i will keep checking in! i love the brown and green theme you have…very fun.

  18. I hadn’t read this post before. What a gorgeous kitchen! You did a wonderful job! I am just learning my styles, but am I right that it is french-country influenced? I really love the lamp you can see part of in one of the photos. Very nice. I have a thing for lamps…

  19. Melissa this is so gorgeous! So, when are we having tea? ;)

  20. Melissa,
    Thanks for visiting my site. Yes, I’m in Camas. Right across the river from Portland. I’m in Portland just about everyday, so I feel like I still live there.
    Yes, we should try to get all the NW bloggers together!
    OK…….now your kitchen is to DIE FOR!!! I absolutly love it. It looks just like it’s out of a magazine. That Red Toile chair…..makes my heart skip.
    Have you ever been to the Camas Antique mall? Let’s do it!

  21. Love,love,love your kitchen!!

  22. Oh. My. Gosh.

    Llllllove the kitchen, sister! You are amazing! I’m adding you to my favorites list:)

    Thanks for stopping by humble blog – and, hey……anytime you want to dispense some advice on my project…..feel free :)

    martha from Elizabeth Hill

  23. Melissa, I’m blown away – this is so gorgeous, seriously, really really beautiful. Congrats!


  24. to die for!
    my old kitchen in our mt. tabor home actually had paneling……..PANELING on the cupboards! And Z-brick.

    I’m so excited for your new master suite!

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