We are excited to showcase this stunning, open and airy kitchen renovation that completely transformed a once cramped and closed-off space into a gorgeous, light-filled oasis. This kitchen went from dreary to dreamy thanks to the homeowners’ vision and some clever design choices. We will provide an overview of the transformation process and highlight elements that made this renovation a success. From layout changes to material selections, every decision was intentional in creating a functional and beautiful new heart of the home. This kitchen of the week is sure to provide inspiration for anyone looking to open up their existing kitchen footprint.

Overview of the Home and Original Kitchen Layout

This home is a two-story suburban house built in the 1990s. The original kitchen layout featured dated oak cabinets, a small eat-in dining area, and very little natural light. The space felt dark and compartmentalized with upper cabinets nearly touching the ceiling and soffits boxing in the room. Appliances and the sink were located on the back wall with no sightlines to the rest of the home. The awkward L-shaped footprint joined the kitchen and dining spaces at an odd angle with wasted space. The homeowners felt the kitchen was not only an eyesore but lacked functionality and flow.

Goals for the Kitchen Reno

The homeowners had several goals in mind for this kitchen transformation:

  • Open up the space to allow more natural light. This included removing upper cabinets, soffits, and walls dividing the kitchen and dining room.
  • Improve layout and enhance functionality with better workflow and storage solutions.
  • Incorporate an island with seating.
  • Create a fresh, contemporary aesthetic incorporating white cabinetry, subway tile, marble, and black accents.
  • Upgrade fixtures and appliances for improved utility.
  • Add custom organizational features like a built-in charging station.
  • Accommodate homeowner passions like baking and coffee.

Demolition: Removing Walls and Soffits

The renovation kicked off with demolition to remove existing cabinetry, drywall, and partition walls dividing the kitchen and dining spaces. This enabled the team to evaluate the underlying structure and identify any issues. Removing upper cabinets, soffits, and unnecessary walls was integral to achieving an open, airy layout full of natural light. Special care was taken to preserve and expose attractive existing elements like brick walls and an ornate ventilation grille.

Structural Changes: Supporting New Layout

With walls coming down, the existing floor plan was getting a complete overhaul. Structural changes were made to support the new kitchen footprint. A steel I-beam was installed to remove load-bearing walls while maintaining structural integrity. The team relocated ductwork running through original walls to accommodate open concept sightlines. Widening the dining room doorway achieved a seamless transition between spaces. These structural enhancements prepared the kitchen for a bright, unobstructed layout.

Floorplan and Layout

Careful planning of the redesigned floorplan focused on improving workflow and function. The new L-shaped layout features an expansive island with seating for casual dining. All appliances and the sink are situated along the perimeter with a clean sightline from the cooktop to the living areas. Upper cabinets were removed, and the remaining base cabinets have been elevated for a lighter, more modern aesthetic. A sizable walk-in pantry provides storage without cluttering the main kitchen. There is ample countertop prep space and blend of open and closed storage to keep everything organized. Transition areas between the kitchen, dining room and mudroom have been widened for better flow.

Cabinetry: Crisp, White Shaker Style

The existing kitchen was dominated by heavy, ornate oak cabinetry that made the space feel dark and dated. For the redesign, the homeowners opted for a fresh, contemporary look with crisp white shaker style cabinetry. The clean lines and simple styling help reflect light and keep the space feeling bright and airy. Durable plywood construction and soft-close hinges add function and longevity. No upper cabinets allow for better visibility and accessibility. Wood open shelving offers a warm accent while keeping necessities in reach. Drawers with organizers and pull-out cabinets maximize every inch of storage capacity.

Island and Seating: Gathering Spot

The expansive island is truly the heart of this kitchen, both in function and aesthetic. It adds ample prep space and storage as well as room for seating up to five guests. The white marble waterfall counter is stunning and durable. Decorative corbels and paneling on the island base add architectural interest. Open shelving underneath provides convenient access to cookbooks and small appliances while keeping the surface clutter-free. The island creates a social atmosphere for hanging out while cooking meals together. It also delineates the kitchen zone from the dining area seamlessly.

Countertops: Marble and Quartz

The countertops play a big role in the luxurious yet inviting vibe of this new kitchen. Honed white Carrara marble on the island and perimeter base cabinets is an elegant choice that withstands heavy use. A coordinating quartz called “Pure White” was used for the backsplash and secondary prep zones. This combination of natural stone and engineered quartz provides beauty and durability. The muted white palette keeps the space feeling light and airy. Both materials are non-porous and resist staining, ideal for busy kitchens.

Backsplash: Simple White Subway Tile

Continuing the less-is-more vibe, the backsplash uses simple white 3”x6” subway tile. The rectangular tiles have a classic, timeless look that suits the contemporary space. Laid in a basic stack pattern, they serve as a subtle backdrop without competing with other elements. The homeowners liked that subway tiles are affordable, easy to clean, and resistant to moisture. Their neutral color and matte finish make a seamless transition between the countertops, cabinetry and walls. The backsplash provides function and visual interest without overcomplicating the aesthetic.

Flooring: Luxury Vinyl Plank

With moisture, stains, and high traffic to consider, luxury vinyl plank flooring was selected to stand up to real life in the kitchen. The plank format and woodgrain patterns add warmth and dimension. To complement the white cabinetry, a very light gray oak color was chosen. This is paired with a slightly darker gray vinyl floor in the adjacent dining space to delineate the two zones. The modern muted colors and convincing textures look like real hardwood but offer more durability and water resistance. With sound dampening foam layers and attached cork backing, these floors are comfortable underfoot as well as easy to maintain.

Lighting: Layers for Function and Style

One of the major goals for the renovation was increasing natural light, achieved by removing upper cabinets and opening sightlines to the living areas. To complement this airy architecture, the lighting design incorporates layers of illumination for both task needs and overall ambiance. Large windows augmented by under cabinet lighting provides ample visibility for food prep. Slim linear LED fixtures blend into shelves and accent the clean lines. Over the island, a statement pendant composed of clear glass spheres adds sculptural intrigue. Recessed cans focused on the work stations produce targeted task lighting as needed. Dimmers keep lighting adjustable for any mood or activity.

Appliances and Plumbing Fixtures

The appliances were upgraded with user-friendly, durable options that suit an active family kitchen. A Thermador range with 6 burners, griddle and double ovens handles serious cooking. The Bosch dishwasher uses precision engineering for spotless results. Other appliances include a Panasonic microwave, Marvel beverage center and Liebherr stainless refrigerator. An undermount Blanco stainless steel sink with an industrial style faucet makes cleanup efficient. The fixtures and appliances offer professional-grade performance allowing the homeowners to pursue their passions for baking, cooking and coffee.

Special Features and Personal Touches

Several carefully chosen details make this kitchen remodel unique and customized. Warm wood open shelving provides a handcrafted touch contrasting crisp cabinetry. The floating shelves display cherished cookbooks, ceramics and accents. Two marble and brass pendant lights frame the modern marble hood adding a hint of glam. Beneath the island, custom cubbies crafted from wine crates stow large platters and cutting boards. In the butler’s pantry, built-in charging stations keep phones and tablets powered up and out of sight. These personalized elements bring character and convenience to the fresh new interior.

Impact: Results of the Remarkable Transformation

This dated 1990s kitchen was given a whole new lease on life through contemporary design choices and intelligent layout changes. The elimination of walls and soffits together with reflective finishes completely altered the perception of the space. What was once cramped and compartmentalized is now open, inviting and filled with natural light. The modern white palette paired with warm wood accents and marble creates a quietly elegant atmosphere. Clever storage solutions reduced visual clutter while enhancing workflow. The new kitchen now serves as a bright, efficient command center for the homeowners’ love of cooking and entertaining. This remarkable before and after is a testament to the power of strategic renovations to utterly transform the heart of a home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Remodels

Kitchen remodels are one of the most popular home renovation projects. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the process:

How long does a kitchen remodel take?

Kitchen remodels can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months depending on the extent of changes. Simple facelifts may take 4-6 weeks. Full gut renovations often take 2-3 months. Managing the process efficiently with clear communication among contractors, designers and homeowners helps keep the project on schedule.

What is the cost range for a kitchen remodel?

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the average major kitchen remodel cost $135,000 in 2020. Minor remodels average $26,000. The total budget depends on the finishes, materials, appliances and customization for each unique project. Developing a detailed budget is recommended to allocate for all aspects of demolition, construction, fixtures and contingency fees.

How do I organize my new kitchen layout?

Analyze how you use your current kitchen and how the space functions. Look for wasted steps and storage solutions. Create zones for food prep, cooking, cleaning and dining. Place key appliances based on usage frequency. Allow enough countertop workspace and landing areas. Consider traffic flow and create clear pathways that facilitate moving through the kitchen.

Should I remodel the kitchen myself or hire a contractor?

For major renovations involving plumbing, electrical, structural work or appliance installation, a general contractor is recommended. They will pull work permits, coordinate subcontractors and manage the project timeline. For smaller DIY projects like cabinet refacing or backsplash tile, a motivated homeowner can tackle the job with proper research and commitment. Determine your skill level and hire specialists as needed.

How do I add storage to my small kitchen?

Optimize storage for small kitchens with solutions like tall pantry cabinets, drawer organizers, lazy susans, and pull-out shelves. Add an island or cart to increase countertop space and storage. Use racks or baskets on walls, inside cabinets or under counters. Mount a knife strip and utensil hooks for quick access. Maximize vertical space with hanging pots and pan racks to remove these bulky items from cabinets. Every inch counts in a compact kitchen.


This inspiring kitchen of the week proves that even the most outdated, poorly configured space can be utterly transformed with the right vision. Opening up walls, elevating cabinets and selecting light finishes helped convert a compartmentalized 1990s kitchen into an airy oasis filled with natural light. Strategic layout changes enhanced functionality and flow. The homeowners’ personal style came through in custom elements like floating shelves, pendant lights and wine crate storage. Upgraded appliances enable their passion for cooking and entertaining in style. This light-filled renovation should motivate anyone considering ways to freshen up an existing kitchen footprint for the better. With careful planning and expert execution, a kitchen can be completely reborn to serve as the warm, welcoming heart of your home.