Kitchen reveal: Renovation before & after

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

This post is a long time coming. I mean, really long. I’ve alluded to the fact that we underwent home renos last year, which left me kitchen-less for the better part of last fall. I’ve been enjoying my brand new space for a few months now and I figured it was about time I wrote a little something about it.

Renovating our kitchen was the first major project we undertook since moving into our home at the end of 2015. The house was in pretty good shape when we bought it, but the two most important rooms—the kitchen and bathrooms—were crying out to be updated.

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

On the surface, the kitchen looked somewhat decent because the previous owners installed new, shaker-style cabinet doors before they put the house up for sale. But the surface doesn’t tell the whole story! Behind those doors were cabinet boxes that were super old and yellowed, and the interior shelving—decorated with ugly and peeling stick-tack liners—were bowing in the middle and caked with decades-old dirt and grease. I would share a photo of the inside of the cabinets if I had one, but you’d probably cringe in disgust.

The cheap laminate countertops weighed down the space and the old white appliances were on their last legs (we sold them before I took these photos). Plus, you should have seen the bubble-like rubber flooring that was in there before I begged my sweet-as-ever husband and brother-in-law to replace it with the blue tile as a temporary solution because I couldn’t stand looking at it.

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

As someone who spends most of her extra time in the kitchen, and moving from a previously renovated kitchen to this one, I was pretty disappointed, to say the least. But the location of this new house was hard to beat, and exactly where we wanted to be. Plus, if you know anything about Toronto real estate, you know you can’t be too picky about these things. You’ve basically won the property lottery if you can even manage to land a winning bid. So, along with this new home purchase came a promise from my husband that the kitchen would be our first project.

The worst part about the space was the monstrous wall between the kitchen and dining area that blocked all the light coming into the rest of the living space, leaving our main floor feeling like a cave for most of the day.

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

So we gutted it.

That was last September. After spending the first half of 2016 working on design and construction plans, and the last few months in full reno mode, I’m thrilled we’re now at the point when all the final loose ends have been taken care of to the point where we can actually say it’s finished.

We were fortunate to find a local design-build firm just after moving into our home, and the incredible owner, Tony Galizia, who took the lead on transforming this space into my dream kitchen.

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

I don’t know how we lucked out with such a great contractor and team of workers. Our past experiences were not pleasant, and I was definitely not looking forward to living through and dealing with another renovation, but Tony eased my worries right from the start and worked with me directly throughout the project to make sure I was happy every step of the way.

That’s not to say the reno was all rainbows and roses, but still.

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

These particular photos of the space were taken midway through the project when it was the cleanest and most open. It was incredible to see the transformation happen right before my eyes. I loved coming home from work each day and seeing that it had advanced a little further.

Before I explain more, let’s get to the before-and-after photos, shall we?

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

The biggest change we made was removing that wall—which was deemed not load-bearing (yay!)—and creating a more functional L-shaped kitchen from the previously dysfunctional and very closed-in arrangement. The new layout left plenty of space for a much larger island and, best of all, it allowed the light to flow into the rest of the living area.

We purchased semi-custom cabinets that were made extra tall so they reached all the way to the ceiling bulkhead. Not only did it increase the storage space, but it made the 9-foot ceilings look that much taller. But, I will need to invest in a step stool because shorty over here can barely reach the second shelf!

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

Our goal with this remodel was to lighten and brighten (white, white and more white) and create a custom space with as much storage as we could get. I jumped on board the subway tile trend and wanted to create a feeling of openness with the white-on-white for cabinets and counters (although the countertop decision was a tough one), since it is a pretty tight space. The wood flooring and reclaimed wood shelving tucked in on the opposite wall (not seen in these photos) added some warmth, too.

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

The island was built to allow for extra storage, book shelves in the centre for all my favourite cookbooks, and also space for seating on the other side. Plus, the counter space on top is, like, the best thing ever. I can lay out all my mixing bowls and ingredients—mise en place, as I learned in baking school—and have no worries about running out of prep space.

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

The red panels behind the glass cabinets were Tony’s brilliant idea. He cut thin pieces of HDF to size so all we had to do was add a coat of paint (here, we used Benjamin Moore in Raspberry Truffle) and pop them in behind the shelving. It really helps to break up all that white, and we can easily take them out and repaint (or even cover them with fabric or wallpaper) whenever we want to change up the accent colour. Pretty cool, right?

We also incorporated spice racks into the two 9-inch lower cabinets that flank the range and are pulled out to the same depth as the range to create a more customized look. It is one of my favourite parts of the kitchen. Our designer, Nazima, gets full credit. Without her we’d still be picking out cabinet hardware (we seriously suck at decisions).

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

Kitchen reveal: Renovation before and after | A Dash of Compassion

The floor-to-ceiling open shelving that is tucked in an alcove on the opposite wall comes from a local furniture builder, Craig of Rustic House Interiors, who, might I add, also built us a custom reclaimed dining table and floating bathroom vanity. The shelving adds some character to an otherwise empty wall and allows me to display all my favourite antique market finds.

So that’s it. It’s done and I’m thrilled. Next up: the main bathroom.

I’m providing all the sources below for those who are interested! I should also give a shout-out to my cats Eli and Zoey for their cameos in the above photos.

Sources:

Every portion of this reno was paid for out of my own pocket and didn’t involve partnership affiliations. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

      

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6 Responses to “Kitchen reveal: Renovation before & after”

  1. Stéphanie B. — May 31, 2017 @ 7:12 pm

    Looks like a dream kitchen !!

  2. Nicole — May 31, 2017 @ 7:50 pm

    Thank you, Stephanie! It feels like one, and was well worth the reno stress. :)

  3. theveganlisa — June 1, 2017 @ 8:42 pm

    It looks incredible, Nicole! I am thrilled to see the final result of so many months of planning and hard work. I hope you are enjoying walking into your beautiful kitchen every single day.

    xo

  4. Nicole — June 2, 2017 @ 4:31 pm

    Thank you, Lisa!

  5. Kelly — June 5, 2017 @ 11:43 am

    This is an absolutely beautiful transformation! Love the simplistic design.

  6. Nicole — June 7, 2017 @ 9:57 am

    Thank you so much, Kelly!

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