The Long-Promised Kitchen Reveal

This calls for a celebration! Ruinart champagne for two. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This Calls For A Celebration…

Yesterday was my birthday (61, yay!) but we had to scrap plans for going out to brunch as we’d both come down with wicked colds. (Caught from Jeune Homme who stayed with us the weekend prior.) So we celebrated both my birthday and the 99% completion of our kitchen remodel project with a bit of bubbly.

I love those home makeover shows. Seeing the “Before and After” comparisons is my favorite part. I’m lacking a professional camera crew and lighting, but I think you’ll see a dramatic difference even so.

Kitchen Remodel: Before

When we moved into our house 21 years ago, the kitchen hadn’t been worked on since the late 1960’s. Picture everything Harvest Gold and Avocado Green…and then throw in blue floral wallpaper. 😝 We didn’t have much of a budget for renovation at that point, so we focused on the cosmetic updates and vowed to do a major overhaul “someday.” We replaced the countertops and flooring, added a small pantry, painted, and added laminate to the existing cabinets. It was meant to be a temporary fix, but 20 years later we were still living with it.

Here are the Before photos. These were taken right before demolition began, so forgive the messy state.

Kitchen before renovation. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The original kitchen was dark and cramped. There was an eating nook, but I always thought the space could be better utilized.

Kitchen before renovation. Linoleum counters and floors. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

tight squeeze in the kitchen before. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This area was one of our biggest annoyances. We’d added that narrow, deep pantry (right) when we moved in and stuffed an apartment-sized stacked washer/dryer into the corner behind it. Behind the door in the back was a small 1/2 bath that we never used because it was too inconvenient. We mostly used it for storage. On the other side of the fridge was the door to the backyard.

Here’s a photo you can refer back to. The sink, dishwasher and fridge are all in the same places in the new kitchen. We replaced that fridge with a counter-depth model, otherwise we kept the existing appliances.

Kitchen Remodel: After

Kitchen remodel after: a more open floor plan. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

We knocked out a couple of walls, moved a doorway, and created more of an open floor plan. We relinquished the 1/2 bath (we still have 2 full baths in a 3-bedroom house). The whole area is now lighter as well as more open and spacious.

Kitchen remodel to create a more open floor plan. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Instead of an eating nook, we now have a counter that can also be used as a gathering and serving space when we entertain.

Grey and white kitchen after remodel. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

We chose grey and white cabinets, which I’m quite happy with.

Kitchen remodel to create open floor plan. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

There’s a nice flow now between the kitchen, dining area and the living room (which I’m not showing you because it’s still a mess).

Casual dining area after kitchen renovation. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

That’s Byron taking a nap under the table. We decided to go with a “rustic modern” furniture mix for the dining area, and keep it casual and relaxed. (I wanted some cafe-style wicker chairs, but Le Monsieur was insistent that he wanted something comfortable. And these are very, very comfortable.)

The table expands to seat 8 with two leaves that go on either end.

We also went in a very different direction with the chandelier than what we’d originally been considering but think this one coordinates nicely.

As part of our kitchen renovation we added double French doors which let in much more light. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

And instead of a cramped little passageway, we now have a double French door that not only creates a better  indoor-outdoor flow for entertaining, but also lets lots more light into the kitchen. We’re going to be replacing the shuttered window and painting that wall. After that’s done, we’ll hang some artwork in that area. We’re also planning to add simple sheer curtains over both the window and French doors.


Blanco Silgranit sink in "truffle". Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The countertops are Caesarstone (hard to tell from this image, but there’s a subtle marbling pattern). The sink is Blanco Silgranit. That was suggested by the kitchen designer and I’m very happy with its low-maintenance finish after years of scrubbing marks off a white porcelain sink. We toyed with doing a farmhouse sink, but they were much more expensive than the under-mount. I’m happy with that choice too. The backsplash is slightly shiny and has a nice texture which I like. Since we went with a very neutral color scheme the texture keeps it from being too bland.

The “semi-custom” cabinets came with plain glass panes, which we replaced with this textured glass.

Kitchen renovation: pull-out pantry shelves. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

We each had a few items on our wish list for the new kitchen. Topping my list was that every bit of storage below counter level either pulls or rolls out. No more getting down on hands and knees to get at that thing in the back of the lower cabinet!

wine storage and cooler. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Le Monsieur’s number one wish list item was a wine storage/cooler unit.

There are a few little tweaks yet to do, but overall we’re quite pleased with the new design.

A few more details:

pendant lights | barstools (cushions) | dining table | dining chairs | chandelier  | pantry organizer

Have you done a kitchen remodel? What were you most pleased with? Anything you wish you’d done differently?

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  1. It looks beautiful! Love your color choices. A kitchen renovation makes you feel like you’re in a whole new home! Enjoy you’re beautiful new kitchen and happy birthday!

  2. How wonderful! Great light coming in and I love your light fixtures. Didn’t realize we shared a birthday – happy birthday and may this year be full of blessings for you!

  3. Love it, Susan. You make me want to rip mine apart. It is lovely…and what a great birthday gift to give youself. Enjoy!

  4. Bonner anniversaire! Kitchen looks fabulous, it’s amazing how you’ve made such an impact with minimal change to the footprint. Enjoy! And hope you and Monsieur feel better soon.

  5. That is amazing. I HATE soffits and am so glad you got rid of them. I love the French doors–you have so much more light. I also love the counter seating. We have something similar, and visitors love to perch there while I finish up cooking. Pull-out lower shelves are on my wish list.

  6. Love love love your kitchen! (but maybe that’s because it’s very like mine which we are finally putting the finishing touches to – it’s been a long 3 months ;)) Happy birthday in your lovely new space!

  7. Bonjour! I am a newcomer to your blog, and am loving following your adventures. J’adore that you sprinkle French expressions into what you share with us. Kitchen looks great–you took a very awkward space and made it work brilliantly (ok, proper Brit expressions too!). La grippe is no fun, but bon anniversaire anyway!

  8. You did a fabulous job. I think kitchen makeovers done right are one of the most satisfactory improvements you can make to your home. We did ours 10-ish years ago and I still love it!

  9. Wow! I’m sure you are already enjoying the increased functionality of your beautiful new kitchen. This kitchen looks so much more like you.

  10. It looks really fantastic. You’ve made such good use of the space and I love all of your finishes and fixtures. Our kitchen is open as well and honestly it’s the room I enjoy the most in our home. I was laughing about the dining room chairs because when I was a designer it was the #1 fight between couples. Women want a particular “look” for the chairs and men want comfort, they’re adamant about it. After many years I ended up agreeing with men and only showed chairs that were very comfortable. Yours look great and inviting.

  11. Happy Birthday Susan! Love your new kitchen- we are just starting ours! Still making choices-what is your flooring, hardwood? We also have washer & dryer behind louvered doors & worry about possible water on wood – but vinyl has to go!!

  12. Thanks so much for sharing these photos of your swanky-looking kitchen! Great outcome, and I expect it was worth all the fuss and bother. Happy birthday!

  13. Happy Birthday Susan! And, by the way, great reno too. The new kitchen looks 1000% on the old one — now it’s
    practical and chic.

  14. Happy Birthday! Your kitchen turned out beautifully. Really like how you opened things up. That sink is really cool. What is it made out of? We are smack dab in the middle of a master bathroom remodel. Hoping I will love it when it is done. Our very first remodel.

  15. Tres jolie, Susan! My husband and I are building a retirement home this year, and your kitchen colors and finishes mirror what I want!

    A question: I’m off for 10 days in northern Italy this month and appreciate your edited packing list for your recent Italian adventure. What do you like to wear on the transatlantic flight that is comfortable but not sloppy when you de-board?

  16. Beautiful choices! And happy birthday. Thanks for sharing the before and after. I love seeing the changes!

  17. The flow of your updated floorplan is fantastic, and your choices look wonderful in it! We did a very similar wall tile in the kitchen of our house in Ireland, and I love the play of light off of them. (Also, thanks very much for the recommendation of Babylon Berlin – a perfect binge for a low energy weekend!)

  18. So pretty, Susan! All you’re missing is a large framed print of your favorite Paris photo to the left of your window, or a photo grouping of all your favorite places! Vive la France!

  19. You made wonderful choices! I hope you enjoy cooking and eating there for years to come. Will you visit Dehillerin next time you’re in Paris and get a gift for the new kitchen?
    Bonne Anniversaire, Cherie!

  20. Bon anniversaire – happy to see you celebrated with my favorite champagne 🙂

    The kitchen is wonderful. We’re in the early stages of ours and I’m looking forward to my new cuisine, too. Hope it turns out as lovely as yours!

  21. Wow, looks great! I love the pull out drawers and the under cabinet lighting. And the space is so much more inviting.

  22. Happy Birthday Susan! The kitchen looks fabulous, flows nicely and has beautiful light. I love my pull out drawers too, so much better than squatting and reaching for pans.

  23. Love the new brighter, lighter look, and the space is now so much better utilized – congrats on a job well done!

  24. Absolutely stunning remodel-what a difference, and much more functional! Can you tell me the brand of the wine refrigerator you installed?

  25. Your new kitchen is lovely! Wishing you a belated Happy Birthday. Midway through “Babylon Berlin” and loving it. Thanks for the recommendation.

  26. You’re kitchen turned out just beautiful, Susan–very well worth the long wait. Isn’t it amazing how often we do “temporary” fixes to our homes that turn out to be something we end up living with for years and years. Happy Birthday!

  27. You’ll enjoy this kitchen every day. Although remodeling is a pain to go through the results are so worth it. I admire your choices for the kitchen. If there’s anything better than the good feelings a new kitchen gives then I say go for it!

  28. Beautiful! We are about to begin our remodeling project. How are you liking your stackable washer/dryer? I need stackables appropriate for height challenged (I’m 5’2″) but want a nice quality. Also – are you happy with your wine refrigerator? Happy Birthday!

  29. Thank you for sharing your pics! Sooo beautiful… nice design details! The pendants are pretty! You chose well! Love the gray & white…xo

  30. Also — did you take your flooring all the way up to the French door, or is it different by the door ?

      1. Susan, what type of wood flooring did you choose? Is it real wood or laminate? If laminate or pre finished, what brand and color did you use? I love it!

        1. Hi Richelle, it’s a laminate but I don’t know the exact brand/finish. The flooring guy suggested it as the closest match to our adjacent wood flooring. When I see the contractor next I’ll ask.

  31. Fabulous! I LOVE the wire pendant light “shades” and counter stools. No doubt completely worth the inconvenience during construction. Happy birthday, Susan. I just turned 60 on 2/21 myself, and I look to you for style inspiration on a daily basis. Thank you for that!

  32. Happy Birthday and congrats on a fabulous new kitchen! Totally with you on cabinets that pull out or roll out – no more searching dark corners on hands/knees! Enjoy it!

  33. Happy birthday, Susan! Enjoy your new kitchen, it is so lovely and pleasantly livable! I’m happy to see the results as we are planning on relocating soon and I believe a kitchen reno is in our future. Hugs and blessings!

  34. A showplace! That is a successful remodel. I find that after we did our kitchen, I actually enjoy cooking. You’ll never regret it.

  35. Your new kitchen is fabulous! Congratulations! This is going to make a huge difference in how you enjoy your house. We remodeled our kitchen about six years ago and we are still loving it! Wonderful photos.

  36. Could it be because men tend to have less cushioning beneath their sit bones, whatever their weight? I prefer harder chairs; mine are oak ones from a famous convent that is being converted to another use, as there are too few sisters left nowadays. With a small cushion under the derrière. Soft chairs would quickly become Livia’s extra scratching posts, though she has a beautiful tall one.

    The grey and white colour scheme is very classic and very luminous. All I’d suggest is to add some well-chosen art, but no hurry about that. You’ll find something perfect on your travels.

    There are also a couple of very good design points for “ageing in place”: the fridge that doesn’t jut out so you don’t wind up with lost food hiding in shame in some corner, and the roll or pull-out storage.

  37. First of all, Belated Birthday Greetings and best wishes for a fabulous year ahead — you’ve certainly begun it well with this Gift that is sure to Keep on Giving. What a gorgeous and practical kitchen — so livable and bright.

  38. Lovely renovation. We have similar textured subway tiles in our beach house kitchen, chosen for the same reason ie to elevate the plain look. Your kitchen looks marvellous! I am 5’0″ tall and when I designed my home base kitchen many years ago I nixed upper cabinets and had pot drawers put in all the lowers. I was able to do that thanks to a large walk in pantry for food storage. There are only two ‘cupboards’ with doors and inside there are the roll outs. You will be pleased that you went with the roll outs as you pointed out its better than having to crouch down looking for that lost item in the back. Your ‘chandelier’ is stunning.
    Happy Birthday!

  39. Happy Birthday!

    Your kitchen looks fabulous! I especially love the pull outs in the lower cupboards. So practical! I do have one question though… I’m wondering why you chose a single sink instead of a double, which I see you had before?

    1. Thanks! I found it difficult to wash larger pans in the double sink. I’m liking the single sink much better so far!

  40. I love my two large drawers for pots and pans, undermount sink and pull outs in bottom cupboards. For some reason I missed one where I store plastic containers and really should do something about it. Our Reno is about 15 years old now and the only thing that needs done again is maybe the floor!

  41. Oh, Susan! I love absolutely everything about it. And it’s YOUR style: classic, modern, functional. So much fun to see it. Enjoy!

  42. Hi Susan,
    Your kitchen looks great! I am redoing mine as well and was hoping you could answer some questions. What brand are your appliances? Do you like the stainless steel? I have heard conflicting results. Love the colors too!

    1. Hi Mimi, our fridge and dishwasher are GE, the stove and microwave are Samsung, and the wine cooler is EdgeStar. Only the fridge and wine cooler are new, the rest of the appliances were purchased at various times over the last few years. I love the stainless steel.

  43. It’s perfect. I love it. Is there a microwave somewhere? Just curious really. Ours broke in our last house and I waited 6 months to replace because it was built in and i was being stubborn about the price. Anyway, I didn’t really miss it, so was curious if you opted out as well.

    1. Hi Suzanne, thnks! The microwave is mounted over the stove, same as in the old kitchen. We do use ours fairly regularly, mostly to heat up leftovers and such.

  44. Love your choices, it turned out fabulous. We just redid our kitchen this summer and had a similar back story. We made some cosmetic changes to our kitchen when we bought our home 13 years ago with the thought that we would be doing a large-scale renovation at some point, never thinking it would take 13 years! We also gave up a little-used half bath for more space. Enjoy your beautiful new kitchen!

  45. Congrats on your new kitchen. Aren’t roll-outs in the lower cabinets the best?! My husband feels exact the same way about dining chairs. He says he needs a comfy padded chair because he lacks the “personal padding” that I have. Um… well at least I’m not bony back there lol. In our formal dining room I did an upholstered host chair on each end of the table and sleeker ones along the two sides. They harmonize so it actually works. It’s harder in more casual eating situations. I like your compromise!

  46. Hi Susan, happy birthday! And thank you for sharing your new kitchen pictures, I live before/after pics – and your update, or remodel rather, is really inspiring. What a beautiful space.

  47. Happy Birthday! What a great job you did on your kitchen. When we moved we put pull outs on all the lower cabinets and in the pantry unit. Game changer….so easy to find things now. Wishing you many happy years in your new space !

  48. Thank you so much for this. As I suspected, your kitchen layout is much like mine, right down to the location of the appliances. It is a perfect visual for me. Now if only it looked out to the garden and not the House next door. Can’t have everything,

  49. Love it! For whatever reason, it’s fun seeing other people’s homes when they’re newly done. I also loved seeing how your garden was re-done a couple of years ago. Silly isn’t it?

    Happy Birthday!


    1. Hi Barbara, we moved it to a corner of the bathroom behind the door. Once the work’s done in there, I’ll show you.

  50. Beautiful remodel. Did you lose the pantry? If so, how are you feeling about that – did other new cupboards give you equivalent storage? How wonderful to have a layout that feels so spacious and bright. And belated happy birthday!

    1. Hi MJ, thanks! Actually we ended up with a bigger pantry than what we had before; it’s the tall white cabinet next to the doorway into the hall.