05/18/2015 05:00 pm ET | Updated May 19, 2016

Before and After: A Modern Kitchen Makeover (PHOTOS)

I know most people would have just demolished this space to create a big, open-concept kitchen and family room, but we felt like the existing floor plan really worked in this house. We loved having the intimacy of the current kitchen layout. It's funny how trends ebb and flow. Just remember that you don't always have to jump on the bandwagon. Do what feels right for your family.



The bones of this kitchen were good. I loved the regency-style cabinet details, and they were in pristine condition. Negatives: The lighting was terrible, the tile counters were impractical, and the floors were vinyl -- generally dated and in need of some "love."






We removed the built-in ironing board, which allowed us to expand the pantry for additional hidden storage, and replaced the vinyl floors with wood.


Next we gave all the cabinets a fresh coat of paint inside and out and updated the hardware with a simple, modern chrome knob.


We added butcher block counters and simple white subway tile to keep the space feeling clean and fresh.


Finally, we replaced all the old white appliances with one of my favorite appliance packages from Fisher + Paykel.


After the "heavy lifting" was complete, I had fun layering on the final details. We chose classic schoolhouse-style pendants and a graphic Serena and Lily wallpaper.


The stainless-steel island adds extra work space and another casual eating spot for the kids.
Sometimes it just takes a little imagination to bring an "old kitchen" back to life!

Photographs by Leslee Mitchell