A kitchen is a very personal space; so much life happens here. That's why, when I was house hunting last year, I wasn't looking for a shiny new kitchen. I was looking for a house with an un-remodeled kitchen that I could eventually make my own. And until I had the funds to do so, I reckoned, I could just live with the existing kitchen. Or so I thought.
Turns out that the outdated kitchen in my new, otherwise-dream home soon became unbearable. It was dark, uninspired, and the wood cabinetry was orange hued. It didn't go with the rest of the house. It didn't reflect who I am at all. Still, money was tight. What to do?
The answer came in the form of a generous tax return and the very talented Percy Bright and Tara Mangini of Jersey Ice Cream Co. For under $3,000 (in materials), this dynamic duo transformed my kitchen from an orange nightmare into something much more bright and inspired—and, well, me.
All photos by Justine Hand.
Above: The new kitchen, which Percy and Tara completed in a mere six days, is open, light-filled, and airy.
Besides being dark and ugly, the main problem with the old kitchen was that, unlike the rest of the house, which oozes historic character, the kitchen had none. So not only was it an eyesore, it felt completely disjointed from the rest of the house.
To add character and light while still keeping it functional, Percy and Tara performed the following renovations to my kitchen: Remove the cabinets and oppressive valance around the windows. Rip out the yellow tile backsplash. Install a shiplap backsplash and open shelving. Replace yellow granite countertops with wood countertops from Ikea. Install a new farmhouse sink. Switch out the cabinet hardware and the stainless faucet for brass. Paint everything!
Above: By removing the cabinets and wooden valance around the sink, Percy and Tara opened the area up. It feels like I have new windows. They also replaced the nondescript stainless steel basin with a simple Ikea Farmhouse Sink ($312.98). The brass Whitehaus Colonial Style Faucet was a splurge: $354 at Quality Bath.
Above: To unify the room and add more character, Percy and Tara added a chair rail that echoes the one in the dining room. The gray color on the trim is Benjamin Moore Aura paint in Picket Fence from their Color Story Collection. The walls are Benjamin Moore Linen White.
Above: To minimize the hulking form of the island, Percy enclosed it in horizontal shiplap-style boards.
Above: To add a touch of warmth to the now gray and white kitchen, Percy and Tara chose Numerar Oak Counters from Ikea ($129 for small; $169 for large). Additional warm tones came in the form of new hardware: Martha Stewart's Bedford Brass Canopy Cup Pulls from Home Depot; $4.49 per pull.
Above: Now I am inspired by the small details in my new kitchen, like the light filtering through a single glass on the open shelves.
Above: A wider view of the new kitchen. To keep expenses down, we didn't replace any of the major appliances (we'll update them later as funds allow). The three of us also toyed with the idea of replacing the dark tile floor. But research quickly revealed that there was no real way to paint the tile or cover it, at least within our limited budget and timeframe. So the intent was then to simply minimize it with rag rugs, until I could afford to remove or lay something over it.
Above: Another view of my new sink, which now affords an unobstructed view of the verdant trees outside.
Above: The original kitchen was oppressively orange, with heavy amber-hued wood cabinetry, yellow granite counters, tiny mustard colored tiles on the backsplash, an ugly stainless steel sink, and hideous hardware.
N.B. Want to see more of Percy and Tara's miraculous transformations? Take a tour of their recent color-blocked kitchen in upstate New York.