before and after

before & after: our kitchen

by Grace Bonney

a few months ago i finally threw my hands up in the air and admitted i needed some help pulling our house together. no one likes a whiner so i’ll spare you my complaints about oddly cut-up rooms and slanted floors and just say that my brain had run out of design ideas. enter, carl and russell of repop ny. carl and russell started offering re-design services (using mostly your own furniture) out of their brooklyn shop and after hearing rave reviews from robin at the clinton hill blog i decided to try it out. [painting above by zoe pawlak]

after an initial visit the guys picked up on the fact that we have a lot of orange accents in the house (something i didn’t even notice) and decided we should really run with that, seeing that i’m not afraid of bold color. after talking paint shades and lighting, i left for a day of meetings and came home to find carl finishing up a total transformation of our kitchen.

before, our kitchen was a sad little white room with nasty cupboards (above), patchy walls and absolutely no storage space. but carl and russell brought in color (benjamin moore’s ‘tomato red‘ to be exact), a fantastic vintage mini sputnik, new shelving from ikea and turned my sad little room into a vibrant space that is now my favorite in the entire house.

it’s still a tiny room and pretty hard to photograph so i did my best to schooch against the walls and get some wider shots. so, that’s it! i just wanted to share our little mini makeover. thanks to carl and russell for all of their help- sometimes it really pays to admit when you’re stumped and work with people who have great ideas. stay tuned for our living room makeover next.

[image above: my diy peg board pot rack, knives and dish rackafter]

[image above: the best “after” shot of the overall kitchen i could manage (we have a very narrow hallway). turk is lounging in his favorite morning sun spot]

[image above: sputnik lamp from repop ny, shelves from ikea]

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  • Looks amazing Grace! The warm color really transforms the kitchen, and LOVE the chandelier too.
    Aren’t you concerned about the nice painting over the stove? Maybe I’m the only messy cook out there…

  • LOVE the orange. I know how troubling it is to have a weird kitchen space. Leads to major design blockage. Is your Kitchen Aid in pistachio? Mine too!!

  • LOVE it! It’s so great that you went with a bold color and had some fun with it :) Congrats on a supercool kitchen!

    (Quick question, though – I’ve been looking at shelving similar to what you got from Ikea. Do you know how much weight those will hold? Thanks!)

  • Your kitchen is fabulous! I love the orange and it is great to see more and more people embracing rich, vibrant colors. Job well done!

  • Amazing! A dose of bright color can really transform a space. A fresh coat of white paint and new hardware on the cabinets was a nice update too.

  • Peg board rocks, as do brave orange walls! Love it – well done to you! Glad to see the cat’s not in the least bit peturbed by major revamps!

  • This is a great idea, and the results are fantastic! Does anybody know of anyone in the Boulder, CO area who does this type of work?

  • odd little nooks and crannies are kind of charming I think, even if the nook is a kitchen.. yours turned out really cute! much cuter than probably 90% of larger kitchens…

  • Wow, looks so much better. That orange isn’t a colour I would ever have considered, but it looks so cheery and perfect in your kitchen. Cannot wait to see more revamps in your adorable home!

  • Love the shelving! I see the wood shelf pieces on the IKEA website, but are the metal brackets also from IKEA?

  • This is the *exact shade* of orange I used on one wall of my office 7 years ago–and I recognized it even before reading that it actually was Tomato Red. It’s the only orange wall in our house, and in keeping with the rest of the painting scheme, the trim is a warm light gray and the other walls are a slightly warm white. Have come to think that blond wood furniture and black items–a quilt, pottery, knobs on a Herman Miller secretary–look great with it. If you wanna see some pix, e-mail me.

  • The kitchen looks wonderful! A few months ago I painted my spare bedroom this exact BM colour and it’s just so bold and cheery. Definitely recommended if you’re looking for a lovely, warm orange/red.

  • so in love. i have the SAME kiwi le creuset and the SAME lighting fixture and the SAME standing mixer. but i am not a stalker, i swear.

    love how the cabinets turned out…need to figure out what to do with mine.

  • Love it all, especially the black and white framed poster. Did you get that from Wayne Pate? Just ordered one myself and am getting it framed. Sputnik in the kitchen is great also.

  • It looks awesome, Grace!! I definitely hate my kitchen more than anywhere else in my apartment. I wish I could paint my cabinets.

  • Yes, the color is great but say goodbye to that painting if you keep it over the stove – no matter how clean a cook you are!

  • hi – am i the only one wondering how much it costs to have re-pop redo a room? i live in brooklyn too and would love their help, but have always figured it would be WAY too expensive….

  • LOVE the new look but please, please reconsider having the painting above your stove. I had a print (not even an oil or something worth anything) in the same spot and it was ruined within months. The heat and grease is terrible for oil paintings. I’d hate to think what the artist herself would say.

  • Aw, haha, I don’t think you needed to be so hard on your previous plain kitchen, it wasn’t so bad, but this redesign is very warm and inviting. I hope you enjoy it!

  • Love, love, love the orange! And your kitty…and the peg board! Where is the pic in the kitchen from (doves)?

    Cute pic of you on All the Best!

  • thanks guys!

    quick notes:

    1. the painting above the knives is by jen garrido

    2. the painting above the stove is removed any time i cook, so rest assured i would never risk that to a bubbling pot of soup or spaghetti sauce. ac thinks i’m crazy but i remove it each time i cook. it’s a mini-hassle but i love it too much there to move it elsewhere.

    3. the bird print is by wayne pate at good shape design.

    4. and yep, we’ll have to repaint to white when we leave. so sad.

  • ps: the repop project wasn’t very expensive at all. the living room they helped with was a bit more because we bought furniture, but this project was just the cost of labor (which was the same as a nyc handyman cost) and the ikea shelves. the lamp was a couple hundred i think? i loved it and decided it would be my big splurge.


  • it looks lovely! …gosh, wish i knew of a re-design service here in seattle! i am at a loss right now and could totally use a new pair of eyes :)

  • that first picture is amazing. i love repop so much. did you see what they did for lesterhead over at Clinton Hill blog? great store- great guys.

  • got to say im slightly disappointed. its fine, but maybe because ive come to expect so much more from you. it looks like a project anyone w/ reasonable good taste will put up, not someone from the design field.
    sorry grace. the rest of your house is much lovelier!

  • looks great! wow the grey counter tops look like you actually choose that color!

    As a creative/ designer person…I have to say that personally, I find it very hard to make decisions about my own space. A friend’s…no problem I can come up with a great solution! So, I can definitely understand getting to a place where you just throw your hands up and say I give up! I’m just about there….

  • wow, just wow. what a transformation. I love this idea of re-design services – I wonder if there are any services like that in the Boston?

  • it looks amazing! you are absolutely right that sometimes it helps to bring in reinforcements. thanks for the much-needed inspiration!

  • I am glad to see people posting their concerns about the painting over the stove and happy to know it is moved when cooking but as an art conservator in training, I must add that the direct light of the window and the uneven heat given off by the pilot light will also significantly shorten the life of the painting. The room looks great aside from this but a kitchen is really not the place for art that is loved.

  • I love the orange. Even better that it was an unnoticed accent color elsewhere in your home. I think that sometimes everyone needs a second set of eyes to point out something that’s not so obvious to you. In this case the love of orange. I really need to do this myself. My kitchen has me stumped.

  • Just what I need too–makeover help!
    Know anyone in Los Angeles that offers the same service to small budget artist types?

  • Julie, I too am in Seattle and I’m about to do my kitchen and I have a fantastic person who I work with. She does all independent work and on a case by case contract basis. She def. has a retro/refit sensibility about her too.

    sarah littlefield
    inside:out interior design

  • How did you do the peg board, or where did you get it? How does it support the weight of those heavy pans? I am agog, and will be doing up my own (first) place in a few months. I would love this!

  • I love the diy peg board pot rack! I was going to get a pot rack to go over my kitchen island (which I haven’t found yet), but I might opt for the peg board. Great idea!

  • I too love the orangey tomato red color on the walls. It makes so warm and welcoming, the way a kitchen should be no matter the size.

  • I also have a bold orange kitchen and am so excited to see that you do too! At first it can seem like a bit much but the cheery color makes it the perfect place for cooking and gathering. Friends always comment on how fun and energetic the orange makes the space. We used Benjamin Moore’s Tangy Orange.

  • Gorgeous! I love the orange! In our last apartment we had a food theme going with all of the paint colors (mac & cheese, shrimp, chocolate, green grapes…), and this reminds of what fun that was. I agree about the art, though. I know when cooking & washing up it’s nice to look at a painting, but the art will suffer in the long run. (The lemongrass Dutch oven is the color I loved before slate, re the ombre post…it’s a joy with the tomato red! So organic.)

  • Finally, a painted peg board! I keep seeing them in white and could never figure out why people wouldn’t paint them!

    Love it!

  • love it. i used to have a peg board on the back of the door in my bedroom to hang all my little things. soooo useful.

  • We have the same color in our kitchen, which we had painted when we moved in in 2000, right after we got married. When I came home from work the painters said they had started the kitchen and I said, “Oooh! How does it look?” and the guy replied, “Hey, it’s your kitchen, lady.” But I have loved it all these years. Now I want to paint the dated oak-looking cabinets. White, I guess?

  • I feel like I saw the Wayne Pate print on Mad Men in Pete’s apartment. Maybe I’m having false memories. I want one in orange! Love orange. Love your orange kitchen!

  • It look so good! I noticed it in your Domino feature – congrats by the way! I love that you left in the morning and came home to a new kitchen…sounds like a good day : )

  • Love the color! Also loving that peg board for your pots and pans. We have a huge metal baker’s rack in our kitchen, and while it’s a great storage device I often think it takes up too much room.

  • Once again testimony to how color can totally change the look and feel of a space!
    I love that your cat has a high sunny spot to look out of!

  • Beautiful work! I like your peg board. Not feasible for our climate though – In tropical climate dust and grime gathers everyday! Liked too many of the make overs and no time to write a comment on each one, but your work is rocking!!