before & after: katie & joi’s kitchens

The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s always so exciting to see people take bold steps to make a kitchen their own space. This kitchen had some great things going for it already: open space, bright lighting and of course, its owner Katie’s design savvy, which clearly shines through in this happy, modern new kitchen.

I’m a sucker for tile, and this neutral gray backsplash is calling my name. The pendant lights are a lovely touch over the warm wood counter top, and the whole space has a touch of Scandinavian minimalism that really appeals to me. Plus, if the cat loves it, how can it not be the perfect kitchen? Amazing job, Katie! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Too many beautiful kitchens! I’m beginning to feel serious envy of all the bright sunlight and cabinet space I’m seeing. This kitchen makeover by Joi Svezia is making me envious in other ways, as well. Joi is lucky enough to have a skilled woodworker in her family — the lovely hardwood table and island were made by Joi’s father. The overall effect of this kitchen and its color palette —white, dark browns and grays and the pop of bright pinks and greens — is sophisticated, calming and chic. Great transformation, Joi!

  1. Mo says:

    Lovely, get-cooking inspiring reno. Thanks. But while I <3 cats… yuck. K & J should next invest in a spray bottle. Cats walk in their own poops, yo!

  2. Na Suen says:

    Thank you so much, Engineerchic!!!

  3. Sarah says:

    Honestly, I do not like the first makeover at all. It looks like bad Ikea to me. However, the second one takes the Ikea and makes it seem finished and more stylish.

  4. Sarah says:

    And maybe I’m crazy but the floors were so pretty before they covered them up.

  5. Sami says:

    LOVE those pendants from Katie’s kitchen! Where can i find some!?

  6. Kathy says:

    Painting kitchens white does not improve them! Someone else just has to come along and scrape it all off.

  7. girlysmack says:

    I completely agree with Sarah about the first makeover feeling like Ikea. And I thought the hardwood floors from before the reno were so gorgeous…

  8. sarah says:

    the first makeover was nice, much better than the before pic. I don’t understand the comments favouring the cheap pine verneer which was horrid. the second is very classy, as much as i like the wooden cabinets in this kitchen, the after pic was lovely.

  9. viola says:

    I agree with Meagan. you come across that before look while house hunting and it has dated very quickly you wish the former owners could have done something like this before they put it on the market, plus a kitchen needs to look fresh and bright. You really have to go back to a classic era to get the look again. Personally, I like glass in my cabinets, so I can see my lovely crockery.

  10. jaclyn says:

    Kitchen #1:

    Since the “before” layout of the first one is identical to the “after” layout, I would have definitely kept and painted the knotty pine original cabinets.

    Just add an island, new knobs/pulls, sink/countertops, a new backsplash, and done!

    I’m a designer by trade, and if my clients don’t want to change the layout, I always recommend re-facing or painting the old cabinets, provided they are in decent shape.

    There’s so many add-on accessories you can get to make them more functional inside like roll-out shelves, sliding waste bins, and organizers.

    Plus, now you can splurge on backsplash tile and higher-end countertops!

  11. Joi says:

    I was pleased as a peach to see Design*Sponge add my before and after kitchen shots!

    Thanks to everyone for your kind words! : )


  12. MissHeliotrope says:

    Um, cat on counter bad.
    We have a cat, and he is not allowed on kitchen surfaces. He is, of course, brillant, but that doesnt mean he’s specially trainable – just dont let the cat on the food surface, and be consistant.

  13. Scott says:

    The reason I like this makeover so much is because I too have a white kitchen.
    This shows how I can change it’s look by just changing the door / drawer handles.
    Thanks for inspiring me for 2 years now :)

  14. athena says:

    At the first time i saw it was wonderfull. I collect and the others photos with the “before and after” you never know!!!!

  15. Jenn says:

    I love your Bar stools! Would you mind divulging where you got them? :)

  16. Jo Kin says:

    I was skeptical when I saw the white, but you pulled it together beautifully!

  17. sophie says:

    Probably my favorite site to check in on. I love the work you do, and I wish I had the same skill set and ideas to follow in your footsteps. :) Keep it up

  18. Nancy says:

    Depending on how much money you have to burn, re-doing cabinets by re-facing is a much better idea. We had really ugly, old cabinets, that were made with heavy 3/4″ plywood. Very sturdy! No cheap MDF there. So we had them refaced- new drawer fronts and doors, veneer on the rest. We also added a corner pullout (great investment) under the counter. Since the flooring and appliances were new, all we had to do was change the lighting, sink, and paint. Much cheaper, if you’re on a budget. Sometimes it’s better to re-do cabinets than gut them. Most new cabinets can have really cheap hardware. You can also paint, always better to re-cycle if you can. Veneer holds up well to a good paint job, just add new knobs, etc. I’ve been there done that! Both of the looks are nice but pretty predictable. They both scream Ikea to me, since I was just in their store 2 days ago. White is nice and bright, but shows every speck of dust and food spots…


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