before and afterkitchen

before & after: katie & joi’s kitchens

by Kate Pruitt

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!

Suggested For You


  • These are amazing! And give me hope, as we are beginning our house hunting experience and all the kitchens we’ve seen have been pretty awful.

  • I love these transformations! I actually would love to do the same thing to my place. However, the existing wooden cabinets, doors, and door and window frames are in great condition. The pieces are solid oak, which is expensive. Any advice on what I could do with these existing pieces? Or should I try to make things work instead of changing everything?

  • Thank you for doing kitchens! I have a cookie cutter kitchen that I would so love to make “me” now I’ve got some good inspiration to go by!

  • I love that bottom kitchen! I would never have thought to put black (dark grey?) in a kitchen, but it totally works, and goes great with the depression modern fixtures. And it seems like it has really great usable space, even though it’s not huge. They must be loving the island!

  • Ah!
    These are amazing.

    If I had the money, I think I’d demolish the kitchen in my parents house in favor of something beautiful like this (it’s an ugly 70s kitchen that my mom can’t stand).
    I am in love with that bottom image.

  • Oooo, not a fan of the first transformation… the original cabinets had so much rustic character and the wood floors were lovely, i would have just updated the back splash in a black and white tiled chevron stripe and updated the counter top with custom molded concrete like i’ve seen before, very cool. however i do like how they used the new tiled floor to create a visual separation of space from the other room… but i still would have kept the wood.

  • This is perfect timing! I am helping my brother redo his kitchen on a tiny budget… im definitely going to take a look at what Joi did to paint her cabinets!

  • I LOVE the 2nd transformation! the layout is exactly like mine and I’ve needed inspiration that it can look marvelous! Thanks so much!

  • i feel the owner of the first make over would have been better off if they just painted the knotty pine cabinet doors, and did some other updating (apron sink!). Substituting a melamine door (full of formaldehyde and other nasty stuff) for a solid wood door for is quite a step back in quality, and eco foot print.

  • I had to double take on the last photo. It looks substantially like my kitchen. We just redid it and it is extremely similar! I guess that means I love it.<3

  • Love the second kitchen — especially the island. I was not crazy about the first kitchen — mainly because I loved the rustic nature of the cabinets, which is more my style. I’m looking for a similar island and would love to know where to find this one.

  • Wow, lovely! I’m always going back and forth on what to do with our kitchen. So far, the answer is – nothing yet! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • The second one is a paint and pulls redesign right? I really love the tranformation. The countertops are so beautiful. I like the first one too, but it is hard to see some beautiful cabinets go to waste for the sake of style. Hopefully they were put to use somewhere.

    I’m having a hard time deciding what to do with my kitchen. It is the most functional space I’ve ever been in, even though it looks small. I even love it’s 70’s orange counter tops, but it’s so tempting to do something more modern.

  • I love the cat on the counter, too! Anyone who thinks cats “should” be kept off of tables and counters has never lived with a cat; the felines go where they want!

  • Tyler’s sentiment expressed *exactly* what I was going to say. Way too much waste in our society. Hopefully the original cabinets didn’t wind up in the landfill but were re-used someplace else. The new kitchen looks nice, though.

  • Love them both, but Joi’s kitchen tops my list of favorite kitchen at the moment. Can’t wait to see how it looks once the new floor is in place someday!

  • Guys, I own the first kitchen and keeping the units was not an option – they were horrid mid-90s pine veneer and besides aesthetics were much too small inside to be of any practical use. They had to go!

  • does anyone know where the farm table in the second After is from? or a good resource to find farm tables on the east coast? (besides VT Farm table) Preferrably close to NYC? Thanks!

  • Wowsa!

    Love these both; the first has a tile backsplash I envy, and the second has a great space-adding (but not too heavy looking) island I’d love to own one day.

    Lovely kitchens. Thanks for sharing!

  • The pops of color in the accessories make all the difference! This kitchen looks fabulous and so inviting. Bright white makes any room happy.

  • I’m so smitten with the salt and pepper look of the very last kitchen. The photo confirms I’m going to repaint my kitchen (white cupboards/black granite counters) walls from a light butter yellow to a dark gray. Love it!

  • Kitchens are my favorite part of a home. In fact I could see myself living in just an over-sized kitchen one day. These makeovers are great. When my mom and I renovated the house I grew up in we just painted the existing cabinetry (white of course) and added new hardware like Joi. The transformation was incredible. Katie’s design is wonderful, too, but if you were more interested in a rustic or country look, a slick whitewashing of those cabinets would have looked beautiful as well. Why are white cabinets so perfect?

  • Wow! I’m doing a double-take looking at Joi’s kitchen, because it is a spitting-image of mine… regarding placement of all the cabinets, appliances and window, right down to the amount of counter space and the ugly fan (‘before’ photo, of course!). Now if I can replace my counters and get as gorgeous of an island as that, I would be ecstatic! This is perfect inspiration.

  • OMG. I looooooove the first kitchen!! I want the back splash and countertops – already have the white cabinets so I might be looking at my next project… :))

  • Hey Na Suen – a good friend has oak cabinets & they had them painted over. The nice thing is that you can still see the grain of the wood under the paint, so you know the cabinets are wood (not particle board) but it really freshened the place up. And it’s a lot less time than stripping & refinishing the wood. If you go that route, make sure your painter knows that you do NOT want him to use filler to obscure the texture of the grain and that he should use an enamel paint (preferably oil-based – stinky but very durable).

    She went with black granite counters, marble tile backsplash (subway tile) and had a farmhouse apron sink retrofitted into her old cabinet. End result is gorgeous. But you could paint those wood cabinets almost any color (barn red, dove gray, turquoise …). Good luck!

  • 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!

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

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

    Thanks to everyone for your kind words! : )


  • 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.

  • 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 :)

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

  • 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

  • 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…

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.