before & after: high-end kitchen + dining room makeover

I’m pleased with the balance of aspirational and everyday design we choose to share on the site, and though the scope of renovations like that in this amazing kitchen/dining room makeover are out of reach for many of us, I appreciate seeing dreamy, high-end projects every once in a while. While I could never afford it, I like to take inspiration from everything that’s out there.

Interior designer Christine Tuttle did an amazing job renovating this home in Wellesley, Massachusetts, which was originally a poorly built spec house. This state-of-the-art kitchen looks worth every penny; my favorite elements in the design are the slab fireplace and the panoply of gorgeous windows, which make this space seem like heaven to spend time in both day and night. The rooms strike a great balance between being minimal and spacious, yet also warm and inviting, a difficult feat in such large spaces. Wonderful job, Christine! — 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.)

Read more about this gorgeous high-end kitchen makeover after the jump!

Time: 4 months

Cost: $400K

Basic Steps: The clients wanted clean, clutter free and contemporary but warm. I focused on beautiful (yet durable) surfaces and materials — wood, bronze, stone. Lots of light was important, as the old kitchen had tiny windows. This was a very high-end job; we took the walls down to the studs. Details include a Bulthaup kitchen, all new lighting, windows and doors, a quarter-sawn oak floor, an adjacent mudroom with radiant heat floors, Creston house integration system, Hans J. Wegner chairs, Jack Larsen silk Roman shades, a Chilewich mat under the table and a Holly Hunt light.

My advice is to not skimp on kitchens; it is such a big project, and no one wants to go through a kitchen remodel once you’ve done it, so do it right. I always say that getting the underpinnings right, like the mechanicals and electrical, are so important. While the fun stuff is picking a paint color, what really make a room livable are the things you don’t see — proper HVAC, layered lighting, and so on. — Christine

  1. Amy says:

    The before had so much potential…the after-I can’t even tell it’s a kitchen. What a waste!

  2. jlo says:

    if you’ve got that much money to spend changing something that extensively, i’d hope you’re donating some of it to people without a kitchen.

    it looks great. the location and lot must have been spot on to make that much change.

  3. Ryan says:

    I prefer the before. It just needed more lighting and some other tweaks. The new windows look great but I’m not a fan of the rest.

  4. To all of those weighing in: the “before” was extremely cheap, painted particle board, flooring, Home Depot cabinetry, etc. The project was in keeping with the renovation of the rest of the house, which took 2 years to complete all 8,000 sq. feet. It was custom designed and every last piece of furniture and decor — down to the flatware, was purpose bought for the house. They chose the house for the location, it was always the owner’s intention to create their dream home.

  5. Sandra says:

    Love the makeover!

  6. Rebecca says:

    There is nothing I hate more then a poorly built spec home with an awful kitchen. I get tired of seeing granite held up my sawdust. The new kitchen is amazing. The light is great and construction is very expensive, especially the stuff you never see. Beautiful job and I bet it looks very lived in when the photographer isn’t around.

  7. Ann Condon says:

    It’s totally beautiful! Once again, Christine’s ability to create sweetness and serenity in this world has blossomed. Your clients must be in heaven!

  8. nikasha says:

    This kitchen is gorgeous! I have to say, the negativity/rudeness of a lot of these comments really irked me. I’m editing myself down here, but: Ikea is not the be-all-end-all of modern design. Neither is modern design just a passing fad. If you are offended to find a post on DesignSponge about people spending a lot of money, skip to the next post.

  9. Lisa says:

    A “realistic budget?” LMAO There are so many things wrong with that description, I can’t even list them all here. There’s nothing all that interesting to me about this because the room is so completely devoid of personality, and that’s coming from someone who absolutely LOVES modern design. One can tell when owners touch not a single thing in a remodel with their own hands, and that’s what this screams to me. It’s completely generic and could be anyone’s (provided you have a ludicrous amount of money to waste). Honestly, it’s all beautiful, but it just looks like it was all done solely to impress their family, friends and neighbors, and I wonder if they’ll even USE it. I am impressed by the design of this space, but not by the insane money spent. It’s MUCH more impressive when people make something great out of their space on a very low budget, with their own hands. This is the definition of ostentatious.

  10. trinity says:

    One of my favorite shows on HGTV was this: a person would have a photo of some beautiful high end space and would re-create it using their own (usually minuscule) budget. I can’t remember the name of it. In my mind this is what drives DS, getting what we want on our budget and having fun doing it. So, why can’t we see some high end spaces here? (Actually, I don’t even know what a Bulthaup kitchen is so I don’t feel qualified to comment too much.) The problem I see with the first kitchen is it’s so dark. I love all the new windows. I do agree with the comment about having the table next to the fireplace, I have that now, not good, not comfortable at all.

  11. Leslie says:

    It is beautiful, but not $400k beautiful. Maybe $50k beautiful. I hope they donated the old cabinets (Yes, I’m being judgmental–sorry.)

  12. Brian says:

    This is a great looking kitchen! Given I’m in the middle of my own kitchen remodel, I was wondering what tools the rest of the commenters here have used to plan out their remodeling efforts. In the past, I’ve simply used some of the CAD and Flash tools readily available online. Any other thoughts?

  13. mila says:

    The remodel project is beautiful. The key design intent to lighten and open the space was accomplished by the designer with utmost finesse. To add windows and re-orient the space might seem simple to some, but when experts make something look easy, it is because they have excelled at their craft. Sure, a kitchen of this caliber costs money. Sure, many of us don’t have that kind of money. But, let’s appreciate the design time and foresight that it took to re-conceive the space. This is “design” sponge, not “eco-design” sponge. The homeowners might be in the ozone restoration business and may have theoretically earned enough carbon offsets to do a hundred renovations more just like this one and still be ahead…you never know…it’s too easy to judge upscale renovations like this on their possible “waste”. I love the project!

  14. Kirsten says:

    Wow, this is a pretty big debate. While I understand the pains of having a cheaply made kitchen with cheap materials, I personally like the design asthetic of the first kitchen- I prefer more of a traditional take over modern and warm woods over birch in a kitchen. I do love how much light the after kitchen has, but in my opinion it’s much less ‘warm’ and and more industrial… I didn’t realize it was a kitchen still at first. That being said, what works for me may not be someone else’s taste and it’s not my opinion that matters. I’m glad the design and style work for the owners and I hope it accomplished exactly what they wanted.

  15. Rebecca says:

    Cool final product, esp the windows, but please tell me that the perfectly good high end kitchen went to Habitat for Humanity or something? Please.

  16. SUE says:

    Loved the before kitchen, would love to have it. The after kitchen looks terrible. What a waste of money when so many people could use that money for something more important then a ugly kitchen.

  17. Allison says:

    Is this a joke? Do you mean $40,000 not $400,000? For that price, it should be all gold.

  18. Britt says:

    Like Fiona I’m confused about the many islands in the final design. One seems to have the sink, the other the stovetop? With the fridge way back on the far wall?

    I would need to buy rollerskates and perfect my figure-8s just to make a stir-fry.


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