before & after: kitchen makeover

I love kitchen makeovers that combine raw, minimalist materials with a handful of fun, quirky elements. It’s been a while since I’ve seen wallpaper in a kitchen space, but I have to say, I love it! There are tons of great DIY ideas in this kitchen makeover from painter Lily Martine Baxter. For example, Lily wanted leather drawer handles, so when her search yielded no results within her budget, she simply wrapped leather around basic Ikea handles for a lovely solution at less than half the price. It’s touches like the handles, the wallpaper and the simple white subway tile that make this kitchen a perfect mix of colors, textures and styles. Since it comes from a painter, I’m not too surprised at the successful melding of all these elements into a beautiful, unified whole. Great job, Lily! — 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.)

Brought to you by CB2, who’s giving you the chance to win a $15,000 Novogratz Room Makeover. Now through June 15.

Read the full post after the jump . . .

Time: 3 months (not including pre-planning and design)

Basic Steps: We started by looking at magazines and books to figure out what style we liked and what we thought would fit into our home and the existing architecture. We really wanted to create a balance between the old house (1937) and the new design of the kitchen. Then we worked with our contractor to create drawings of our plan. With the drawings in hand, we started to select the materials and finishes for counter tops, cabinets and everything else. Having a good set of drawings is key, and it really helped us visualize the new space.

The cabinets are custom built with the paint color “Secret” by Benjamin Moore, satin finish. The counters are soapstone. The backsplash tiles are from Heath ceramics. We live in SF and are lucky to be able to go to the warehouse to shop the seconds and overruns. We got very lucky and actually found the exact tile that we wanted in the overstock room (on the second visit). This does not always happen, and I would suggest shopping for the tiles first if you are going to buy seconds and seeing what you like and what is there rather than rolling the dice like we did and picking what you want and hoping to see it show up in the overstock room.

The wallpaper is called “Chinatown Toile” in soft red by Flavor Paper. The butcher-block top on the peninsula is made of walnut, and my dad made that for us. I got really into the idea of having leather handles and then was on a hunt to find something. The one that I found was so far out of budget, at something like $50 per handle, that I took a trip to Ikea and found some very basic stainless handles and glued the leather on myself. The Ikea handles were about $3 each. The rug in front of the sink is one we have had for a long time; it is from Peace Industry, and I love all of their felt carpets. We used the same appliances from the old kitchen because they were in good shape.

Our advice is to spend time selecting the materials you want in your kitchen; you will be in that space a lot, and you want to enjoy all the hard work that went into creating it. If you are working with contractors, make sure you have checked with their references before you begin working with them. — Lily

  1. K says:

    love those corner shelves…

  2. I love the idea of a fun wallpaper in the kitchen; it’s an easy thing to replace down the road if your tastes change without having to do too much work. It looks great!

  3. Alexis says:

    Such a gorgeous update, I love the gray cabinets!

  4. Kimberly says:

    It looks like you were able to plan for a lot of storage in that kitchen–the storage drawers under the bench are awesome. I love everything, but especially the tile, cabinet color, and leather handles. Great job, and thanks for sharing your beautiful space.

  5. Natalie says:

    The shaped entryway is my favorite detail. It really brings the two spaces together stylistically.

  6. Cheltz says:

    Looks great! Love the wallpaper!

  7. It’s gorgeous! I especially love the Chinatown Toile wallpaper.. it really adds personality!

  8. Susan says:

    Pretty! I love the countertops and bookshelves underneath. The colors and wallpaper give the kitchen its own personality without being too stark of a contrast from the adjacent room. Nicely done!

  9. Ruth says:

    Really, really nice. Thank you.

  10. Lovely re-do! The wallpaper adds so much interest and depth.

  11. I love the wallpaper! Fab transformation.

  12. Ruth says:

    Really lovely. Thank you.

  13. shelley says:

    Where did you get the Chapiz chandelier?

  14. CC says:

    I just discovered Flavor Paper, and I think their local NYC toile is ingenius! Love!

  15. Louise says:

    I love this kitchen wow

  16. Jessie says:

    Oh my god, i love this so much, this is seriously my DREAM kitchen. (:

  17. Jennifer D says:

    Wallpaper is so fun. Wish there was a Portland Oregon version! Do tell where you got the hot chandelier. That’s inasane.

  18. Donna says:

    Love the way the two rooms complement each other. The shaped doorway is lovely and the gray cabinets really work with the other colors. I also can never resist a Capiz shell chandelier. Bravo.

  19. Jennifer says:

    I love your cabinets (and all the beautiful details you added)! We live in Santa Cruz, Ca, would you mind sharing the contact info for the person who custom built your cabinets?

  20. Lily says:

    Thanks for all the lovely comments ;) The chandelier is from Oly. I used to work for them and got it through a warehouse sale.

  21. WOW! The before is even scarier than my ugly kitchen, which is in the pre-planning/ design stage. I never comment on these before and after posts, but cooking in the new kitchen has got to be quite a treat after what was there previously. ENJOY!

  22. RealSpace says:

    Thanks so much for the inspiring design ideas.

  23. Diana says:

    Beautiful! Would you mind telling us the make and model of the kitchen faucet? It’s lovely.

  24. Leone says:

    Very beautifully done!

  25. Such pretty wallpaper. Love the makeover. So lovely.

  26. Jen says:

    the wall colors blend so nicely. you shared the gray paint color. Do you also happen to have your warm white and cocoa brown (fireplace and molding it looks like).

  27. Evita says:

    I love, love, love everything you’ve done here, and I also adore the archways.

  28. Lovely and fresh in a clean-lined way. But what are you doing for a fridge?

  29. Caroline says:

    It’s hard to tell in the before pix: were there an ugly linoleum tiles? Did you get lucky and discover that wood floor underneath? Or did you match to the other wood floor? It’s beautiful and looks like the original floor (especially with the dark inlay).

  30. Lily says:

    To Jennifer in Santa Cruz: The cabinets were made by a friend of a friend who mostly does restaurant cabinets. I am not sure if he is interested in doing a residential job but I will ask him. He used architectural grade MDF for the doors.
    To Diana: The faucet is wonderful to use! It is a waterstone faucet model 5400 in stainless steel.
    To Jen: The paint colors in the rest of the house were here when we moved in a few years ago so we matched the colors at the paint store for the kitchen, sorry I don’t have a name.
    Thanks again!

  31. franky says:

    wow i love the wallpaper! where did you find that!?

  32. YPB says:

    I really appreciate IKEA products. Beautiful and cost-effective!

  33. marisa says:

    i too, have lusted after leather handles but haven’t bought any for the same reason. what a great idea to put pieces of leather over the ikea handles! i think i like that look even better than an all-leather one. great thinking, great result.

  34. Kate says:

    The capiz light…. must know from where! :)

  35. I LOVE the wallpaper! So fresh and bright. Not a huge fan of the cabinets, but I think my tastes run a little more traditional. :)

  36. Wonderful jab, and a fantastic use of the space! Inspiration indeed.

  37. Rebecca Eff says:

    The window bench makes me endlessly happy.

    AND: leather wrapped draw pulls? Imagine the patina on those puppies a few years down the road.

    Very thoughtful reno, esp appliance placement.

  38. jenny says:

    Beautiful! It looks so much bigger and brighter and i LOVE the bench under the window.

  39. d&D says:

    Great design talent & vision meets flawless execution. Beautiful! When can we come over for dinner?

  40. Stephanie wilson says:

    Love the makeover, would love to know where you got the chandelier. Also, where’s the refrigerator?


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