before and after

before & after: modern kitchen renovation

by Kate Pruitt

This kitchen makeover comes from Jaime Derringer, an all-around awesome woman and creator of the site Design Milk. When her site spills, you grab our site. (Sorry, lame joke! I don’t know what came over me.) Jaime’s style tends toward minimal and sleek, with clean lines, crisp whites and beautiful raw materials. I’m glad to see her tastes reflected so clearly and cohesively in this gorgeous new kitchen: the trio of dark wood, white and icy blue tile is a great base that will stand the test of time, and the chrome lighting and accents are so elegant. The whole room feels like a piece of modern jewelry. Nicely done, Jaime! — 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.)

{“After” images taken by Kate Glicksberg}

Read the full post after the jump . . .

Time: The renovation itself didn’t take a long time. We spent the entire summer of 2011 planning with our designer, Jamie. Planning is everything; we used Google SketchUp. We swung the hammer into the drywall the day I was 38 weeks pregnant. Talk about nesting! We documented the entire process here. I went into labor exactly one week later — the day we started installing our cabinets. My amazing husband coordinated everything with our contractor via phone from the hospital. From the date we did demo to the Electrolux appliance installation, it was exactly three weeks.

Cost: $40K

Basic Steps: It was very important to me that we try to modernize the kitchen and yet still maintain the feel of a mid-century modern home. Built in the 1950s/60s, our home has a very specific style, and we needed to honor that and yet make it functional for us. The old kitchen needed to go because the original kitchen had been partially removed to make the room larger. It was updated in a way that didn’t work for us — the sink was warped, the laminate was peeling off, the electrical was a mess, and the appliances were starting to go (only two working burners); things just couldn’t be salvaged.

We worked with our designer and the awesome kitchen design team at our local home improvement store for a custom look using standard cabinets. We did this by ordering white doors separate from the cabinet boxes to achieve a two-tone look. We also turned a cabinet on its side and created a nice little nook for plates. Additionally, we ordered the refrigerator trim kit for our fridge and formed a cabinet around it for that built-in look. We utilized our existing kitchen layout because, well, we had no choice. Our house is on a concrete slab, and we have no crawl space or attic, so things are where they are. We had to make do. I think it turned out pretty snazzy.

Our advice: Plan, plan, plan! And plan some more! Be prepared for the unexpected: for the wrong cabinets to arrive, things to be on backorder, and your measurements to be incorrect despite measuring 100 times. Also, think about how you use your kitchen and remember that throughout the entire process. Of course you want things to be beautiful, but make sure they’re functional. For example, we hated looking at our ugly trashcan, so we moved it along with a recycle bin into a drawer in the island. — Jaime

Cabinets: Decora
Appliances: Electrolux ICON® Professional Series
Countertops: Pure White by Caesarstone
Sink: 8 Degree by Kohler
Faucet: Purist from Kohler
Backsplash: modwalls Lush® 3×6 Subway Tiles in Vapor
Drawer/Cabinet pulls: Bravo by Berenson
Bar stools: No longer available — from cb2
Kitchen Table: DOCKSTA from IKEA
Kitchen Chairs: Emeco Navy 111 Chair from Allmodern.com
Desk Chair: Generation by Knoll
Clock: Nelson Ball Clock from Smart Furniture
Lights: WAC Lighting 765 Line Voltage lights from ylighting
Sliding Doors: Marvin Windows & Doors
Blinds: existing

Suggested For You


  • I really like the combination of white and wood cabinets here, and the one open shelf for everyday dishes is great. Keeps everything clean and simple.

  • Don’t get me wrong, I love the way the After photos looks, and I love a kitchen designed with function in mind, — but wow, kitchen renos can really be a money sink! The original didn’t look half bad, and though the reno looks good, I would never have guessed it was a $40k job. Maybe I have a lot of upsetting things to learn about the cost of renovations (moving into my first house in a few weeks).

  • Wow, such a big difference for a simple remodel. I love seeing projects like this because I assume they don’t cost an arm and a leg to accomplish.

  • I love this clean design. However, I can’t find where you put the fridge in the new design.

  • Thank you so much Jaime for using our Lush glass subway tile in this gorgeous remodel. All of your choices came together in a super cool way!

  • The homeowners decided they couldn’t afford to have a fridge after all the reno. Bwahahahaha

  • They took an “Atomic Ranch Magazine” kitchen and turned it into a “DWELL Magazine” kitchen.

  • I liked the “before” kitchen a lot better! Such a cute little vintage kitchen with the rounded shelves on the end–cozy and friendly-like. The “after” is too cold and I can’t help but wonder how many times they will run into those sharp corners of the island top!

  • It’s in exactly the same place as it was before! They already had a nice fridge, so why take another photo of it.

  • You can just make out the edge of the fridge and the cabinet above – trimmed out with the white cabinet front, on the right side of the frame looking toward the back yard….in front of the wine fridge!

  • I went to the Design Milk site and found the fridge – at least in a Google sketchup! It’s to the right of the wine fridge. Pretty great design and I have to admit, a bit of jealousy over the partnerships with Electrolux & Caesarstone!

  • The revonated kitchen is functional and well designed, but I quite like the rounded bench ends and the chrome 60’s kitsch. There’s a warmth and character in the old kitchen that seems to have gone missing in the renovation.

  • Thanks for the comments, everyone. I wanted to note our designer is Jamie from General Habitat – generalhabitat.com.

    @Jesyka, the bread box is from Target!

    @Benjamin – the before kitchen was definitely not up to Atomic Ranch standards! If it were, we would have definitely tried to restore it. :)

  • Wow. Great transformation. Just one OCD thing. In the first pic, it looks like the top of the oven cabinet and wall-hung cabinets are at different heights. I don’t know why, but things like this really bother me.

  • This is very nice, but I also agree that it does not look like it cost $40k (and I’ve renovated a kitchen before). Great backsplash, though.

  • Was the $40k including the value of the donated sponsored fittings, or is it $40k plus the donated items?

  • 40k??? Were these custom tiles or something? I’m doomed if a small kitchen like that costs 40k to renovate… gorgeous though!

  • Hi everyone! :)
    To answer some of your questions:

    @Chris – $40K included the cost of the donated items, which were valued at retail cost. The appliances, sink, and faucet are top of the line. The cabinets, which were not included in the donations, are solid wood, which drastically increased the cost. We considered going with more affordable options but decided we wanted to match the quality of the other materials in the kitchen. Moreover, we chose high end finishings because we were working with partners on the project. If every penny came out of my pocket then you can bet your bottom dollar we’d be at the scratch & dent store.

    There are many ways to make a similar kitchen design on a more affordable budget. I’m sure our designer, Jamie from General Habitat, could help with that! :)

    @Diane – You should not let this cost scare you, though, because we have a very large kitchen – it is NOT small. I think it’s 20’x13′ or so… I suppose it depends on where you live, but that’s actually pretty big.

    We have lots of counter space (thus needed lots of countertop!), tons of cabinetry (including a wine bar, island and desk), and we used probably 3 times more tile than in the average kitchen.

    @Meg – all the cabinets are the same height. That would drive me nuts too!

  • I revel in seeing how other people transform their spaces. We have several rooms in our house we have on the re-do mental lazy susan now that we have mostly finished our store. These posts definitely feed the ideas.

    Do you still cover before and after for retail spaces?

  • hi, would appreciate if we are able to view the bigger photos, an old person over here. thank you.