before and after

before & after: elegant kitchen makeover

by Kate Pruitt

The creator of this beautiful kitchen makeover, Kate Priestman, has some excellent advice: Design for the way you live. I couldn’t agree more, and yet I know how easy it is to suffer passively in your home environment. It’s easy to fall into patterns, and our lives at home are no exception. But I love seeing projects like this where someone actively questions and considers how they want to use their home to its fullest. Kate and her family realized that even though it would require significant work, they wanted to move the kitchen — what they consider the heart of their home — to the room with the best light and spatial flow, which was previously the formal living room. The new kitchen is stunning; I love the dramatic lighting and the layers of subtle white and earthy tones. It’s great to see such a thoughtful consideration of the space, and I imagine many happy family hours are spent in this calming, elegant kitchen. Nicely done, Kate! — Kate

See more of this kitchen makeover after the jump . . .

Time: 8 weeks

Cost: $80K

Basic Steps: We were creating a kitchen opposite of where it had originally been conceived when the house was built in 1747, so the first and most significant step was plumbing for water, gas and drainage to the room. Given that the property is set into a hillside and has walls so thick that Wi-Fi cannot penetrate, this was no small feat! We then carefully took off features like the wall paneling and deep skirting so we could replace them later.

We then laid the wood floor (see supplier details below), having first connected and marked where the wiring for the floating cook’s table would be; the cabling for this needed to come up through the floor.

Next was the fireplace, which involved re-lining the chimney breast and increasing the airflow to ensure a good draw for what is a huge fireplace space — we needed to ensure smoke wouldn’t blow back into the room.

The kitchen was fitted with just a primer and undercoat, so we painted it in situ, then did the walls and woodwork using the same colour for both for a softer, more organic feel.

My advice: Design the space for the way you live, and don’t listen to anyone else; we knew that this was the most magnificent room in the house and looked out over the garden; therefore, logically we wanted it to be our family kitchen and living space. Some of our builders and older relatives were shocked that we would put a kitchen in what had been a stately formal living room, but it was right for us, and we spend most of our waking hours in the room.

Work out where you want to spend your budget and prioritise just a few things — you’ll never have quite enough for everything! We knew we wanted a beautiful wood floor and statement lighting, but we’re happy to live indefinitely without window coverings and the various expensive kitchen gadgets and appliances we were tempted by originally. — Kate


Paint: Walls and woodwork in “Shaded White” estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball, units and Lloyd Loom barstools in “Clunch,” also by Farrow & Ball
Pendant Lighting: Original BTC (available internationally)
Range cooker: Lacanche
Wood floor: Kahrs and their Artisan Oak Linen engineered wood wide-plank floor

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  • This is wonderful and I agree that the room you are in the most should be the room that is the most appealing to you. I love what they did.

  • While this is beautiful, my heart sank. I’m a historic preservationist and this severely damages the integrity of a historic home. ooooof.

  • Hi Rebecca, I’m the Kate behind the kitchen… We took out the old one which was a small galley kitchen built from part of the main hallway. We’re currently working on restoring the hallway to it’s former glory and opening up the old fireplaces in it. If you’re interested in seeing more I document our progress at http://www.katescreativespace.com.

  • With all due respect to Sarah M…I am of the opinion that the changes were done with total respect to the integrity of the period in which the home was built and simply transformed for the way we live today! Well done!

  • So beautiful! There is nothing wrong with updating the house you live in. Not all houses were built with the best design of living space. Plus, the home owners have great taste!

  • This is one of the most amazing before and afters. I love it. I wish it was my kitchen! Maybe you can adopt me :)

  • Ha! The ‘before’ images are rather repulsive. I’m not sure what is historic about a home that is laden by 1980’s floral pastels? I have to agree with Julie, “Not all houses were built with the best design…”
    I find that the current remodel is adding to the integrity and preservation of the home while adopting a functional and an aesthetically pleasing addition. Well done!

  • Hi “Kate behind the kitchen” — marvelous vision and great retention of the BIG open living space! Where did you get your fabulous dining table (oak)? Thanks :)

  • I had to comment on this great transformation. It’s quite impressive. I’m reminded of one friends did years ago. They are caterers, and made their large living room into the dining room and the tiny study became an intimate living room. We need room to move while cooking and eating, and to be close when conversing. Well done.

  • What a great idea to actually move a kitchen to where you want it in your home. Most people simply renovate the existing kitchen. It’s a beautiful kitchen with a great, clean design that fits the home perfectly!

  • Kate, you did an amazing job reimagining your space! And I was even more captivated by your website. Your projects are so sweet and its easy to see they are full of love. Your son is so lucky to have you his his mum! Consider yourself bookmarked! Cheers!

  • Classic and beautifully done. Love the personal touch on the pillow professing love!

  • I’m in love with the after photos, both because I absolutely love everything they did and the bones of the house, but also because they are all from the same perspective which is so helpful. I couldn’t disagree more with Sarah M.

    All that said, I kinda like the before pictures. Not that I would want to keep any of it, but I feel those kinds of awful 80’s spaces are becoming so rare now that they are becoming appealing in the way that things do when you don’t see them that often. Like they’re becoing historical and nostalgic in the way spaces from the 50’s to the 70’s have become.

  • Beautiful! It’s great to see someone making the space their own and using it the way they want.

  • Magnificent transformation. Love love love it! The before looks eerily like the nursing home for the elderly where my grandmother spent her final years….

  • Hi Kate – FOund your gorgeous blog through Designsponge. Am in love with your kitchen renovation. Incredible. Would love to follow your Pinterest boards. Is that possible?
    Karen from Washington, D.C.

  • This one just about blew my mind. I sat stunned for at least a minute unable to process anything. I can finally say, “I LOVE it,” to something non-human. I reserve the L-word for only the truly meaningful, but this Before & After did something to me! I haven’t even figured it all out yet.

  • This is wonderful. Makes me wonder what I can do with my own home, where the layout makes me itchy. The afters really left me speechless, other than an occasional “wow!” Fantastic job!

  • Incredible!! I would pay good money/sell my soul to live in a home with a kitchen like this. Very impressive indeed!

  • Amazing! What a total transformation. I really like the classic/modern feel that the kitchen has now, especially the pan rack!!

  • Think I’m with Sarah M. Has the living room gone elsewhere or is the sofa the extent of it? Probably easy enough to next owners to put it back how it was if they prefer though, unless lots of detailing from original kitchen now lost???