before and after

Before & After: Sarah’s Kitchen + Bedroom Renovation

by Grace Bonney

Today’s second makeover comes from Sarah Sandidge. Three years ago Sarah and her husband Jay bought a 1930s home that was, in her words, “tragically outdated”. The layout felt crowded and awkward, but they saw potential in the spaces so Jay worked weekends and week nights (while Sarah was pregnant and caring for their two year-old) to renovate their space over the course of two years to get it where it is today. Today we’re sharing two spaces that got a major modern work over: the kitchen and bedroom.

Sarah has shared her makeover details after the jump, as well as photos of the bedroom makeover. I hope you’ll enjoy them. Thanks so much to Sarah and Jay for sharing this with us.

*Both sets of before images are from different angles than the “after” shots so I’ve tried to explain that in the captions. I know that drives some people nuts, so I apologize ahead of time. Sarah and Jay had their hands full with this project (and their kids!) so the before shots weren’t their priority at the time.

When we first moved in, everything was blue! Blue carpet, blue wallpaper, blue drapes, and all the same shade! So that was our first act. Getting the surroundings back to “normal”. Then we started working on structural issues. We opened up the wall between the dining room and kitchen. We removed the staircase leading to the upstairs room and moved it to the front of the house where a coat closet used to be. Then we finished some of the attic space upstairs to add a completely new master bath, closet, and office space. We removed two sets of nasty sliding doors that went out to a rickety, rotted deck my husband simply pulled up with his hands. Fixed some major leaks and put new carpet down. Now we have a huge, beautiful master suite that is our getaway once the kids go to bed.

In the kitchen, we completely rearranged the layout. What was once a very strange set up combining the original kitchen with an add-on, is now a lovely space to work in. We actually used metal cabinets that we found in the basement laundry room. We had them sanded and powder-coated for a modern look. Then after almost a year of hesitation and deliberation and living with splintery plywood for counters, we finally decided on butcher block counter tops from Lumber Liquidators. We absolutely love them. They really warm the kitchen up.

We decided to leave some “rough” edges throughout the house. The window over the sink for instance has chipped paint on the trim and is the only wood window in the house without paint. We wanted some “memorials” to help us remember where we came from I guess! And perfection isn’t really our thing. We like our house to look “lived in.”

Suggested For You


  • I love what you did and I can appreciate doing it yourself and living in it with kids! You should be proud!
    Can you tell me the make of the range? I’m looking for a 30″ one with 4 + burners and dual fuel. Thanks and contests on a job very well done!

  • I think the kitchen is very nicely done, but I do agree with Sarah about the ceiling beams in the bedroom. But overall, love the color choices and casual/approachable styling!

  • Both rooms are amazing. I like especially that idea of leaving the chippy window in the kitchen–it’s like some patina & looks great with that rug. And the master suite-chill lounge is brilliant.

  • It would be helpful to have listed the names of the appliances and cabinets etc., for those of us who are renovating or thinking about it !

  • Would love to see pics of the blue carpeting and curtains! Sounds like our house, and I am trying to figure out ways around it until we can replace the carpeting with wood floors. I am also impressed that you were able to accomplish so much with kids in the house–great job!

  • I love what they have done to this space!
    It brings back memories. Except in our house is was green, green, green! I guess that’s what you get for buying in Ireland. There is nothing more satisfying though.

  • Thanks so much for all the wonderful comments! It’s nice to have your hard work appreciated! :) I’ve definitely regretted painting the beams in our master suite at times. I’m thinking of covering them with fabric to give it a bohemian feel. We’ll see…

    The cabinets are authentically vintage and were found in our basement.

    The white paint was Ultra White from Lowe’s. Valspar… I think! Not mixed paint, just straight off the shelf!

    Our range is a 30″ Kenmore Pro from Sears. I can give the specific model number if wanted, but I’m away from home right now. So it might be another week!

    Thanks again!

    OH! And the after pics were taken by Janae at the itsy bitsy house. http://theitsybitsyhouse.com

  • The reason for painting the beams in the master suite was because the ceiling is quite low on the sides and having the large beams painted white helps “lift” the ceiling and not feel so cramped. If the ceilings were high, I’d totally agree that painting them would not be ideal.

  • Sarah, applause for doing all of this while also taking care of the kiddos, I’m sure that could not have been easy! I love how resourceful you were with the metal cabinets, and the butcher block counter is such a nice juxtaposition to them. A nice touch leaving the window chipped. I also like how the window panes themselves are dark, it makes them pop on the wall. Lovely job!

  • The kitchen is amazing! Only wonderfully satisfying food can come from there now. ;-) Sad about the painted beams, but I’m sure there were reasons. Thanks for sharing!

  • Wow – my wife and I looked at this together and it gives us hope in buying an older house and restoring / renovating. Great post.

  • I absolutely love this makeover. And while I do love wood I would have painted those beams white too – it really helps to visually ‘lift’ the space and makes it seem bigger and brighter. That bedroom is amazing now! So impressed (and doubly impressed that they did all this work with kids/while preggers!)

  • I second all the comments, lovely redesign and I’m dying to know where you got the rug in the kitchen…!!!

  • Was it expensive to powdercoat the cabinets? I have some (not vintage) that I want to change the color. what was the process