before and after

Before & After: A Kitchen Nook Gets Some Character

by Maxwell Tielman


When Heather Jorde and her husband moved from Upstate New York to Indiana, they knew they were going to have to make some sacrifices in terms of character. Their former home, a nineteenth century house on an old army base brought the old-fashioned charm in spades, something that many of the postwar homes they looked at were sorely lacking. “Needless to say,” Heather says, “we couldn’t recreate that experience and bought a newer house for the time being.”

Despite “settling,” at least temporarily, the couple has managed to completely transform the once unremarkable space. With some choice Craigslist purchases, thoughtful paint selections, and a few well-picked IKEA finds, they took the putty-colored walls and drab moldings typical of new construction and injected a substantial amount of old-school character into it. The results are as affordable as they are utterly charming. “I wanted to break the ‘cookie cutter’ mold,” Heather continues, “and make the space unique yet simple, drawing inspiration from modern Scandinavian design.” Mission accomplished! To see more of Heather’s home, check out her blog, Restless Oasis. For more photos and material sources, continue after the jump!—Max


Above image: Tulip Table from Lexington Modern. Walls are painted with Valspar’s “Bistro White” and a chalkboard paint. Chairs from Craigslist.

kitchennookba_3 kitchennookba_4

Above image: Hutch from Craigslist. Pendant light from IKEA and then spray-painted mint green.

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  • You may not be aware of what a treasure you have in the hutch (but it actually appears to be a step back cabinet), I have one very similar in construction except there is a space between the top and bottom sections (so platters can be slid underneath), my hardware is different as well as the cutout around the glass inserts. To give you some provenance if you didn’t get anything from the seller, mine is well over 100 years old, inherited from my paternal grandmother who used it to store the family dishes for a family of seven children. I have to laugh at the outrageously large and perfectly outfitted kitchens which are must have these days, she had a very small kitchen and produced wonderful meals three times a day. You have my email, I would love to know what you paid for it, I’d be interested in knowing the possible worth of mine, mine is walnut and it appears yours in also. Congratulations on a great find!

  • This is such an encouragement! As we’re busy looking at houses it’s easy to get discouraged that everything in our price range is cookie-cutter. This definitely gives me inspiration.

  • What a luscious color on the wall, it’s so rich and elegant., yet paired with the lighter color wicker chairs makes for an interesting combination.

  • Not to be snitty, but I’ve lived all over Indiana and I’ve never lived anywhere where at least turn of the century (last) housing stock wasn’t available. You can even snag a beautiful abode on a former army base in Indianapolis’ Fort Ben’s officer’s quarters.

  • lovely…but I do take exception to a the commentary “and a few well-picked IKEA finds” . one light fitting is all that is mentioned (and used??) .

  • This is not a colour combination I would have thought to use, but this is such a welcoming, comfortable and calming space. The charcoal walls and the warm wood and rattan furniture are beautiful together, but the crisp white is a contrast that gives it a perfectly judged lightness.

    Sorry, that’s a bit long, so in summary – “Sigh….”

  • My mother has the exact same china hutch! It’s been in our family over 100 years. And according to her, was brought over in a covered wagon from “back east” when my family moved out to the plains as homesteaders.

  • Thanks everyone for the nice comments!
    -The curtains/hardware are also from Ikea….
    -Madeline, I don’t have your email but you are welcome to contact me about the hutch on my blog…

  • I have to agree with a previous poster. There are no shortage of amazing character-filled homes in Indiana, one only needs to look!

  • I love what you have done with this space. The mix of colours and materials is just perfect. We’ve had bare walls since moving into our new home and you’ve inspired me to do something to change that.