before and afterDIY

Before & After: A Minneapolis Kitchen Gets A Fresh, Bright New Look

by Maxwell Tielman

Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover

Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover

I am beyond thrilled to be able to kick off 2014’s Before & Afters with Alison Allen’s fabulous kitchen makeover. My fiancé Daniel introduced me to Alison’s blog, Deuce Cities Henhouse, a few months back and the two of us have been absolutely hooked ever since. Alison (AKA Scoops) chronicles her life and the renovation process of her 100-year old Minneapolis home on her blog, all with trademark wit and a sharp, yet unfussy sense of modern style. Her most recent foray into DIY-Home-Renovation-Land has been her home’s kitchen—which, let’s be real, was not too shabby to begin with, but could certainly have benefited from an upgrade. With a few teases here and there over the past few months, we’ve been waiting in anxious anticipation for the Big Reveal. Well, today, I’m pleased to announce that we’ve got it right here—and it was totally worth the wait! The transformation is utterly stunning; the space has gone from quietly charming (albeit not totally functional) to a total knockout. Complete with a fresh and unifying black and white palette, Alison has maintained her kitchen’s old-school charm through small doses of turquoise color and vintage finds, and created a space that is lightyears more functional, dynamic, and au courant! Check out all of the photos of this wonderful transformation after the jump! —Max

Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover

Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover

Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover


Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover Design*Sponge / Alison Allen Kitchen Makeover



White Wall Paint : Clark & Kensington – Casual White
Dark Gray Wall Paint : Behr – Paramount
Trim and Cabinets : Farrow & Ball – All White
Radiator Paint : Rustoleum Universal : Satin Black
Hardware Paint : Rustoleum Universal : Flat Black

Light Fixture : School House Electric – Factory Satellite 3 in Aqua Shades
Ceiling Medallion : House of Antique Hardware 16″ Medallion
Enamel Basin & Bowl : West Elm
Lidded Atlas Canning Jars : Etsy Vintage
Aqua Waterscape Vase : West Elm
Kitchen Aid Mixer in Pistachio : Kitchen Aid
Butter Dish : Antrhopologie
Utensil Pottery : Crooked Creek Studio on Etsy
Raw Wood Large Cutting Board : West Elm
Tall Hive Vase : West Elm
Coffee Canister : Ikea
Black and White Kitchen Towel : Anthropologie
Clock : Crate and Barrel – Discontinued
Vintage Clock Radio : Good Bones Vintage Co on Etsy
Vintage Fire King Sugar Bowl and Creamer : Etsy Vintage
Enamel Canisters : West Elm
Plant Hanger : Handmade – Tutorial Here
Marble Cheese Board : West Elm
Wooden Cheese Board : West Elm – Discontinued
Cheese Knife Set : West Elm – Discontinued
Dish Scrub Brush : Honest Company
Sponge Bowl : Target Threshold
Footed Butcher Block Cutting Board : Handmade – Tutorial Here
Wood Bowl : Target Threshold
Mortar and Pestle : Ikea
Mudroom Chalk Boards : Ikea
Black Light Fixtures : Ikea
Table Cloth : Ikea (Curtains turned Table Cloth)
Tea Pot : Warren Mackenzie
Beaded Ornaments : Fox & Owl
Storage Bins : H&M Home

Spiral Artwork : Kalie Eckerson via the MCAD artsale
Chain of Lakes Topographic Art : Crafterall on Etsy

Chairs : Eames White Side Chairs with Dowel Base
Step Stools : Ikea

Nicole Ripplinger @ Middle North Creative





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  • Your new kitchen looks great! I love the copper tiles though! I am sure they’re not for everyone and they may look awful in real life, but judging by the photo I’d have them in a heartbeat. Your new tiles look fab too, though.

  • I really enjoy this Before & After because most of the time when you see kitchen and bathroom B&A’s they always knock down walls and completely restructure the entire space. It was refreshing to see Alison use the space and areas she already has and update them. I’m not a super handy person, but I think that even I could be capable of doing some of the things she demonstrated. Beautiful space Alison!

  • I love Alison’s blog (especially since she’s local to me!) and have been excited for this reveal. it looks so amazing!

  • Hi, love the kitchen makeover. The “Utensil Pottery : Crooked Creek Studio on Etsy” link is broken, it just opens up some unrelated text.

  • An exhaustive list of decor, but the one thing I want is the rug in the mudroom its its not listed! Anyone know where it came from?

  • looove this! the subway tiles with dark grout! The exposed brick! The vintage fittings! that black painted radiator! The light fittings!! I could go on and on!! But what drew me in was the black wall: I have been toying with the idea of painting a wall in my kitchen with blackboard paint, but was worried it would make the room dark….I see here that it totally works!! PINNED AND SHARED!
    Oh! and thanks for pointing me in the direction of Alison’s blog!!

  • Magnifique ! Quelle fraîcheur ! Quelle clarté ! Le blanc apporte réellement davantage de légèreté à cet espace . merci pour ce post.

  • I think I like both the before and after equally for different reasons. I’d be happy to have a before that nice! I’m glad you cleaned up the original cabinetry instead of replacing it like so many do. As much as I like the tile backsplash and the retro industrial light fixture, I like the copper and original fixture even if they aren’t “on trend”. I think my favorite part is the cabinets and open shelving by the chimney, I love the mix of white, brick, wood and turquoise accents

  • So excited for Scoops! I love how it turned out, and I am so inspired to take on big projects too.

  • I loooooove this and how it’s in keeping with the original, but cleaned up a bit. Like fresh sheets! I recognize some IKEA products and how the paint and stains make them look more custom and expensive!

  • It really looks fresher and more cohesive now. The paint color, the subway tiles, and all the blue accents are lovely.

  • Love the update. I am not going to lie, I moved to the Twin Cities in the summer and while looking for houses the biggest issue I had was the kitchen! Small charming kitchen are all fine and dandy but when you actually COOK everyday and you come from a newish kitchen, getting use to a smaller, older, mismatched kitchen is sort of depressing! “Whaddaya mean I have no dishwasher!?!?”. I love what you have done with the space!

  • WOWOWOW! Makes me think about re-doing my kitchen re-do. I love that they kept the kitchen’s original character but managed to still make it feel fresh and modern!

  • Can you share where the subway tiles are from and the color of the grout? The slight contrast is just what I’m looking for. The kitchen looks amazing !

  • Far out! How amazing is this transformation?! And she’s done it all with a resonable budget! Incredible how you can paint a wall black but still have the entire space completely open and brighten up! Well done!

  • Thanks everyone for you comments – it’s so awesome of you to take the time to give feedback on the kitchen! We’re super happy with how it all turned out!

    @sam The tiles are from the Home Depot, they sell for .22 cents a piece. The grout is Polyblend in Delorean gray. I kinda wish I would’ve gone a shade darker, but there’s not much I can do about that now, I was looking for something that was a little higher contrast though.

    @erica I can’t believe I forgot to include the rugs on the hugest source list ever. Sounds like you got your answer, but just in case, they are the “aarowhead” rugs from the Nate Berkus line at Target.

  • New kitchen looks great! Might not be on trend but I do like the copper tiles as well. I don’t think they would have gone with the new layout but I would have left them in and worked around them somehow?

    I worry about staying “on trend” sometimes. E.g. these subway tiles. I have seen them everywhere from bathrooms to kitchens, how soon before they become dated? Oh well. Whenever we get a real house those will be fun decisions to make.

  • Super CUTE! This is my favorite makeover on DesignSponge yet!!
    What color is the grout?
    Love the twist on the ikea stools! I have them too and they need some sprucing up. Thanks for the inspiration! and Love that you played up the exposed brick. Love it all!!

  • SUCH a beautiful kitchen and clean, bright space. I love it! And I totally had my eye on the yellow-rimmed clock, so when I reached the decor source list I was excited, and then quickly disappointed. The hunt for the perfect clock continues!

  • Absolutely GORGEOUS! I really appreciate the source list, but the stylized “A” print isn’t listed, and I absolutely love it! (Unless it is listed as the spiral artwork from Kalie Eckerson?)

  • Not entirely sure the copper is “off-trend”… I’m seeing it everywhere, and love it. I’m tired of white glossy subway tiles, myself. But I love the turquoise, the light fixture and those great stools at the table!

  • Agree that copper is very “on trend” at least here in Europe, but I like the tiles better. Love what you’ve done with all the Ikea items, espeially the stools. Aqua accents are gorgeous…I’m inspired!

  • Really love your new kitchen, it looks beautiful and elegant but what of the copper splash back? People would kill for that sort of thing!

  • I’m madly in love with the black sink! And the wooden shelves that blend into the brick are also divine, and the cutting board on the wall, is such a work of art.

    I did like the aqua paint in the original picture, though, especially with the yellow. I have a similar combo in my living room and get loads of compliments on how soothing it is. However, the brighter shade of aqua in the rest of the kitchen was definitely an eyesore. And that copper tile back splash with it was headache-inducing. I, personally, wouldn’t have thought to use a dark color in such a minute space, but kudos to how beautifully it turned out. Black and white are always a winning combo in my book. Add a dark grey, and it’s even better. Nice job.

  • I love it!!!!! May I ask where you purchased the bag that is hanging with the jacket? It’s adorable:)

  • Wow! I really like the vintage modern style of your kitchen now. I agree that it is more functional and organized this time. I also like the color. Great idea! Thanks for sharing this.

  • So simple and so nice, this work make the people to think else about interior design
    Its a well done design.
    i knew in israel a good interior designer zohara klein, that makes magic ‘ from old houses she made them fancy and modern one – זוהרה קליין

  • Let’s here it for white kitchen appliances. I’m so tired of stainless. Love the natural wood, color accents. Everything is great and fresh.

  • This looks fantastic.
    I am curious on how your brick chimney is tied into the drywall? I too have a chimney I would like to expose but it also would need to be seamed into the wall and I’m not sure how it’s done. Any thoughts?

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