before and afterDIY

Before & After: A New Jersey Kitchen Gets A Touch of Glamour

by Maxwell Tielman

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Shannon Tate likes to compare the act of caring for one’s home with the act of caring for one’s self. Although the health of a home and the health of an individual might not seem all that related, Shannon, a former life coach, sees them as inextricably connected—the former serving as both a barometer and a tincture for the soul. This is why, when confronted with a space in need of some TLC, Shannon takes to her task as an interior designer almost like a therapist would—administering questionnaires, addressing issues in functionality, and prescribing decorating schemes that are appropriate matches for her clients. “I really believe that having a well designed space that’s a true reflection of who you are is an important part of the self-care puzzle,” Shannon says. In the case of this New Jersey kitchen, Shannon found that cracking the puzzle meant finding a way to impart a bit of her clients’ personalities into the space. Applying the skills gleaned from her diverse background, Shannon was able to transform this once run-of-the-mill kitchen into a functional, beautiful space with just the right amount of glamour. Check out all of the photos, plus Shannon’s design notes after the jump! —Max

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“My inspiration is always my client,” Shannon says. “I have them fill out a design questionnaire that gets me in touch with who they are, what they love and where they want to go in life. I then create their design with the intention of visually and stylistically representing who they are in their space.  
“My process after the questionnaire is really pretty organic. I really try to understand the essence of who they are and feel into what would be right. It’s always so fun! After reading through their answers to the questionnaire, I try to kind of feel what it would be like to be them and understand their inner workings.”

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  • Wall color: Benjamin Moore – Classic Gray, OC-23
  • Subway tile: White – Lowes
  • Grout color: #60 Charcoal by Polyblend 
  • Cabinet paint color: Benjamin Moore – Chelsea Gray, HC-168
  • Countertops: Quartz in Cashmere Carrara
  • Table: made by me, reclaimed Brazilian hardwood
  • Hairpin legs for table: from Hairpin Legs For Less
  • Stools: from Etsy Barnwood Furniture re-created some vintage stools I found online
  • Cabinet knobs & pulls by Amerock in Elegant Brass finish
  • Faucet from Elements of Design, Lafayette Collection in Polished Brass
  • Pendant lights over Island from Hudson Valley Lighting
  • Globe Pendant over dining table from West Elm
  • Chimney Range Hood AKDY Hood in Stainless Steel
  • Wine fridge by Danby

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  • I just bought a house with WAYYYY TOO MANY CABINETS that are also in this style. I totally felt that nipple top wood etching was too dated to paint another color and seem modern. You’ve proven me wrong. This is exactly all the elements I wanted to bring into my kitchen some day. Open wood shelves, subway tile, grey cabinets, white marble looking counter tops, great job!

  • Where did you put the microwave? I just did a similar renovation and replaced with a hood range. Just curious :)

  • Would also love to know more about the shelving and hardware! So lovley and open. Love the light!

  • Oh, it is a way different now. Looks brighter and bigger. The new dining table is amazing and the bar chairs are just perfect for this kitchen. Congratulation!

  • Max, you are such a good writer. I always love your before and after posts. Beautiful space! You had me at ‘tincture.’

  • What a great job. I love that you put open shelves. Makes the room look bigger and lighter. Can’t go wrong with subway tile, light or dark grout, looks timeless. Great job.

  • Hello all who’ve asked about the open shelving! The shelves were cut down to size from Ikea Numerar butcher block countertops & the brackets are from Home Depot. Thank you for all your lovely replies! Makes my heart happy! xo -Shannon

  • Now THAT’S a transformation. Just love the color of the cabinets and the gray grout adds a wonderful contrast to the white subway tile…beautiful work!

  • Great transformation! First thing that catches my eyes are those hanging cabinets, they make the room look more spacious when it was removed. I love every inch of the changes, especially the stove-top, hood and tile backsplash corner. Great job!

  • Looks fantastic but I wonder about the practicality of the trend for open shelving. Surely dust and grime collects on them, are they not a nightmare to clean?

  • Is the range hood chimney vent cover one single piece? How did you do that? It seems like they are all 2 pieces that don’t look great with the overlapping sleeves.

  • Shannon, my wife and I just purchased this house last July. We were doing some digging online to figure out some renovations that have transpired over time, and somehow stumbled across this. Let me just say, this kitchen dramatically piqued our interest when we decided to bid on the house. WELL DONE