Before & After: A Fixer-Upper Gets a New Kitchen in Denver, CO

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Anna and Austin Smith knew there would be work to do when they bought this fixer-upper, sight unseen, in Denver, CO. Anna‘s interior design career made the opportunity even more appealing — she wanted to get her hands dirty. From the moment the couple put an offer in on the home, Anna was designing and dreaming about how to transform the kitchen from dark, cramped and dated to bright, open and modern.

When they moved in six months ago, they got to work. Austin and Anna did everything other than the electrical and plumbing themselves. While problems did arise during demo (asbestos in the walls!), Anna and Austin took it all in stride and stuck to the vision in their heads: a beautiful new kitchen. “What we love most about our space is that we created it ourselves! We’ve never tackled anything like this before, and we learned so many new skills along the way — for instance, I now know how to frame a window, mud drywall, and lay flooring, whereas before my home skills were limited to hanging a picture on the wall or changing a lightbulb,” Anna says. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish from Googling and watching YouTube videos — or even asking your neighbors! I think it’s really added to my knowledge as a designer because I understand the labor and skill that goes into remodeling, firsthand.”

The result of their hard work and long hours spent on the renovation is a dream — marble countertops, hexagon tiles (all installed by the couple), gorgeous new fixtures and a green eat-in bar. “In our new home, I’m trying to stick to a tight, neutral palette with warm accents like brass and wood, and the kitchen is no exception,” Anna shares. “We love the simplicity and clean lines that the white cabinets and marble countertops afford, along with subtle details like the white hexagon backsplash with brass trim.” Now that the first project in this fixer-upper is completed, we can’t wait to see what Anna and Austin do with the rest of their home. –Lauren

Photography by Chandler Kim



Wall color – Benjamin Moore “Simply White”
Bar color – Benjamin Moore “Cushing Green,” lightened with “Simply White”
Stools, cabinets, faucet, range hood – IKEA
Shelves – West Elm
Backsplash – Wayfair
Pendant lights, hardware – Schoolhouse Electric
Flooring – Southern Pecan Natural from Home Depot
Dinnerware – Heath Ceramics
Countertops – Carrera Marble from The Stone Collection
Sink – Zuhne, on Amazon

  1. Emily says:

    I NEED THIS KITCHEN. Soooo pretty! Love the pop of gold and warmth against the white. And the green wall is the perfect accent.

    1. Anna Smith says:

      Thank you Emily! There was a lot of debate about that bar — between my husband and I, as well as on Instagram. I’m so happy with the color though — it’s my favorite part of the kitchen!

  2. MK says:

    I love this renovation! Beautifully done and so tasteful. Where are the cabinet handles from?

    1. Anna Smith says:

      Thanks MK! The drawer pulls are from Schoolhouse Electric.

  3. I love the green under the bar area! It’s nice unexpected touch and the light fixtures are really perfect for the space.

  4. Meghan says:

    I love the tile and we are thinking of doing something similar in our little kitchen. I am just wondering what you used to edge the backsplash behind the extraction hood and also at the raw edge under the window. We are hoping to keep the tile as modern looking as possible and yours has achieved that!

    1. Darina says:

      Beautiful!!! We went through almost the exact same remodel…ironically our kitchen layout is identical to this and a lot of the materials we chose are similar…down to the built in microwave in the same spot. So convenient and out of the way. We went with subway tile with darker grout on the walls and slightly darker (walnut) hardwood flooring. We love the bright open space and this remodel is also amazing!!

  5. I love that backsplash. I’m so used to seeing hex tile on the floor that it’s nice to see it on the wall!

  6. oltyrrell says:

    I follow Anna on instagram and have loved, loved, so much of her work. Clean, fresh, modern, simple, with such great details. Nice to see her work here.

    1. Anna Smith says:

      That is so lovely to hear — thank you!

  7. Vanessa says:

    That is really pretty Anna and Austin. Very well done!

    1. Anna Smith says:

      Thanks Vanessa! We’re very happy with it — and already onto our next project! :)

  8. amanda! says:

    Pendants, tile and that under counter green- love it all!

  9. E says:

    Hi there! I was just wondering where you got the cabinet handles, they’re exactly what I’ve been looking for!!

  10. Love this and thanks so much for giving links to where they can be purchased, it makes a difference when you really like something you know where to go find it. Many blogs do not give that information. The tile is stunning in this room for sure.

  11. madlyn says:

    beautiful job and thanks for sharing. I also can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of your home!

  12. Mittens says:

    This looks great! Where did you get the brass trim used in the back splash? How was it applied? It’s so clever and looks bespoke.

    1. Hey Mittens! That’s called tile schluter, and any local tile supplier will carry it. It’s used to hide the raw edge that comes when installing a tile or mesh mosaic. Finishes like brass (and even thinner profiles) have a longer lead-time than most. Hope this helps!

  13. sara says:

    What was the cabinet name from Ikea? Are they the glossy ones? Couldn’t tell. Thanks and it looks beautiful!!

  14. Way to go, Anna! This absolutely stunning!!

  15. mas says:

    It was an interesting project,great decoration

  16. penny says:

    Beautiful job! So light and airy! What Ikea cabinet doors are these?

  17. OMG love the color scheme, this is so gorgeous.. Couldn’t stop myself to add this on my blog, Please have a look if you don’t mind.. Thanks in advance.

  18. Asim says:

    What is the size of these hex tiles? I am guessing 2 x 2 inches.

  19. Ruth J. says:

    Beautiful! We have the same layout in a smaller footprint and I wonder where I’d find storage without overhead cabinets. Where do you store you glasses, mugs, and plates?

  20. I love this so much. So bright and modern and functional. I feel inspired! ^__^

  21. Christy says:

    Hi! Beautiful kitchen! Which ikea cabinets are these?

  22. Elísabet says:

    This is such a great and homey kitchen, as much as I like modern kitchens they are so often cold and without a homey feel. Can I ask you where you got your got the handles? they are just the right tone :) thank you!

  23. Cana says:

    I’m looking at hex tiles for our backsplash and digging your grout color! Is it white? If so, do you think it’s hard to keep clean?

  24. Silvia says:

    Woww, this is AMAZING . Love it, very nice.


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