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before and after

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

by Lauren Chorpening

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

 

SOURCE LIST

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

Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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The kitchen renovation included demoing walls and gutting the space. The new look is fresh, clean and timeless.
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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The remodel involved tearing down the original wall where the refrigerator was and extending the room into the dining room behind it.
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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"The house was built in 1972 and we purchased it from the original owner – nothing had been touched except for a bathroom in the basement. This of course meant we had our hands full, especially when it came to the kitchen! The whole place was a mess of brown shag carpet, faux wood paneling, and yellow linoleum," Anna says.
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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"By the time we arrived in Denver, I had completed the entire design and we set out right away tearing everything apart. The home’s original layout had both a living room and a family room in close proximity to each other and we decided we didn’t need both (what with another living area in our walk-out basement). The original living room became our dining room, and we removed the wall between the old dining room and kitchen to create one open space," Anna says.
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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Anna and Austin's labor of love is a stunning, functional and spacious kitchen.
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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"Bright, calm, casual, and warm. It was really important to me that the kitchen feel one with the rest of the house – I also love a traditional space with unexpected elements, like a dining room lined with books or mirrors and artwork in the kitchen. For those reasons, we kept the hardwood floors throughout and went without upper cabinets," Anna says.
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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Anna went for simple, refined style in their new kitchen.
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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"We made an effort to only look at so-called 'fixer-uppers' around Denver – homes that hadn’t been touched, but were in relatively good condition," Anna says. "Denver is an incredibly hot market at the moment and we actually put in an offer on our house sight-unseen! We felt immediately that it was perfect, and when we flew out afterwards to see it in person we knew we had been right."
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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"We did all the work ourselves with the exception of the electrical and plumbing, which we managed on weekends and evenings when we could spare some free time away from our son. The whole process took about six months – four months of which we had no usable kitchen (luckily it was summer – we did a lot of grilling!)," Anna says.
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
10/16
The Smiths make the open shelving work by storing dishes in the lower cabinets and a few things used on a regular basis out on display.
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"Remodeling the kitchen was such a rewarding project for us. It’s wonderful to be able to look at it now and know not only did we accomplish it, but that we did it together," Anna shares.
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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Anna and Austin with their 4-year-old son, Clinton, and their rescue puppy, Ruby.
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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"When we found out we were being relocated from DC to Denver, we knew we wanted our next home to be a fixer-upper. We had lived for three years in a suburban split-level that, though it had been updated, simply wasn’t our style. I was tired of living in a house that didn’t feel like 'us' and my husband wanted to try his hand at renovating," Anna says.
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Classic materials such as marble, wood and brass are punched up just a bit with this beautiful green bar base.
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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The Schoolhouse Electric pendants are the perfect clean-line statement over the bar area.
Before & After: A Fixer Upper Home Gets a New Kitchen | Design*Sponge
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The waterfall marble countertops complete the design. Anna's desire to mix traditional design with the unexpected was done beautifully.

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