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before and afterInteriors

Before & After: A Drab Kitchen Becomes a Serene Space

by Erin Austen Abbott

Before & After on Design*Sponge Have you noticed how we all end up in the kitchen when there’s a party? It seems we all gravitate to the coziest room in the home, and that’s often the kitchen. Photographer and shopkeeper Katie Hyatt has created a kitchen of her own in Atlanta, GA that I’m sure any of us would flock to. With a moody grey palette, the room cultivates an environment that is both serene and functional, much like her shop, Saint Signora.

The renovations took six months, and after many frozen meals, take-out and salads later, Katie and her husband Jared, an Atlanta real estate agent, have a kitchen that is more than worth the wait.

“It’s my happy place and embodies everything I have ever wanted in a kitchen,” Katie shares. “My lovely husband renovated a good bit of it himself. He began by ripping all the particle board cabinets out and continued on with the countertops, base cabinets, and flooring. The flooring was a BEAST. There was a layer of slate on top of concrete board, two layers of linoleum, which were then glued to the original oak floors. He then had to take a heat gun and melt all of the glue off the flooring before scraping it up. What was revealed were pristine wood floors… After the flooring was taken care of, it was time to widen our kitchen entry. The entry was widened 9 inches, which may not seem like a lot, but it really helped to open up the space.” Katie then worked on the walls using a limewash paint to give the space a European feel. The cabinets came next, which were custom made. “Our kitchen space is small and narrow, so our options were limited in that respect. By opening up portions of our upper cabinets, we were able to allow the room to feel a bit larger and expose more of the beautiful limewash paint. We chose a similar grey paint for the cabinetry as the limewash walls thus creating a monochrome, but serene effect. Everything was accented with honed Carrara marble countertops to help them pop and lend contrast.”

The couple’s home is in a 15-unit condo building from the 1950s, which Katie previously lived in before a move to Texas and back. The most challenging part of the long and narrow kitchen was the size and lack of storage and countertop space. “With the use of custom cabinetry, we were able to transition this to a more functional space,” Katie says. “The second [exterior] door we have opened up into the hall from the kitchen and covered roughly three feet of space that was needed for storage. We worked to create a floor-to-ceiling pantry which hid the door from the interior and gave us at least two times as much space as we had previously.”

The final outcome is filled with treasures and style that is truly reflective of who Katie and Jared are, with many of the pieces often thrifted or from estate sales, complete with a story behind each find. It’s a beautiful space and I’m so thrilled to be able to share it with you today. —Erin

Photography by Katie Hyatt

Image above: “A great overview of the kitchen,” Katie says. “The natural light does wonders for our kitchen. I do a lot of still and shop photography in this area.”

Katie Hyatt on Design*Sponge
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From red and white 1980s laminated kitchen into a beautiful and cozy kitchen.
Katie Hyatt on Design*Sponge
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"Yellah Dog making himself at home in the kitchen on one of our antique rugs," Katie shares.
Katie Hyatt on Design*Sponge
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"Carrara marble and brass are the perfect combination. Open shelves host all of our vintage and collected dishes. The unpolished brass Rohl faucet was found via Craigslist for a third of what we would have had to pay. It's my pride and joy of the kitchen," Katie beams.
Katie Hyatt on Design*Sponge
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What was once a dated 1980s kitchen became a moody and beautiful renovated space.
Katie Hyatt on Design*Sponge
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"An antique painting I found at an estate sale. I love how the perspective makes you feel as if you could step into the painting and just keep going. Wooden cutting boards sit underneath for easy accessibility."
Katie Hyatt on Design*Sponge
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"Open shelves host all of our vintage and collected dishes," Katie shares.
Katie Hyatt on Design*Sponge
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A closer look at the unpolished brass Rohl faucet, found on Craigslist.
Katie Hyatt on Design*Sponge
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Katie shares, "A little nook for barware. Found Duralex glasses made in France, antique pottery and vintage tea spoons grace a Florentine tray, while a family photo rests against the wall."
Katie Hyatt on Design*Sponge
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Tea seems a bit more inviting in this renovated space.

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