From previous renter to current homeowner, today’s Before & After seemed like the perfect time to check in with Seattle-based blogger, Joanna Hawley. We’ve previously featured her transformed bathroom when she was a renter, and today we’re sharing her new kitchen makeover with you in the home she now owns.
One might think: the smaller the room, the easier the project — right? For this kitchen remodel, however, that’s far from true. For 10 months, Joanna and her fiancé Sean lived in their very small bungalow, cooking outside under a tarp, on a camping stove — even throughout the rainy Seattle winter. “Our bungalow is over 110 years old, so we had a lot of old house quirkiness to contend with,” Joanna recalls. “For example, all of our floors and walls are actually made of 3-4 layers of shiplap… but not the pretty, Joanna Gaines kind. The cedar pieces are randomly cut and mismatched together because the house was probably built by shingle mill workers. Oh, also, our floors were very uneven and lumpy because the house was built on logs (they still have their bark on them!). We did a lot of foundation work in order to level the floor and have somewhat square walls. Now it’s the only room in the house that isn’t super-crooked.”
Knowing that this project might be a bit out of her comfort zone based on the amount of attention that it needed, Joanna reached out to Sarah from Room For Tuesday for help. “Redoing a bedroom is one thing, but a kitchen is a major investment, so I wanted to get it right,” Joanna begins. “Sarah is an incredibly talented designer and renovates homes all on her own, so I knew that she’d get it right. Sarah lives in Salt Lake City, so we were in constant contact via text, FaceTime, and email. She was a rockstar on this project and helped us troubleshoot so many mishaps.” Together, they were able to swap the kitchen’s particle board two-tone cabinets for custom cabinets in a sleek and modern take on a tuxedo kitchen, and add new appliances in a seamless line (rather than the original misshaped layout) and marble countertops.
Joanna leaves us with this sweet story about her home, “My favorite story to tell about our tiny bungalow is how I actually came to own it! In 2015, my grandfather Harvey passed away and the loss was devastating to me. The last conversation we had consisted of me telling him that I was finally moving back to Seattle after a few years of feeling so lost and ungrounded. He was incredibly happy to hear that, knowing that the PNW was my real home and where I felt the happiest. A year after he passed, I found out that he had left a large sum of money for me to purchase my first home and to ‘settle down,’ in his words. Within four weeks of receiving the sum, I had looked at over 30 houses and fell in love with this tiny, weird little bungalow. Several contractors tried to buy it in order to tear it down and build townhouses on the lot, but they all fell through… so I swooped in with my offer and the seller accepted it! Every renovation I do in the house is meant to honor my grandfather and his memory. If you notice the floor tiles, they are H-shaped as a subtle homage to him. It felt like the best way to thank him and honor him in this new space.” —Erin
Image above: A full view of the kitchen from where a wall once stood. Opening up the room created a more natural flow and let in more natural light as well, something always embraced in Seattle.