Friday, April 28, 2017


I recently bought my first home, a charming mid-century ranch in a small neighborhood outside of Detroit. Well, "charming" is being generous - at least initially. I believe the first words I uttered upon entering for the first time were, "oh, hell no". My realtor actually had to force me walk through after I insisted it wasn't worth our time.

At that point I'd been looking for a house on and off for about three years. SUCH, a process. I do not envy anyone trying to buy a house in this market. The disappointment, the heartbreak. It's like watching every episode of This Is Us, back to back! I put in so many offers, lost out on so many houses - I was about ready to throw in the towel and just succumb once again to the world of rentals. Thankfully, I persisted. 

Now something you should know about me, I fancy myself a bit of an amateur interior designer. Yeah guys, I read design blogs (hello, Jenny, Amber, JessicaErin, Mat and Brandon) AND subscribe to Elle Decor (no bigs). So my dream scenario was to find my very own fixer upper (hey, Chip and Jojo!), and once I got past the initial scent of my (then future) house, I realized this might just be it! And being way under budget, it gave me room to get creative and update the things that were not only important to me, but also absolutely necessary in a house of this state,

So, after a couple months of back and forth, crossing T's and dotting I's etc. - she was mine! And as you do with anything you love, I promptly began to rip her apart and put her back together the way I wanted. 

The most important part of a home for me is, hands down, the kitchen. I love to entertain and cook, so having an open and inviting kitchen is crucial - it's where the fun happens! Unfortunately, open and inviting is everything this kitchen was not. Luckily, with some vision and a lot of hard work by an awesome crew, my dream kitchen came to life! 

*Disclaimer, these are the photos from the listing - not my belongings. Give me a little credit here people!*

The first, and probably most important, step was to open everything up. We took down the wall that was separating the kitchen and dining room, as well as relocated the entrance from off the foyer (why?!), to the living room. Just taking down the walls made SUCH a difference. 

Unlike the kitchen ceilings which were soffited (not sure this is actually a word), the dining room area has the original curved ceilings, which I fought hard to maintain. Luckily my awesome team was able to maintain the structure and integrity of the plaster ceilings. I think that little detail adds something special to the space. 

During this process, we also made the choice to open up the "sun porch" up to the rest of the house as well. Bumping up the ceilings, and adding new windows let in so much more natural light, which the space was sorely missing. 

slate floors in the sunroom!
Once the space was opened up, and all the old fixtures and finishes were removed, I had a beautiful blank canvas! Then came the fun part - designing my own kitchen?! I've got to be the luckiest girl in the world - it was such a dream. Picking cabinets, counter tops, fixtures, appliances - I loved it all. 

During the time I was looking for houses, and especially during the renovation process - I spent a ton of time scouring the internet, design magazines, and just the world in general, for design inspiration. Initially I started with just one 'interior design' Pinterest board, but that quickly became much too cumbersome. I decided to create a board for each room, and then other more specific items like paint colors, flooring etc. I found this to be a much more effective way to keep myself, my inspiration and my sources organized. 

I probably spent more time on Pinterest than a person ever should (check out my folders if you're curious).
I also found that when it came down to really making decisions, 'mood boards' became a real life saver. It's easy to think you know the look or scheme you're going for in an abstract sense, but when it really comes down to brass tacks, deciding on one FINAL material/finish/appliance can be very challenging. I thus because very familiar with PowerPoint (lol) and made tons of mock ups.

And so, after copious amounts of pins, numerous mood boards, constantly harassing friends for their opinion (thanks Lex!!!), and sleepless nights deciding IS CARRERA MARBLE RIGHT FOR ME?!  (it is, but it's not for everyone) - I finally settled on a look, and I absolutely love it! 

This was my final kitchen mood board, and as you'll see in the After photos, I stuck pretty closely to it. 
Another fun aspect of the renovation process is designing a layout for the room. Having opened up all the walls, I was able to get a lot more creative with the space, while still keeping that open/communal feel. It's not a huge space, but having a large island/counter top area was important to me. If you like to entertain (or even just like to attend parties) you know that without fail, everyone ends up in the kitchen, and I wanted a space that would accommodate that. After going back and forth over the layout, I decide that a floating island would eat up too much valuable space, and wouldn't leave the room with a very practical or welcoming flow, so I opted for a peninsula instead. The peninsula really allowed me to maximize counter space and seating, as well as define the kitchen, but still maintaining a practical layout for real-life use.

I worked with Justin at Kurtis Kitchen and Bath, who I would highly recommend to anyone local to the Metro Detroit area. Kurtis had tons of options, and Justin was great about hearing out my design ideas, making helpful tweaks and facilitating a successful installation. 

These were the final renderings of the kitchen.

Maybe I'm just a geek when it comes to this stuff, but it was really amazing and gratifying to see something that you worked so long and hard on, come to fruition. Dreaming up these ideas, and even seeing the CAD renderings, you can really never be certain of the outcome.

cabinetry in boxes = overwhelming

Then, finally, after months and months of decision making and waiting, then questioning the decisions you made, and drinking the required amount of wine to make yourself feel better about the fact that it's too late to go's DONE! And it's amazing!

As is with everything in life, even the "final product" is a constant work in progress, but I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out.

Bug thanks you for sticking with us through this VERY long post!
Re-living the renovation process through this post has been fun, but boy does it make me appreciate the fact that it's over!!!

Anyone else out there planning a kitchen or home renovation project?! Can I impose my taste and vicariously through you?! Ok, thanks! Really though - any questions about sources or the renovation process, I'm happy to help! Or if you really like it, for hire :)

Sources for my kitchen:


  1. Lovely and stylish - just like you! Can't wait to see it in person.

  2. I love it. ❤️❤️❤️ Those chairs and pendant light is everything!!!

  3. Thank you for sharing the images of your kitchen renovation. It is important to choose a qualified expert while renovating your home. Renovation increases property value as well as increase the appearance of home.Home Renovation Contractors Richmond Hill

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  6. Informative blog! Good kitchen renovation design. Thanks sharing!