Before and After: Cottage-Style Kitchen Makeover

White kitchen after

This once-drab kitchen needed more than just a facelift -- reworking the kitchen's layout was key to creating more counter space and a better workflow, and an infusion of cottage style refreshed the room's look.

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Spacious Kitchen

White kitchen after

This gorgeous cottage kitchen wasn't always stylish and functional. With no room to cook, an awkward flow, and minimal counter space, the homeowners knew they needed to renovate the kitchen of their 1935 Cape-style cottage in upstate New York to improve the functionality of the room.

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Cramped Kitchen, Before

Cramped kitchen before

The solution? Start from scratch. Since any upgrades would be a waste of money unless the dysfunctional layout was addressed, they began discussing the logistics. The first step was to alter the floor plan in the 8x10-foot galley kitchen to add much-needed space and improve the flow.

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New Galley Kitchen Floor Plan

Redesign floor plan

The basement door was moved from its existing location by the range to the dining room around the corner. With this change, the kitchen gained 3 feet at one end of the wall and extended it on the other end by 9 inches. The move also resulted in a more open and airy feel in the kitchen.

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Open Range


The range was relocated to the center of the expanded wall. This increases the landing space on both sides of the range, which opens up for more counter room for cooking prep.

Editor's Tip: When reconfiguring a kitchen layout, carefully consider appliance placement to ensure optimal use of counter space.

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Utensil Holder

Utensil rack

Hanging a steel rod over the oven area created a useful utensil rack. It was made from a 30-inch length of steel tubing, attached by drilling holes into the two shelf brackets. The black laminate backsplash (made from the same material as the countertops) pops next to the light color scheme in the kitchen, and the silver touches add sparkle.

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Pullout Possibilities

Cabinet pullout trays

Stock cabinets were given a custom touch with the installation of pullout trays. Not only are these great for keeping cabinets organized, but they also provide even more interior space for storage.

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Shelf Solutions

Thick board shelves

A mix of open shelving and recessed-panel cabinets provides a vintage look. To create the look of this open shelving on a dime, the homeowners used ½-inch pine boards with 1½-inch pieces of flat stock pine attached to the front of each shelf, giving the illusion of hefty (and pricey) shelving.

Editor's Tip: Open shelves help make this galley kitchen seem larger and are a great way to store kitchen essentials.

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Secrets to Accessory Shopping

Kitchen accessories

Accessories give this kitchen a final polish. The secret to getting the finished look is to start with a list. Itemize plates, bowls, glasses, and anything else that could go on the shelves. A simple color scheme, such as this kitchen's Tiffany blue, sage green, and cream, creates a cohesive look.

Editor's Tip: The numbers add up fast when you're buying multiples, so create a budget to keep track of costs while shopping. And think pretty but practical when making purchases.

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Smart Compromise on Your Countertops

Laminate countertops and range backsplash

The homeowner loved the look of black oil-rubbed soapstone but found a laminate product with a similar look at a fraction of the cost. Laminate also requires very little upkeep.

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Outdated Appliances, Before

Outdated appliances

Like most older kitchens, this one was stuck with mix and matched, old and inefficient appliances and in desperate need of updates.

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Updated Appliances, After

Updated Appliances

The homeowners' solution was to purchase sleek, modern stainless-steel appliances. The stainless-steel plays off of the satin-nickel components of the kitchen design, giving an unforgettable look to the room.

Editor's Tip: By budgeting for updated appliances you can end up saving money on your utilities bills because new models are more efficient than old models.

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Sink Solution

Single-bowl sink

Switching a double-bowl sink to a single-bowl sink to maximizes counter space in the kitchen and keeping it in the same spot is a smart budget move. Keeping the sink in the same location means there is no need to relocate the plumbing.

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Fabulous Faucet

Bridge-style faucet

The $425 vintage-style farmhouse faucet was a splurge for a modest budget, but the vintage-embellished element adds character to the simple lines of the kitchen, and the homeowners were able to offset the cost by installing a simple sink.

Editor's Tip: When planning your remodel, decide where you want to splurge and where you want to save.

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Chalk It Up to Convenience


Stock molding and blackboard paint create a message center for less than $25. A handy place to keep notes for your family, the blackboard is an inexpensive detail that can add both personality and convenience to your room.

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Illuminated Kitchen

White ceramic pulley light fixture

For lighting, the homeowners created a cohesive look by installing a vintage-style white ceramic pulley fixture for the nook and a smaller version of the same light over the sink. For task lighting, an essential in a functional kitchen, they also install two strips of white halogen track lights above the work zones in the kitchen.

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Custom Elements

Wine storage and cookbook shelves

A little creativity yielded this savvy storage nook. By inserting dividers into this shelf, it went from one big space, to a built-in wine rack and cookbook shelf.

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French Connection

Energy-efficient French door

Replacing a window at the end of the kitchen with a new, energy-efficient French door provides easy access to outside. This functional and charming white door adds natural light into the room and helps carry out the kitchen's color scheme of Tiffany blue and cream, which was selected to help play up the home's cottage roots.

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Bare Breakfast Nook, Before

Seating area before

The space around the breakfast nook was tight. Seating allowed only limited room for guests, and the nook had absolutely no storage. The homeowners wanted a way to better use this available space.

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Beautiful Breakfast Nook, After

built-in banquette with wrap-around seating

With the help of a custom-made bench, the nook was converted into a beautiful banquette. This transformation not only allowed for more seating, but the new flip-top benches provide handy storage space.

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Super Storage

Built-in storage bench

The hinge-top benches are comfy place for gathering for family meals and add built-in storage to the space, giving the nook a dual purpose. It's the perfect place to store away pillows that aren't being used, seat cushions, or any other miscellaneous items.

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Window Brilliance

Roman shades

Sheer Roman shades on the windows allow light to stream into the cozy nook. By keeping the window treatments light and sheer, the room gets an open, spacious appearance.

Editor's Tip: Install molding around small windows to make them appear larger.

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Pillow Perfection

Throw pillows

Pillows with a fern and flower motif add textural interest to the design of the room, as well as a comfy cushion to lean on.

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Kitchen Makeover Breakdown

White kitchen after

Budget: $15,936

Space Dimensions: Kitchen: 14x9 feet; Nook: 5x7 feet


  • Prioritize your budget wisely; know where to splurge and where to save.
  • Consider both function and appearance when remodeling.
  • When space is tight, use accessories that have a practical purpose, such as pretty dishes and glasses for everyday use.
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