Before & After: A “Bright White” Kitchen Gets a Warm, Cottage-Inspired Update

published Dec 2, 2023
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White cabinets in kitchen before renovation.
Credit: Anna Harp

White kitchens are a timeless aesthetic that can make rooms feel bright and airy. Although they have great qualities and are an obvious default, white kitchens aren’t everyone’s style — including Anna Harp, co-founder of The Harp Creatives (a wedding photography business she shares with her husband, Jesse), in her cottage-style Arkansas home

When the Harp family (including cat, Astrid, and 1-month-old son, Noble) moved into their home, they felt the kitchen didn’t flow with the rest of the space. “Everything looked very white and bright! I really wanted to make it look more updated while still keeping the cottage feel,” Anna said. “It was a very blank slate before.” 

Credit: Anna Harp

The rest of their home is cozy and full of warm textures and colors, so it’s no surprise that the Harps decided to update their kitchen. And because they did most of the work themselves (aside from installing new floors), they ended up saving thousands on the project. 

“I’ve always loved the look of butcher block countertops and the farmhouse sink combo, and I, later on, decided on terracotta hexagon floors to give the space some color to warm it up,” Anna said. “The hexagons also felt like a good way to update the space without making it feel too modern.” 

Credit: Anna Harp

To incorporate the cottage feel into the room, Jesse installed butcher block counters on his own. He started by measuring and cutting butcher block wood to fit the existing counters, then he added adhesive and secured them in place. Once the new counters were set, Jesse cut a hole for the sink, drilled a faucet hole, and connected it to the water line. 

Credit: Anna Harp

The couple painted the cabinets with Benjamin Moore’s “Carrington Beige” and added brass drawer pulls and knobs to add warmth to the room. Anna and Jesse still want to add a stone backsplash to the kitchen, but the space is becoming what they’d always dreamt of. “I love how it came together as a whole after doing each project,” Anna shares. “It looks so much more put together and updated and feels way more ‘us.’”

If you love the cottage feel of Anna and Jesse’s kitchen, you’ll want to see more of their cozy house. Visit the full house tour on Apartment Therapy to see more.