Before & After: A “Claustrophobic” Kitchen Becomes an Airy Neutral Oasis

published Nov 1, 2023
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Kitchen before renovation.

Lindsey Badenhop, a content creator and owner of Milk and Honey Clothier, had always dreamed of living in a historic home in Defiance, Ohio. However, it wasn’t until she and her husband, Cory, wanted to expand their family and needed more space that it became a reality. And that’s when the real adventure began.

Although owning an 1889 Queen Anne (which is on the National Register of Historic Homes) was a dream come true, that didn’t mean there weren’t projects the couple still needed to complete. For instance, their kitchen was renovated multiple times — once in the ‘50s and again in the ‘80s — and was only 130-square-feet, which wasn’t exactly what they dreamt of for their new family of seven. 

“Oftentimes, we felt claustrophobic, and in turn, we spent as little time as possible while in the kitchen,” Lindsay said. “As a homemaker, this was upsetting and not what I had envisioned for our family.”

The couple had already hit the jackpot by purchasing their fantasy home, but knew they had to make some necessary changes to make it work better for their family. After living in their home for a while, they realized that relocating their dining area would free up more space for the kitchen and picked out some other smart ways to make the room feel more spacious.

How a DIY Transformation Took the Kitchen from Cramped to Airy

Before Lindsey and Cory started working on their kitchen, they had to align on a relative budget and, of course, a game plan. “We didn’t exactly set a budget, but we both knew if we were going to make it happen, it had to be done spending as little money as possible,” Lindsey said. “We saved a ton of money on our appliances by sourcing vintage pieces, like our stove and refrigerator.”

The couple ordered some cabinetry during the pandemic, which led to a long waiting period before it arrived (during that time, Cory wired the entire kitchen himself!). Once the cabinets came, the couple painted them using Sherwin Williams’s “White Duck.” 

They got creative with their organizing solutions to save money for their future island. “We installed a peg rack for some extra storage and display use,” Lindsey said. “I love displaying our water glasses, and oftentimes, I use it to store our cleaning supplies or any item that we are currently using often. And, of course, there’s always some sort of herb or flower on the shelf as well.”

While the peg board is technically a part of a phase of their renovation, they won’t lack storage space (that upper cabinets would provide) for long. They’re turning their old kitchen space into a pantry, and the island will be a great cache for kitchen tools. 

So far, they’ve transformed an originally cramped space into their dream kitchen for the last three years. Along the way, they picked up plenty of skills, like how to turn a standard dishwasher into an integrated one, or how to get their 1940s stove to work properly — but all the hard work has been worth it. 

“I feel so happy while I’m in the kitchen and have an overwhelming sense of gratitude that we now have more space to cook meals and bake together as a family,” Lindsey said. “We spend the most time together in our kitchen.”

Their renovated kitchen isn’t the only airy and tranquil space in their space. To see more, visit the full house tour on Apartment Therapy.