Before & After: A Red-and-Yellow Kitchen Gets a Sophisticated Redo

published Aug 21, 2021
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Before: Kitchen with red walls, pale yellow cabinets, and basic white square tile backsplash
Credit: Jason Oliveira

Although deep, crimson-y red looks meant-to-be in some spaces, when it’s paired with a pale yellow, especially in the kitchen, it has the potential to go all wrong. (Two words: ketchup and mustard.)

And it was WAY wrong for homeowner Jason Oliveira and his kitchen, a hodgepodge of remodels dating back to 1938, when the house was built.

“The previous owners decided that red and pale yellow were great for the kitchen,” Jason says. “While we looked on in horror, we could see that the poor design decisions of the past could be undone and that this kitchen still had a chance at new life.”

Credit: Jason Oliveira

He and his wife, Ariel, were able to see past the bad color combo and the poor lighting and the not-so-functional layout. “The stove lived right in the center of the floor,” Jason says. “It ate up a ton of potential space.” Plus, the fridge was too big for the space, and Jason and Ariel had to reach behind it to access the light switch. Not that it mattered much — only three of the existing chandelier’s 15 lights actually worked. Needless to say, it was definitely time for a change.

“Overall, no matter how many times we would give the whole room a deep clean, it never felt better, and it never felt like ‘ours,'” Jason says.

Credit: Jason Oliveira

To give it a more bespoke look, they knocked out the bar seating and added a range against the wall, opening up the footprint of the kitchen to create a more functional U-shape.

“Before owning a home, I had practically zero experience in housework or renovations, so almost everything was a learning process,” Jason says. “I learned drywall, cabinet making, tiling, electrical work, and a host of other little things.”

Credit: Jason Oliveira

In addition to physically opening up the space, the pair made cosmetic choices that brightened the space and made it look larger. They gave the cabinets a fresh coat of white paint (Behr’s Frost) as well as the walls (Valspar’s Navy Bean). They selected new appliances, new finishes, new glass pendants that let a lot of light through, and new white tiles for the backsplash and floors. (Moroccan zellige tiles for the backsplash and large-format porcelain tiles for the floors.)

Jason’s advice for those looking to take on a kitchen or bath remodel in the near future? Learn to tile! It’s a great gateway into DIY, he says: “Backsplashes are a great way to start getting practice in tiling. There are plenty of videos online that teach you every step of the process.”

For him, adding new tile was oh-so worth it. “We didn’t skimp on the quality of materials since we were doing the work ourselves,” Jason says. “Installing more natural, robust materials helps the room feel more timeless, functional, and a little more luxurious.”

Credit: Jason Oliveira

Another detail he loves is the warm wood tone, as seen in the corner, where the floating shelf adds both style and storage. Jason says if he were doing the project again, he would consider adding more warmth and texture to the space, but overall, he’s proud of the transformation.

“We’re both so happy with how much brighter and cleaner the space feels,” Jason says. And if a room looks cleaner based on color and cosmetic choices alone, before even reaching for the Clorox? That’s a definite win, especially in the kitchen.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A Red-and-Yellow Hodgepodge Kitchen Gets a Cozy, Sophisticated Redo