Before & After: Green Cabinets and a Pink Backsplash Add Drama to This Dark “Pine Country” Kitchen

published Nov 10, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
White backsplash in kitchen before renovation.

There’s something distinctly special about living in a historic home — you get all the charm from the house’s past, with the potential to make your mark on the space. That’s precisely what freelance photographer Natalie Jeffcott and her partner did in their 1880s brick home’s kitchen in Melbourne, Australia. And they were ready to make their mark. 

When the couple moved into the home, the previous owners had already renovated the kitchen and designed it to look like a “pine country kitchen,” which Jeffcott didn’t love. So, instead of doing a complete renovation (they wanted to save some money first), she made cosmetic adjustments, like removing the glass-fronts on the cabinets, painting the walls and cabinets a rich dark blue, and swapping out the hardware. 

One of the biggest problems the couple faced with the original 207-square-foot kitchen was that there wasn’t enough counter space for cooking. “As the kitchen is housed in a room rather than an open floor plan, it was also limiting where we could position a dining table,” Jeffcott shares. 

She always wanted a colorful kitchen with white walls that wouldn’t distract from her vintage jar and tool collection that could be on full display with the open cabinets. She browsed her Pinterest feed for general kitchen inspo, as well as tips on building banquette seating in the corner of the room. 

After living with the original kitchen and then the updated space, it was finally time to renovate the entire room to their liking. Although the couple had planned for their budget, they chose to save some extra cash by doing all of the demolition, wall repair, and painting themselves.

“Demolition of the old cabinetry was disgusting! There was black mold behind some of the existing cabinetry,” Jeffcott explains. “The old tiles on the wall were attached with a hardener, so it required a jackhammer to get it off. Repairing the walls and painting was a big job, as the ceiling is very high.” But the couple persevered.

Working as a team with the help of professionals made the renovation process — which only took around nine weeks — not only more smooth, but also more enjoyable. They worked with an interior designer for the cabinetry design and layout, a plumber, a flooring specialist and tiler, an upholsterer for the banquette, and a cabinet maker.

Ultimately, their dark kitchen became a bright, happy sanctuary with a pink backsplash, muted forest green cabinets, white walls, and a bright mustard banquette for their dining table (all for under $28,000). Speaking of the built-in seating, Jeffcott says it’s the most clever addition because it has drawers underneath for additional hidden storage.

“We love the banquette. As a family of three, it suits us perfectly,” Jeffcott said. “We can then pull up another two chairs and easily fit six — although we are constantly telling the cats to stop scratching at it!” Jeffcott and her partner have clearly mastered the art of adding color into a space without making it feel overwhelming. Have you ever seen a kitchen so fun?