Before & After: An “Extremely Dated” Kitchen Gets a Sunny Update for Under $3,000

published Nov 25, 2023
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outdated smoke-stained kitchen with gray cabinets and white and blue tile backsplash before remodel

When dentists Luke and Hayley Blythe moved into their cottage-like home in Cambridgeshire, England, they knew they had a lot of work ahead of them to transform the space into their dream house. The original space checked most of their boxes — it had a lush garden, tall ceilings, and ample space for their family — but those amenities were enmeshed with an outdated aesthetic, fading wallpaper, and smoke stains.

One of the rooms that needed a facelift most was their kitchen. “It was an extremely dated and dark room with old appliances that did not work for our family,” Hayley said. Their stove was broken, the fridge was too small, and years of smoking had damaged the walls and lights, too. 

It was the couple’s intention to have a light-filled, welcoming kitchen that had “rustic charm with curated, thrifted decor.” So, they decided to make their design dreams come true, set a budget of around $3,000, and got to work. 

Luke is quite the handyman and chose to do most of the projects — which included painting the walls with Wicke’s “Pure Brilliant White,” sanding and painting the cabinet doors in Frenchic Paint’s “Cool Beans Al Fresco,” replacing the hardware, adding open shelving, replacing the lights, hanging curtains, and creating a new decorative hanging rail. He mostly tackled the renovation (with the help of a plumber and an electrician) on weekends when he wasn’t working his nine-to-five job.

The project took six months to complete, but it was worth the wait. Now, the room achieved their goals: It’s bright, cozy, and full of smart touches like scaffold boards for open shelving. “[The shelves are a] cheap and cheerful way to display decorative items or attractive storage glasses or jars,” Hayley says.

The Blythes’ cozy kitchen isn’t the only tranquil renovation in their home. To see more, visit the full house tour on Apartment Therapy