Kitchen Tour

Before & After: A “Dated, Basic” Kitchen Becomes a Spacious Sanctuary

published Oct 21, 2023
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tile counter with fridge, small space sink with exposed plumbing

The balcony and huge windows initially drew Riska and Irvan Nurjanah to their 376-square-foot apartment in Jakarta, Indonesia, as they envisioned admiring gorgeous sunsets perched inside the west-facing home. But even though the space had spectacular views, it hadn’t been updated since 2013. And there was work they knew needed to be done. 

One area that was especially dated was the kitchen. Riska is an avid cook, so she needed a space to support her culinary adventures. “It still had the typical, very basic developer-provided kitchen layout in Indonesia, consisting only of a concrete table covered with worn-out ceramic tiles, low-quality sink, and no storage,” she explained. So, the couple embarked on a renovation project that would take the dated, minimal room and transform it into an innovative, practical kitchen. 

“Our goal is to make our kitchen a fully functional space with sufficient storage,” Riska shared. She wanted to increase the kitchen’s counter space without infringing on their limited space, so she had to get creative. 

Because their floor plan was open-concept, the couple wanted the kitchen to look similar to the surrounding rooms. “We want a kitchen design with an ambiance that can seamlessly blend with our living area and complement each other,” Riska said. With careful consideration, they mapped out their renovation plan and got to work to make the space function better for their needs.

How the Couple Tackled the Kitchen Remodel

Riska and Irvan took a pragmatic approach to redesigning their kitchen. If you’re looking to take on a renovation project, use the couple’s step-by-step guide as inspiration.

1. Make a List of What You Want to Change

Before immediately jumping into the renovation, Riska and Irvan lived with the existing kitchen to get a feel for the space and really think about what they wanted to update.

 “We were able to identify the features needed to complete our kitchen, including a hidden dish rack with a drainer, spice racks, a hidden trash bin, storage for cooking utensils and kitchen appliances, an undermount sink, and many more,” Riska shared. 

2. Map Out Your Future Kitchen

The couple turned to the internet to find inspiration for their kitchen design, then took measurements and began sketching some concepts on paper. To make their space more unique, they wanted the lower cabinets to be black while the upper cabinet doors had “wood motifs and vertical line accents.” 

Additionally, they added open shelves on both sides “for variation,” Riska said. And the secret ingredient to increasing their counter space without adding any new cabinetry? “We also worked around the limited space by installing a seamless foldable island that can be tucked away when not in use.”

3. Hire a Professional

Riska and Irvan decided to work with a contractor to bring their kitchen dreams to life. After showing the professionals their sketches and needs, they gave the couple an estimated budget, which ended up being just over $2,000. 

4. Choose the Kitchen Materials

Keeping budget in mind, the couple picked out “affordable materials such as plywood cabinets covered with high-pressure laminate, and used a solid surface for the countertop,” Riska shared. Clearance sales and online deals were their best friends when sourcing quality kitchen appliances on a budget. 

5. Time to Put the New Kitchen Together

Construction took several weeks, while installation only took five days. Once the structure was finished, it was time to add finishing touches. “After the construction process was completed, we repainted the walls with white paint, installed new flooring, added lighting, and incorporated decorative touches to perfect the look of our kitchen,” Riska said. 

Now that the renovation is complete, the couple can experiment with recipes in their brand-new kitchen — especially thanks to their new foldable island, which has brought even more functionality to the space. 

“We are very pleased with the final outcome of our kitchen renovation. We didn’t expect that the design we created could be realized just as we had imagined,” Riska said. There’s nothing sweeter than a dream kitchen renovation with a happy ending. Check out the full apartment tour on Apartment Therapy here.