Renovation Diaries

This Couple’s Kitchen Reno Started With One Smart Decision — And It Made The Whole Thing A Million Times Easier

published Dec 21, 2021
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Jill Livick and husband
Credit: Jill Livick

Taking on any kind of renovation is overwhelming, but kitchens feel especially challenging because of the sheer number of decisions that need to be made right away. If you want to get all of your items in on time so that installation can flow smoothly, you have to quickly choose cabinets, counters, tile, paint colors, flooring, and much more.

See the full before and after:
Before & After: A Dark and Dated Kitchen Gets a Gorgeous Jungalow-Style Makeover

Jill Livick, luckily, went into the kitchen renovation of her 1977 Charlotte home with a clear idea of what she wanted, courtesy of an image she had pinned and adored for years of professional designer Justina Blakeney’s boho chic kitchen. “We played around with a few other ideas, but I knew it from the beginning,” Jill says. “Her kitchen was always on my dream board!” They didn’t follow everything Justina did brick for brick, but they used her kitchen as a benchmark to measure the vibe they were looking for. “We wanted to capture her fun bohemian style with lots of layered textures and color,” Jill says. 

Credit: Photo: Rusty Williams, Design: Kitchn

They started with the part of Justina’s kitchen they thought really made the whole room: the emerald green backsplash tiles. “I scoured the internet for months to find a subway tile that was this specific color and cost under $8 per square foot,” Jill says. Justina’s backsplash goes up to her first floating shelf, but Jill and Melvin decided to give the tile extra star power by installing it from the countertops to the ceiling. The green tile set the tone for the 320-square-foot kitchen and allowed them to use neutrals throughout the rest of the space without it feeling at all boring. They were also inspired by the designer’s open wood shelves and added similar storage around their sink area. 

Credit: Rusty Williams

Justina’s use of greenery throughout the space also inspired the couple. Justina had filled many of her open shelves with small potted succulents and included a beautiful pothos plant dangling down the windowsill. Jill wanted to embrace that same natural look to give her kitchen a lush feel, which she did by adding plants to her own open shelves. That included a number of potted herbs, which Jill can now grow year-round, thanks to the light pouring in from her new kitchen window. 

Credit: Rusty Williams

Having this Justina Blakeney inspiration image from the get-go made all of those initial decisions easier and allowed the couple to feel confident in their choices. Of course, shipping was still a problem and they sometimes had to pause the renovation for weeks at a time to wait for the next piece of the puzzle. But by August of 2021, they had their dream kitchen. “If we were to do it all over again now, it would probably take us half the time,” Jill says. “Live and learn!”

Credit: Rusty Williams

Thanks for sharing, Jill!

See Jill’s Full Reno Diary