Before & After: This Whole Kitchen Is Great but the Colorful Floors Will Be Your Favorite Thing

updated Mar 12, 2020
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You don’t always have to have a firm plan when you buy an old house that needs renovation — and Lauren Francis is proof of that. “I’d like to take credit and say I had vision the day I closed on this beauty, but I didn’t,” Lauren says of her 1912 home. A lot of rooms needed updates, she says, but “the kitchen was the biggest challenge because it was SO dysfunctional and had SO much wasted space.”

The galley kitchen was closed off from the dining room, and featured an island in the center but cabinets on only one wall — not ideal for maximizing storage. The layout, plus the peachy wood cabinets and black countertops, made it feel darker than it was, even with a pair of lovely glass French doors on one side.

Not to mention, the beige vinyl tile had seen better days. All around, Lauren says, it wasn’t an inspiring place to spend time … and it certainly wasn’t conducive to entertaining big groups of friends, as she likes to. “I needed a space where I could fit 40 people at a time, if I needed to,” Lauren says. “I like to cook and entertain, and whenever that happens, everyone ends up in the kitchen.” The old space just wasn’t going to cut it.

Lauren called in pro help to give her old kitchen a gut reno and rebuild from the ground up. The design, though, was all Lauren. She knew for sure she wanted colorful Spanish tiles; these, from the first place she searched, are handmade with a palette of warm colors. Light blue cabinets with a raised square profile feel like a nod to the house’s old-school roots. “I think the light blue gives chill unpretentious vibe,” Lauren says. “It’s an updated aesthetic but still honors the integrity of house.”

Black counters (these are Dekton) and black hardware help marry the cabinets and flooring. For the backsplash, Lauren chose subway tile, but wanted it to have a twist. The beveled edges and dark grout make it feel fresh.

To free up space, Lauren had the wall knocked out between the kitchen and dining room. In the process, contractors discovered original brick, which provides a cool vintage touch. The new kitchen layout allows for a counter on end that seats three; on the other end, the counter provides a serving spot. Lauren had the island in the middle custom-made with a turned-leg style befitting the old home.

Lauren went all-out on the design of her kitchen, but says she passed on updating both the faucet and dishwasher. “Stainless steel offers a lot of forgiveness,” Lauren says, so there was no need to replace things that still looked good. Smart!

The new space is now an entertainer’s paradise, and Lauren’s had the parties to prove it: She hosted 25 people this past year for Thanksgiving, with no issues. And even when she’s not having friends over, she still loves to spend time in her new cook space. “Whenever I’m at home, I’m either in the kitchen or dining room,” she says. ” I just kind of stare at it because I can’t believe I live here.”

If you want more, Lauren gave Apartment Therapy a look into the rest of her maximalist 1912 home — and the gallery wall is not to be missed.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: This Kitchen’s Colorful Floors Will Be Your Favorite Thing