Before & After: A Cluttered Corner Becomes a Cute and Ridiculously Functional Kitchenette for Just $580

published May 22, 2022
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Before: cluttered shelves with games and toys
Credit: Katie Kerr

When homeowner Katie Kerr’s (@reclaiminghomedecorating) mom decided to move in with her and her family part-time, Katie wanted to carve out a special space for her. Katie decided a room in the basement that was being used as a playroom/storage area/”dumping ground” could be transformed into the perfect private suite, and the niche in the corner “that was previously filled with toys and flotsam and jetsam no one needed” would make a cute kitchenette.

Credit: Katie Kerr

“I knew she would really appreciate the ability to make breakfast and coffee by herself every day because I have three children, and it can be total chaos here in the morning,” Katie says. “And of course, a place to hide her ice cream from said three children would be a serious added bonus!”

Katie’s $580 corner kitchenette includes “a mix of purchases and repurposes,” as she puts it. She worked on the project for about a month with her mom.

Credit: Katie Kerr

She saved major money on the cabinetry, the foundation for the kitchenette. “A high-end kitchen cabinet maker in my city put their cabinets that had been returned because of scratches or wrong sizes on extreme clearance,” Katie explains. She found a set that matched her dimensions and cost only $250.

There was only one problem: “One of the reasons the cabinets were so deeply discounted was that they didn’t have a kick plate, and to buy one from the cabinet store would have cost more than what I paid for the cabinets,” Katie remembers. Instead, she went to Home Depot, found closet shelving that closely matched the stained cabinets, and cut it down to kick plate size — a $35 fix.

The cabinetry also had an opening for a stove that Katie didn’t need, but she used a tension rod and curtain that her mom sewed to disguise it. Now that opening serves as hidden storage.

Katie’s advice when it comes to making upgrades to your home is “just because you don’t have the budget to get your perfect dream project end (kitchen, piece of furniture, living room, etc.), doesn’t mean you can’t still create a lovely space.”

Katie says she definitely had to pivot on what she once envisioned (navy cabinets, a butcher block counter, full upper cabinets with a microwave shelf) throughout the project. For instance, she wanted a colorful vintage fridge, but instead she decided to get creative and save money with a $125 Facebook Marketplace fridge. “I had seen painted fridge makeovers before, and wanted to give it a try,” she says. She and her mom used a navy-meets-periwinkle paint on the fridge (Benjamin Moore’s Kensington Blue).

“Sometimes I wish I had unlimited budgets to get exactly what I want, SMEG fridge and all, but most of the time I love the stretching of my imagination and the creative solutions I come up with within the constraints of a budget,” Katie says.

Credit: Katie Kerr

After painting the chrome fridge blue, she and her mom added new hardware that matched the cabinets. “My mom’s style is feminine, a bit traditional, and a bit casual,” Katie says. “For the hardware, we leaned on the traditional and feminine aspects. I wanted to use gold, but my mom doesn’t care for gold and loves silver. I wanted her to LOVE her room, so silver it was!”

The other finishing details in the space include the shelves, which originally held toys and games, which Katie’s mom painted white (Benjamin Moore’s White Dove) to hold baskets and accessories. “We added baskets for closed storage of things not kitchen-related,” Katie explains. “For example, my mom has a knitting basket for all her knitting things. All the baskets and accessories used are thrifted and second hand, or are items I already owned.”

Credit: Katie Kerr

One of the only things they bought new for the space was the slab of white countertop, and they paid extra to have the edges rounded. In total, the counter cost $110.

Credit: Katie Kerr

Katie’s favorite parts of the project itself is the cute blue fridge, but mostly, she’s thrilled that her mom will have a special space in her home — and that they worked on it together.

“I haven’t lived in the same city as my mom in 15 years,” Katie says. “So, having her now live part time with us, in a way that works for both her and my family, is truly amazing.”

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A Cluttered Corner Becomes a Cute and Functional Kitchenette for Just $580