Before & After: A Very Orange Kitchen Gets a Sophisticated Scandi-Boho Redo

updated Aug 21, 2020
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Before: orangey wood kitchen with black counters and orange tile backsplash

Subtle changes have their place in decorating, but sometimes a room is so far gone that you know the only way you can love it is if you scrap it and start over. For Alysha McDowell (@oasisoflittlebirds), that space was her kitchen. “The before was pretty dismal,” says Alysha. “The kitchen still had the original cabinetry, appliances, and cracked laminate flooring from when the apartments were built in 2005. I absolutely hated those orange wall tiles, and there were vinyl butterfly and flower motifs everywhere!” Not to mention, poor lighting made it difficult to navigate cooking in the evenings. Basically, Alysha says, “the whole space felt very dim and depressing.”

While she originally planned to just deal with what was there, she realized after moving in that the water-damaged laminate in both the kitchen and adjoining living room were too unsightly to leave unattended.

Alysha started by ripping out the cabinets and removing the old appliances. She painted the walls in a clean, bright white (Benjamin Moore’s Oxford White) to give a sense of airiness, and sourced new cabinets locally. Instead of sticking with all one color, Alysha opted for black lowers, white uppers, and a warm wood countertop to provide contrast and give the illusion of extra open space.

“I love the contrast between the dark and light cabinets” Alysha says. “My cabinet fitter actually confessed he thought it would look horrible, especially with the ‘brown’ (as he called it) countertop,” says Alysha. “He did admit he was wrong in the end though!”

To finish the space, Alysha selected a matte black sink from Franke and chose brass hardware from Plank Hardware to pull it all together. “I love the wood effect and brass hardware. I think they add a lot of warmth to an otherwise quite cool space,” she says. She also added new flooring as well as new lighting, thanks to help from her friend Pawel. All of the elements work together to make the kitchen brighter and more functional.

Not including appliances, Alysha pretty much stuck to her budget of €5500, and the whole place came together in just three weeks. “The hardest part for me was trying to coordinate the project by myself — I’m completely new to renovation and I was a first time buyer so this is all new ground for me!” she says. “Organizing tradesmen and timelines and figuring out what was needed and when was quite overwhelming at times.” But despite the difficulties, she managed to pull together a beautiful kitchen that she finally enjoys spending time in: a classic, sophisticated cook space with nary a butterfly in sight.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A Dim Orange Kitchen Gets a Sophisticated Scandi-Boho Redo