Before & After: This Cramped, Dated Kitchen Gets a Gorgeous DIY Redo

updated May 15, 2020
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Before: Small galley kitchen with teal cabinets and tan counters

Sometimes you know you want to change your home, but it takes a couple years of living there to figure out just how. Michelle Kraker (@theglamkraker) took that approach with her kitchen, an ’80s-style galley space that boasted turquoise-painted cabinets and laminate countertops. “Not only did the layout not work, but the design needed a complete overhaul,” Michelle says.

Her must-haves for the new space: a large island, open shelving, and a pot filler. She also wanted the space to have lots of bright white finishes and brass touches. After much deliberation, Michelle and her husband realized that there was no way they’d be able to get everything they wanted into the house’s current layout, so they decided to expand their house’s footprint and move walls to accommodate the new open kitchen of their dreams.

Michelle designed the space and her husband built it himself, working on weekends over the course of a year. Before beginning, the couple consulted an engineer to help them figure out what needed to be done structurally to support the new open layout.

From there, they ripped down the walls, bumped out the kitchen into a covered garage space to allow for more square footage, redid the electrical and plumbing, rearranged the appliance layout, insulated, and drywalled.

That’s where the fun stuff came in: new white cabinets and quartz counters, plus Michelle’s requested giant island. Brass pulls from Lowe’s and brass light fixtures from Bellacor bring some sparkle. Some clever tricks helped her match up all her brass touches. “I had a really hard time matching all of my brass fixtures for a reasonable price,” Michelle says. “Most of the items I was going for were all designer and that didn’t work for my budget, and it’s almost impossible to tell online what the true color of things are, so what I did was I decided on the most important part — the hardware for the cabinets. From there, I actually sourced less expensive items that were not brass but I spray painted them the exact color of my hardware. For instance, my pendant lights were originally much darker and my shelving brackets were silver. Not anymore!”

Around the range, Michelle was able to squeeze in her other must-haves: open shelves and a pot filler. And in the end, the custom details are what made the space feel so special. “My favorite part was being able to design the space and see my husband really bring it to life,” Michelle says.

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: A Full-Blown Redo for This Cramped Galley Kitchen