Before & After: A Dark Kitchen Gets a Big, Open Feel — Even Though the Footprint Stayed the Same

updated Mar 3, 2021
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Before: Kitchen with blonde wood cabinets and cork floors
Credit: Tonya Mahar

A lot of the time, it takes a couple rounds of renovations to create a space you truly love. Take it from Tonya Mahar: When she and her family moved into their Toronto home in 2008, they took on a major renovation that opened up the first floor layout and gave them a newly redone kitchen.

Credit: Tonya Mahar

It was nice, Tonya says, but in the years since she’d started to have second thoughts. “I loved it for a few years but soon regretted not getting white cabinets,” Tonya says. While the wood-tone cabinets were nice, when paired with the cork floor she’d chosen the whole kitchen felt dark and closed-off — totally undermining the work they’d done to open up their living area.

Credit: Tonya Mahar

Finally, 12 years later, she decided it was time to get the kitchen she’d actually been hoping for. The biggest change came with the new cabinets in the white color scheme Tonya had dreamed of. Though the footprint is the same, the cabinets look a lot bigger thanks to their smaller hexagonal hardware. That was a strategic choice, Tonya says: “The handles we had previously were nearly impossible to replace because of their unique size, so I knew I wanted to use knobs only for this project. That way I could easily replace them down the road if and when my taste changes,” she says.

Tonya chose marmoleum to replace the old cork flooring; its seamless style, as opposed to the old cork tiles, make the space look larger.

Credit: Tonya Mahar

New lighting is way more effective in brightening the kitchen space, which is still the same size as before but feels way bigger. “It feels like a huge upgrade and now walking into the kitchen makes me feel happy,” Tonya says. “It’s brighter and updated in a way that I think will look great for years to come.”

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This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A Dark Kitchen Gets a Big, Open Feel — Without Losing Any Walls