Such a breathtaking before and after (a farmhouse kitchen)

You guys are going to love today’s post.

We went to my brother and sister-in-law’s house for lunch this weekend. For the past year, Eric and Jess have been completely renovating a little 1960’s lake house that was in desperate need of some updating. Besides living in the house as they fix it up, they also have the sweetest almost two year old (I can not get enough of her) and Jess is due any day with a baby boy. The house is still a work in progress, but they’ve made big steps forward in the past few weeks.

When we came by for lunch, we were so impressed by how great the kitchen turned out!

Just to give you a feel for how far they’ve come, here’s a pretty amazing before shot:

Impressive, right?!

We ate a delicious lunch, the kids played on the lake and then Jess casually mentioned that they wanted me to style the shelves. I jumped at the chance because 1. anything I can do to help a pregnant mama feel like her home is in order, I’m in and 2. I love styling shelves (Ryan has a great eye for it, too).

The open shelves were recent additions and dishes and glassware were just thrown up there to get them off the counter. The haphazard organization and clutter both on the shelves and countertop was bugging both Eric and Jess, so it was time to add some order.

The risk with having open shelves in the kitchen is that they can look messy pretty easily.

The great news is that with a bit of intention, you can reorganize the shelves, group like items together, keeping the color palette simple and enjoy the casual look of open shelves without the clutter.

We started by taking everything off the shelves, reassessing and creating zones; everyday dishes grouped on one side of the stove, drinking glasses on the other, pantry-ish items next to the fridge.

The items that are most used are on the lowest shelves and least used are at the very top. To keep things minimal and cohesive, we kept to just plain white dishes and clear glass. The colorful coffee mugs and Ellie’s sippy cups live in lower cabinets out of view, but are still easily accessible.

Once the shelves were styled, we cleaned up the countertops, too. Some countertop essentials stayed – a jar with cooking utensils, olive oil, salt and pepper, bowl of fruit, coffee maker, coffee pods, blender and mixer. Everything else found new homes in the drawers and cabinets. Clearing off the counters made the small kitchen look so spacious!

After we were done, I couldn’t help myself and snapped a bunch of photos. It is such a charming kitchen.

Okay, now for the fun part … before and afters.

The sink and window placement stayed, but is looking so much brighter with the removal of the upper cabinets (and wall oven):

The stove/oven and hood received a big update:

Here’s a full shot to give a better feel for the size. It’s a small footprint, but Eric and Jess have done an amazing job of optimizing the layout to make the most of the space.

What a fabulous transformation.


Cabinets – IKEA
Pulls – IKEA
Counters – quartz
Floor – Shaw Floorte (luxury vinyl flooring)
Shelves – TRM Lumber Cedar
Brackets – Rockler Woodworking steel bracket
Wall Color – White Moderne, by Behr
Light – Gooseneck Barn Light

60 Responses to Such a breathtaking before and after (a farmhouse kitchen)

  1. Nancy March 31, 2018 at 9:53 am #

    Hi….so lovely. Where did those 500 lb capability brackets come from?

  2. MELISSA WILLIAMSON November 28, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

    I see several have asked so hopefully I did not miss the answer but what color quartz counter tops they go with? I am looking into a kitchen remodel myself and I love what theirs look like!

  3. jayzabel concepcion October 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    You mentioned wou would find out how much they spent tp another post. Can u asked how much it was? I am looking to buy an older home for my first home and i love what theyve done with their kitchen. They did an awesome job! Do you know how long it took them?

    • emily November 30, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

      I just checked with my brother in law and here is the budget breakdown:
      Lower cabinets, range hood, sink and pulls – all from Ikea bought during a sale for $3500 all said and done
      Faucet + shelves $300
      Countertop + install $4800

  4. Ashley June 21, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

    Hey! The kitchen looks fantastic! Just a question about the stove and hood- does the hood vent through the ceiling? It doesn’t look like it connects. I love big range hoods like that but have had trouble figuring out how to do it in our house.

    • emily June 23, 2017 at 8:01 am #

      It actually vents out the side (up near the top).

  5. Colleen June 21, 2017 at 7:46 pm #

    I LOVE this renovation and it gives me such inspiration for our future kitchen. We are currently looking at houses and it is amazing to see the possibilities. I am curious how difficult it was to go from an electric cooktop to a gas range? Also, this may be too personal but would you be able to give us a general idea of the cost of this project? My husband is capable of doing this himself, but we have no idea how much to budget for a complete overhaul like this.

    • emily June 23, 2017 at 8:02 am #

      I will be over at their house this weekend and will ask about the budget. I am pretty sure they would not mind sharing.

  6. Nan June 19, 2017 at 10:04 am #

    I love that kitchen! I just replaced my old 4 x 4 white tiles with white subway. It makes everything look so clean. I can’t stand clutter. I used to have my fridge covered with photos, magnets and papers just like the fridge in the pic. I got tired of the messiness of it and hung 1 large bulletin board and 1 magnetic board inside my pantry door. It’s out of sight, but not out of mind.

  7. Claire June 15, 2017 at 10:43 am #

    Where are the electrical outlets? I only see one. Are they in the tile? (Still pouring over this lucious kitchen)

    • emily June 16, 2017 at 7:51 am #

      The outlets are surrounded by tile. There is one on the left that doesn’t have the cover on it yet and another hidden behind the vase of flowers.

  8. Andrea June 14, 2017 at 6:28 am #

    Amazing transformation!! It’s hard to believe it’s the same kitchen.

  9. michelle June 13, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

    Do you know the type of quartz they used? It’s amazing how much bigger and well lit the room looks!

  10. Ann June 13, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    Were the IKEA cabinets painted the great gray color by your brother and sister? I haven’t been to Ikea in several years, but don’t recall many color choices in cabinets.

    • emily June 13, 2017 at 8:09 pm #

      The cabinets came in this gray color.

  11. Tricia June 13, 2017 at 8:00 am #

    This looks amazing! And so clutter free. I really struggle with the kids’ papers from school. Any helpful hints for those kinds of things that end up in piles?

    • emily June 13, 2017 at 10:25 am #

      I feel the same in our kitchen. There is always an extra stack or two on the counter and it drives me crazy. In our old house, we added a metal file sorter to the side of the cabinet and that helped keep papers off the counter. We haven’t done that in our new house and I think I should!

  12. Kathy w June 13, 2017 at 7:51 am #

    Beautiful kitchen! Great job styling the shelves, functional and beautiful!. I am trying to decide between quartz and granite for my kitchen mini renovation. Do you know the name of the quartz they used?

  13. Kathy June 13, 2017 at 7:50 am #

    Beautiful kitchen! Great job styling the shelves, functional and beautiful!. I am trying to decide between quartz and granite for my kitchen mini renovation. Do you know the name of the quartz they used?

  14. Margaret June 13, 2017 at 7:50 am #

    Beautiful job!I am having a hard time figuring out the height of these shelves, they look hard to reach. Can they reach the bottom two shelves at least without a step stool?

    • emily June 13, 2017 at 10:26 am #

      Yes, the bottom two shelves are reachable. The top shelf needs a step stool.

  15. Gayla Beimer June 13, 2017 at 6:48 am #

    That is amazing. We are planning a kitchen remodel in the future and this is great inspiration for a smaller kitchen. Do you have any details on that stove?
    I love how you styled their open shelves. I hope to incorporate some when we remodel.
    Thank you.

  16. Claudia June 12, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

    Wonderful transformation! One thing I noticed but didn’t see mentioned is the very cool and hip mid-Century light fixture hanging in the middle of the room. Glad they kept that but noticed they didn’t put the bottom half of the shade back on. What’s the story there? How does that look when lighted?

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 8:16 pm #

      It’s a pretty funky light fixture and they haven’t decided yet what to do with it. We did finally clean all the sheetrock dust off the top so you can tell it is copper!

  17. Susie June 12, 2017 at 5:05 pm #

    What an amazing transformation! And with IKEA cabinets!! We are trying to decide on countertops right now and are deciding between quartz and granite. Can you tell me the name of the quartz they used? Any advice on choosing between the 2 materials?

  18. Dannette June 12, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

    Wait, you have a brother? :) I thought you just had two sisters.

    P.S. Can’t wait to see more of their home! Love the transformation!

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 8:16 pm #

      Ryan’s brother :)

  19. Meg June 12, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    I love this kitchen transformation, and agree that you need to offer mobile styling services– my open shelves in the kitchen need an expert design eye!

    Speaking of a good eye, I know we are supposed to be focused on the gorgeous kitchen, but those jeans you’ve got on are perfection! Would you share the details? I’m in search of cropped raw hem jeans, and just haven’t found the right pair yet.

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 8:16 pm #

      I am doing a summer fashion post this week and these will be on it!

  20. Connie June 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm #

    Beautiful remodel! I chose luxury vinyl flooring tile for the main living areas of my new house (still under construction). Although I love hardwood floors, this is a starter home for me I wanted something affordable and that could better stand up to the abuse of a dog. I’m hoping I don’t regret it later. Are your sister and brother still happy with their flooring choice? Any negatives so far? I still have time to change my mind for my house!

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

      They are happy with it. The only complaint they have is that theirs has slight texture (grooves) with the grain. When you sweep against the grain (like they have to in the small hallway), the dust and crumbs get stuck in the grooves. That was Jess’ only complaint.

  21. Amy K June 12, 2017 at 11:52 am #

    That is totally amazing. One Question….where did the microwave go? I suspect it is in the lower part of that bump out counter but…just wondering.. It’s my most useful tool and I would never be without.

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 8:18 pm #

      Their microwave is in their small pantry in the hallway. We keep ours out of sight in our pantry as well.

  22. Jodi June 12, 2017 at 11:36 am #

    Gorgeous! I’d love to know where they got the giant glass container they use for their Keuring cups, as well as the lidded glass containers on the shelves!?! Seems like y’all inherited the same “design” gene;)

  23. Claire June 12, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    This is simply stunning.

  24. Suzi June 12, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    This is a killer job! Gorgeous! I adore the open shelving. We are starting a remodel on a Florida home and will definitely be employing this in our kitchen. So on that note I have a few questions. I looked at the lake house pictures as well as your new kitchen. The brackets can only hold so much I assume and dishes can weigh a lot. How much weight can these brackets support? Any pointers? I would want to anchor into studs but then you have to rely on their spacing not what appeals to the eye or the location. I don’t want to open walls for backing boards either, too much work. What depth are the shelves cut to? I have some beautiful left over salvaged and refinished boards from another project that I hope to use to save money. I hope that they are big enough for the space. Thanks for posting this extraordinary remodel!

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 11:21 am #

      The brackets they used hold up to 500lbs, so they are great for holding dishes :)

      We have open shelves in our kitchen as well and they are 13″ deep. Just make sure they are deep enough to hold a dinner plate. As for anchoring into a stud, yes this is highly recommended. You may need to adjust your shelf width to allow the brackets to be anchored into a stud. In our old kitchen (which also had open shelves) only one side of the shelf could make it into a stud, so we used a good drywall anchor on the other side to get it as secure as possible. It worked great.

  25. rachel June 12, 2017 at 10:42 am #

    i love saving your posts to read during nap time – and this was a perfect nap time read! what a pretty kitchen :) we live in a 1960’s house that has been somewhat updated, and we love it, and one day, we are excited to take our kitchen to the next level :) this kitchen is great inspiration! thank you for sharing.. and thank you to your sister-in-law too!

  26. nancy June 12, 2017 at 10:22 am #

    Gorgeous! Do you have the specs on the sink?

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 11:12 am #

      I’m pretty sure the sink is from IKEA as well. It is a split sink and nice and deep.

  27. Alicia June 12, 2017 at 10:19 am #

    Beautiful transformation! I love the open, bright and airy feel. The functionality is perfect.

  28. Lisa June 12, 2017 at 10:18 am #

    CRAZY good (both the kitchen & the styling)! Will you please come style my EVERYTHING?!

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 11:12 am #

      Mobile styling services? How fun would that be!

  29. Allison June 12, 2017 at 9:43 am #

    Beautiful job to both you and them!

    Can I ask where the knife block ended up? That is one eye sore that I can’t seem to find a logical space for except on my counter.

    • rachel June 12, 2017 at 10:44 am #

      hey allison – hopefully emily will answer your question :) but i wanted to let you know that we love the ikea magnet strip for knives (which you can order on amazon, too!). we had it on a wall in our kitchen, but when we removed that wall, we attached the magnet strip inside of our cabinet door and keep our knives inside of there, which great magnetic actually child proof cabinet locks. perhaps one of these ideas can help you :)

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 11:13 am #

      We decided to get them off the counter and put them in a drawer instead. Ikea makes a knife block for the drawer and eric had one they hadn’t used yet – we rearranged some of the items in the drawer to make it fit. It is nice to have it off the counter to reduce visual clutter.

  30. Shirley June 12, 2017 at 9:40 am #

    Love this kitchen!! Hard to believe it’s the same room! It looks twice as big.

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 11:13 am #

      I agree! They did a great job!

  31. Deb June 12, 2017 at 9:28 am #

    Wow! Just beautiful! You might even have inspired me to pare down a little in our kitchen. (And if you saw it, you might call that a miracle! ;) ) I’ve always loved open shelving, but this takes them to a new level of wonderfulness!

  32. Kendra D June 12, 2017 at 9:21 am #

    WOW! What a great transformation~

  33. Natalie A June 12, 2017 at 9:13 am #

    Where’s the wreath from? I on the hunt for the perfect boxwood or similar wreath without breaking the bank.

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 11:16 am #

      This wreath is faux – made of a plasticy material. It looks great in person and is washable, so any grease residue should be able to wash off. This one is similar: http://amzn.to/2tdQlsy

  34. Cindy June 12, 2017 at 9:13 am #

    Love it!!! Great job–the kitchen is so bright and spacious!

  35. Teresa June 12, 2017 at 9:10 am #

    Wow!! You know us well, we love a good before and after. There isn’t one thing I don’t love! Especially that a pregnant Momma got her beautiful kitchen in order, what a gift!

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 11:16 am #

      I agree :) Can’t wait to show more of the house as it comes together!

  36. Barbra June 12, 2017 at 9:07 am #

    what an amazing transformation! That does not even look like the same space. Now it looks like a kitchen fit for a chef! Thanks for sharing their space with us!

  37. Emily June 12, 2017 at 9:02 am #

    What an amazing transformation!! I would love more information on the floors. What color and style of Floorte?

    • emily June 12, 2017 at 11:16 am #

      I’ll check with eric and jess …

  38. Jodi June 12, 2017 at 8:49 am #


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