My Sister’s House: A Timeless Kitchen Before + After


I have two sisters: Amy and Hillary (here we are with our pretty mama). Amy is married to Eric and they have two of my favorite kids ever. They live in a family-friendly older neighborhood in Seattle, are UW graduates and big Husky fans, they love to entertain, work hard and make every party more fun.

Last summer, they basically redid their entire house. New floors, doors, windows, moulding, hardware, bathroom and the most fabulous kitchen and dining space.

Amy + Eric have made big and little upgrades to their 1953 house over the past 8 years – finishing out the basement, redoing landscaping, painting the old kitchen cabinets and adding stick-on tiles to the floor (a make-do job before they took the plunge on redoing it completely).  They are busy and active and took their time saving up and planning out before taking on this big renovation.

When I saw the finished kitchen/dining/living space, I was in love. It is so bright and open and classic and chic. You will be amazed at the transformation!

I’ve been meaning to take photos so I could share on here, but every time we’re over there, it’s a family thing and we make a mess of their pretty house (like taking over the living room with tables to fit everyone for thanksgiving or cheering for our Seahawks together).

Last weekend we stopped by to pick up the kids and I happened to have my camera in the car, so I barged my way in and took a bunch of photos. Ready to see?

Let’s start with the befores:

When you walked in the entry, the living room was the first room which lead to the dining room.


It’s hard to tell from this photo since there is already plastic up covering the dining room opening, but from the dining room is where you entered the kitchen.


The kitchen was cut off from the rest of the house and because they loved to entertain, it made group parties difficult.

After living in a construction zone with a make-shift kitchen set up in their basement laundry room all summer, their house was finally done. And it looks so good!

Here it is, in it’s classic, bright, and very chic glory:













Isn’t it wonderful?!

They didn’t change the footprint of the kitchen, but by taking down the wall in between the kitchen and dining rooms and creating a half-wall with peninsula between the kitchen and living rooms, the space is now so much more open. They carried the oak floors throughout the kitchen, refinishing the originals and staining the new ones to match. Walls were painted crisp white, the original single-paned windows were replaced, classic white trim work was added and new can lights throughout. The kitchen received all new cabinets (gray on the bottom, white up top), counters are marble (the first etching was so sad! but now they are more relaxed about it), and the brass hardware tops it all off.

Did you notice the antique mirror in the dining room built-in? It’s my favorite part.

Just to really appreciate the difference, check out these side-by-side before and after shots:


kitchenbeforeafter backdoorbeforeafter

The renovation was such a success. It’s beautiful, of course, but I mostly love that by opening up the space, making the kitchen layout more functional and allowing for better traffic flow, Amy and Eric’s house works so much better for the gatherings they enjoy hosting. Because a home, after all, is for enjoying and sharing and no one does that better than my sister and brother-in-law.


Inspired by: Elements of Style by Erin Gates
Wall paint: Kitchen/living/hall – Benjamin Moore Simply White (trim/doors are the same color, different sheen)
Cabinet paint: Simply White (uppers), Benjamin Moore Cape May Cobblestone (lowers)
Hardware: Schoolhouse Electric, Edgecliff Pulls, Riverwood Knobs, all in natural brass
Counters: 3cm honed Carrara marble
Faucets: Grohe Concetto Single Handle Pull-Down Spray Kitchen Faucet
Dish towel: You Are So Incredibly Awesome from Paper Source
Doorknobs: Baldwin Round Reserve (I love these doorknobs!)
Contractor: Adam Hedin / Hedin Construction

P.S. Come back on Wednesday to see a project we just finished in my little sister’s new house!

44 Responses to My Sister’s House: A Timeless Kitchen Before + After

  1. Wendy March 23, 2018 at 5:34 pm #

    I love your sisters kitchen!!! Do you know what size the cabinet pulls are? The 8″?? I’m trying to find something comparable at a lower price – I LOVE the look of the hardware!!

  2. Sarah June 8, 2016 at 4:47 am #

    Beautiful. My dream kitchen, and that drinks trolley is to die for!

  3. Amy April 25, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    Oh wow! This is gorgeous! My home in Austin is similar in a lot of ways, so I ate this up. From the source list it looks like the upper cabinets are the same as the wall color throughout the house- is that accurate? My living area is an open space and my walls are white (BM White Dove x 2), and I’m hoping to have my kitchen cabinets painted soon but have had a hard time figuring out if I should stick with the same white or go with a different shade. Any insight?!

  4. Cassie Henderson April 14, 2016 at 10:05 am #

    The colors and décor display such a peaceful inviting atmosphere
    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Debra April 13, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

    Love it all! Her dining room is exactly what I have been looking for. Do you know where they purchased it from? We are local Seahawks fans, too!

  6. Debra April 13, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    Gorgeous! That is the dining room table of my dreams! Where did they find it? I love their style!

  7. MollyS April 13, 2016 at 7:50 am #

    Wowser!!!! Such a big impact! Kudos to Amy and Eric!!

  8. Tosha April 12, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your sisters kitchen. It’s obvious fabulous style runs in the family. Is it possible to share the source for Amy’s sink? Do you think you will do a complete home tour of your sister’s home at some point?

    • emily April 12, 2016 at 8:45 pm #

      I’d love to do a full tour! I took photos of her bathroom as well, but I don’t have any good befores. I’ll get those from my brother-in-law and then post.

  9. ellen patton April 12, 2016 at 2:20 pm #


  10. Catherine Martin April 12, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    Looks lovely!! We also have that oven! It is remarkable. We love it, great choice.

  11. Melissa April 12, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

    Hi Emily! I have one of those blue chairs (almost identical) on my vision board! Those chairs are gorgeous, where did she get them?

    • emily April 12, 2016 at 8:45 pm #

      I will check with them …

      • Melissa April 13, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

        Thank you!!

  12. Julie April 12, 2016 at 11:24 am #

    Is the Simplified Decorating class full? It says out of stock when I click over to the link.

    • emily April 12, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

      I have decided to postpone until the fall. We’re leaving for a few months and I was hoping to squeeze the class in because I’m just so excited to talk about it, but we decided today that it’s insane. I must wait :) So look for Simplified Decorating in early Fall!

  13. Christin April 12, 2016 at 10:51 am #

    Beautiful! You ladies are extremely talented! Do you know where her table/chairs are from?

  14. Colleen April 12, 2016 at 8:11 am #

    Love this! I love this clean, white/gray/neutral, simple trend…I often wonder with trends if in 20 years we’ll say oh that looks so 10’s! haha!
    Will you address “trend-surfing” in your class? We’ll be selling our house in the next year and are trying to update a bit, but not too much. Like our contractor said there’s no way he’d put in a barn door as they’re on their way out.

  15. Eva Smith April 11, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

    Fabulous! Such inspo

  16. Sandra P April 11, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

    Love everything about this reveal! Would love to know where she got the mirror back splash. Been wanting to do that for years but have no idea where to get one.

    • Kellie April 11, 2016 at 9:30 pm #

      Google glass and mirror stores in your area. They will custom cut to the size you want. You might even be able to get a mirror the right size by buying one at a store and removing the frame.

  17. Jodi April 11, 2016 at 3:48 pm #

    Could you find out what grout she used in her kitchen? It’s the perfect shade!! She has a beautiful house, great taste!! Thanks!

    • Jennifer April 13, 2016 at 4:59 pm #

      I agree! I would so love to know this too.Thank you, Emily!

  18. Sarah April 11, 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    This looks very much like what my husband and I are hoping to do with our kitchen this summer, including upper white cabinets and lower grey ones, though probably quartz counters that mimic Carrara marble, because I know the etching would do me in! Do you happen to know what color grout they used between the white subway tile? It all looks great!

  19. Tammy April 11, 2016 at 2:47 pm #

    Can you tell me a little more about honed marble? We have marble on our island and it isn’t kid friendly- or adult friendly for that matter- water spots show and corrodes easily with acidic juices) I am impressed if this is the barged in look :) mine would have clutter and dishes in sink!

  20. Anya April 11, 2016 at 2:07 pm #

    You have one talented family lovely lady!!! Love that you’re show-casing your extended family too – you guys are amazing!!

  21. AmandaH April 11, 2016 at 1:52 pm #

    So so beautiful!!! I love seeing a “normal sized” kitchen too looking so gorgeous!

  22. Shana G April 11, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    So beautiful!! What a wonderful transformation!!

  23. Melissa April 11, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    Oh wow!! this is just stunning, may I ask where the cabinets are from and what brand?

    • emily April 11, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

      They are custom cabinets. I’ll check with them on the source.

      • Lindsey April 12, 2016 at 11:33 am #

        yes! I’d love to know what cabinets they got. I’m looking at redoing my kitchen that look similar and she has chosen almost everything I would have, but cabinets are really throwing me for a loop!

      • Ashley April 13, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

        yes I would love to know too!!!!

  24. Nancy Ingram April 11, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

    Where did she obtain the dining room light fixture? It is perfect!

    • emily April 11, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

      The dining room chandelier was original to the home. They debated about switching it out, but decided to keep at least one original part of the house!

  25. Beth April 11, 2016 at 1:24 pm #

    Love it!! Could you please ask Amy where her fireplace screen came from? It’s fantastic!

    • emily April 11, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

      Yes! It’s from zgallerie.

  26. Sarah April 11, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    Very inspiring, open and clean looking! The kitchen is so much warmer with the wood floor. I love the navy chairs and zebra rug too :)

  27. Melinda April 11, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    Welcoming and beaufiful!

  28. Adrienne April 11, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    I’d love to attend your online class, but I’ll be at work during that time. Will you be recording so we can watch later?

    • emily April 11, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

      Yes! You will receive the recording and can watch it at any time.

  29. Heather April 11, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    LOVE IT!!!

  30. Austin April 11, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    Oh man, do I love a good before + after! This one is just perfect. Love the subway tile, the brass hardware, the light uppers/dark lowers… basically, all of my favorite things came to life in your sister’s home! I can only imagine how she gets anything done – I’d just sit in my living room and stare lovingly at my kitchen. ;)

    • emily April 11, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

      Me too!

  31. MissLilly April 11, 2016 at 11:49 am #

    wow love it, so chic and beautiful!

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