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Arlyn’s Rental Kitchen Reveal Just Might Have You Wishing You Had Brown—Or Even Cherry— Cabinets (Yes, Really)

Picture this: You’re given a can of paint and told that you have to make the color work in your home no matter what it is. You prop open the lid and see a hue that you frankly just don’t like. But the rule states that sorry, gotta use it and good luck making it look good. Well…that’s kind of how it works when you live somewhere with a specific tone on your kitchen cabinets you don’t love with no power to change them.

The twist here is this is my favorite type of challenge. The challenge with hard limitations. It forces me to try new things and come up with solutions I wouldn’t have had to think through if I started with a blank slate or even had some choice in the matter.

Is this my dream kitchen? No. I can’t say that it is. But is it a kitchen that I made visually work for me that now feels so much more welcoming? I’d say so. I’m really happy with how this turned out, even if many parts of it require a “don’t look too closely” warning label (keep reading). The act of pulling open my little cafe curtains every morning to let the sun stream in is ritualistic at this point, as is lifting the Roman shades in the breakfast nook. It’s what happens just before the kitchen is saturated with the smell of brewing espresso, the rush of a family of three prepping breakfast, and the beginning of a parade of toys being scattered across the floor throughout the day. I love it. And I hope you do, too.

So, let’s take a look, shall we? Welcome to my little perfectly imperfect rental kitchen makeover.

Step Stool | Peel and Stick Backsplash | Checkerboard Cutting Board | Brass Cabinet Handles | Brass Cabinet Cup Pulls | Mini Lamp (Similar)

How I Reimagined the Cherry Cabinets in My Rental Kitchen

The biggest change in this space is the backsplash you see in the above photo. When we first moved in, it was just a semi-gloss white textured wall. It felt stark against the not-quite-green-not-quite-yellow-sort-of-brownish countertop, which in turn made the dark brownish cherry cabinet stain feel even stronger. It was all too much contrast, and I knew I needed to mellow things out by bringing in tonal materials, adding a helping of lighter wood finishes and then just making it as charming as I could without veering too close to the grandmother’s cottage from Little Red Riding Hood.

Miss Honey’s cottage from Maltida, though? That…that was more in line with what I wanted. Admittedly, the visual notes were very different in my memory than they were in real life when I referenced photos from that movie, but it still works, IMHO.

As a quick reminder, this is a rough checklist of what I wanted to accomplish and/or change here:

  • Add a removable (peel-and-stick) backsplash
  • Change hardware to something warmer and less 2003
  • Swap rug to limit the amount of red in the room
  • Get appliance finishes to match
  • Find a better storage solution to clear off all the small appliances on the counters
  • Create breakfast nook
  • Replace broken vertical blinds in the breakfast nook with some sort of drapery or fabric situation
  • Swap mini blinds by sink window
  • Add color and personality somehow
  • Maybe improve the floors
  • Replace flush mount in breakfast nook with something softer (The light was intense)

You can read through all my “whys” and see more before photos in my original post as well as this update post.

Besides the floors (more on that in a bit), I was able to accomplish everything on my list. And the difference it has all made makes me *like* my cabinets. If I were my own teacher, I’d give myself an A for effort. 🙂

Black Pedestal Fruit Bowl | Potato and Onion Storage | Terracotta Garlic Keeper | Blue Staub Dutch Oven (similar) | Rug (vintage) | Art Print | Brass Frame Holding Art Print | Mini Easel (vintage) | Marble Lazy Susan

This little corner is where I essentially live in this kitchen. It’s where I do all my chopping, plating, and prepping for meals. I used to have my microwave caddy cornered there and every single day, I hated it. For some reason, it felt like a problem I had no control over changing, and then one day, I said ENOUGH, and moved it over next to the fridge and never looked back. Instead of two chopped-up slivers of counter to work with, I opened up a proper expanse of surface area and I don’t know why such a simple solution never crossed my mind prior. Funny how that can be sometimes, huh?

While I wish I didn’t have to eat up a quarter of my counters with a microwave, the truth is, we use it every day and there was no room for it anywhere else that made sense. Some people in my original intro post suggested I move it to the area where the breakfast nook is now, but there isn’t a plug on that wall and a giant extension cord is not something I wanted to look at every day. So this is where it lives now, and honestly, it’s fine. Everything doesn’t have to be “Instagram perfect” to work for your life. In fact, it’s usually more convenient when it’s not…

The other improvement to my workflow was creating a produce station here. Before, I had a bowl of fruit (strangely) over by the sink/coffee area, a two-tiered produce basket where the microwave is now, and another small bowl kind of propped wherever I could fit it because there were too many gosh dang things on the counter. It’s not a large space, so it didn’t cost me much to turn around and grab a lemon from the other side but still…it wasn’t efficient. Now, I use up the large, deep corner that wouldn’t be useful to me in any other way with all my produce (in real life, there’s an additional large bowl here holding even more fruit because we are a produce-obsessed household and I needed more vessels than looked pretty for a shoot).

A Serendipitous Rug And A Crappy Backsplash

I explained in this article how I got to this rug but I’ll quickly rehash it for anyone who doesn’t want to leave my pretty images to look at another process post (who could blame ya?). The red rug I used to have here was a holdover from three apartments ago. I just moved it from kitchen to kitchen to kitchen even if it wasn’t ideal, and it was *really* not ideal in here. It was a $20 vintage number I bought at ReStore nearly a decade ago and it was scratchy, produced a ridiculous amount of weird blackish lint and never looked or felt clean, even if I had just cleaned it. I picked a pretty Ruggable rug instead with the appeal of being able to throw it in the washing machine whenever it needed it. But the colors didn’t match what I fell in love with about it online, and every day I’d walk in, look down at it, and think “Bummer.”

I was OVER spending money, so I hit up Facebook Marketplace on a whim one day and saw this beauty for $100. It was exactly the size and color I wanted/needed and after a touch of haggling (I would have to drive down to Long Beach to get it which is a trek from Pasadena), we settled on $80. I put my toddler in her car seat faster than food burns under a broiler, drove the hour south and scooped up my dream rug. I’m SO happy with it and because it has a dense wool pile, it cleans very easily. So far, we haven’t had any major spills and I hope for it to stay that way.

Another bummer is actually the backsplash I picked, sadly. Yes, as a whole, I like the way it ended up looking, but it started peeling off the wall meer days after installation. Every day, I have to press in detached pieces. I’ve added more tape and other adhesives and no-go. I know the semi-gloss paint and wall texture are the main culprit here so perhaps you’d have better luck with it, but…it sucks.

Striped Drapery Fabric (gifted) | Cafe Curtain Rod | Cafe Curtain Mounting Hardware

Creating Charm With DIYed Cafe Curtains

This is my favorite photo of the entire bunch because it’s just a tad ludicrous. No one has a sink full of blooms and branches ever but I asked Bowser to make it happen (remember…Miss Honey’s Cottage inspo at work here). Besides that, the little cafe curtain moment is darling, isn’t it? I picked this pinstripe linen fabric from Tonic Living very early on, and it couldn’t be more perfect. Up close, my sewing handy work is…a bit wonky, but from afar you can barely notice that my seams are crooked! Huzzah! I bought some pinch pleat tape from Amazon, sewed that on, and then hand-sewed the pleats together at each meeting point. I hung the curtain at the point where we couldn’t see our back neighbor’s kitchen window but there was still plenty of room above for sunlight and moonlight (about 2/3 up is usually a safe bet).

The rod was such a mission that came together in quite a serendipitous moment. My friends, I ordered three tension rods to try here. The first one was flimsy and buckled in the middle. The second one didn’t even fit in the very narrow frame allowance (it’s under two inches). The third one fit but felt so bulky. It was too late to order a custom-cut rod from Rejuvenation, so I was kind of panicking. That is until a designer I follow posted about a store called Shade Doctor of Maine from which she had just bought a custom-cut cafe curtain rod. I immediately clicked over and saw the price was super affordable ($25 for the custom-cut rod and $10 for the inside-mount brackets), and it could be made and shipped on time. The owner even called me the next day to confirm all my measurements and mailed it straight away after that. It was a design godsend, I tell ya.

I opted not to worry about the fact that my faucet was still brushed nickel. Would a beautiful brass fixture have been great here? Yeah, but…I just didn’t care enough by the end. It’s totally fine, and frankly, works well to pick up the brushed stainless of the appliances.

Oh, and the hardware? Bought it for SUPER cheap on an Amazon Prime Day deal back in July. I confess I hated them when they arrived, being sort of a frosted light brass but after a few days of living with them, I was okay. I love what the cup on all the drawers adds. Traditional and hearty, like a good beef stew.

Burlwood Tray | Sink Caddy | Glass Cannisters | Striped Roman Shade Fabric (gifted)

Here’s our little coffee and tea station, which didn’t change much. I just corraled everything in a pretty tray, swapped a bulky espresso pod holder that used to live under my Nespresso machine for some glass canisters, and never looked back. It works, it’s pretty enough, and yeah…a tray is the one great design elixir of life.

I do have to admit something. A trash can typically lives between the side of the cabinet and the chair you see here. SUE ME! PUT ME IN JAIL. It’s a very slim profile Simplehuman I’ve had for five years and we are all surviving. Is it as pretty as this? No, but real life is ugly-ish sometimes, readers. Charles and I talked about putting small cans under the kitchen sink, but as we are not Rockefellers, we do not have the luxury of extra storage space and need to leave that open for other things. So alas, it lives where it lives, even if I have to lie about it in a photo on the Internet.

Yes, I Bought All My Appliances Secondhand

LOOK AT THIS BIG GIRL WITH HER MOMMY IN A VERY WRINKLED DRESS STRAIGHT OUT OF THE PACKAGING!!!! I cannot get this child off this stool. You’ll usually find her standing at the counter with my knee pressed up against her back as she cuts a banana with a butter knife. It’s the only way I can cook without having to hold her to see what I’m doing (and yes, a proper learning tower is on our list to buy which will be a better option).

Before moving on to the breakfast nook, I just want to appreciate how hard I worked (truly) to find matching appliances all secondhand on budget. I talk a little more about it here (and fully go into every single detail on a post I wrote on a different site if you’re interested), but it took me since last March to make this happen. Quick anecdote: I found a wonderful KitchenAid French door fridge for $600 that the owner just wanted out of her house (she was moving). It took days to talk her down in price because that was my max budget knowing delivery would be another $200ish. I just ASSUMED a standard size would fit, so I celebrated my win prematurely, ordered a pick-up service and when they were on their way to the lady’s house to grab the fridge, I decided…you know what…let me just measure. AND IT WOULDN’T HAVE FIT. The counter is cut just a touch too long on the right side and the opening is at max 35.5″. A standard width fridge is 36″ (but actually 35.75″ to build in space around it for ventilation). I immediately canceled the delivery service and felt awful and deflated.

The lady was nice enough to let me go to her home, measure the fridge just to be sure it was larger than 35.5″ (it was), and then I had to walk away from it. Let me tell you…finding a 33″ fridge in a counter depth (this space required that) was near IMPOSSIBLE. I’m not exaggerating when I say they make I think three models that fit that bill. ON THE ENTIRE MARKET. And then to try to find one of those secondhand, well, Everest territory.

BUT I DID IT. And the rush of exhilaration I felt is what I imagine stock brokers feel when they do stock broker things that make them a lot of money. I love our fridge, and while you don’t see it that well in these photos, it makes me quite happy every day.

Bistro Table | Chairs | Chair Seat Fabric (gifted) | High Chair | Peel and Stick Wallpaper (gifted) | Laundry Closet Door Paint | Cute Baby (she’s mine, not for sale)

Carving Out A Breakfast Nook (& My ~$35 Roman Shade Solution)

LOOK AT THIS BIG GIRL IN HER NEW BREAKFAST NOOK WITH A FREE BALLOON THE PAVILIONS CASHIER GAVE HER BECAUSE SHE WAS THE CUTEST BIG GIRL IN THE WORLD. I LOVE this breakfast nook. I LOVE IT. I sit in that same chair as Evelyn every day drinking my morning coffee, looking out onto the street and the trees and no one can steal that joy from me.

Just like everything in here, finding a table in the finish I wanted but in the size I needed was also not an easy feat. Anything wider than 32″ would not fit in here with chairs and room to open the laundry doors. West Elm came in clutch with this bistro baby I called around all of Los Angeles to find. The Craftsman-like profile is an ode to the outrageously charming original Craftsman houses on the street where I live, while the neutral wood finish nicely balances the red cabinets.

The chairs were another Facebook Marketplace find for around $60. Just a few bolts tightened, some cleaning and new upholstery were all it took to make them work perfectly in here. With banana hands constantly touching my fabrics, I opted for a bullet-proof performance Sunbrella x Pindler textile, gifted to me by its designer, Max Humphrey.

As the backdrop to it all is one of my favorite elements of the whole space: that Chasing Paper peel-and-stick wallpaper, designed by Jenni Yolo. It’s the crown jewel of the room I think, really delivering a lightheartedness that’s needed with such heaviness happening on the other side of the room. It was my first time installing wallpaper in any form and while the first panel is (purposefully and luckily) hidden behind the cabinet, the rest was super easy to get up. So easy, even a 21-month-old can do it! Because she did (I’m kidding, Evelyn just rolled the seam roller around the wall a few times and always seems to be trying to take credit for my hard work in here). 😉 I then pulled a sage green from the paper and painted the laundry doors rather than replacing them. It’s a decision I don’t regret for even a moment.

Oh gosh, and the Roman shades! Figuring out how to cover this exceptionally large window took me quite a while, but I ended up DIYing Romans from that same Tonic Living striped linen using two very cheap cordless lift mini blinds. It was so easy and I’d be happy to do a DIY for you if you’re interested (spoiler: it cost me under $75 to make both of those!). Ignore the darker spots where I got too heavy-handed with the fabric glue.

Fluted Glass-Front Storage Cabinet (gifted)

When in Doubt, Move The Pantry

This Arnika Dining Cabinet from All Modern is so sturdy and beautifully made that both Charles and I were in awe of it after building it. I thought the fronts were going to be some kind of plexi but they’re a thick fluted glass and the rest of the cabinet is metal with adjustable shelves. I decided to turn it into my pantry and use the space in the cabinets I was designating as my pantry to stash away all my small appliances and get them off my countertops. It’s been a frankly life-changing solution. Sure, it’s a little annoying to have to walk over here to grab granola or pasta or bread, but I’ll choose it any day over digging through a dark, narrow and deep cabinet to find a can of cannellini beans stacked above the tuna I forgot I had because it’s impossible to see.

Striped Pitcher | Napkins | Candelablra | Bowls | Taper Candles | Pendant Shade (used for DIY) | Mini Pendant Kit (used for DIY) | Pendant Shade Fabric

Before wrapping, let’s talk about these floors, shall we? They aren’t what I wanted them to be. I dreamed of a checkerboard design underfoot and ordered many samples to try out. My favorites were by Chris Loves Julia for Wallpops but they were constantly sold out. About a week before the shoot, I reached out to them and they were going to possibly help facilitate but it just didn’t work out timing-wise. And it’s okay. Would it have felt more complete in here with a white and taupe marble checkerboard floor? I think so. But does the room still work without it? I also think so. Rentals aren’t always ideal in their design choices, and at least these aren’t offensive.

And finally, my little DIYed pleated pendant lamp that I made from an affordable shade and some clearance sheets from Target. My first attempt was dismal, but thankfully I found this instructional video that helped guide me to redo what I originally had created to this finished product. I think it adds just a touch of whimsy that I think every room needs to not take itself overly seriously. A little banding of maroon bias tape at the top and bottom harken back to the cabinetry.

In Conclusion…I Love It (+ What’s Next)

So there she is. My little sweet rental kitchen. I’m so glad to be done with it to share with you all and also to just enjoy it. When I go back and look at the before, I can’t believe how far it’s come with truly not a drastic amount of work. Yes, it took time—five months give or take—but I work and also take care of a baby and a family so such is life. Everything is going to be easily removable when we decide to leave this place, but hopefully, we’ll get to call it home for a while.

I’m in the midst of giving a similar rental overhaul treatment to my boring powder bathroom and putting the finishing touches on my dining room, which I hope to share early next year so stay tuned. Thanks for reading my thousands of words and for walking through my home with me. 🙂

Until next time.

Your friend in design, Arlyn

*Design by me (Arlyn Hernandez)
**Styling by Emily Edith Bowser
***Photography by Veronica Crawford

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Sally
1 month ago

Love the kitchen! So excited to read this post. It’s got such a lovely feel. Hope we get to see some more, including what you did with the banquette.
Do you know that in Australia we call craftsman homes Californian bungalows? Funny.
Could you please do a post on how you haggle? Exact words. I need to know.
Your daughter is super cute and adorable!!

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally

Hi Sally, I’m in Perth and live in an almost 100 yr old Craftsman, Pre-Californian Bungalow. 🏡
Mine has the pre-Art Deco, dark-stained wood details (Tudor-style) and x4 bullnosed brick arches at the front verandah, leadlight windows, etc.; so our Craftsmen homes are a bit different to the straight, large-piered Californian Bungalows, with more wooden details throughout.
Similar, but more artistic details.😊

Sally
1 month ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Hi Rusty, I can almost picture your house (I’m Perth too!). Would you call that Federation? Or slightly later? I’m imagining Mt Lawley vibes.
I LOVE all those styles of homes and wish they would do more to preserve them.
My own house is 1970s with arches etc but I’m inspired by the Californian Spanish mission revival, many which I see on this we bite and which I suspect were the original inspo for that architecture. I’m thinking mini Cottesloe Civic centre but let’s just say there is a long way to go!

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally

Ha! Sally, I’m in South Perth near the Zoo!
Technically, this is the definition of my architecture (It’s long, but correct 🤣):
Spanish influence, Craftsman, pre-California Bunglaow.
It’s unusual for Perth, but there are a few in Mt Lawley, Highgate, Subiaco. There used to be a few in West Perth, before all the high rises.
I met up with someone else from here (Rachel) on the foreshore, after my guest blog post in 2022.
If you’re up for it, we could all get together – I’ll check back here to see if you’re up for it.
Kinda funny – most isolated capital city in the world and there are st least 3 of us in here!🌻

Jacqui
1 month ago
Reply to  Sally

OMG So many Perth people on the blog! I’m in Fremantle and I LOVE the old Sicilian crayfish cottages we have down here. They are kinda Californian bungalow meets Maritime detailing, with beautiful boats etched into the glass and space for all those crayfish pots. I tried desperately to buy one but they were way out of our price range and we ended up in a Brian Klopper home (cheaper at the time..go figure) who I think is an undiscovered star in the history of Australian architecture… All this is to say that local architecture is everything.

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacqui

Make that 4 Perth People!
👋 Hi Jacqui!

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacqui

Love Freo!

Kristi
1 month ago

Congratulations! It’s beautiful! I somehow feel we all won with this one:)
Enjoy your presence here…

Caitlin
1 month ago

Bravo Arlyn!!! This is so beautiful and (realistically) inspirational! At 41 I am coming to terms that I can’t yet afford a house and may be renting a while longer but your ingenuity and creativity gives me hope I can still create beautiful spaces to spend time with my family in! I love how peaceful it is!

Lauren H
1 month ago

I love it! All of the golden oak pieces you incorporated are lovely. Beautiful styling on the counters. You make the bistro table look 100x better than it does on West Elm’s own website. And while I know it’s not something you added, the wood trim above the window is so charming, especially with the rest of the kitchen upgrades you made. The space feels so warm now. And after your experience with the backsplash, you are likely better off leaving the floor as is. Can you imagine peeling floor tiles… With a toddler? 🙈

ED
1 month ago
Reply to  Lauren H

Would you consider replacing the peeling backsplash tile with the wallpaper (if it is sticking well to the wall)? Or would that be too much?

Marisa
1 month ago
Reply to  Lauren H

Yeah I did peel and stick floor tiles a few years ago and now they’re falling apart and look terrible and my toddler does indeed like to try to pull up the loose edges. It was supposed to be a temporary fix until we can afford a kitchen remodel, but I still have no idea when that day will come.

Angela
1 month ago
Reply to  Lauren H

Agree about the floors! And I honestly don’t think your eyes even go to the floors, with all of that beautiful color and styling happening up top!

Loveley of @lovelyloveley
1 month ago

this is great! and love the underlying message of working with what you have, and if not a rental, of not trashing a perfectly good kitchen for an unnecessary reno. i think the real key here was to lean into the warmth of the wood and embrace it. the gold hardware instead of silver was key. and using green with the brown is perfect. green is serene, modern, and warm due to its yellow undertones. love love love.

Vera
1 month ago

Hi Arlyn! Beautiful work. I love these “working with what you have” stories. So inspiring and motivating.
Also love seeing you and Evelyn. You’re both so beautiful and seeing you together makes me so happy.

YES PLEASE to the roman shade DIY post. I am SO intrigued. They look beautiful. Are they functional?? How on earth did you make this work?! EVERY DETAIL PLEASE! 😁

Colleen
1 month ago

l love it! Have lived in many rentals with many different colors of kitchen cabinets and you have done a beautiful job of making it work. Your baby is also beautiful :-).

I just put pewter-finish drawer pulls on my off-white kitchen cabinets and really like the color. I don’t see them around much but definitely recommend it for a silver-toned metal that is darker, soft and antique-looking.

Miriam
1 month ago

This is amazing! The whole design just works together perfectly to give a WORKING kitchen that looks great. On behalf of renters with cherry cabinets (and cat barf counters, and those weird stone tiles that must have been on sale at Home Depot for the past ten years because they are everywhere) thank you for showing us the potential. This is delightful. My only regret is that we can’t all afford to hire you to come and redo our kitchens, but knowing this beauty is out there still makes me happy.

Elizabeth
1 month ago

It looks great!

Reanna
1 month ago

This is such a relatable, inspirational post! I love the pleated pendant lamp you made, but most of all, I love how – through design – you’ve created little moments that make you happy. There are tiny touches in my house that may not stand out to anyone else, but they make me smile. ALSO, EVELYN IS ADORABLE!

Mkw
1 month ago

Arlyn would be my dream designer and friend. I’ve become her internet groupie! Lovely work. As always!

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  Mkw

Join the club of fan-girls!

Mary Rachel
1 month ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

FOAS forever! 🙂

JG
1 month ago

Beautiful work, Arlyn! I particularly love the wallpaper and the rug. It’s so cozy and homey now. What a great demonstration of how swapping colors/accessories can change the whole vibe.

Ginger
1 month ago

Love it all! My favorite picture is the one with you and your daughter. It’s great to see you both enjoying your kitchen 🙂
I’m impressed with your DIY lampshade too… so pretty!

Danielle
1 month ago

I never thought I’d find cherry cabinets so pretty! And yes please on the Roman shade DIY post!

suzanne
1 month ago

Wow, this looks fantastic! I appreciate the microwave on the counter, because that is where mine is- I use it numerous times a day ask so does the rest fo my family. One thing I would suggest is to move your chopping and prep area from the corner to the area just to the left of the sink. where you have light from the window and easy access to the sink for when you are chopping vegetables. Now, like me, this may be the area where you keep a dish drainer in real life (it was there in the before photos, but gone for the afters, likely due to “styling” needs). BUT you can still have a fairly good sized cutting board next to the sink if you switch to a narrow dish drainer ( just search on amazon with “narrow dish drainer” and you will get a bunch). I have one that is 6.5 inches wide and it works great if you have a dishwasher to rely on for actual dishes, as you do. Great post!

Allison
1 month ago

Arlyn! I also have an Evelyn who thrives on being mummy’s big girl! Your daughter is absolutely glowing in these photos, just like your gorgeous new space! Congrats to you. Please keep writing about real life design situations. My favourite stuff on the blog. Well done!

Ann
1 month ago

Warm, welcoming and charming!

Anna
1 month ago

I love it, you did such a beautiful transition with attention to the best wee details. 5-months feels fast for all that you did, amazing work! Can’t wait for more.

Sara
1 month ago

Love your posts and approach, as always Arlyn!
Selfish request: I would sell my soul if someone who’d already done the leg work would tell me what counter depth fridges could have fit the bill here, going through spec sheets to find a steel, French door slim baby to fit our vintage custom (quirky sized) cabinet spaces is making my eyes bleed!

Sara
1 month ago

Hi! Okay, I measured: 35” wide, but the kitchen is a very narrow galley, so the closer to 24” deep ( like the actual counters, why is “ counter depth” such a lie lol) I can get, the better. Technically there is storage above at 70”, but I’ll tear it out if I can get something tall and thin!

Gf
1 month ago
Reply to  Sara

Check out a site like ABT. They allow you to shop by size (even if you don’t order from them, you will at least know the model that would fit). Here are their counter-depth fridges under 35”: https://www.abt.com/Counter-Depth-Refrigerators/c/654.html?filters%5B46%5D%5B2%5D=23&filters%5B46%5D%5B4%5D=24&filters%5B46%5D%5B6%5D=28&filters%5B46%5D%5B8%5D=30&order_by_post=relevance%2Cdesc&start_index=0&per_page=100

Sara
1 month ago
Reply to  Gf

Thanks!

Louise P-G
1 month ago
Reply to  Sara

💯 would love to know this too. We have a 35.5” gap and I think I need to get something 33” to actually be able to open the doors (it would have one side as a corner wall).

Rebecca
1 month ago

It looks wonderful and so cozy! Thank you for sharing such a realistic way of decorating and designing the space.

1 month ago

So beautiful, Arlyn! I’ve watched every step of your journey. I really like the natural wood/ wicker accents that balance out the heavy cabinetry. I didn’t see your vision for the wallpaper, but it is fabulous! You made your dated kitchen the heart of of your home.

1 month ago

It’s So GREAT! And all in 5 months? Impressive! Lemme be the first to request the roman shade DIY, and the link for that dress. Hoping you’ll share the progress of your next projects.

FE
1 month ago
Reply to  Jen Wilhelm

It looks like the Sunday Wish Kaftan Gown? Available in limited sizes at Bali ELF.

Courtney
1 month ago

Arlyn, you are simply wonderful. Your kitchen is BEAUTIFUL and more importantly, it’s so real. I can relate to all of it, even the 33” fridge situation. I share your pride in finding one- that is nearly a miracle!!
Also- yes, please to a DIY on the Roman shades. 🙂
I’m so excited to see what you do next!

Karen
1 month ago

Refreshing to see anyone on a budget! In these days of spending especially. Doing a beautiful job, too. Exercising I can actually wait on the right thing , and be content. Many lessons here!

Cat
1 month ago

Amazing, amazing work!! I would love to see the Roman shade DIY! A trick you can use for the peel and stick is to adhere it to cheap posterboard and command strip that to the wall/use tiny finishing nails to keep the posterboard up and tile on top of that. I did that in my sister’s kitchen and the peel and stick tile stayed the whole year she was there! https://ctrlcurate.com/renter-friendly-diy-stenciled-tile-backsplash/

kim
1 month ago
Reply to  Cat

I was going to suggest something similar — use foam core board cut to size so it pressure fits between the counter and the cabinets and sits against the wall. Using command strips and/or tiny finishing nails is genius to hold it in place. This also works to decorate the backs of bookcases or cabinets.

Rachel
1 month ago

Yay for another Arlyn post! I’ve really enjoyed following this kitchen remodel. I appreciate the relatableness of Arlyn’s posts–that I can imagine doing similar projects in my own home 🙂

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago

Crikey, Arlyn!!! What a massive change for the better!!
It’s SO cozy and much more functional. Kudos!
I cannot believe how big Evelyn is now! Whew! Such a cutie, too.
Shame about the tiles – have you tried hardware store grade double-sided tape, as opposed to craft level? Another suggestion is SILICONE – holds things firmly (I sorted a faucet that wouldn’t stop swivelling at the bottom with silicone and it’s holding well after 4 years!).
Truly a comforting heart of the home space – kinda makes me miss FOAS, like, a LOT!
A lot of DIY hard work, completed with panache.
Looking forward to your powder room next.

Cris S.
1 month ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

I like the silicone idea. Mine was to just screw the corners of the sheets to the wall, but your idea may be better!

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago

TRY SILICON, forreal….it’s solved my faucet issue foryears andgetting wet isn’t an issue. Then when you move, it simply peels off.

Una Kang
1 month ago

Have you looked at musselbound? It’s like industrial strength tape that you stick tile to and can even grout over if so inclined (although some people will do zellige tiles sans grout). Your kitchen looks wonderful!

ML
1 month ago

I love this, it feels so welcoming and beautiful and approachably stylish. The breakfast nook went from a weird transitional space to a place that’s begging you to sit down and sip coffee sloooowly. Did you keep that amazing settee in storage, though?

Mag
1 month ago

Please do the DIY roman shade post!!

Anna
1 month ago

So nice to see more “working with what you have”!! Looks awesome.

Sarah
1 month ago

Your daughter is adorable, the kitchen is fantastic, and I would please like a diy on the roman shades!!

Kimberly
1 month ago

Beautiful, and this kind of content is so relatable.

Christina
1 month ago

Okay, I love the kitchen, but I love your daughter’s smile and bright eyes more! She is gorgeous and her name…. I have a Clare and a Magdalene in real life, (Jane and Eleanor never existed- growing up I had a lot of girl dolls to name), but I love me a classic older name. Back to the kitchen… You are giving my Clare hope as she rents and feels powerless to make changes. Bummed the sticky tile isn’t working b/c it really does help the space tremendously.

Katie
1 month ago

I just love this and love you. How brilliant you are. It takes so much more creativity and thoughtfulness to create something so beautiful out of what you are stuck with. So inspiring.

1 month ago

Arlyn, you speak so well for all of us frustrated renters. We’ve all been there wanting to change things we cannot change. This is a great transformation. I am endlessly impressed with your window treatment making skills! And that pic of you and your babe is just beautiful. <3

MBJ
1 month ago

So, so good! No notes… what an inspiring makeover. And 5 months to completion is QUICK, in my mind! Thanks so much for sharing.

Kelly Chrisman
1 month ago

Beautiful and inspiring. I’d love a DIY tutorial for the Roman shades!

Roberta Davis
1 month ago

Wow! You really made the space work and look much better! I wouldn’t worry about the floor- it’s neutral and it might have been too busy if you made it a checkerboard pattern. Great work! You give renters all the inspiration they should need to know they can make their spaces feel like home! And I agree- your daughter is adorable!

Bethany
1 month ago

Brava!! You nailed it! I love how this developed from the various colorways and style options you pulled together. This is something more than the moodboards you started with- the feel of that soft, natural linen with the light coming through, the colors of the backsplash and the wallpaper, the authenticity of the rug and the stylishness of the beautiful glass cabinet- it’s all so coherent and evocative of something nostalgic and fresh at the same time. Romantic without a trace of schmaltz. Looking at it, I think to myself, none other than cherry cabinets would do here. You are very talented- thank you for sharing your process, and the pics of yourself and your beautiful little girl. 🙂

Julie
1 month ago

This is awesome!!! Job well done! I inherited a 90s builder grade kitchen complete with honey oak cabinets in my current home, and you have me scheming as to how I can make it more me without any drastic reno. Very creative and well executed.

Julie S
1 month ago

So good, Arlyn. I love any makeover that deals with lovely limitations and/or smaller budgets. I pored over the details on this one. I particularly like that you repeated the taupe floors in the wallpaper and backsplash, and the greenish beige counters in the closet doors, rather than trying to add in any different neutrals.

Kelly
1 month ago

So beautiful! Amazing styling and a lamp will make any kitchen look great and you hit the nail on the head! Nicely done!

Stephanie
1 month ago

This is beautiful, Aryln!! Congrats on such a gorgeous space!

Angela
1 month ago

This is just perfect!!! And I think this is how we should all be decorating, honestly…making something beautiful out of what we already have.

MKP
1 month ago

1.Holy cats this is insane. I can’t even believe the difference. You are insanely talented! Thank you for sharing all the details. It is honestly inspiring to see what you did.
2.Would love a tutorial on the Roman blind.
3.Your daughter is so adorable and it is a treat to get to see her smiling face!
4.Balloons like that are a horrific choking risk. When they pop the break into tiny pieces. If a curious toddler or animal swallows one of those pieces it can block the windpipe and there is no way to get it clear. It makes me shudder to even type that, but I want all parents to know. Do not let your babies near these balloons.

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago
Reply to  MKP

I restrained myself from saying that, plus the hazard of majority of helium balloons ending up in the ocean.
I know Arlyn’s wouldn’t though.

MM
1 month ago

Please please PLEASE – Roman shade DIY!!!

jenny
1 month ago

Beautiful job Arlyn! It feels SO different from the before! The wallpaper really elevated the space. Not sure if you’ve ever tried Alien Tape (they sell it online and at Target) but that may help with the tiles. I also agree with the other commenters that the floor looks fine as is!

Paula
1 month ago

I love the brown cabinets! They’re what I have, and I love them, too. Also, I have a Simple Human trashcan, a little bigger than yours, but that’s fine because it’s in a dark bronze color that blends in really well.

Lia
1 month ago

This looks amazing, but the best styling accessory is your adorable kiddo! We made a honey oak kitchen work for many years and just ripped it out to renovate. But I know the feeling on making things work!

kim
1 month ago

This is a wonderful post. Your design skills are incredible. I don’t even notice the floors. Love the cup pulls on drawers instead of using pulls on everything; it looks so much more “designed.” Maybe our kitchen hardware will change soon…thought we were stuck with all pulls on both the drawers and doors since that is what is there. The cup pulls choice takes it up several notches. Love the backsplash pulling in the countertop and adding texture and color variation. Your fabric and wallpaper choices work so very well, and the painted closet doors are just right with the wallpaper. And the reeded glass cabinet is great! Favorite thing though is seeing you and your daughter together, both so vibrant and happy!