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Years After A Forced Budget Kitchen Reno (Due To Black Mold And Out Of Control Renovation Costs)…Emily Bowser Is Designing The Kitchen She Actually Wanted

Well, well, well…Here I am, after much teasing, I am finally on my way to a kitchen reveal. I think this space was the hardest for me to finish because it’s been completely liveable for a long time. After living in apartments for years with cabinets that had been painted so many times that only half of them closed, tile countertops, no garbage disposal, no dishwasher, and subpar appliances – this kitchen felt so much nicer so I just wasn’t inspired to make it any better.

That, and when we made the decision to renovate the kitchen, it was under much financial duress so the finishes weren’t anything to write home about and I knew I couldn’t justify changing them. Before we get too far into that though, let’s talk about where we started:

PHASE 1: THE BEFORE

File this under: “one of a million examples of LA real estate not even trying to sell clearly overpriced homes”. This is what the kitchen looked like when I walked through the house, completely despondent, and ready to give up house hunting for good. For more about my psyche when we were searching for a home in 2016 you can read about it here.

It is a small, galley kitchen, with a strange walk-through…closet? I don’t know how to explain it. The door you see in the back there used to be the back door to a small covered patio that is now a laundry room. Truthfully it wasn’t much worse than any other kitchen I had rented. My last apartment had Pepto Bismol pink tile countertops and the one before that had banana yellow. Both were over 100 years old and there’s just no way to make them ever look clean. Shoutout to basically every renter in LA. FYI: I hear these are coming back?? I mean, they can be cute in photos but clearly whoever decided on that trend never lived with them. The GROUT! Blech. At least these were new-ish counters and kinda looked clean. When we made the decision to buy the place I was like, “I’ll just paint the cabinets myself and live with it until we save up money.” We needed to get the back house not just to a livable condition, but as nice as we could afford so we could rent it out for a premium to help pay for our mortgage. The plan for the front house was to do what we had always done: make the most of what we were given, as we did with our rentals, and slowly do the renovations over time. 

Of course, things did NOT go to plan, and slowly renovating didn’t happen. I really really wish I could have lived with the kitchen that was there and had the time and money to renovate it right the first time. I am a big advocate of living in a space for a year and seeing how you utilize or *want* to utilize the space before you make any big changes. Unfortunately, they found mold in the kitchen. I forget why they were looking for it at all, maybe a leak in the sink? Of course, I am happy that I didn’t live with black mold, but having to make quick and as-cheap-possible decisions did bite me in the butt a little bit. This is going to be a story about how I made my “meh” kitchen into a fully functional and pretty kitchen without renovating again. Hopefully, this is helpful for people who live in “good enough” kitchens that really don’t need to be ripped out but aren’t very inspiring.

angle of kitchen the day we got the keys, wall to be removed seen in back

PHASE 2: THE INITIAL, FORCED MAKEOVER

Let’s talk about the kitchen’s first makeover. When purchasing this house I wanted to go with finishes that were timeless and not too particular style-wise because the long game for this property is that both units are rentals. I recognize now that it is a very VERY long game because having the financial ability to keep this property and buy another one would mean something life-changing happened with our careers. However, a girl who has yet to feel the cold slap of adulthood can dream! I wanted the style to be simple, something most people could see themselves living in and making their own, despite my own pull towards the more dramatic. It was the spring of 2016 (didn’t end up signing papers until Oct – long story) so of course, we ended up with black hex floors and subway tile. This was back when you thought of those things as timeless and they hadn’t *completely* overrun all of social media. Subway and hex tile are also very affordable, as were simple white cabinets and the 3 slabs of quartz I found for $300 each. I needed a slab and a half for each kitchen – this is where it became apparent that this was going to be a lot more affordable if I choose the same finishes for both kitchens. My plan was to use IKEA cabinets because I had heard good things. My contractor insisted he could do higher quality for less and honestly, I’m pretty happy with them. They aren’t fancy but they are made with good plywood and didn’t have that extreme off-gassing that cheap cabinets have.

I was in complete financial trauma by the time we were told the kitchen had mold and we needed to renovate both kitchens. I honestly don’t remember much from the process other than trying to pick the best I could for as cheap as possible. There was not a lot of joy in it. I do remember noticing the lack of joy at the time and feeling a bit sorry for myself. I love design and I love making a home but I didn’t love anything about this part of the process because it didn’t feel like I really had options. This was not the romantic idea I had of my first home in my head. The kitchen era of the reno was a dark era for sure. 

That said, even though I was completely stressed about how we were going to pay for all this (which at this point was $100,000 OVER what I was bid and would go higher), there were a few things I put my foot down about that I am very pleased with to this day: I wanted the wall between the kitchen and this strange closet/walk-through to be taken down and I wanted a dishwasher.

My contractor was really against me putting in a dishwasher because of how much cabinet space it eats up, and he wasn’t wrong – he just underestimated what I was willing to sacrifice and what I could make happen in such a tiny space in order to have a dishwasher. I. Love. My. Dishwasher. I use it every single day with absolute abandon and literally, NO ONE can make me feel bad about it. After hand washing SINCE LEAVING MY PARENT’S HOUSE, I know FOR A FACT that handwashing uses more water and 100% is the worst. My heart goes out to people without one (I see you 99% of LA renters) and I will not gaslight you as my friends who had dishwashers and washing machines and AC did to me. Your life will get at least 80% better simply with modern conveniences. You can be “flirting with financial disaster” (quote by my friend Lauren to me about this time period) and walk into your new house with a dishwasher, washer/dryer, AC and be like, “I’M RICH!”.

window in walk-through area, wall to be removed on the right
weird size fridge nook on left, tub on the other side of wall straight ahead 

Taking down the weird wall was a must. That closet/walk-through space was practically unusable and made the space feel tinier than it already was. The general layout of the kitchen is the only way to do it, so all appliances stayed where they were. My house is very economical and there’s not one bit of unused real estate, meaning there’s no wall you can break through to make more space. Behind the stove on the left is the hall closet (one of two closets in the whole house), and the bump out after the fridge is our bathroom. We had to keep this odd, narrowing galley, the only thing we didn’t need was the doorway into the closet thingy. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why it was there to begin with. As you can see in the first photo, the previous owner had a piece of furniture in there to give themselves more storage and it’s not on the other side of the space because there’s a window in the middle of that wall.

floor of the walk-through
after demo day, if you look closely you can see that we removed a tiny corner of the wall on the left as well

I actually really wanted to use the wood underneath the tile floor but turns out it was literally the subfloor, like between the cracks you could see down under the house. Unfortunately for insulation reasons, we needed to put something on top. If I could turn back time I would have ripped up all the floors and put matching new wood throughout the entire space because I love wood floors in the kitchen. There are original wood floors in the living/dining and one of the bedrooms and to save money I wanted to refinish them and only tile the space that didn’t have original floors but now, of course, the original floors are falling apart and I have to replace them. Le sigh. 

here I am looking how I felt in Dec 2016, opening and closing the new window in that weird closet space after we removed the wall

I digress, back to the point: the renovation was easy in the sense that it was “put new cabinets exactly where there had already been cabinets, minus the uppers on the sink side because I want open shelving there”. Spoiler alert: I still don’t have open shelving there. 

Because the space where the walk-through closet thing was more narrow, we couldn’t continue with normal cabinets and also…I couldn’t afford them. I told myself I would find the perfect vintage piece to put there, perfect being 36” high to match the counters, only 15” deep as to not block the doorway to the laundry room, and 38” long to make the most of the space. Spoiler alert: I did not find the perfect piece. Let’s take a look at how the kitchen has looked for most of the past 6 years:

For funsies do you want to see the matching back unit kitchen?

same but different
same but different

Fine, right? It’s fiiiine. A million times better than the before but, you know, whatever. Things I loved: being able to feel like my kitchen was clean, new appliances, a garbage disposal, and the natural light in here is really, really good. The plan was to put open shelving up but because the tile was put up without thinking about *how* the shelving would be installed – it’s proved to be tricky. Now after living without it for years I’m afraid that it will feel like it’s too visually busy. I get the draw of no uppers, it makes the space feel bigger than it is. That said: Mama could really use a little more storage. Also, I have a lot of pretty things, it kind of comes with the stylist territory and it would be nice to have some of them out.

PHASE 3: SOLVING STORAGE PROBLEMS (OR ATTEMPTING TO)

The piece of furniture I found at the flea market was too deep, too short, and too narrow. Doesn’t look too bad here and actually, the inside of it was super helpful for organizing so much so that we kept it until 2020. I really wanted the top to be flush with the countertop so the kitchen would feel more continuous so I did the basic IKEA Ivar cabinet hack. We painted the cabinet with leftover paint from our dining nook (and cut a piece of reclaimed wood from Ross Alan Reclaimed Lumber to be the exact length of the space). Two of the Ivar cabinets were perfect for leaving just a teeny bit of space on either side for our folded-up step ladder on one side and a few extra cutting boards on the other. We attached them directly to studs in the wall so they are technically floating, no feeties, and are completely flush with the rest of the counters, which is what I really wanted. 

andrew screwing the reclaimed wood directly into the top of the ivar cabinet
fin!

The Ivar storage is basically our pantry. Pretty much all of our food storage is here and about half of it is cookbooks at the moment:) Stay tuned for the final reveal and I’ll show the organization because those shelves are not deep (11.75”) and we make it work. Because I know you will ask: cabinet pulls on the Ivar are Lostine. The beautiful vintage rug is Jean Palmer Home – you’ve seen it in my office reveal because I hadn’t found the perfect vintage rug for my cats to puke on in there yet, but I have now:) Pulls and handles for my original kitchen cabinets are an Etsy find, not sure if they have the exact ones anymore, mine were brass not brushed brass.

We did the cabinet in 2020 and apparently, I could not stop myself from continuing to add boards to every wall. Here’s a very unstyled, lived-in moment from last year:

Notice how a wine rack in the corner and Lomi composter on the washing machine were added to the mix. V pandemic of me. The kitchen was absolutely FINE however, it always bothered me ~a lot~ that the cabinets above the stove didn’t go all the way to the ceiling and didn’t incorporate the area above the fridge. Not only were the upper cabinets unsightly, but the lack of them was also a huge waste of space. I still didn’t feel like I was optimizing my space in the area before the laundry room, particularly the wall on the left – that area is tricky because you have to leave space to walk through. Additionally, we had put in a very fancy convection oven/vent/microwave from KitchenAid but we didn’t use it for anything other than reheating leftovers. It was not great at being a vent for the oven and stuck out way too much for how small this space is. The idea was to mount it to keep it off the counters thus more counter space but how bad it was at being a vent was driving me mad. Half of the time we cooked our smoke detector would go off. Another thing that always bothered me visually was the way the kitchen sink sat in the cabinet. I bought that sink because it was cheap and I didn’t think about how it would work with the cabinets – clearly.

Listen, I know these aren’t real problems – that’s why I couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it. I’ve had bigger fish to fry over the past 6 years. There was also just a lot of creative problem-solving that would help, some of which I did, like the Ivar Cabinet hack.

Oh, one nice thing about my fridge nook is that there’s a perfect hiding place for brooms, Chom Chom roller (best thing for pet hair removal!), etc.

Side note: I bought all the appliances for both units in 2016 on Black Friday. Highly recommend buying appliances only on a big sale. I’ve lived with these KitchenAid (pre-Cafe era) appliances for 6 years and my honest opinion is: they’re good. No real complaints. I had some issues with the dishwasher but after having it serviced a few times I think they’ve figured it out. Currently, the ice maker has stopped working in the freezer and I need to have someone come and look at it but I’m busy so I’ll use an ice tray and I’ll deal with it later:) I assume after 6 years things like this will start to happen. Haven’t had any issues with the stove or oven and the microwave was fine besides the fact that I didn’t feel like it did a good enough job as a vent. 

What was I talking about? Oh, how my issues with the kitchen were dumb and not a big enough deal to make me do anything about it until these three things happened:

1. I Marco Polo’d so often during the pandemic with my phone resting in the window facing the stove that the cabinets not hitting the ceiling and wasted space over the fridge became a daily fixation. Example below:

2. I found the PERFECT shelving unit to fit the long blank wall on the left.

I can’t over-emphasize how perfect this shelving unit is for that space. I had such specific dimensions that it had to fit. The depth is 10.25”, I could *maybe* go to 11” the length is 78” which is just right in order to walk through without feeling crushed. I love that there is some closed storage, a little surface area, and then open shelving for pretty storage. It’s also nice that it’s mounted to the wall, it feels lighter in the space. Let’s take a sneak peek, shall we?

I personally love the banana styling in this iPhone pic. Both the bananas hanging from the wine rack AND the rotten bananas on the cabinet waiting to be made into banana bread. Oh, also the single butternut squash in a bowl. Obviously, this pic was taken to send to Andrew to show how proud I was for figuring out how to hang this by myself. It hasn’t fallen down yet!

As you can see in this picture, the quartz countertop continues a bit into the space that starts to narrow, which makes the walkway feel cramped. This is why I needed the Rejuvenation cabinet to not be too wide. I’m thinking I could continue my ridiculous cutting board collection next to the cabinet since that won’t take up much space. I hung the cabinet so that the top of the cabinet is the same height as the countertops which makes that space feel like another surface to work on. In our case it’s turned into our drink station (coffee, matcha, alcohol, all three at once, etc.) if you look closely you can see another Rejuvenation beaut, their Brookside Rail System that holds all of our drink accouterment –  but don’t look too closely! This is a sneak peek!

FINAL PHASE: THE “MUCH BETTER” KITCHEN PLAN

The final straw that made me finally finish this kitchen is:

3. My friend Rebecca started a company making cabinet fronts (and boxes) and got really sick of me complaining on Marco Polo about the space above my cabinets (I think it bothered her too). I met Rebecca when we were working on Orlando Soria’s HGTV show “Build Me Up” (RIP) pre-pandemic. She’s an amazing designer, design producer, and friend. Designer friends don’t let friends have weird spaces above their cabinets! 

Her company Design by Numbers (website coming, check out her insta) will make new cabinet doors to fit any boxes and it’s basically magic. You scan your space with an app on your phone, tell her the style and color you want and then they send you this and your jaw hits the floor:

WUT?? THERE’S A CAT ON THE WASHING MACHINE! All of our jobs (and cats, I guess) are being stolen by computers. I mean what is even the point of shooting a reveal post, I’ve basically given it away. As you can see, the microwave is gone with a built-in real grown-up person vent in its place, cabinets that go to the ceiling that also include the refrigerator, and why yes, we have changed the color and style of my cabinets. The color I chose is “Puddy” (one of Rebecca’s paint options) and it’s a greenish taupe? I’m bad at describing colors. We lovingly refer to the style as a “baby shaker” because it has a tiny version of a shaker border. It’s classic but feels a little more modern and fresh. After I was like, “HELL YEAH,” I double-checked their measurements by hand (take that computers!) and they made and shipped them to me. It was that easy (for me anyway). 

As the company is launching they are offering 3 styles of cabinets: shaker, baby shaker, and slab. They can do just doors or cabinet boxes and doors. If you are interested in getting more info, you can email hello@designbynumbers.com

We were able to keep all my original lower cabinet boxes and the inside of the drawers, we just replaced the fronts. Design by Numbers provides the info to purchase the matching paint or ship the paint depending on state regulations. I purchased and had the cabinets professionally painted because as I have mentioned before I *will* DIY if necessary but something like this, no thank you. As far as the uppers, I had to recycle those. Since they were in good shape my contractor was able to take them out to reuse them elsewhere. I also donated the microwave. There was a bit of tile patching behind the microwave that needed to be done but nothing too hard and because I had cheap subway tile, it cost practically nothing. Design by Numbers made the new boxes for the uppers and they fit like a glove – the measurements were perfect. 

I don’t want to give too much away because you will get to see it all at the final reveal which is coming soon! I’m waiting on a few stray things to come in to put everything together including a new dining room table! This reveal/refresh will include the dining nook, kitchen, and the laundry room and will be live next month! In the meantime here’s a screen grab from my Marco Polo with Rebecca and Orlando mid-cabinet installation 🙂 Stay tuned.

cute.

Opening Image Credits: Design by Emily Bowser | Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Another MOTO Reveal: Emily Bowser’s Happy Dining Nook (With Custom Cat-Friendly Banquette, Because Duh)

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Karen
1 month ago

Check out the short hair! 😍
The beverage station piece is a remarkable find for that area. Amazing.

Maria
1 month ago

Always a joy to read your posts, Emily! I’m always inspired by your long-term incremental projects. Seeing the home as a work-in-progress can be very frustrating but you show how every improvement becomes so much more satisfying and intentional. I struggle with this frustration a lot (and I’m not even renovating, just decorating/furnishing) so I really appreciate that you share your progress and thought process. I also took note of some ideas for small space organization!
As for the design itself, I wasn’t very convinced when I saw the rendering but the tiny border looks good in the sneak peek, so I guess computers aren’t really stealing all jobs 🙂 Just a question: how will you heat leftovers now? Can’t wait for the reveal!

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Maria

Funny you should ask, we have been microwave-less for about a month now and we are getting by using the oven and stove top. It’s *just* annoying enough that I think I need to get a microwave. The plan is to put a microwave in a lower cabinet, to the right of the sink (the only space big enough for one) but I still haven’t made up my mind about the microwave, if I want to spend a little ore and have a fancy one (with an air fryer for example) or just a basic one.

Sarah
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily Bowser

Could you add a couple of shelves or a narrow cabinet over your washer/dryer to stow your microwave, add a countertop over the W/D, and treat the laundry like a bit of a butler’s pantry? A countertop would give you a folding surface for clothes and could double as overflow kitchen space.

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Sarah

We are definitely going to do a counter over the washer dryer but very unfortunately that space is even smaller than it looks, on either side of the window that is over the washer/dryer I have 20″ on one side and 16″ on the other! On top of that, the ceiling slopes down towards the window. Currently our Dyson is hanging on the left side and for the life of me I can figure out anywhere else to put it. Honestly, it’s one of the most challenging spaces and I won’t be surprised if it ends up getting it’s own post with how much hemming and hawing I’ve done in this space. It’s also the ONLY space I have for a litter box which is a whole other thing I am yet to perfect.

Sarah
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily Bowser

You should create a post about it in its as-is state and let all the Internet Experts weigh in on how to make it work! (LOL)

I have one other thought (aka unsolicited advice from a stranger). I’m always loathe to suggest losing a window, and admittedly I can only see the little sliver of the room that’s shown, but have you considered stacking your W/D and losing (or relocating) the window that’s currently over them? (Might not be a possibility with a sloping ceiling, I know.) You could then put a floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinet where the washer currently is, which could house your microwave, possibly your Dyson, and definitely your litterbox.

This example is ugly and unworthy of your beautiful kitchen but it’s at least a visual: https://www.wayfair.com/Millwood-Pines–Nelms-72-Kitchen-Pantry-X114680031-L6382-K~W003579920.html?refid=GX490221400454-W003579920_1667882340&device=c&ptid=953295796297&network=g&targetid=pla-953295796297&channel=GooglePLA&ireid=126425462&fdid=1817&PiID%5B%5D=1667882340&gclid=Cj0KCQiAvqGcBhCJARIsAFQ5ke4BN6gwXRrBxB9Zpe-ETCUdwtP1Y4aaUQJI7GR8-BEPuWPibWBRbygaAkAJEALw_wcB

Holly
1 month ago
Reply to  Sarah

That is such a neat idea! Especially if the microwave isn’t used too often, that would be a great way to avoid it eating up too much precious cupboard space! You could even lean into the butler pantry idea and have the counter on top of the W/D extend a bit out and attach a cute little curtain to the front of it to cover up the WD doors. Good luck!

Suzanne
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily Bowser

We got the Panasonic 4 in 1 Multi Oven, and we love it. We waited and bought it on prime day, and used a very old hand me down until then.

https://shop.panasonic.com/kitchen-and-home/microwaves-and-multi-ovens/multi-ovens/nn-cd87ks

Nancy Good
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily Bowser

We dumped our over-the-stove microwave in favor of a “grown-up person” vent and put a small Power XL (as seen on TV!) microwave/air fryer in out Butler’s Pantry. It was on sale at Sam’s. A small enough investment so that if it dies it won’t hurt financially to replace it. It’s a surprisingly good appliance and worth checking out. Long term goal is to replace our 22 year old double oven with a built-in oven/convection/microwave combo but they are about $3K and it was not in our recent reno budget.

Your posts are delightful. Can’t wait to see your final reveal. Also, LOVED your dining nook blog (OMG WHAT IF IT’S A CAT CAVE)! And your hair.

Erin Dae
1 month ago

Love the baby shaker! We just put that style of cabinet in our primary bathroom reno. I am always here for a good Bowser post – thanks for the update/sneak peek!

Beth
1 month ago

Love it! These posts are my favorite to read – I love seeing the different projects everyone has going on and how they solve problems.

Amanda
1 month ago

Love this – not the process, which sounds horrific, but I appreciate your candor and the fact that your kitchen is a lot more realistic and attainable than what I typically see on style blogs. I also appreciate that you are willing to share both the imperfect “before” (and why those choices made sense at the time) along with how you’re improving the space by building on what you already have. I’m really looking forward to the reveal!
Also two random comments: (1) holy cow that piece on the left wall headed toward your laundry room is perfect! and (2) is your plan to just not have a microwave or are you tucking another one away somewhere?

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Amanda

Thanks! Everyone is so kind. The Rejuvenation shelf is perfect and yes, hoping to tuck one away if I can only make a decision on which one to get!

Kara S
1 month ago
Reply to  Amanda

Agreed! My favorite posts on here are by the renters/new homeowners showing the nitty gritty. As a renter myself who will never have (and don’t even want) a giant kitchen or bathroom, these are the posts that I’m most engaged with. Keep them coming! And thank you!

Reehana
1 month ago

Emily could you provide a link to Design by Numbers? I’m really curious to look into them for my own kitchen and bath, I think it would be the perfect solution for what I need!

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Reehana

Their website isn’t quite done, hopefully will be for the full reveal. Her email and insta is linked in the text 🙂

Reehana
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily Bowser

Got it, thank you definitely bookmarking this post for future use!

alexa
1 month ago

I had to remind myself of all you’ve went through with this house, by looking back at that original post. Wow, you have a strong constitution! It’s looking great.

Anna
1 month ago

This is seriously impressive and so inspiring!
Do you have plans to hide the washer and dryer in cabinets?
I saw a cute inbetween rolling cabinet by Daniel Kanter to store his laundry things.

rollingcartout.jpg
Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Anna

Love Daniel Kanter! Unfortunately there’s not enough space in there to put cabinets around the washer and dryer. It’s a space I’m currently working on and it is tough.

Stacy
1 month ago

Wow what a saga! I appreciate the candor, and especially the candid kitchen shots (lol @ those bananas.) Those are always so helpful when trying to imagine what it’s like actually living in/using the space.
Looking forward to the reveal!

Roberta Davis
1 month ago

I like the new cabinet color and the tile. Most people would have been very tempted to put upper cabinets on that wall, but it really feels more light and spacious without! Great job doing the most with what you have. I’m impressed with the variety and display of all the cutting boards!

🥰 Rusty
1 month ago

Bowser, this is getting real with the readers and I love it!💗
You write with candour and vulnerability. (My fav post will forever be the shock-horror story about your property purchase roller-coaster!!!! Write a freakin’ book sbout that process!!!)

Love the new cabinet fronts, the colour, style, the works!
Looking forward to the big reveal/s. Can’t wait.

BTW…how’s your kitty going now???🐈

patty
1 month ago

Fantastic post. That piece you found is absolutely perfect in every way. Love it!!

annie
1 month ago

i am *deeply* obsessed with all of your cutting boards as decor. they’re so beautiful and unique, and really warm the space up!

Alice
1 month ago

Love seeing “real life” renos with all the wrenches thrown in and running out of money and having to spend money on things you don’t want to spend it on (mold). Can’t wait for the reveal.

Robin
1 month ago

Banana styling! Bowser is such a funny writer, love all her posts

Sam
1 month ago

With that back wall on the left, I would either embrace the emptiness ( and hang more chopping boards!) or I’d bring back the little wall and have a built in cabinet+ shelving combo behind it, the like you see on a side of a fire place. There is a lot happening back there for my own taste.

Sam
1 month ago

Can the door to the laundry be moved to the left, close to the wall? That way you’d have the space to continue with full width cabinets under the window and not worry about filling the space on the left.

Admin
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam

in theory, if I were a richer person 🙂

Sam
1 month ago
Reply to  Emily Bowser

We had it done a while back and it costed app what you paid for the modular cabinet… And it could be even cheaper even if you don’t have to move a light switch.
Anyway, Emily should give you a pay rise, yours are the best stories on here!

EHG
1 month ago
Reply to  Sam

I came to say exactly this. I love the style and ingenuity so much — and the new cabinet fronts are gogeous! — but a lot of $ is already being spent on other storage items to work around the awkward layout. And the laundry door-way shifted to the left would also make space for a full height pantry cabinet to the left of the window too, which would add a ton of storage value,

Brittany
1 month ago

I always love reading your posts! That slim cabinet you found is so gorgeous, and how satisfying that you found the perfect piece. Love your short hair at the end too. 🙂 Unrelated, but I hope Daffy is doing better!

Alex
1 month ago

Really impressive use of limited space. Creative use of mixed materials. Looks like a super practical kitchen and utility room, full of character and ‘effortless’ style.

Alleira
1 month ago

Oh gosh, this is so fun! I currently have an original 1950 kitchen that I dream of renovating and now I’m thinking about your friend’s new company and thinking – well could I keep the original cabinets and just get new fronts?!? The answer is “maybe”, but ugh. Something to consider.

So, your wine rack – where is it from? It’s so fun and I really need a place store mine that’s not a shelf in my basement.

Patricia
1 month ago

Your banana styling is on point! Hated the incredibly long process you had to go through but love the end result.

Lola
1 month ago

I am floored by your constant creativity and drive to improve every nook and cranny. As a fellow Angeleno, you are winning in the battle of limited space that we all face. It’s truly inspiring. I think you need your own tv show.

Elizabeth
1 month ago

This is such a great reno. There are a lot of people with some version of your before kitchen (white Shaker cabinets, white subway backsplash, quartz counters). It is the standard every flip where I live, so it is great to see a post about how to update/personalize without ripping the whole thing out.

Sally
1 month ago

Such a treat to find this post waiting and get back to design posts! These are my favourite types of content and I love this one.
The baby shaker is sooo nice. I’m looking at this profile for my own kitchen (didn’t know it had a name) because it has interest but as you say, is modern and fresh!!
Can’t wait to see the full reveal.

Darcie
1 month ago

Great post! Can’t wait to see the final version. Quick question—do you mind sharing a source for the black hanging wine rack?

Emily N
1 month ago

I appreciate you keeping it real lol. We’ve gotten lucky with no horrible surprises so far, but it’s still hard to be patient and kind with the progress we’re making on the house haha

Kathy
1 month ago

I am also “obsessed” with the cutting boards as decor! Could you share tips on how to hang them on the wall; especially the ones without a hole and the ones mounted horizontally.

MJ
1 month ago

Love seeing the evolution of this space, love the choices you have made in round 2! t’s great seeing Emily’s homes for *truly* unattainable inspiration – eye candy. But it’s SUPER fun to see the homes and apartments of her team. You guys are all my age-ish and it’s really nice seeing someone with undoubtedly good taste be like “yeahhhh I lived with this OK situation for six years because life happens”! And then show us how you’re dealing with it within a reasonable budget. More EHD team member homes, please!

Molly
1 month ago

Ohhhhh boy can you please let me know where that black metal wine-rack/banana holder is from? I have a storage-challenged kitchen too, and the perfect place for a wall mounted beverage rack, but have been SEARCHING for the right piece… and the one from your kitchen looks like the winner!

I’ve really enjoyed reading this – I very much related to living in a good-enough kitchen because of financial trauma, and it’s happy/hopeful to see reveals from coming up on the other side 🙂

Hazel
1 month ago

I love your writing and my favorite room reveal was your office with beautiful green walls. Looking forward to seeing your kitchen! I hope Daffy is doing alot better……BUT who is that cat on the washing machine?????!!!

Kj
1 month ago

Hate to see you lose cabinet space to a microwave…you don’t have any to spare! Maybe try a small, retro microwave on the Ivar countertop? Something like this: https://www.amazon.com/Haden-75030-Countertop-Microwave-Appliance/dp/B08FXSNWTC/

B
1 month ago

I think this is awesome. Oftentimes we need to live in a space to see how it will really function and make changes accordingly. (I can’t get over that black mold!!!). Anyway, there is a good chance your icemaker isn’t working on your freezer due to mineral deposits in hard water. Hard water will wreck your stuff so fast! A lot of the time, you can keep on top of mineral deposits with vinegar, but I have no idea what to do with an icemaker. We had ours fixed three times before the repairman told me that it was the hard water. We installed a water softener in our house which has pretty much saved everything.

Taylor
1 month ago

Love this post and all the changes you have made. Thank you for sharing real life. A breath of fresh air. Good luck with the remaining elements.

Hina
1 month ago

baby shaker design and cabinet colour are so good! cant wait to see the full reveal!

1 month ago

There’s no way I could live without my dishwasher, either. You definitely made the right choice!

Michelle
1 month ago

Excited to see the reveal!

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