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Design

Sara’s Galley Kitchen “Update” Turned Into A Full Renovation (And The Result Is Well Worth The Wait)

This reveal wouldn’t be possible without the support of a handful of amazing brands, who partnered with us. Thanks to KitchenAid, Caesarstone, Kokeena, and Rejuvenation for helping this kitchen come to life.

I’d like to open this blog post with a quote…

“And it makes more sense to hustle and get it all done. It’s a really small kitchen, and he [my dad] thinks it will only be a 5-week project.” – Sara Ligorria-Tramp, blog post dated 5.26.20

Well. Here we are folks. The end of the line. Wrap it up. We’re sending Bilbo off to the Undying Lands. It’s time to reveal my kitchen renovation that started exactly 1 year, 9 months, and 15 days ago. I am 105% ready to let your eyeballs scroll all over this kitchen. But first, a little trip down memory lane.

It was a kitchen that was literally crumbling apart at the grout lines. There were holes in the walls, at least three different paint colors between the cabinets, walls, and trim, and more than a few shelves and drawers that were falling apart. I have a hard time remembering the kitchen this way. It honestly feels like a lifetime ago. Time’s gotten weird in the last few years… gooey almost.

So, back in May of 2020 I thought “hey, let’s make this a challenge and update our kitchen, and let’s set a budget of $3k to do it, and, you know… see how far we get.” Oh, young me. Still so self-unaware. That idea snowballed fast (as most of my home projects do) into “hey, let’s renovate this whole kitchen, while we’re home all the time, and as every supply chain comes to a grading halt. How about that?” Here’s why – My dad was home too (a rare occurrence) since all film and TV production was on hold, and he was ready for a project.

Once we’d made the leap from well-intentioned and naive update, to fully unhinged renovation, I went down a design rabbit hole. I still love all of those above design directions. What we ended up going with was a modified version of Option #3, but with a lighter, less saturated green. And honestly, I can’t imagine my kitchen any other way. Green it was, is, and will be forever.

Forgetting all the emotional breakdowns, doubt, existential dread, and work over the past two years, I’m so happy we ripped off the bandaid and just went for it with the full renovation. Because now we have THIS…

A kitchen of my dreams, that I can’t believe I get to cook in. I’ll level with you – is this what our kitchen looks like all day, every day? Yes. It is the most beautiful kitchen in the world, a dirty dish has never touched that sink, my produce is always ripe, and my counters are always clear and clean. I am the most aesthetic person in the world. Thank you for reading today’s post.

“Oh, she thinks she’s a comic…”

In fact, our kitchen does not look like this every day. Think of a shoot day like school picture day, but for interiors. You clean the space up, curate it, zhuzh it. You bring in the stylist, and the hand towel you’ve never used because it’s too beautiful, but makes you look cool. You kinda live out this fantasy of what the space could be. Seeing it at its full potential. So for today, this is the version of my kitchen I’m sharing. But because I am benevolent, I will be sharing some photos of how our kitchen actually looks (…on a clean day). Including the insides of all the cabinets and drawers. But that’s content for a different post (coming soon).

Ok. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so start reading faster…and check out this video we made showing the whole space (just wait for the ad to play):

KitchenAid Appliances

Going in alphabetical order, let’s start with the appliances. All of our major appliances (fridge, dishwasher, and range + hood) were provided by KitchenAid, and all three are a pleasure to have in our home. Emily Bowser has a KitchenAid fridge in her home, and I have always really liked the functionality of it. Plus, I already loved my KitchenAid Stand Mixer. So when it came time to choose appliances for the kitchen, they were my first choice. The range is my favorite, and is a KitchenAid 30” Commercial-Style Range. This line of ranges comes in several different colors – I have the ink blue model, which allows me to add an extra hint of color in my kitchen. After all, I am a “more is more” kinda person. It’s also just a really great range – it’s got smart capabilities so I can preheat the oven from my phone without leaving the couch, powerful burners, and an endless array of cooking capabilities. I cook at least two meals a day, so the Commercial-Style Range is a huge part of my life. 

Dutch Oven

Runner Rug | Flushmount

Next up is our KitchenAid, counter depth panel-ready fridge with interior dispense French doors. The freezer drawer has been the biggest upgrade in terms of food storage, and I love how spacious it is, as it lets me organize my food better. 

Lastly, our KitchenAid dishwasher with panel-ready design (which blends seamlessly into our cabinets) has a third-level rack for things like spatulas, serving utensils, and measuring cups, freeing up space in the lower two racks, which helps keep our counter clear and our sink empty. And when you have a narrow kitchen, things can start feeling claustrophobic fast. Every inch of clear, clean space counts. If you’re in the market for some dreamy new appliances, check out more from KitchenAid(R) Suite Collections

Cabinet Fronts | Brass Hardware

Next up – They are beauty, they are grace, they are our cabinet fronts by Kokeena in collaboration with Townsend Interiors in “Moss Green.” Solid wood, smoothly lacquered, and ready to pop right onto our self-installed Ikea cabinets. We went with their “Modern English” style cabinet fronts – essentially a shaker style cabinet to vibe with our more traditional style home. What drew me to these fine pieces of lacquered craftsmanship? Well, first of all they were green. The most lovely, perfect shade of warm, dark olive, cozy cottage green. They are also very nice people who run this small business out in Portland, and made the whole custom cabinetry front process very lovely. 

Knife Block

And  I can tell you that after about a year, they’re still holding up great. Yes. It took that long to get in all the finishing touches. But that also means that we’ve lived with our kitchen, and almost everything in it, for about a year. So I really do know how everything is holding up. And our beautiful cabinet fronts are checking all the boxes: gorgeous (duh), easily cleanable, and durable. We also used Kokeena’s brass hardware on all of the fronts, minus the fridge. 

I really feel like the cabinet colors and the hardware shape keep this kitchen from feeling too modern, and really grounds the space in some vintage *emotions*.

Sconce

Speaking of emotions, this photo gives me lots of them. Mostly because this kitchen was such a labor of love, and I can remember the installation of each and every piece, down to Bowser tying that kitchen towel into the most elegant knot on that tiny brass hook. But also because I feel like this kitchen really is me. Obviously the green cabinets, and brass hardware. But also the random, slightly chaotic, but cozy and lived-in feeling that I get from being in the space.

Brass Rail System

Counter Dust Bin and Brush

Each of those cutting boards has a personal story – The round one is a hand-me-down from Bowser, the arched one was a wedding gift from a friend, the tall one was the first nice cutting board I ever bought for myself, and the little pig was my grandmas. Does that shelf have a lot going on? Yes, but it feels warm and inviting and used. Do the brass rails and hanging baskets add a lot, visually? Definitely, but they also offer me the option of a lot more counter space by hanging items that I otherwise wouldn’t have room for. And sure, there are a lot of little things in my kitchen that probably don’t make practical sense, but they make me happy. 

Window Valance | Curtain Rod | Brass Outlet Cover

Like hanging this tiny little piece of art below my kitchen window, so my cats can also enjoy my vintage oil painting obsession while they eat – which is normally right under the window (painting gifted to me by the lovely Rosa Beltran after I photographed the CLAD Home storefront).

Brass Switchplate | Rattan Tray | Honey Jar | Countertop

Our countertops and backsplash are from Caesarstone, in the color Statuario Nuvo with a honed finish. These counters were probably the smartest choice we made in our kitchen – they have never chipped, cracked, stained, or warped in any which way. They feel oh so velvety smooth, and I love rolling out dough on them. And they look so good. The veining throughout is delicate, the color is just slightly creamy. We went with natural stone in our bathroom, and I’m kinda wishing we had used Caesarstone again. I dunno how much more I can recommend it.

I thought the counters were going to be a really scary part of the reno, but they were actually super easy because they were the one thing we didn’t install ourselves. I connected with a fabricator in my area that Caesarstone recommended, showed them my kitchen layout, they sent someone out to measure, they told me how much stone I would need, and Caesarstone shipped the stone directly to the fabricators. The fabricators then cut the stone, and came to install it. Considering everything else that went into this kitchen (I’m looking at you floating wood shelf), it was a gentle breeze.

All that glitters isn’t gold, it’s brass. And it all comes from Rejuvenation. We’re talking the Eastmoreland arched wall sconce, the Foster flush mount ceiling fixtures, the Fenton outlet covers, the Brookside brass rail systems, the Descanso pull down faucet, and the matching dish soap dispenser that makes me feel very fancy. Even the window curtain rod that you can’t see in any photos, but I know is there. Beautiful, timeless, well crafted, and made right up in Portland. I like the outlet and switch plates so much, I didn’t even photoshop them out of the photos (I usually refer to outlets as the zits of walls). Also please, enjoy Emily Bowser’s aspirational herb drying station. We laughed about this, but she’s also serious about drying her own herbs and I’m a supportive friend.

Faucet | Soap Dispenser | Sink | Arched Cutting Board

This faucet and sink combo has proven wildly successful in our home – I nabbed that deeeeeep, Kholer, drop-in sink on Craigslist knowing I would need a kitchen bathtub for produce cleaning, washing out big pots, and maybe a kitty or future baby bath. Paired with our brass faucet that has a suuuuuuper long hose neck that can reach every nook and lustery enamel corner of that sink with either a gentle flow or powerful spray, there’s no contest. 

Brass Bookends | KitchenAid Stand Mixer | Seagrass Woven Hanging Baskets | Rattan Hanging Baskets | Black Garlic Keeper

Ahh, we’re reaching the end. Have I talked enough about my love for chaos? Have I even mentioned that hilarious vintage painted dog tray I bought in Atlanta and drove across the country with me?? Do you understand my love for my KitchenAid Stand Mixer which I use at least once a week?! I brought that tiny blue and white pitcher (and the matching sugar bowl) back from Guatemala in my carry-on because I was scared I was going to break it. And I found that wood pedestal bowl at a thrift store in Oregon on the road trip where Macauley proposed to me. THIS KITCHEN HAS EMOTIONS & MEMORIES. Unhinged ones, clearly. But they run deep.

That basil will probably die pretty soon though, so I’m trying to actually use it.

Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite section of the post – before and afters:

Are you not entertained???

WOW. WE DID IT. I revealed this kitchen (that’s me, up there), and you scrolled through this whole blog post. I think we’ve both achieved something. But now it’s time for the applause round – Thank you to my brother and dad who literally installed this kitchen with their own four hands. Thank you to Julie Rose, who took my iPad drawings and measurements and turned them into something that I could actually use. Thank you to Velinda Hellen who answered 1 billion questions, and held my hand as we measured for the floating shelf because I was terrified to get it wrong (literally came over and did it with me, and by the way V, it fit perfectly). Thank you to all the brands who believed in my vision and helped it become a reality by gifting us beautiful kitchen items – KitchenAid for the appliances, Caesarstone for the counters, Kokeena & Townsend Interiors for the cabinet fronts, and Rejuvenation for so many shiny brass things. Thank you to Emily Bowser for knotting that hand towel so perfectly (and styling everything else). Thank you to the EHD team for tolerating me, and my brand of editorial chaos. And my husband Macauley for doing this whole home renovation thing with me.

So now you’ve seen the kitchen and you feel the feelings. This post was really about how I made this kitchen feel like us. But stay tuned, because in my next kitchen post I’m gonna share how I made this kitchen work for us. AND, I’m gonna be sharing photos of what it looks like on a more normal day. Because yea, we live with a rice cooker on the counter at all times. It’s a Zojirushi. It does not live in a cabinet.

*Design and Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp
**Styled by Emily Bowser

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Sharon
2 months ago

i could not love this more! this kitchen and everything we have seen of your house is gorgeous!!! thank you for sharing! also, where is your jumpsuit from? love this too : )))

JenMS
2 months ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

Oh man! I really, REALLY was hoping for an affiliate link for that jumpsuit!

Bekah Wallace
2 months ago

So lovely Sara! How do you get a custom dishwasher door? At first glance, I don’t see that on the Kitchenaid site. Same thing with the fridge. Xoxo

Kim
2 months ago
Reply to  Bekah Wallace

I’m sure those came from Kokeena with the other cabinet doors. I have the same ones from them in a navy blue.

Cris S.
2 months ago
Reply to  Bekah Wallace

Look for “panel ready” dishwashers, which means that you (or the contractor) install a matching to the cabinets panel overlay. When we renovated our kitchen all I did was say “Panel ready” multiple times and tell the cabinet people what kind of “Panel ready” dishwasher it was so they could look up the measurements and they put it all together. One nice thing (though sometimes their assumptions can be frustrating) is that while this was my first renovation, the cabinet / appliance / contractor people have done tons of them and didn’t blink about it. As to why, when I said “zero entry shower” a million times to the same people they didn’t construct the subfloor to fit a “zero entry shower” and had to go back and do it over… I don’t know. What I do know for next time, and share with you, is WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN.

J
2 months ago

The runner? Source, please…

Karen
2 months ago

Perfect! The green, the counter, the cutie curtain. . . Love it all

2 months ago

Thanks for sharing this wonderful article and great advice

Susan
2 months ago

Sara, this is beautiful! You are so lucky to have a dad who can help you. This is the EHD content I love the most.

maaaaaaaaaaaan. this is one gorgeous kitchen. i love all of the styling with special pieces that have a story that went into this too! giving me ideas. and that peek of the dining room is always nice because i love that room so much.

LouAnn
2 months ago

Stunning. Love, love, love the green-blue color scheme. One question: Do you have a source for the rug? It’s lovely.

R
2 months ago

Wow! Beautiful and timeless.
Can I make a suggestion for other staff renos and MOTO posts? Could you link to all the related posts for that room or project? I would love to go back and reread the posts about the kitchen and the rest of the house. You often have a couple links buried in the text, but it would be awesome to have a round up of all Sarah’s reno posts in one place.

Kj
2 months ago
Reply to  R
Pinny
2 months ago

Your kitchen is beautiful! I love that the brass rails are mounted to the shelves instead of the backsplash. It also looks like you kept the sink and stove in their original locations which didn’t add unneeded expense. It’s obviously not a huge kitchen (which I relate to) but it seems like it works very hard for you while looking beautiful.

Jennifer Eaton
2 months ago

Congratulations on your labor of love! The results are absolutely stunning. This ranks right up there with my favorite kitchens of all time.

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Jennifer Eaton

For me too! Totally love every single bit of it.

Erin Dae
2 months ago

This was the post I forgot I was eagerly awaiting! Sara, it turned out absolutely beautiful. Congratulations on a space that is lovely and functional. And props to you for surviving through supply chain delays etc!

Amanda
2 months ago

I was a little sad when you scrapped the update idea because I would love to see more small, doable (for normal people who are neither millionaires or able to get a bunch of free stuff from brands) projects.

But I am no longer sad because this kitchen is gorgeous and perfect. I love the green, the warm wood, all the brass. But I especially love those beautiful counter – such a perfect color and texture. And all the little touches – art, cutting boards – are what makes this a real person’s kitchen rather than a magazine layout. I can’t wait to see how you’ve organized it.

Susan
2 months ago

Very pretty, nicely done. I would copy every element and I rarely say that

KC
2 months ago

100% worth the wait! So beautiful.

I love seeing how you took a smaller kitchen space and made it so functional for every day use, for storage, and flow. Goes to show you don’t need a huge space for maximum style or efficiency.

KD
2 months ago

Ooooohhhhhh, I’ve been waiting for this one! I loved your various option boards from your original post. And the finished product is even better than imagined. Every detail is stunning. And that ink blue oven is such a fun surprise…I would never have thought of that. Thank you for sharing!

2 months ago

Absolutely beautiful. I love it, and the structural changes to the window/door. Question: Where did you source your brass rods for mounting under the floating shelves? I love them and your herb drying station! My kitchen looks the same in the summer!

2 months ago

Great design and I love this kind of example for kitchen design or remodeling!

Rachel C
2 months ago

Haven’t even looked yet because I want to wait until I have enough time to really dig in. I am SO excited to look at this. I always love Sara’s designs and it’s exciting to see updates from her home.

Coco
2 months ago

It’s gorgeous…but also, I need that jumpsuit. Source? Thanks!

Kim
2 months ago

Just dreamy. I love the warmth of it and covet that footed, wooden bowl so much!

Kali
2 months ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

Do you mind sharing where the wooden bowl is from? It’s incredible!

Courtney
2 months ago

Wait, your original kitchen had two fridges …?
But seriously, it looks amazing! I love the green and brass and it is such a great, functional kitchen with that layout.

Shayna
2 months ago

Knocked it out of the park! It is beautiful!

Tracy
2 months ago

LOVE this!!!! LOVE IT!

2 months ago

So pretty! Great job Sara!

Heather
2 months ago

It’s beautiful. So warm, and I love all of your own personal touches. You must love cooking in this space everyday. I would!

Also, I fully support the Zojirushi living on the counter. Ours is probably our most used appliance. Love love love my rice cooker.

Stacy
2 months ago

Oh wow! So beautiful and I’m sure, worth the wait! Love the small details – especially brass rails mounted to the underside of the shelf and the countertop edge shape. Everything, even just the trim around the door, adds so much without being overwhelming! Can’t wait to see the rest of the posts.

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago

Oooooh my gaaaaawd!!! 🤗
SARA!!!!!!!! YAAAAYYYYYYY!!! FIIIIIINALLLYYYYY!!!!
K, it was actually worth the aeons of wait time for THIS!!!!💗💗💗

Artwork hung behind the counter and way down low … hanging pouchy baskets (I neeed some of these- you just convinced me to hang a rail under my uppers).
I spy that wedding band! And I read that little “wedding gift from a friend” and the proposal in Oregon noted.
🥳 Like, seriously, give us at least one measely photo of your day?!? We’re vested!

Greeeeeeeen cabinets! I’m s.t.i.l.l. working out the colour I’m going to paint y ugly 1950 cabinetsto kinda make them disappear under a swath of colour – and it’s gonna be green or a dark aqua.
The wooden shelf! Even the little wooden dustpan and brush set. The earthiness, wood, brass, hand made ceramics and vintage vibe speak VOLUMES to me … everything has a special meaning, like the cutting boards, little blue jug, dog tray – THIS IS MY JAM!!!
It’s like you created my dream kitcgen in your house.🤣

I cannot believe how gorgeous it looks, but it sounds immensely functional too.
Big time loving it all.

So worth the wait! Yaaay!!! 🥰

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

Um, you kinda made mine with this reveal!😊

2 months ago

Where are those baskets from?

Elaine
2 months ago

LOVE the idea of a “no makeup”/”real life vs. styled” photos post!

Gigi
2 months ago

This looks amazing and I love the look into the dining room, it flows perfectly.

Remington
2 months ago

Thank you for leaving the outlets in your pictures! We’re in the middle of our own kitchen reno and scrutinizing outlet placements, styles, types, etc. Trying to find internet pics where the outlets haven’t been airbrushed out is like finding a unicorn. Made me so happy you kept them in your photos.

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Remington

Unicorn found!😊

Kim
2 months ago

It’s gorgeous and cozy and looks like it would be so nice to cook in. Where did the litterbox end up?

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

🤣🤣🤣

Beth
2 months ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

We keep two litter boxes in a shower we don’t use. I guess it’s good that we never have overnight guests 😉

CHRISTA
2 months ago

Perfection! Your kitchen is just beautiful, such an amazing transformation.

Deborah
2 months ago

Beautiful kitchen! Also, you and Mac got married! Congratulations!

🥰 Rusty
2 months ago
Reply to  Sara Tramp

Okay, so dole out the proof with a coupla photos…hehehe

Lisa
2 months ago

SARA!!! ITS GORGEOUS! ITS LOVELY! ITS BEAUTFUL! ITS DIVINE! Basically I love it and can I please just move in?? 😀 I especially love that its not just an objectively beautiful place but you can absolutely see and feel the personal touch of the people who live in it, in a way it feels very loved, and looks like it feels wonderful to live in. I always love ‘hearing’ your voice on the blog and look forward to the next kitchen post!! I am super excited that your showing every day pictures as well though I certainly enjoyed your kitchen’s picture day very much indeed!!

E E Deere
2 months ago

What a wonderful, wonderful kitchen. It is so exciting to see a galley kitchen done with such panache. Everything in it is appealing. It also seems like a dream that can come true, for many of us.

Elise
2 months ago

The kitchen is gorgeous, Sara! And congratulations on your marriage.

Lane
2 months ago

This looks perfect. I love how functional it looks. Great to see beautiful and quality design in a smaller space

Saima
2 months ago

This kitchen is gorgeous right down to the new floors! Did I miss the part where we talked about where those came from and what they are – solid hardwood, engineered? They blend almost seamlessly with the original flooring in the rest of the house. Maybe they are original and were under the red and white tile??

Kate
2 months ago
Reply to  Saima

Yes, please–I’d love to learn about the floors! Came back to this post searching for floor info when I spotted your comment!

Julie S
2 months ago

It’s fantabulous! I read the whole article but still want to know about moving the window, deleting the door, and where do the cats go to the bathroom now?? Yay!!

Amanda
2 months ago

VERY inspiring! the herbs drying! the outlet covers! the art! the rug! love it all

emily jane
2 months ago

words -not finding them… just, so, SO, soooooooooooooooooooooooo GOOD : )

Krista
2 months ago

Love love love! PS I spy those dining table and chairs in the background, can you send a link? 🤞🏻

Kj
2 months ago
Reply to  Krista

Try “Sara’s House” under Projects. Her Living/Dining reveal is linked there. https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/projects-individual-new-home?term_id=3683&title_name=Sara%27s+House

sonrie
2 months ago

hello! I normally do not comment, but really wanted to say congratulations for designing such a sophisticated kitchen. I really enjoy the colors you chose and I am glad to see the warm green and brass colors create such a inviting yet cozy space. I seems very timeless and like you said, will last forever!

Deborah
2 months ago

So beautiful and so personal – LOVE your new beautiful kitchen, what a joy it must be to cook in! Including all your special treasures and the art really enhances your beautiful design, it’s what I want for my kitchen someday – I’ve been collecting my treasures! 🙂 Thank you for giving me some focus and while a true renovation is not in the cards, my eat in kitchen has interesting/good bones like a huge picture window next to the table with a very distant view of Downtown Seattle (including the Space Needle) a large window above the sink back door with a window, a funny little nook with a window (Space Needle again) all good but very little counter space! 🙂 Your kitchen has made visible, my chaotic vision of what I’ve wanted for my kitchen for a few years, thank you for tipping me into focus! I love the frame oil painting for the kitty, I had a frame postcard on an easel for years on the small counter of the nook where I kept my cat’s pretty food & water dishes, I have more cats now so that’s no longer practical! Thank you for sharing your beautiful… Read more »

Roberta Davis
2 months ago

Glad to see it finally all done! It’s really, really nice, and it fits so well with the rest of your house, which is also really, really nice! We bought a Kitchenaid dishwasher but had to return it because it was dripping water onto our floor, and after it was “fixed”, it spewed steam onto our wood floor! It was pretty. But, back to ole reliable Bosch.

Marisa
2 months ago

I love it!! And I don’t think it looks at all cluttered or full of stuff. But that might be because I live in a small house with two kids and stuff everywhere, so it’s all relative.

Kathy
2 months ago

I gotta say, even though the new kitchen is AMAZING, I do find that crooked little upper cabinet door, next to the entry to the dining room, very sweet. 😉

Anna
2 months ago

So what was the final budget number? Beautiful space and finishes!

Sahra
2 months ago
Reply to  Anna

Yes! I was wondering what you ended up paying for your beautiful kitchen Reno 😅

jax
1 month ago
Reply to  Anna

I would like to know that as well, the final budget for you (if you don’t mind, but this site is usually open to that) and what it would cost if you were not gifted any of the items. Also, how does being gifted large dollar items work with your tax situation?

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