| |

Our Kitchen Renovation (The Befores)

We’ve finally kicked off our kitchen renovation. Come check out the before pictures and some of our plans for updating this dated space!

I hope you’re having a great week! It’s been raining here the past few days, which has given me a break from staining our deck to finalize the design plans for our new kitchen. As promised a while ago, I have some before pictures for you today. This renovation has been a long time coming, and I’m excited it’s finally underway!

Kitchen Renovation Inspiration

Before I show you the UGLY, here are some kitchen photos I’ve been pulling inspiration from. Wish I could just snap my fingers…

White Subway Tile Backsplash in the Kitchen

Industrial Vintage French Kitchen by So Much Better with Age

White Cottage Style Kitchen

White Cottage Style Kitchen by Froken Knopp

And here are some of the other kitchen renovation inspiration pictures I’ve rounded up on Pinterest.

Gorgeous, right?

Kitchen Renovation Before Pics

Now let’s take a look at our existing kitchen, otherwise know as the antithesis of the above…

Our Kitchen Renovation - BEFORE Pictures of Red Oak Kitchen

A long way to go from those pretty white kitchens!

Now, I’ve been told by friends and family that our kitchen looks great, and they can’t believe we’re about to rip it out. But, when you don’t feel something, you just don’t.

I mean, this is our home, a place I spend countless hours in. I should love it (or at least strongly like it), right?

While we were shopping around for a house, the brightness of this kitchen caught my eye. See that big window on the left hand side? That’s the back of the house and there are two of those windows looking into the back yard.

Our Kitchen Renovation - BEFORE Pictures of Red Oak Kitchen

Unfortunately, the finishes made me want to cross this house from our shortlist during our house hunt. I was having a hard time wrapping my head around the cherry stained oak cabinets & trim, faux granite countertops, basic backsplash and track lighting. And, there was no way I was going to live with that faux tile linoleum!

Fast forward many years later, and I never grew to like any of it… But, we spent time and money on other areas of the house like landscaping and developing the basement.


At the time we bought the house, it was also outfitted with builder basic white appliances- yuck. It didn’t take long for the dishwasher to go, and the stove had to be replaced a few years ago. Oh darn!

Our Kitchen Renovation - BEFORE Pictures of Red Oak Kitchen and White Appliances

After some research, we decided to go with an LG range and KitchenAid dishwasher. Usually it’s best to go with the same brand, but the KitchenAid dishwasher got better reviews than LG, and the opposite was true for the range. Plus, their handles are the same basic shape and they’re not side-by-side anyway.

A few months ago, I sold the refrigerator and replaced it with the matching KitchenAid model to our dishwasher before it was discontinued. The opening works best for a 33″ wide fridge and those are somewhat limited. Better to be safe than sorry!

Our Kitchen Renovation - BEFORE Picture of Red Oak Kitchen and White Appliances

Kitchen Island

One aspect of our kitchen I’ve loved from the get-go is our island. It’s a huge work surface with lots of storage that I simply could not live without.

Our new island will be one level with counter height stools instead of those dreaded bar height ones that are never comfortable to sit in. Having one level will also open it up to our eating area (which I forgot to take pictures of and now it’s been raining for 3 days!).

Our Kitchen Renovation - BEFORE Picture of Red Oak Kitchen Island and Laminate Countertops

And, lastly, there’s our huge pantry (door on the left) that makes up for the lack of upper cabinet storage in this kitchen. Why are those uppers so short? It’s like someone mis-measured or got these ones in a bargain bin. Weird.

Our Kitchen Renovation - BEFORE Picture of Red Oak Kitchen and Laminate Countertops

There you have it. I know, not the worst kitchen you’ve ever seen. But, it’s time to freshen things up and make it more functional.

What’s Next?

So, where are we at with our kitchen renovation? We’ve (mostly my husband if I’m being honest!) been working like mad ripping up the linoleum floor and subfloor to get ready for the hardwood. We have also managed to remove all the wood trim and some of the doors on the entire main floor. No, it’s not just the kitchen that’s getting an overhaul. We’ve opened the whole can of worms!

Our electrician also popped by and switched out the track fixtures with recessed lighting. I can’t believe the difference it has made already.

I’m finalizing all of the finishes this week so we can take out the cabinets and start putting everything back together. I’ll be sharing the plans and progress updates with you as we go along. To say our kitchen renovation is going to be a big job is an understatement.

Update: See our fully renovated kitchen!

Want more home improvement projects like these sent directly to your inbox? Be sure to SUBSCRIBE.

Wish us luck!

Shauna at Satori Design for Living Blog - Home Decor, DIY, Vintage Finds, Recipes


  1. I totally understand about wanting to snap your fingers to make it be done! We are in the midst of a kitchen renovation at my house. I love your inspiration photos (wish I could do marble but it’s not practical for us) and I can’t wait to watch yours unfold. Best of luck!

    1. We’re doing a marble look alike. Haven’t finalized it yet, but most likely caesarstone or cambria. Less to worry about, for sure! Good luck with your Reno.

  2. I’m just dying to see what you come up with!

    I completely understand your frustration with a kitchen that was ‘okay’ but just doesn’t do it for you. That’s how ours was, mostly for functional reasons. So after my husband retired, we ripped out the whole thing and reconfigured it (and changed the granite to something lighter and happier). Now I absolutely LOVE the kitchen. Worth it!

    1. Function is definitely important. Our footprint will basically stay the same since the layout options are limited. I’m looking forward to having more drawers and taller cabinets with less wasted space.

      1. Drawers! You can never have too many drawers. I feel sad when I see kitchens that have “pullouts” in cabinets with doors. Such a missed opportunity, but I understand that you do the best you can with a retrofit. I love my drawers.

        I’m short, so the taller upper cabinets are a mixed blessing, but it is nice to have extra storage right in the room, even if it means I have to go fetch a stepladder.

  3. I love your inspiration photos and can’t wait to see with what you come up with! I would LOVE to change my DARK wood cupboards to white! So refreshing!

    1. Yes, I’m tired of the dark too! Although, with little kids, it’s the way to go. We’re past that stage and I’m hoping the white won’t be too high maintenance.

  4. By looking at your inspiration Shauna you’ll do just fine – you’ll make that kitchen gorgeous I’m sure!! Have fun and enjoy (and eat out a lot…).

    1. Thank you, Heather! Thank goodness we can BBQ and eat outside. Eating out a fair bit is likely in our future too, and then I’m sure I’ll want to spend more time in the kitchen when it’s all done!

  5. Oh Shauna, I love your inspiration. It’s going to look amazing. Fresh, white – beauty! You were smart to do all the research on the appliances. So looking forward to the progress.

  6. Shauna, you must be so excited! With all the makeovers you’ve shared, I have no doubt this kitchen reno is going to be fresh, beautiful and functional! I love your first inspiration photo – can’t wait to see where you go!!

  7. Thanks for sharing my kitchen, Shauna! Your kitchen has a great layout. I can’t wait to see what you do with it!
    Hugs, Jamie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *