Kitchen Makeover

Kitchen Makeover

Where to even BEGIN documenting the transformation that just took place in our home?

I've sat down to write this so many times, and looking at the pictures WHILE sitting in the kitchen is honestly still surreal.

I can't believe this is our house.

I've never done a project quite this big and I found myself really overwhelmed at times by the idea of making a decision I would regret, or want to change immediately, but that hasn't been the case at all.

I wouldn't change a SINGLE thing about this space.

Or, rather THESE spaces.

Because, as I'm told can sometimes happen with a project of this scale, this makeover spread into more rooms than we anticipated. And what started as a "kitchen" reno, quickly morphed into essentially an entire main floor redo.

Welcome to my kitchen, sunroom, foyer, family room, powder room makeover.


I know all you want is pictures, but I need to start this by giving you a little history.

These are the photos used in the real estate listing of our Almonte home when we first looked at it in January of 2015.

And, although you know me as a woman of great vision and creativity, these pictures are NOT the reason we looked at the house.

The reason we looked at this house is because it is located on a ginormous, cedar hedge-lined lot, just around the corner from my parents, and the public school, and the park, and the arena.

All of the places we spend ALL of our time.

It's one of the prettiest in-town properties I can think of and I can walk to the shop in about 7.5 minutes.

At the time we first saw it, it had been on the market for 3 years and, being the nosy small town punks we are, we just had to see what was wrong with it.

I mean, besides the decor.

And then what happened was actually VERY serendipitous.

I called the agent to request a viewing, she told me it was conditionally sold, and then we hung up.

About 20 minutes later, the agent called back to say "You know what? I can show you the house. As long as you know it could be sold, I see no harm in taking you in. These things can fall through after all."

And so we went.

The moment I walked in, I think Brad and I both knew it was a mistake to show me something I possibly couldn't have.

You know the feeling you get when something is just right?

That's this house for us.

Built in the early 1950s by the original owners, it has all the weird charm you get from things like back staircases, laundry chutes, built in furniture (which I promptly ripped out room by room in my signature "devil may care" kinda way which made everybody nervous), fireplaces and bomb shelters (we have one in the basement. Don't ever use it. It's full of basement crap that would kill you if it ever fell).

Sure, it needed a bunch of upgrades, but they were all pretty aesthetic. No electrical or structural or anything like that.

I could see no reason for it to be on the market for as long as it was.

Except for the price.

This home only had one owner before us, and after they passed, was listed for sale by their children. They were sentimental about it, for obvious reasons, but after 3 years on the market, they were ready to loosen up on the price.

Anyway, long story long, the conditional sale fell through, the price came down more than $100K, I cried until Brad agreed we should move, and here we are!

I know it looks like a big house to you city kids, and...ok it is, but this is basically what you could get in Almonte in 2015 for about the same price as a postage stamp in Toronto.

So, you know, don't judge. We all make our choices. :)

Let's get down to it.

It took me 3 years to get the nerve to tackle the kitchen.

I mean it's the HEART of the home. What if I made a mistake?

I met with my friend Kimberly Kostuch (KKI Designs) to help me with drawings and then promptly hired her to run the project. She charges a very nominal fee that I am one million percent convinced actually saved us the money we would have spent fixing mistakes along the way AND she managed all the dealings and choreography of contractors.

If you live ANYWHERE near Ottawa you should hire her.

The way our house is laid out, it's pretty compartmentalized. I grew up in a house with a very open concept. The only door on the main floor was to the bathroom, so this house always felt like it was missing some flow to me.

First order of business? Open that shit up.

We even cut a hole in the front door to bring in more light. S

ignificantly less expensive than purchasing new!

Did NOT know you could just do that!

The original floors throughout the house are hardwood, but they're those thin planks that you can't find anymore, so we decided to do our best to match them colour-wise and then trick the eye into thinking they're from the same family by changing up the pattern.

This is the perfect example of what makes Kim awesome because I NEVER would have dared attempt a herringbone assuming it'd be too expensive, but because we chose a VINYL (so great in a high traffic kitchen!) and once the pattern was set, it really wasn't a whole lot of extra labour.

I mean, it was easy to watch anyway...

All of our floors were installed by Westport Flooring, who were really great to work with. (Friendly, tidy, fast...quick to laugh at my jokes.).

This product is called Adura Plank. The colour is Essex Oak - Honeytone and it's made by Mannington.

Our main contractor was A. Brown Construction who Kim has been working with for years. They don't work directly with clients, only through designers so don't even try.

You can find them on Instagram however @abrownconstruct.

They built our custom cabinets and doors as well as...basically everything else.

In the kitchen we did the floors, opened the doorways, tore out the old cabinets and replaced them with custom, added a faux wood beam (we uncovered a big ole steel I-beam hidden an existing bulk head - SCORE), replaced the appliances and added a wet bar.

Here's what it looked like before:

On the left is the entry way to our family room.
You can see the small doorway into our sunroom here. This view is from the steps to the family room.
And here it is after!

It's all in the details in this room.

(I've listed all of our sources at the end of this to save you digging up the links btw)

Kim reeeeeally wanted us to have a high gloss white hood fan, but the pricetag on a custom piece was looking around $6K and I. AM. SORRY.


I will never be spending that much on a single item.

After a bit of heel digging on both our parts, we compromised on a white hood fan from Wayfair (for $400!) which we customized with brass detail made JUST for us by Ottawa Brass Limited.

Fun fact, the owners are from Almonte!

Hellloooo expensive looking hood fan!

Another swanky detail we added is a small wet bar.

Originally we had selected a blush coloured tile for the backsplash here, but at the last minute I decided I had already chosen a few too many "girly" details and, although Brad is generally happy to go with my decorative flow, I sensed I was pushing it.

In the end, I think the green was just as fun a choice and a sweet little homage to the colour of the house's exterior.

Did you check out that sink!?

It's handmade by my friend Julie of HOLLOW Clayworks.

She makes THE most gorgeous pottery bowls and after the success of a sink she made for my pal Kristen, I HAD to have her make me one.

We use it mostly for drinking water, but BONUS!

It makes an awesome ice bowl when we entertain.

I just set this little nook up with all the glasses and garnishes and fill the bowl with ice!


You're Martha.

You'll notice that we DID take away quite a few cupboards.

Most of which were empty or full of literal garbage.

I'm talking cellophane bags that once held pipe cleaners, mechanical pencils with no lead and (sneaky buggers) wrappers upon wrappers from Hallowe'ens of yore.

Rather than feed into my family's tendency to hoard, I replaced one huge bank of ugly wooden cupboards with a clean, simple, midcentury inspired workspace.

Welcome to my second office.

My most favourite throw blanket in the world from MiniTipi.

Are you still here?

I'll try to speed things up.

Moving on to the Foyer.


Aaaand AFTER:

Cutting a hole in our existing door was a game changer for the light in this room.

Also I want to marry the floor.

Aaaand my "Coral Reef" door (which, I will have you know, I painted BEFORE Pantone came out with their colour of the year for 2019. #justsayin).

And the tiny little entry way table Kim found at Tin Barn Market (it flips open which I think we can all agree is basically the pockets equivalent for furniture).

I sadly did NOT take any before pics of our tiny bathroom off the kitchen, but you can be sure as sugar I took some of them this time.

(Please note, I took very few of these pictures. Most are a credit to my pal Sarah Evans of Shoebox Pics)

It all starts with this insanely gorgeous knob (sourced below!), and just gets better from here...

A. Brown Construction built us this stunning custom cabinet and Kim selected a remnant of our wet bar countertop (Calacatta Borghini) to be cut to fit this small space.

Again, details like how she had this curve outwards to appear larger in the tiny room without blocking the door?

Straight up genius.

On my own, I probably would have just picked a smaller sink.

The metallic Hygge + West wallpaper was all my idea, but KKI approved.

The floor was too.

I've always wanted a vintage-inspired hex-tile floor and this space was the perfect place to do it on the cheap.

I was concerned that the off white of the tile would be a muddy contrast from the clean white trim, but Kim convinced me that it was best not to go bright white on the floor for fear it would compete with the walls.

Again, nailed it.

I especially love the contrasts in here.

The feminine, modern wallpaper, the masculine custom sink, the oversized kitchen tap, the muted vintage feel of the tile. It's all so different and it all works.

We spend a lot of time in this room.

Mostly pooping, but still.

I'm beginning to think this could have been multiple blog posts, but I'm on a roll here, so let's away to the sunroom.

Here's the space BEFORE.

It was an extension of the house and had baseboard heating so we didn't use it very much. It was just too cold and felt separate from the house in a way.

Now we use it all the time.

We opened up the doorway that leads to the kitchen and added a heated tile floor.

We also removed a low bank of cupboards and mimicked the existing shiplap, added a small sitting area and table and it's quickly become one of my favourite spaces.

Because I KNOW you're going to ask, the rug is from Wayfair and I've linked it at the bottom of this post!

You can also access the sunroom through our living room, so it's really changed the amount of light in there as well.

I can't believe this is my house.

Lastly, I need to show you the room we use the VERY most.

Our family room.

Here's are some shots of it before we got our hands on it...

When we ripped up the carpet we discovered that there was absolutely no under padding.

This was supposed to be our cozy room with the TV and a fireplace, and there it had basement grade carpeting and no under padding.

I also think this room is the reason our house always smelled a little musty.

And how did I even LIVE with those pendant lights for so many years?

I'm lucky to be alive.

Well NO more! Check it out NOW!

Despite being such a great transformation, we really didn't DO a lot in here.

We added a much needed new carpet (did I mention the old one stunk like a dead person's closet?), painted the walls (Colonnade Grey by HGTV for Sherwin Williams) and fireplace (Greek Villa - also HGTVSW), and took out another set of small built in's in the corner by the window.

The scariest thing I've ever done is paint this fireplace brick white, but man oh man I'm so glad I did.

What a transformation!

The room looks about twice the size and, though I was concerned the white would be "cold", it makes the room that much warmer feeling.

And this light shade!!!

This thing of beauty was macrame'd by one of our Cheerfully Made Makers Gathered Fibres and it might as well be straight off the pages of Anthropologie's Fall/Winter catalogue.

The curtains are from their Sale section :)

And there you have it!! At long last, our amazing home renovation!

Thanks for coming along for the ride and follow me on Insta for our next project: the "Cheerstream" Makeover this summer!! 

Scroll down for all my sources and comment with your favourite details!!

xo Em

A few of my favourite things (if I had to pick) are:
  • Midcentury modern foyer tiles. These are 8x8" cement tiles by Saltillo Tiles called "Agadir Grey".
  • Our closet and bathroom knobs by Emtek.
  • The Hygge and West mermaids in our powder room. Mostly because of the octopus' eyelashes.
  • All. Of. The. Colour. Every shade of paint was selected from HGTV Home for Sherwin Williams' collection.
  • My handmade "HOLLOW Clayworks" sink. I die.
  • The chalkboard!


FYI, NONE of these are affiliate links. Which, I know is kind of a great example of me leaving money on the table, but at the end of the day, this project was for US and I don't need any brands dictating what products I should put our home. Everything we used for this transformation was sourced by myself and Kim. Who is a dream of a designer and shares my passion for great design and quality.


Floor Tile - Name: Agadir Grey GR 8x8 // Source: Saltillo Tile // Installed by Westport Flooring

Wallpaper - Name: Diamante (Gray) by Laundry Studio // Source: Hygge and West

Front Door - Colour: Coral Reef (SW1074) // Source: HGTV Home for Sherwin Williams // Construction by A Brown Construction.

Closet Door - Name: "Lincoln Park" // Source: Classic Wood Mouldings Ottawa

Closet Door Handle - Name: Octagon Knob in Satin Brass // Source: Emtek



Floors - Name: Mannington Adura Plank // Colour: Essex Oak -Honeytone // Source: Westport Flooring

Cabinetry - Custom Made by A Brown Construction

Handles + Knobs - ISLAND Name: Sea Grass Collection in Golden Champagne // Source: Amerock

Cabinetry Handles -  Name: // Source: Wayfair

Knobs for Desk - Name: Oberon Knob in Golden Champagne // Source: Amerock

Hood Fan - 30" Presto Wall Mount Hood Fan by Ancona // Source: Wayfair // Brass Detail - Custom Made by Ottawa Brass Limited

Shelf Brackets - Name: J Brackets for Floating Shelves // Source: Cascade Iron Co

Wallpaper - Name: Diamante (Gray) by Laundry Studio // Source: Hygge and West

Wall Colour - Greek Villa (SW4030) // Source: HGTV Home for Sherwin Williams

Beam - Custom created from pine boards by A. Brown Construction, stained with a matte finish urethane

Interior Door Style - Name: "Lincoln Park" // Source: Classic Wood Mouldings Ottawa

Interior Door Handle - Name: Octagon Knob in Satin Brass // Source: Emtek

Backsplash - Name: Daltile Structured Effects Crackled Pearl 3" x 6" // Source: Home Depot

Wet Bar Backsplash - Name: Inspired Zellige Styled Clay Tiles (green) // Source: Saltillo Tile

Wet Bar Sink: Handmade by HOLLOW Clayworks

Wet Bar Faucet: Name: Brass Drinking Faucet // Source: Amazon

Counters - MAIN COUNTER - Name: Nordic White Quartz // ISLAND + WET BAR COUNTERS - Name: Calacatta Borghini // Source: Expressive Granite

Mirror - Name: Gaynor // Source: Structube

Lights - Name: Cournoyer 1-Light Pendant by George Oliver // Source: Wayfair

Island Colour - Name: Cascade Green SW0066 // Source: HGTV Home for Sherwin Williams

Bar Stools - Name: Louisa Barstool // Source: Wayfair



Floor -Name: Merola Tile Gotham Hex Antique White with flower // Source: Home Depot Home Depot 

Vanity - Red Oak-Canlak w. Wiping Stain Colour "Inspiration" // Source: Custom Made by A. Brown Construction

Counter - Name: Calacatta Borghini // Source: Expressive Granite

Sink - Name: Horvik // Source: Ikea

Faucet - Name: Insjon (Brass) // Source: Ikea

Wallpaper - Name: Mermaids (Shell Pink) by Dinara Mirtalapova // Source: Hygge and West



Floor Tiles - Name: 12" x 24" Dolomite Bianco Floor Tile // Source: Lowes

Rug - Name: Foti Handtufted Pink and Grey Area Rug by Bungalow Rose // Source: Wayfair

Wall Colour - Name: Colonnade Grey (SW7641) // Source: HGTV Home for Sherwin Williams

Settee - Name: Madeline Settee by Langley Street // Source: Wayfair

Pedestal Table - Name: Kondo Pedestal Dining Table by Mercer 41 // Source: Wayfair

Chairs - Name: Houston // Source: Structube Artwork - Black Bear Charcoal // Source: Mississippi North



Couch - Name: Grandin Sofa by Bungalow Rose // Source: Wayfair

Coffee Table - Name: Payton Coffee Table by Langley Street // Source: Wayfair

Chairs - Name: Spraggins Arm Chair (seafoam) // Source: Wayfair

TV Console - Name: Chew Stoke TV Stand by Corrigan Studio // Source: Wayfair

Light Shade + Palm Leaves - Custom