Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Renovation – Before

kitchen renovation

Let’s talk about my biggest project to date, our Kitchen Renovation! From the moment we walked into our new house I knew the kitchen had to GO!!!! While yes it was white which was a line item on my list for our realtor it was soooo dated and falling apart. In fact during the initial walkthrough I opened a cabinet and half the white coating flaked off ????. I joked that since I broke it now we had to buy it!

CTG Melissa Arlena Kitchen Before 123

Beyond the cabinets falling apart the countertop was old and cheap. Plus it had that 2 level bar thing going on. Everyone I’ve ever talked to with that setup says the same thing, stuff just accumulates on the bar part. No idea why but it totally does!

CTG Melissa Arlena Kitchen Before 108

As we moved in and started actually using the kitchen I realized just how awful the layout was. Let me take a step back here and tell you a tiny bit about our house. It is a one level home with 15ft tall ceilings and very open concept which I like.

There is only one wall in the main area and it blocks the kitchen from the rest of the house. I knew that wall had to go as soon as we toured the house. It’s only a half tall wall so no worries about being load bearing or anything. Between the wall and the kitchen being U shaped you have to walk in a giant circle all the time to go into or out of the kitchen. Days that I’m cleaning the house I get 10k steps just walking around!!

CTG Melissa Arlena Kitchen Before 106

So back to that kitchen layout and a big reason for a kitchen renovation! We have 2 full size upper cabinets and 2 small uppers (over the fridge and stove). There is one tall 18″ pantry cabinet and then 5 lower cabinets, so 10 in total. At our old home we had 16 cabinets and at least one was the throw things in and shut it nightmare.

Y’all can do the math and realize there is no way we have been able to fit all our stuff into 10 cabinets and you would be correct! We have at least 12 boxes stacked in the kitchen waiting to be opened and we are currently using a dresser for extra storage. It’s a hot mess express going on in here! I promise it will make a good before photo for Pinterest but only once it’s paired with my after photo!

CTG Melissa Arlena Kitchen Before 102

We live in one of those neighborhoods where there are 3-4 house styles so there are other versions of our house all over the place, including right next door and across the street. I spent hours searching Zillow for photos of houses that are for sale or sold recently with our layout trying to see what they’ve done in their kitchen renovation. I looked at at least 2 dozen and only 1 had the same idea I had to knock down the wall between the kitchen and the living room! The rest just have updated the current layout with newer cabinets. I’m angling to get a tour of the one that knocked down the wall lol!

CTG Melissa Arlena Kitchen Before 120

See that dishwasher in the photo below? Let me tell you what a huge pain it is to have it in that spot. You literally have to unload all the dishes, kids plates and bowls onto the counter because you can’t reach the upper cabinet with the door open. An efficiency expert would tear their hair out! I find it completely annoying to unload a dishwasher this way! I have no idea how 95% of the other people in my neighborhood live with this!

CTG Melissa Arlena Kitchen Before 113

When we first looked at the place we knew we’d have to budget for a kitchen renovation. David was trying to reign me in and said it might take 18 months. I was ready to swing a sledgehammer the moment we closed! I told him 6 months was my goal to thoughtfully plan out a new design, get all the materials and get the project underway. After about 6 weeks of living with the kitchen as is he asked me if we could have it done by Christmas because he can’t stand it, I laughed and told him nope he’d have to wait! I also reminded him of his 18 month timeline to which he promptly changed the conversation ????

CTG Melissa Arlena Kitchen Before 114

As you can see there is a lot of space in this house but it just wasn’t being utilized properly. For some reason the original design expected people to have a breakfast nook, kitchen and family room in half the space and a formal living room in the other half. I could not fathom wasting half the house on a formal space! So the wall came down and we changed the game! Stay tuned to see the kitchen renovation update with our gorgeous Cabinets to Go kitchen!

Check out my previous favorite DIY and design project when I redid our fireplace and added built-ins at our old house!

Kitchen Renovation – Before

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    Melissa Arlena is an award winning Richmond and Charlottesville photographer. She recently earned her Master Photographer Certification in the Maternity, Newborn & Family categories from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers. Melissa offers maternity, lifestyle newborn, and family photography in her relaxed, natural, and joyful style.


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