Apt. Makeover: My Kitchen

contemporary kitchen makeoverThere is no actual dining room in this apartment but with a large kitchen it gave us options:
1. Divide the space into distinct areas for kitchen prep and formal dining
2. Pretend it’s a dining room with a wall of kitchen stuff
3. Build an island and create a big dine-in kitchen

kitchen makeoverThe Kitchen Before
I would have never even thought of option #2 but that is how the former tenant presented it to us. With a six-person mahogany dining table, seven-foot wide china cabinet, and full bar, she had created a dining room within her kitchen. But why? Was it a hate for cooking? A love of take-out dinner parties? I don’t really understand why someone would snub their kitchen with zero-prep space and a fortress of furniture, but I knew this was not the route for us.

The Kitchen After
For Mike and me, number #3 was the obvious choice. We wanted a dining area that could double as a hang-out space–because you do that a lot more often than you throw 12-person dinner parties. The casual set-up of an island encourages guests to pull up a seat while you cook and, even when there aren’t enough chairs to go around, leaning on the table is never rude. Plus, the extra storage and prep-space are invaluable.


Constructing the Island
Now all we needed to do was figure out how to build it. We spoke to a few carpenters, looked at a few ready-made options but for our basic specs and budget, IKEA parts were our best option. While most IKEA items can be built with an Allen key, their islands, on the other hand, take a circular saw and an aspiring handyman. Good thing I have both in my house because, otherwise, I would have been in over my head (see Mike miraculously build this thing).

Selecting Chairs
With the goal of making this a dining table/hang-out area, comfortable chairs were key. Also from the wondrous IKEA, the Glenn stools were the perfect choice. The back has the perfect pitch to sit upright and it has a little give for leaning. With chairs tucked in, placemats out, and candles lit this workhorse of a table can actually feel romantic.

Wall Art
When it comes to selecting art for your home, I think the kitchen is the one place you can get a little kitschy. In our case we’ve done this with an homage to Hoboken-born Frank Sinatra on one wall (see record framing project) and a red cartoon-like painting of nameless Revolutionary War patriot taken from a fraternity at Mike’s old college.

The Fixed Parts
Of the kitchen elements that we inherited—appliances, countertops, cabinets–the Home-Depot-Does-Tuscany chandelier was the one thing I could not tolerate. It brought the whole kitchen back to the 1990s and it needed a modern replacement ASAP. The Firefly five-pendant light was the perfect swap. Clean lines and bubbly shades, it can go from task-lighting to mood lighting with the turn of dimmer.

Next up in the house tour…the guest bedroom


  1. Ann said:

    Loving your house tour – thanks for letting us all in. Looking forward to your guest bedroom – I loved your bedroom – inspired me to go ahead and buy my white bedside tables.. I've waited years for something more than a chair beside our bed – so thank you! Cheers, Ann

    March 31, 2010
  2. […] with the textured geometric towel set hanging on the door. Next up in room makeover series . . . the kitchen &mdash Anne E. Collins   SeeingDesign.com Share This Blog […]

    April 7, 2010
  3. Kris said:

    Saw your blog through Apartment Therapy, congratulations on the mention there. I love your house. My dad was from Hoboken (also a big Sinatra fan, as it seems you or your husband also is). I added my email, looking forward to reading your blog.

    April 9, 2010
  4. Kris said:

    Saw your blog through Apartment Therapy, congratulations on the mention there. I love your house. My dad was from Hoboken (also a big Sinatra fan, as it seems you or your husband also is). I added my email, looking forward to reading your blog.

    April 9, 2010
  5. Marika said:

    Anne, I am loving this blog. Keep em coming. I was happy to see the pictures from teh Jamaica trip… exactly what I envisioned. I must go!
    This is a great inspiration to get my site off the ground. Looking forward to reading more!

    April 14, 2010
  6. Anonymous said:

    Wow what a design. It is much attractive and also comfortable for sitting and also for taking dinner on sitting on it. I am much impressed and randomly my eyes wants to see this design after and after.

    Fitted kitchen

    February 17, 2011
  7. Kitchen said:

    This is one of the best kitchen, I think the make over is to good, I like your selection about the chair, wall art and others kitchen furniture.

    March 19, 2011
  8. Anonymous said:

    Looking forward to your visitors bedroom – I loved your bedroom – inspired to go and buy my white Nachttischen.Dies is a great inspiration to get my website off the ground.
    Web design rochdale

    March 28, 2011
  9. Anonymous said:

    A new kitchen is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give yourself and your family. Home, kitchen, where the night chats, homework sessions and casual celebration (the best kind of,!) is to take place naturally. Such memories are made here.
    Mens Trainers

    April 19, 2011
  10. Kitchens said:

    Although things are really bang on in your kitchen like kitchen counter tops , dinning table and flooring color etc. Nice to share such a fascinates kitchen.

    May 13, 2011
  11. Anonymous said:

    I want a new  design decoration for my home kitchen and this kitchen design and also that color looking very nice. I am so feel a glad for that and I bring that type kitchen design.

    Fitted kitchen

    June 10, 2011
  12. Anonymous said:

    Here these all kitchen looking really very nice and it looking so impressive. These all kitchen design and decoration are really great and best for me. I really want to decorate my kitchen as this type.
     sports injuries in Knutsford

    July 9, 2011
  13. Pieter West said:

    I love the picture after the renovation. Really Its looks fabulas and beauti ful . I will also update my kitchen like this deisign. I fell in love with this design…Thaks for sharing these pictures….:)
    kitchen renovation

    July 21, 2011

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