Welcome to one of the most mysterious kitchens in Before & After history: A kitchen trapped in an octagonal pen, with a built-in fryer and an oppressively low ceiling that spits in the face of the home’s gloriously high ceilings. After a major investment of time, money, and effort, this kitchen is less… unique, but still full of personality.
This full-length shot reveals how incredibly high the ceiling is and showcases the odd, church-like feel of this kitchen nook. And between the counters and the backsplash, there’s a lot of tile. While the appeal of a closed-off kitchen is certainly understandable, this one might have the worst of both worlds: It has the cramped feeling of a small enclosed kitchen, but all potential mess is on display like in an open-plan kitchen.
The owner of this kitchen, Becky Daly of Daly Digs, reveals what living with the kitchen was really like:
Prior to the renovation, our kitchen was dated, dark, and… orange! There was ’80s orange-toned wood everywhere and the countertops were tile. It had a dropped ceiling that made the area feel small and depressing. There was a weird build-out above the kitchen to support the weight of pre-existing upper cabinets, and the island/bar area was shaped like a half octagon. In addition to the cooktop, there was a built-in grill and even a fryer.
This view from within the octagon reveals that Becky was also dealing with peeling tile.
In this process shot, the lowness of the ceiling is revealed, as well as the closed-in cooking nook. It also demonstrates that very little of that beautiful daylight streaming in on the right actually makes it to the kitchen.
Truth be told: This quirky kitchen could be pretty charming in a cozy cabin. But in what appears to be quite a spacious home, this set-aside kitchen simply seems odd.
Becky shares what led to this renovation, as well as her hopes and dreams for it:
We’ve been working on our house project-by-project since we purchased it almost three years ago. The kitchen was a huge eyesore, and I did not enjoy being in it. It is the largest renovation project we’d tackle in the house, so we had to wait a couple of years until we could do it. As the hub of the home, we wanted the kitchen to be open and bright. We wanted to transform it into an area that was not only functional, but also enjoyable to be in and to create memories in.
This is now such a lovely, bright, and inviting space to cook, eat, chat, and, yes, make memories. The dark floor plays off the pale kitchen, creating a dramatic contrast in an otherwise subtle room full of shimmering highlights. The new island has a massive amount of storage, leaving the wall behind the stove available for open shelves arranged with treasured pieces. And even with all the drawers and cabinets, the island still has more than enough room to seat four guests. The stove itself is no longer trapped in a little enclosure, for a much roomier, more relaxed cooking experience.
Becky didn’t happen to mention the new beam above the island, but installing it was a brilliant touch. It’s a striking focal point that lends the feeling of a much older, original kitchen—which suits the high-quality finishes and ornate faucet and lights—while adding organic warmth and beauty.
While at first glance this might appear to be a white kitchen, there’s actually plenty of variety. Check out the warmth of the veined countertop, the subtle gray backsplash tile from Clé, and all the wood accents.
The magnificent beast of a stove is an AGA—probably the AGA Elise—as is the ventilation hood. The drawer pulls are from Amerock for Less and the countertops are the Calacatta Classic from Quantum Quartz.
As part of the kitchen renovation, we simultaneously renovated the area off of the kitchen including the pantry, mudroom, and powder room—and we added a wet bar. Since we were moving walls and installing new flooring, it made sense to do it all at once. All in all, the entire project cost $65-$70,000.
The kitchen now has an open view of the rest of the space—there are tantalizing glimpses of the newly renovated pantry and bathroom—and the light flows so beautifully, thanks to all the white finishes. The new island is so spacious—there’s plenty of room to work and chat with guests.
My top three favorite aspects about the kitchen are the island, the range, and the wet bar. The island measures nearly 16 feet long so it’s quite a stunner. It’s perfect for entertaining and for guests or my hubby to sit at while I’m cooking. Our new dual-oven gas range is gorgeous and extremely convenient. I love having two ovens and use them both frequently. I also love the open shelves we did on the back wall instead of upper cabinets. They create an opportunity to infuse a little personality in the shelf styling and also house things that are used daily for quick access.
There are two things I would have done differently. First, I would have gone with a larger sink. We have a 30-inch sink cabinet, but due to the vast size of the island, I wish we had selected a 36-inch sink cabinet to accommodate a larger sink. Not a huge difference, but when we first had our countertops installed, the sink looked so tiny on the large island.
The second thing I would’ve done differently is kept all of the cabinets the same color. When I ordered samples from Semihandmade, I fell in love with the antique, creamy color, as well as the darker clay color. I decided to use both in the kitchen, the clay on the island and the antique on the back wall and wet bar. Once everything was installed, I liked the clay cabinets with our flooring and countertops much more than the antique. It’s not a major issue and is something that’s an easy fix if we want to change it down the road.
Regrets are always a bummer, but thank goodness it’s just some of the cabinet doors and not a difficult-to-replace element like the countertop or tile backsplash.
This is the dreamiest nook, full of sparkling glass, creamy white, and gleaming gold. It’s such a civilized, beautiful, wonderfully lit spot to brew coffee or to craft cocktails:
The decision to add a built-in wet bar was such a good one. It doubles as a coffee bar, so we house our espresso machine as well as our liquor and cocktail accessories. It also has a mini fridge. It is super functional and cuts down on the foot traffic in the kitchen when entertaining.
Now that this massive project is over, Becky has four valuable pieces of advice to share:
1. Allot more to the renovation budget than you think. There are always unforeseen costs.
2. Get your hands dirty. Do some of the work yourself, if you can. Even if you’re not that handy, there’s likely something you can do yourself along the way, like demolition. We saved thousands by doing a lot ourselves.
3. Get your hands on your material sample selections before pulling the trigger on finishes.
4. Breathe and try to be patient! It wasn’t fun living in the house during a kitchen reno, but it was all worth it in the end.
Thank you, Becky Daly of Daly Digs!