Small Kitchen Remodel Before and After

Photos: Bob Beacham

When we moved into our current home, we sacrificed space for the opportunity to live by the sea. Smaller spaces don’t really matter if you spend a lot of time outdoors. A decision we have never regretted, with the exception of the kitchen, which was cramped and poorly organized.

My wife and I had built two kitchens before, but on those occasions we had more space to work and a blank canvas because we had built the entire structure of these rooms from scratch. This time we had to work inside the existing walls, and in the beginning we didn’t even know what the walls were made of.

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Out with the old one

before and after kitchen

Photo: Bob Beacham

We wanted to keep the floor tiles, which are pleasantly neutral and run through most of the ground floor. Everything else had to go.

The first task was to remove the existing cabinets, which we didn’t see as a problem. The previous owner had used many more screws than necessary, making it a tedious but not difficult task.

We always planned to upgrade the electrics because there were fewer lights and sockets than we wanted. Uncovering the existing wiring made this necessary. It’s not an area I have any skills in so we brought in a local contractor to make it safe. The plumbing pipes were in poor shape too, but I was able to replace them myself.

Bare walls

small kitchen remodeling before and after

Photo: Bob Beacham

The existing wall tiles were originally white but yellowed with age and some were cracked. Ordinarily we would have attacked them with an SDS hammer drill and chisel drill. It was a safer way to do this manually as we weren’t sure of the underlying structure.

In fact, the first layer of tile showed another layer of tile underneath, which was likely from the 1960s when the house was being built. These were attached to the wall with a half-inch thick mortar pad.

My wife and I have done a lot of remodeling and normally we would install drywall. However, it would take a lot of work to clean up the existing subsoil, so I called a friend who is a building contractor. He advised removing the rest of the first layer and then applying a waterproof layer of plaster. It would retain its strength, be faster and more resistant to moisture.

Brighter and brighter

small kitchen remodeling before and after

Photo: Bob Beacham

My wife is a ceramic artist and loves to paint and decorate. She has a much better eye for design and color than I do. She chose light blue cabinets with brushed steel handles that are light and modern but have a little trim so they aren’t devoid of features. The hanging cabinets are higher than the previous ones, which means we have the same storage space without anything on the opposite wall. It opened up the space tremendously.

The walls were painted white (more on that in a moment), as was the existing interior door, which was previously made of pine and was painted matt brown.

We bought a flat hood to install in the cabinet above the hob. It has two spotlights that illuminate this area. We installed LED lighting under the rest of the closets to illuminate the main food prep area. Finally, we attached a 4-way spotlight rail to the ceiling for general lighting.

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Space saving

small kitchen remodeling before and after

Photo: Bob Beacham

The kitchen is only 9 by 6 meters and has a small niche that can accommodate a refrigerator. We’ve thought long and hard about how to use the area efficiently and how we position the hob, oven, sink and dishwasher to maximize space.

Moving the microwave up from the countertop against the wall will reveal a useful area to the left of the sink. The new sink is 30 percent larger than the old one without a drainer. Since the drainer now protrudes over the dishwasher, we have also gained space in the middle of the worktop.

Base cabinets are now more like deep drawers than cabinets (with the exception of the one under the sink). The drawers offer just as much storage space, but are surprising how much more pleasant they are to use. Picking up and picking up items is much easier than reaching into the back of low cabinets.

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Unique ceramics and art

small kitchen remodeling before and after

Photo: Bob Beacham

The finishing touches that make it extra special for us are a large mandala mural painting my wife Xandra and her handcrafted tiles for the backsplash. There are 21 of these, and each one has a unique embossing pattern. They add both color and texture while remaining easy to keep clean.

Final thoughts

small kitchen remodeling before and after

Photo: Bob Beacham

The only natural light in the kitchen comes from the glass front door. By changing the cupboards and painting the walls, the light can be reflected in the room. Even in normal daylight, the difference is pretty dramatic. There is an open and tidy feeling that makes it seem a lot bigger than it is. We are thrilled with the result.

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