Thursday, July 19, 2012

A New Kitchen, 25 Years In The Making

For 25 years, our client Debbie stared at dropped ceilings, outdated wooden cabinets and tiles, wood paneling - everywhere; a broken dishwasher and a general mix of not-so-fun items. 
This year she threw in the towel. No more. Recently retired, she decided this would be the time to finally remodel her kitchen and family room. The project later grew to include the living and dining rooms and hallways which we'll reveal in a later post.
Debbie, her husband Ralph, her daughter Chiante, son Chris and her adorable granddaughters Xya and Lailah (love those kids!), lived through the renovation and never once complained. That's a LOT of dust, so my hats off to them for being such amazing troopers and sticking through this with such aplomb.
I have to say that I'm not sure I've ever been more happy for a client. To see the look on her face as she watched her home go through such a dramatic transformation after 25 years of longing, was an amazing thing to witness. I'm extremely happy/honored to have been a part of that and to see how much she beams as she now walks through her home. Without further ado we present:

A Kitchen That Was



 Oh my, where do we begin. Debbie loves to cook. But she admits that it got increasingly hard to be inspired while she cooked, for various reasons: insufficient lighting, a lack of counter top space and cabinet space. She was so uninspired that she never even bothered to replace the broken dishwasher.


Sure there as a pass through to the family room but the rooms still felt disconnected. Ralph is an artist/graphic designer and painted those wall murals in an effort to cheer up the space, and Debbie while she cooked. Lol. At least he tried. The need for a larger gathering space for the family was also pretty evident. We ripped the room apart. Literally. See details here. And then a miracle happened.
A Kitchen Reborn


What a difference a renovation makes! I'm still in awe of the transformation of this space and how much it's transformed our clients' lives. It's speaks true to the claim that a room's decor undoubtedly affects your mood because they have been beaming ever since.


I'm pretty torn, but these bar stools, the granite and those amazing pendant lights from Lowes may be my favorite items. What's yours?


Expresso finished cabinets are the rage. I can't seem to steer clients away from them, even when I try my best. To lighten up the dark cabinets we went with a near white quartz next to a fun yet serene back splash with hints of greys, blues and beige.
Debbie wanted a different stone on the island than the rest of the counter top, which is always a great idea. We used Quartz on the main counter tops and both stopped dead in our tracks when we came across this piece of granite. Nothing else compared so we made the purchase. It is indeed a show-stopper.


I believe wholeheartedly in lighting. I install as much as I can on projects because they make the world of a difference. We installed recessed lights throughout all the rooms, under cabinet lighting, inside cabinet lighting, above the sink lighting and pendant lights above the island. All on different switches to control as they see fit. How cool is it to see what you're actually cooking or what's tucked away in those corners?

Okay. Hold your horses. There's more. Let's take a peak at the adjoining family room, where there was wood paneling for miles. Dated furniture and an awkward layout made for uncomfortable seating for the family.



We removed the wall between the family room and kitchen. And you guessed it, the wood paneling was also removed as was the crazy plastering technique on the walls. Ditto for the fake flowers. Ya'll know how I feel about that. 

Ah, let there be light! We went with a soothing Bunny Gray from Sherwin Williams.
The legs on this media unit are to die for! I'll tell you a secret about them towards the end of this post. Go on. Keep reading.
Since Debbie wanted a different tile in the kitchen than in the rest of the house, we needed to transition well between the two rooms. I used the back splash tile to connect the two rooms. The kitchen tiles are a linen look with an insane shimmer. It is as sexy as a tile can get. These amazing tiles we sourced at the very budget-friendly Floor Decor.

This pub table, and a new bar we'll eventually install, creates yet another seating zone in the family room and will get lots of use when the family entertains.
An over sized sectional was mandatory and we found this budget-friendly and very comfortable one at City Furniture. With the television now anchored on this wall, the family can watch television from the kitchen and family room with ease.

And there you have it. Good things come to those who wait, even if it comes a quarter century later.

Some insider details:
  • We were hired in February to do the kitchen and family room. The living/dining and hallway were added later. We finished the entire project in June but made some final tweaks last week. 
  • The kitchen plans were revised a few times. Most kitchen designs go through several revisions.
  • We had some hiccups. The pantry paneling was not deep enough to house the new refrigerator. I found this out while I was en route to St. Maarten for the day job. It was a mini panic moment since I had to scramble to have the pantry dismantled and redone while not driving up the cost. Let's just say the flight attendant nearly confiscated my phone as I tried to make the changes before we took off. It was quite a moment. Huge thanks to Panda Kitchen for waiving the hefty charges on that. 
  • While cabinets, counter tops and appliances accounted for the bulk of the planned budget, we saved where we could.Curtains in the family room are from Target, but were customized (two different panels were used to create that design). Thanks to the talented designer Asanyah at Circa24 for her amazing skills and work she's done for moi over the years. 
  • Accessories, throw pillows etc..were sourced from the budget friendly Target, Home Goods/Marshalls and we used a boatload of coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond (love that those 20 percent coupons never expire). 
  • Tricks: The media unit is actually a buffet. We loved the legs on it and that it mimicked the legs on the pub table, so we simply made a hole in the back to accommodate all the wiring. 
  • Those amazing stools at the kitchen island were cut to size. The standard 24" was too short and the bar height of 30" was too tall. We ordered 30" and cut them down to a perfect 27". 
And there you have it. It was quite a project (I think my arms still hurt from that demolition) but we're thrilled to the hills with the outcome. 
Thanks again to Debbie and Ralph for trusting us with this massive project and for being so gracious to the team. Yes, Ralph (who's also a DJ) even played lots of reggae music for us to jam to while we worked - and burned us CDs. Too cool for school that dude.
Kudos to my team, Roy, Dennis, Debbie, Shaggy, Vinton and my brother Shomari who flew in from Jamaica to help for a few weeks, and who became BFFs with the clients, as he always does.
Holla back. We'd love to hear your thoughts.

34 comments:

  1. I'm speechless! Everything looks AMAZING, feels as though it's a totally new house. I love the color coordination, from the walls, the back splash, the cabinets, evening came together soooo well. Nicole, you should be HGTV's new design Star!

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    1. Thanks Fran! No way I can do this kinda work on the crazy timelines mandated on that show but thanks. That's a major nod to my skills and I'll take that compliment and run to da bank.

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  2. I am speechless! This Reno looks absolutely AMAZING! I love the entire kitchen, i would never stop cooking if my kitchen looked like that. I love the color coordination in the entire space. Nicole, you should be HGTV's next Design Star! Amazing work!

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  3. Holy smokes...that is a beautiful transformation. I can hardly believe it is the same space! I know it was a lot of work, but I am sure your clients are thrilled to come into their new space. So beautiful!!!

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    1. Sister Sherry! Thanks lady. I know, I have a hard time believing myself when I'm at that house. I'm still haunted by the memories of that drop ceiling. lol

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  4. Amazing job, love the quartz counterd and the buffet table used as an entertainment center.

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    1. Thanks chica! And thanks always for whipping up my crazy designs on such short notice!

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  5. STUNNING TRANSFORMATION!!! Looks like a whole new house. I actually spec'd that media cabinet for a client. Now I can forward your photo so she can see how it will look. Great job!

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    1. Thanks Tammy! Lemme know if the client loves it as much as we did for this design.

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  6. Absolutely amazing, Professional and Stunning!! Great Job!

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  7. Awesome job!! You can tell it was a labor of love....everything looks stunning.

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  8. Great piece, fabulous designs and fantastic work Sis… T’was great being a part of this project as is always. I enjoyed every moment of it.

    I can honestly say that the kitchen looks so beautiful that I don’t think Debbie is ever going to allow her family to ever use it. Ha-ha-ha.

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  10. Ab Fab! Another great job by the NWD team.

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    1. Thanks lady! And thanks again for yet another great referral. No wonder you're on our VIP client list!

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    2. Totally Amazing....I love it, it's beautiful. Will you travel, I live in St. Louis, MO.

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    3. Hi there. Thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, I'd certainly travel or you can use our e-design service.

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  11. CONGRATS Nikki. You go GIRL. Proud of my SISTA!! The rooms look FABULOUS!!!! I loved the creativity with the media center as its so hard to find a nice one with the right height. That was a great idea and its so works. You are inspiring!! Carol Green!!

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  12. Hi Nicole, holy wow!!! What a transformation. We really enjoyed seeing your work. Thanks for the shout out on Twitter. Your friends at HomeGoods

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  13. Wow. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to share their feedback on this wickedly amazing renovation. It was some serious work but we're equally as excited as the Williams family and just happy to see them come alive in their new space.

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  14. I love the look! Especially the transition between the living room and kitchen tiles. Often people use the same flooring for both rooms because the transition will be too difficult to pull off. But it's also BORING! Thanks for sharing such a great tip!

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  15. To say this is gorgeous just isn't descriptive enough! What I loved most was using backslash tiling between the two different flooring. A simple touch that really added a lot of dimension to the space!

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    1. Hi Fem,
      Thanks for stopping by and showing us some love. I've used that backsplash tile transition before. The transition between two floors can be tricky but I've found it's a great trick to keep the spaces connected.

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  16. Awesome I remember its past and what a transformation I am loving it may have to contact you myself.

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    1. Hi Glenda,
      Thanks for stopping by.
      How cool that knew the kitchen of the past, so can truly speak of the massive transformation. Please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.

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  17. Hi, I stumbled across your site (courtesy of my wife) and love that backsplash. Can you tell me what it is (color and material)? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Chris! Your wife is a gem! Purchased the tile at Floor and Decor (not sure where you're based but they have stores across the country). Here's the specifics: sku#31100242 MAR CARRARA WHITE

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  19. WOW - and WOW again! Love EVERYTHING!
    one question - you refer to 'white cabinets' - were they hand-painted, sent out to be sprayed?
    Hoping to have a new kitchen/living room combined reno in the not too distant future..
    MaryB

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    1. Hi there. Thanks for stopping by. I mentioned spray painting white cabinets in another post not this one. We sprayed them on site.

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  20. Beautiful Job! It is so inspiring. You just put everything in my head in concrete form, literally. Everything you did here was what I have been planning for my kitchen renovation. The stainless steel appliances, the quartz and granite countertops, the espresso cabinetry, even the paint color. But I don't have any flooring yet. You showed an amazing tile in the kitchen. What is it? Where can I find it? Kindly point me in the right direction. Once again, a truly AMAZING JOB!

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    1. Hi Rose,
      Glad to hear I got into your head! All the items used are listed above. I also listed them over on Houzz.

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