Our move is quickly approaching–we are now talking in terms of days, rather than months–so I’m frantically trying to photograph our home before tearing it apart. Inevitably, now that I feel like I’ve finally (mostly) finished decorating, it’s time to move! But we simply can’t let things get boring. 🙂

Here’s the first room up in the Great Home Tour that I have planned: the kitchen! It’s my favorite room of the house and the place where I spend most of my time. I’ve included a little collage of “before” photos, two of which are from the home listing. The previous owners did a wonderful job updating many aspects of the kitchen; it was already a really nice space when we moved in. So, rather than being a dramatic blow-by-blow of a major kitchen overhaul, this is more a story of small upgrades and touches that transformed the space into my ideal cooking domain and family workstation. For me, decorating is all about personalization, functionality, and hospitality, and that’s what I’ve worked for in our kitchen.

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kitchen before collage (1).jpg

Adding barstools and pendant lights gave the kitchen more shape and turned the counter area into more of a hangout space. I do most of my work at that counter with a big, steaming mug of coffee next to me. It makes me feel like I’m working at a coffee shop bar…in my house. 🙂

The biggest upgrade we undertook was the subway tile backsplash. I spent more than a year agonizing over whether it would look silly to install subway tile in such a small area. Finally, we went for it, and I felt like I had a brand-new kitchen! I chose light gray grout and then painted the (previously dark beige) walls of the kitchen area a matching gray. (Here I must pause to applaud our handyman, Gary, who did an absolutely perfect job on the tiles and trim. Jordan did his share of work, too.) The tile makes everything feel brighter, and it helps the cabinet color to make more sense. 

Let’s talk about those green cabinets for a minute. The previous owners had added trim to the old cabinet doors (brilliant!) and then painted everything this interesting shade of green. Honestly, it’s been on my list for three years to paint the cabinets a glossy white, but that’s just a really annoying job. I may tackle it when we move back, but the green has grown on me. And it’s a good thing, too, because guess what color the cabinets in our California house are? YOU GUESSED IT. Apparently green cabinets are my destiny. I might as well embrace it.


One of the first projects we tackled in the kitchen was the Julia Child-esque chalkboard pegboard for cookware. It’s a priority for me to have my most reached-for tools easily accessible; plus, it made sense to utilize the vertical space for storage. And I actually enjoy putting away the pots and pans, purely because it’s fun to hang them where they belong! 

The rugs are strategically placed to hide a LOT of ugly cracks in the tile floor. Someday, those tiles just need to go (hardwoods, pretty please!), but in the meantime, an oversized jute rug is the perfect cheap/comfortable solution.


The antique table was a family hand-me-down, but on a typical day you can’t see it because it’s covered in mail and miscellaneous junk. The mail organizer on the wall has helped a bit with my paper pile problem, though. A bit.

We also added the over-the-door shelf for handy cookbook storage (and to feature my beloved winking owl cookie jar, which belonged to my great-grandfather), as well as the shelf in the coffee station. Speaking of which, it’s a major priority for us to have coffee close at hand ALL THE TIME. Yes, we like coffee. And tea. And local honey of many varieties. Mmmm.The numbers over the bay window are to help us remember our anniversary (because, you know, we forget).


Adding hardware to the cabinets and drawers was another simple upgrade that made everything feel fresher. (If you’re in the mood for a change, try adding/switching up hardware…you won’t regret it!) Strategically-placed hooks help to save counter/drawer space and keep essentials within reach. (Pro tip: Hobby Lobby has half-price hardware sales every other week, and they source from the same places as Anthro!)

So, that’s it: the place where I spend 90% of my waking hours at home. Take a close look, because you’ll never see my kitchen this neat again! (I’ll go ahead and tell you that the top secret weapon that makes photos of ANY space look decent is actually one simple task: move the piles and all the random junk to the next room before snapping away. There, now you know the truth.)

Towels, plants, plant pots, pot holders: Ikea
Hardware: Lowe’s
Pottery mugs: various artists (but I have to give a shoutout to Forman Pottery for making my favorite mugs and the baby mug for Sam, which was given to us)
Soap dispenser, clock: Target
Pitchers: Home Goods
Bar stools, metal chairs, jute rug, metal cart, pendants: World Market
Bookshelf, stainless brackets: Home Depot
Hooks, oven mitts: Anthropologie
Horse head hook, metal numbers: Hobby Lobby
White wall organizer: Ballard Designs Backroom
Wooden bench: Handmade by my brother
Everything else: Thrifted

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