How to Renovate a Tired Kitchen

When buying an older home, you fall in love with its character and charm.  As you settle into your home, you begin to realize this kitchen isn’t working with your lifestyle.

So how does one consider a kitchen renovation without voiding all of the pretty details that made you fall in love? You can consider some points making your kitchen the heart of the home.

You can certainly renovate your home in a thoughtful manner that makes the new kitchen seem like it’s always been there.  Are you overwhelmed yet?  Here are my thoughts of what it takes to successfully transform the kitchen  

Image of kitchen utensils on countertop
Kitchen Accessories Image

Space and Function
For the Kitchen

Any old home has its quirks. Each room has its own distinct space and there was no such thing as
“open concept”.  As a designer, I quickly look at the layout of the existing spaces on the first floor. Most often, homeowners are dealing within working in the constraints of the existing house footprint.

  • Opening up existing doorways to become larger and match the trim work. This perhaps, is the most “open-concept” one may be able to execute.
  • Did you ever consider flipping the uses of a room? For example, is the dining room much larger than the actual kitchen? Perhaps, consider relocating the kitchen to the current dining area. When working with a contractor, I ask the feasibility of moving the kitchen and the cost implications.
  • If the kitchen footprint needs to stay, you can also think about utilizing every nook of that kitchen and integrate more functional storage.  It may perhaps be just changing the location of an appliance that will make all of the difference in the space. Is there way to tuck the refrigerator in the kitchen. Reconfiguring or relocating the appliances or even cabinetry may just do the trick.
  • In the last kitchen renovation I had completed, all it took was to remove the dishwasher and relocate it next to the sink. That meant that the peninsula had to be removed. Guess what? We removed the peninsula, and made room for cabinetry along an unused wall within the existing kitchen. The homeowner gained an additional 7 feet of countertop space!  It took the cramped kitchen and really opened up the flow of the space.
Architectural Interior Detail

Architectural Details & Elements:
Keeping the Charm in the Kitchen Renovation

As  a designer, I look at the architectural details of the exterior and interior of the home. When considering materials and architectural details, think about incorporating these house elements into the kitchen.

  • Are there stained wood trim or built-ins throughout the home?  Would you like to add a touch of vintage charm by using painted cabinets in historic paint colors and then repurposing a furniture piece to become a peninsular or small kitchen storage.
  • How do door hardware in the home drive the choices for selecting the appropriate cabinet pulls or knobs? Take cues from elements within the home you love and try to complement new materials and products that reflect the vibe.

New Materials and Finishes

This leads me to the last point.  Keep the good old stuff but bring in the new pieces carefully into a project.

Some items that you can include being new but nod to the charm:

  • Kitchen tile backsplash
  • Countertops
  • Appliances

Many manufacturers are creating new products that can be customized or even look “vintage”. I hope these guidelines help you dive into your next renovation adventure.  



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