Thursday, June 28, 2012

Kitchen Renovation

The number one piece of advice I would give someone who is about to tackle a major home renovation ... ... TAKE "BEFORE" PICTURES! I had no idea how different our home would look once we finished... I am kicking myself now that I don't have the proper "before" pictures to show how much work really went in to each project. That being said, I am not completely empty handed. I do have a before picture of our kitchen, though the kitchen is not the main focus, it will have to suffice. 

Here is our kitchen before. 

As you can see, it was outdated and in need of a lot of work. Not only were the cabinets out of style, they were just too small. The appliances were old and barely working. The old Formica countertops were not durable and they were UGLY!! All of that being said, our kitchen was still the gathering place of our guests. We knew we had to make it more accommodating for big groups, as we both love to entertain.

When Vladimir decided to raise the ceiling, he realized the wall separating the kitchen from the living area was not a bearing wall. He decided to tear it out and open up the entire space.

The next step was designing the layout of our new space. We had been purchasing our appliances one by one for about a year or two, so that it wouldn't end up being one large expense. Once we had all the appliances and cabinets, we used Ikea's online kitchen designer to help draw out our ideas. As you can see here, we started out knowing where we wanted our fridge. After that, the rest of our kitchen fell into place.

This shot is midway through the process. We fell in love with these gorgeous, dark brown, bamboo cabinets that Vlad discovered at work, (OZ Enterprises). We also picked out a rich black granite. We were worried that the combination of the two would make our kitchen appear too dark; but we couldn't bear to part with either. Our solution was to have lighter cabinets on top. We settled on Ikea vertical stainless steel cabinets with horizontal white glass cabinets underneath. 

Vladimir had always wanted a giant kitchen island. He decided to use an entire slab to make it. How many Eastern European men does it take to carry a granite slab? Nine! (Vlad took a break to take the picture ;) )

I picked out this gorgeous backsplash from Lowe's. We both agreed on it several months before we started the renovation. Just like with the appliances, we bought each panel one by one over several months instead of buying them all at once. Vladimir added lighting underneath the cabinets to shine down on the countertop, which you can see in the next photo.

Vladimir didn't want to have any seams on the countertop, so he opted for a wood butcher slab instead! Not only does it break up the dark granite, but is also extremely convenient!

Here is a shot of the kitchen all finished. It turned out sleek, modern, and just plain beautiful. We could not be more happy with the results! 

Is your kitchen modern or traditional? 

<3 Lauren

Ps. Click on the "home renovation" label to see all of the posts about our renovations :) 


  1. Wow, what a transformation! I agree totally about the before pictures, I always forget that part. Even with my kitchen I'm realizing I missed some angles. Oh well. The new kitchen is beautiful and I'm sure you LOVE having it done! I'm especially impressed by the use of the butcher block to avoid having seams, brilliant!!

    Thanks for sharing your after photos, so inspired now to get mine done!

  2. Wow Lauren! You and your husband should get a show on HGTV....I'm obsessed with that channel and would totally watch you guys!

    1. Thanks Jenna! We've been having a lot of fun renovating... Vladimir knows how to do everything!

  3. Um wow — what a total transformation and major renovation! Where to start?

    1. How can I get 9 Eastern European men over here to the fan? haha
    2. May we ask how you keep your stainless steel appliances clean and streak-free? We have the hardest time finding the right solution, even branded stainless steel cleaners and wipes haven't worked for us!

    Anyhoo — loving the blog!

    1. haha Thanks so much!
      1. I suggest to offer a bottle of vodka... usually does the trick ;)
      2. It seems to be impossible to prevent fingerprints, so we're extra careful about that. As for cleaning, once every couple months I apply Sheila Shine, which is a protective polish. For everyday cleaning I use Weiman's Stainless Steel polish; it works great! Never leaves streaks :)

  4. Superb Post,I have spent a lot of time to gain effective info,I liked it very much,Thanks for sharing this post.

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  5. I'm looking into kitchen renovations in Halifax, it's good to see yours turned out so well. Wish me luck!