6 Dramatic Kitchen Makeovers

Kelly's kitchen before renoOriginally I thought after I announced my kitchen contest in October, I’d simply show my favorite 10 in November, and we’d choose a winner by December. But so many readers submitted photos that I’m STILL sorting through them all. Every day this week I’m going to show you some of the best before & afters you sent in, and I’m kicking it off with 6 of them, starting with Kelly’s kitchen reno.

Kelly writes, “My husband John, our Havanese Rylee and I live in a charming suburb of Philadelphia, PA called Narberth. Narberth is where we bought our first home together in August of 2009. The day we settled was the day my husband actually purposed. As you can imagine, the house is very special to us as it was the start to our new life together.”

Kelly and John's kitchen after reno

“My husband is a general contractor full time (JP Custom Home Construction) so we opted to buy a fixer upper. We completely gutted the house and turned it into exactly what we wanted. We demolished it down to the studs and even re-did all of the plumbing and electric.”

Kelly and John's kitchen after reno 2

orange-line2. Liz’s Kitchen:

Liz's kitchen before reno

Liz writes, “After almost 3 months of construction, our kitchen is finally complete. And we couldn’t be happier with the results.”

Liz's kitchen after reno 2

For more photos and details about her kitchen makeover, visit Liz’s blog Designing Domesticity.

Designing Domesticity-Liz's range after reno


3. John & Jill’s Kitchen:

Jill's kitchen before reno

Jill writes, “Cooking for my family of six and cleaning up afterward is a breeze with my new kitchen!  I love that family and friends can come over and enjoy each other just hanging out in the kitchen. Induction cooking helps get a meal on the table quickly and my kids love the microwave drawer–they can reach it!  Sunshine comes into the kitchen now that we have taken out some walls to enjoy open concept living.”

Jill's kitchen after reno

See more photos and get all the details about the reno on Jill’s blog.

orange-line4. Josie’s Kitchen

Josie's kitchen before reno

Josie writes, “We built our home in 1997, which was at the tail end of the brass hardware and laminate counter top era. At the time we built our home, we didn’t have kids yet and were coming from a small 900-square foot apartment, so anything beyond that was huge in our eyes. When we designed the kitchen, we didn’t realize how small and narrow it would be, but we lived with it for 14 years.”

Josie's kitchen breakfast nook before

“Last summer, we finally took a deep breath and decided that it was time to not only remodel the kitchen to bring it into modern times, but we also decided that if we were going to go through all the work and money to have it remodeled, we may as well make it larger as well to accommodate our family.”

“So, with the help of an architect, we decided to expand our kitchen into what was our old laundry room, ½ bath and back hall coat closet area and then add on a small addition to accommodate those spaces.”

Josie's kitchen after reno 1

“Words cannot describe how much we love our new kitchen. My husband I both come from large Italian families and as with every family, the kitchen is the heart of our home and where everyone seems to gather. So, having all the extra space and large island have made having our friends and family over so much more enjoyable.”

Josie's Italian kitchen after reno cucina

“The goal in designing /decorating our kitchen was to evoke a sense of being in a big Italian kitchen in Italy. I’ve filled it with lots of mementos from my travels visiting my family in Sicily.”

orange-line5. Shawn’s Kitchen:

Shawn's kitchen before reno

Shawn says, “I love my green and cream kitchen because we were able to start from scratch in an older home that we had just purchased, and I got to select every detail to make it my own.”

Shawn's kitchen after reno

“I picked the tile first and made all my other selections around the tile. I like that my kitchen is a bit different, and more functional than fussy. We love cooking and hanging out with guests in this room.”

Shawn's kitchen after reno-range


6. Missi’s Kitchen:

Missi's kitchen before reno

Missi says, “We purchased a foreclosure that had been sitting empty for 3 1/2 years. The kitchen had been pretty stripped and the cabinets were pieced together with all different colors of plywood. We had no appliances or cabinet hardware and it smelled terrible. We gutted the kitchen–tore down walls and created paradise.”

Missi's kitchen after reno blue island

“I love my kitchen because it looks exactly what I always imagined a kitchen should look like for a busy family with 4 teenagers. It is the hub of the house and we spend most of our time around the island or at the banquette in the breakfast nook. It is comfortable, roomy and we are so proud of how it turned out. We had so much fun designing it from start to finish!”

Missi's kitchen after reno lantern pendants

For more photos and info about Missi’s reno, visit her blog Havoc to Heaven.

Missi's breakfast room after reno

Many thanks to all the readers who submitted photos for my contest. I wish I could feature them all! As always, I ask that you keep comments about fellow readers’ houses polite and positive–thanks. You can see the others I’ve featured here: Kitchen Stories.

Stay tuned for a week filled with more great kitchen remodels!

Julia-simple teal signature

master bath 11-12 black bench and new tile
So. Last time we talked about my master bathroom, I was feeling just a teensy bit emotional. We had just gotten new tile installed, which…
Poppy's kitchen before makeover
Poppy is a reader who submitted her makeover for my kitchen contest all the way from the island of Crete in Greece. She calls it…

See More


  1. Kim says

    Gorgeous kitchen makeovers! Each homeowner did such a good job I can’t pick a favorite. I love them all!

  2. Esther George says

    Hi Julia I love everyone of these kitchens it’s hard to choose they have all been done with great style. Till next time Esther from Sydney. PS Your bathroom looks absolutely beautiful I did not leave a comment you had so many to read already.

  3. says

    These are all so great! I love that they are all different! I think Josie’s is my fav of this bunch–gorgeous!!!!

  4. christine droney says

    I love how each kitchen looks so different …Everyone did a fabulous job!

  5. Siobhan says

    I like Liz’s kitchen. The cabinets have a classic quality to them, love the integrated dishwasher and that range is awesome!!. It seems more original than the others. I am getting tired of large, over-grown kitchens with stainless and granite.

  6. Brandy says

    They are all fabulous, but WOW I love Liz’s! That entertainment center in Kelly’s is amazing!

  7. Jen says

    Hi Juila
    Its amazing to see how differerant the kitchens in before & After I love it

  8. MelaniePenelope says

    It’s interesting to me that Josie refers to brass hardware as passe because I find it so fresh, charming and very 2013 (which is part of why I adore Liz’s kitchen). There was a posting around the holidays featuring a lovely Christmas kitchen with brass hardware and I found it to be the perfect…IMO brass hardware seems less dated than granite and Will & Grace era stainless steel. Any thoughts?

  9. Mary says

    They are all wonderful! I like them all. I love before and after photos, so glad you decided to show us more, thank you!

  10. Tracie says

    What a lovely post to wake up to! I love before and after pictures and this one sure is inspiring! I love them all, but Kelly’s is so dramatically different that I’m giving her my vote. I would love to see the rest of that house!

    I really like the trend of making the island completely different than the rest of the kitchen. I’d love to do that in our home.

  11. Bridget says

    All so amazing!! I used to own a couple of appliance stores and used to sell Liz’s range. It’s a Fratelli Onofri and that specific range I sold a lot of – they are really cool in person.

  12. says

    Thanks so much for including my kitchen on Hooked on Houses Julia! I was so excited when I opened up this post and saw my before and afters! Love everyones pictures – what amazing changes!

    • MelaniePenelope says

      Missi, your house is beautiful. I love how you painted the exterior window trims and door.

  13. carrie says

    I am always a little depressed when the “before” pictures all look better than my kitchen. :\ I love the pendants over the island in Missi’s kitchen. The island is awesome too.

  14. maryland mom says

    They are all lovely but sort of a generic mix of current decorating trends, except for Liz’s kitchen. It isn’t really my style, but I give her a lot of credit for doing something original.

  15. Christina from Dallas says

    Well I can honestly say that I love all these kitchens! I can’t believe the before and afters. None of them look like the same kitchen as their before picture.. Wow, great job to all these kitchen redos!

  16. Danielle says

    I love them all – beautiful – but I’m getting a bit tired of the white kitchen thing. Doesn’t anyone renovate and put in wood-toned cabinetry anymore?

  17. says

    All right, which one of them wants to trade ovens with me? I’ll even throw in some stenciled 1980’s wallpaper border to sweeten the deal.

    : )

    Julie M.

  18. Mer says

    Oh, wow….these are all amazing! A lot of the befores are reminiscent of what I see as a real estate agent looking at older homes. It’s fun to imagine what they COULD be… this feature helps me imagine even more possibilities! Great job to all of these homeowners! Happy cooking!

  19. Jeanne says

    I have to say Shawn’s kitchen is my pic between all of these . I love the backsplash . Reminds me of the tiles in my California home .The whole look is cohesive and well planned . Go Shawn .

  20. Lori Tenuto says

    21 years ago I moved to Ga … while looking at resale homes I was told (by our realtor) not to consider purchasing a home that had white or “pickled” kitchen cabinets … BTW at the time I had No idea what “pickled”cabinets were only that when I saw them I Loved them …. for those of you who may not know what “pickled” cabinets are, In my opinion are what we today consider antiqued or white washed. I have always Loved White, cream or light antiqued finished kitchen cabinets and have had them in everyone of my homes. That is until my current home which was a resale so I had no choice. When we listed our previous home only a short 18 months ago we were penalized on our appraisals for the White cabinets ( Go Figure) …. Anyways Im taking a long time to say that every one of the make overs on this blog has white or antiqued cabinets …. and I LOVE them all …. you all have Wonderful taste and your kitchens look Amazing …. And I just want to add that I knew I wasn’t crazy all these years …. well maybe in other departments LOL Glad I took the time to look at this post

    • says

      I, too, love white cabinets. I love white everything. You can add so many wonderful colored accessories. So, you have a fan here.

  21. josie tronconi says

    Hi Julia,
    Thanks for posting our kitchen photos! All of the transformations you posted are just beautiful. I didn’t mean to offend MelaniePenelope regarding the brass hardware. I don’t think brass is passé— in fact we have a great deal of gold accents in our home and still have a large brass chandelier in our foyer. I just grew tired of the shiny brass knobs in our kitchen and was ready for a change.

    I look forward to seeing more beautiful kitchens this week!

    • MelaniePenelope says

      Aww no need to apologize Josie, you didn’t offend me at all! I wonder if my comment came across as snippy ? It really wasn’t meant to be. I really do find it interesting how some people can absolutely love designs while others find them boring or overdone (for example…the comments posted here about cabinet color). In the end what matters is how it functions and if it makes those living with it happy (like partner choice LOL). Anyway, your kitchen looks awesome- thanks for sharing it with us!

  22. Kimberly says

    They’re all wonderful, but I like Missi’s the best. Love how open and roomy it looks, love the island color and the banquette seating. Great job!

  23. Issa says

    I love Kelly, Jill, and Josie’s kitchens. They are my idea of what a homey kitchen is suppose to look like. Good job guys!

  24. says

    I thought that all were beautifully done. The before and after pictures were great. It gave me a real sense of how others design. I really appreciate the work that you did. Missi’s kitchen was my favorite design. Thanks for showing us these pictures.

  25. says

    Hi Julia, thanks for publishing those lovely before and after images. I myself am a kitchen renovator. I just love to see the change a full kitchen makeover does to a room. And you know (I guess these are American Rooms) big and spacious. Brilliant. The way the bright colors just make the room more inviting than those previous dark colors. And I am sure that the clients were just woowed! When they seen the difference. Unfortunately we don’t have rooms that big here in Ireland (well in most homes) but we can still do a great kitchen makeover. And to see the clients joy at the end. Priceless!!!!