Before & After: Chania’s Cottage Kitchen in Ontario

Chania submitted these before and after photos of her kitchen in Ontario for my contest and I love how she gave the space some much-needed personality. She says that when they bought this tiny cottage, “it showed like a dog with fleas. The kitchen was so ho-hum, it was crying out for a makeover.”

Chania says, “I painted all the cupboards, changed the hardware and added lots of authentic collections that I found in the Grey Bruce region of Ontario where the cottage is.”

“My favourite part is the island. It was a horrible laminate with green counters. I found 2 old doors and had a neighbour friend panel the island with them. He then covered the counters with authentic barnboard that he got from a farmer who was tearing his barn down….part of why I loved this kitchen.”

For more photos and information about this makeover, visit Chania’s blog.

Julia-simple teal signature

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…
Chris's builder basic kitchen dark cabinets before
This is how Chris's kitchen looked shortly after she moved in--but it didn't stay this way for long. She started by painting the cabinets in…

See More


  1. Alie B says

    What a transformation! I love that the original cupboards were given a facelift, rather than trashed and replaced. That island is to die for! And the buffet is a bit like yours, Julia, only white! :-)

  2. Colleen says

    I love the makeover, another attestation to what a coat of paint can do! And that is the only way to do an island, with a step up to hide the mess in the kitchen when you are at the dining table. Without that, forget it! We redid our first floor and that was my MUST.

  3. Miss Emily says

    What a great job! Re-using what’s still good instead of throwing it all away for the latest fad. It looks very nice and crisp! Excellent!

  4. says

    What a great transformation!!!

    She did an amazing job here and I love the results. :-)

    Have a Wonderful day Julia and thank you for the mention the other day. I appreciate it, my friend.


    Luciane at

  5. says

    Love it, a very cute makeover. Love tiny cottages, have you added any new ones to your cottage page recently? *going to check*

  6. says

    I am loving all these “real life” make-overs. It is so fun to see the individual personalities that are manifested in these creative designs! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Melissa L. says

    Actually, I like both versions of this kitchen. The new remodel is more up-to-date and fits the current trends, but I liked the colors and restraint in the original version too. I wonder what the very large white box is above the stove?

  8. LoriD says

    Love that island. Need to find someone who is tearing down a barn!

  9. says

    Hi Julia! I pop in on your blog quite frequently…but thought today I’d actually say, ‘hello’ since we’re both hanging out at Emily’s. :) Loved reading your answers…I’m hoping some of that prowess rubs off on my and I can eventually leave my day job! xoxo

  10. Laura says

    I also love that she worked with what she had. The lighting fixture is great, and so is the rest of the decor. Well done!

  11. ShabbyChick says

    One word: perfect. She has my decorating style. I love the rustic countertop and all the fun little homey touches…I’m a sucker for the “collected over time” look. 😉

  12. Terry says

    My kitchen isn’t (yet) as cozy as this one but I painted my cabinets from builder’s honey oak to white and the transformation was breathtaking. I plan to take out the existing counter tops and replace them with wood (one thing at a time). I can’t wait. I think about it all the time. I also am putting in wood floors. My husband thinks I am NUTS! “Wood in the kitchen, with all that water?!” I asked him about the thousands of years of wooden boats. That has stopped the chatter for a while. I will show him this kitchen, which should shut him up for good! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!

  13. Terry says

    I was out of town for about 4 days and just catching up. The Kardashian site is closed? Really? Just wanted to say that some things are sacred. I hope this is a Kardashian-free zone. That’s it. Nothing snarky. Was just surprised.

  14. Terry says

    PS: I meant to say that I was surprised that she made it on to this site.

  15. says

    What a beautiful transformation! It doesn’t even look like the same space, they did a fantastic job!!

  16. says

    Great makeover Chania! And yes, those wooden barn planks are wonderful and make the kitchen!! Really good job.

  17. Lori Sellers says

    If there were an award for best cosmetic kitchen redo, this should win! The bardboard and old door on the island are brilliant. Of course, I might be biased. I have those exact same puke orange cabinets. I’m going out and buying a can of paint…

  18. says

    Oh my! I LOVE the countertops on the island! But I think my favorite thing about this kitchen is that it is so personalized with sweet little collectibles, like the globes and vintage tins. Charming!