Before & After: A “Family CEO” Updates Her Kitchen

Julie's white kitchen before makeover cvrJulie is a blogger known as “The Family CEO” who tackles topics like how to pay for your kids’ college (something I’m especially interested in right now since my son is a Senior). She submitted her recent kitchen makeover for my contest and says, “Here’s my first piece of advice on kitchen remodels: don’t schedule one during Thanksgiving or Christmas.” They survived the reno over the holidays, though, and here’s how the room looks now:

Julie's kitchen after makeover cvr

She says, “Our island storage was just one, large space, which meant a lot of towering (and often crashing) stacks of pots and pans. It was removed and a new island was built. We got shelves that slide out for pots and pans, divided vertical storage for cutting boards and cookie sheets, and we discovered we had room to make the island six inches longer, which gave us more countertop on one side of the cooktop.”

Julie's Alabert Cokies plates in kitchen

The white Formica countertops were replaced with granite in Giallo Ornamental.

Julie's kitchen after makeover (1)

The Breakfast Nook Before:

Julie's breakfast nook before makeover

The Breakfast Nook After:

Julie's breakfast nook after makeover

It’s amazing how much bigger the windows look with the new curtains and without the blinds.

“When we took the wood blinds down for painting, we decided we loved having the windows bare. So I scrapped my plan of buying roman shades for the windows and put up drapery panels on rings instead. They’re easy to close at night for privacy, and during the day we can take advantage of the light and view. We’ve had several friends and family ask us if we got new windows.”

Julie's kitchen after makeover (4)

“The main lighting in the kitchen was a large, fluorescent box light. The plastic that covered the light tubes was prone to come crashing down. We replaced it with 4 canned lights and 2 pendant lights over the island.”

arched window over sink redecorated kitchen

Thanks to Julie for sharing her kitchen remodel with us! For more photos and information about the project, visit The Family CEO. To see the other kitchen contest entries, click here. And thanks for keeping the conversation about fellow readers’ rooms positive and polite!

Julia-simple teal signature

All week I’ve been featuring readers’ kitchen remodels. Miss any?

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Chania's cottage kitchen after makeover 4

Josie's kitchen after reno 1

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…
Candice's kitchen before-knotty pine cabs
Candice submitted these photos of her kitchen makeover for my contest, writing, "Our house was built in 1931 and the kitchen was remodeled sometime in…

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  1. CSD says

    What a difference counter tops and paint can make. Love the new curtains and light fixtures.

  2. Kathy ???? says

    What a nice space, amazing how just a few tweaks completely transform…… Thanks for sharing…… Bon appetit

    Kathy ????

  3. Kathy :) says

    Ha ha wonder what’s up with all the ? marks after my name

  4. says

    Chaos to serene. Amazing how getting rid of the wallpaper, blinds, valences created so much GOOD without having to buy a thing!

    Happens often with my clients, “Wish we had gotten rid of ______ years ago.”

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  5. Alie B says

    I love this environmentally friendly reno. Julia, I really appreciate that you are showing some kitchens which have been redone without abusing the landfill and the budget. I also love that the homeowner didn’t change up the pretty furniture, which adds charm and character. :-)

  6. Screendoorgirl 3 says

    Wow! Beautiful job.. I’m glad she kept the wood chairs, it keeps everything homey and warm. Love the windows , too. Thanks for some great inspiration!

  7. says

    Beautiful! I especially like the breakfast nook, as it’s not too fussy and has a calm elegance to it. Looks like the perfect place to have that morning cup of tea. :)

  8. ShabbyChick says

    This is so pretty. I really love the grey granite! (But I’m still in a love coma after Chris’ house yesterday…) 😉

  9. says

    What a beautiful kitchen! And I love Love LOVE the silver loving cup as a utensil holder.

  10. Robin says

    Looks great! Love the windows and curtains. The countertops and paint are wonderful too. I’m interested in the chandelier in the third picture from the top. Looks as though it’s made from wine glasses.

  11. Eileen says

    Beautiful! I love the back splash! Can you tell me what the paint color is? Thanks

  12. says

    Amazing transformation. Such an improvement. That wallpaper was driving me crazy. It looked like it was put up so crooked.

  13. says

    I really like the color of the counters. Nice post to show how you can make a big difference by just changing a few key parts to a room. I think sometimes people go overboard and spend more than they have to for projects like this.

  14. Lisa Smith says

    What a beautiful job! She did a terrific job of updating an already lovely space. I, also, love to see creative uses for things….I am going to polish up my champagne cooler as soon as I get home!!!! (I usually use if for flower arrangements these days, although maybe I need to remind my husband of it’s first “purpose”! We could use a little popping of “the bubbly” it’s so dreary right now!)
    Hope you, Julia, and your family are all clear of the flu now and enjoying a new 2013!

  15. Wanda says

    I really love this one most out of all the ones you have posted. I think because for me it is more true to being a reasonable attainment. I will most likely never have the funds to do a $20-60,000 reno, but this one seems like it would be manageable. I love the white cabinets and the light granite.

  16. Lisa says

    It’s absolutely beautiful! One of my favorite touches is the lush wreath in the center of the kitchen window. So cute! I love the light fixtures, too. Great job!!

  17. says

    What a great update! I really like so many things about it. If that breakfast room wasn’t already the favorite spot in the house, I bet it is now! My hand still cramps at the memory of removing 80’s wallpaper from a former kitchen & nook, so bonus points for all the work I know that was! I love the lanterns above the island. I’m going to pop over to her blog because I’m hoping to see a picture of the island reconfiguration. I, too, have an island with two cavernous cabinets and I’m forever stacking/unstacking it! PS- Up until now my silver champagne bucket has only been put to work for holidays and parties when it’s full of flowers or greenery. Usually it sits on a shelf looking pretty, but I’m inspired to put it to work daily on my kitchen counter. Love that touch! Thanks for sharing!

  18. says

    Beautiful kitchen remodel! I just love the wreath in the window over the kitchen sink. So sweet!

  19. Kim says

    What an incredible remodel. This is one of my favorite before and after kitchens. I love the little details that were done. They really made a big difference.

  20. says

    Hmm it sure is more glossy – which is nice.

    But I am not sure about the glossy + old, cozy nook chairs combination, looks pretty badly matched to me.

    Though that’s just me, I can perfectly understand that for someone else this is a beautiful and a perfect remodel.

    Keep up the great work!

    • says

      Hi Lorne. Actually, I agree with you. That is our former table and chairs and I would like to update them at some point. Probably a mismatched set, with some of the pieces painted.

      • Debbie says

        Hi Julie, I LOVE your old dining set! Keep it if you like, it’s elegant & clean, compliments your gorgeous floors, and is so warm in your new kitchen. Your renovation is a great inspiration for my kitchen. I love what you have done with the windows!! I too have blinds and I’m so tired of cleaning them and eventually replacing them because the strings wear out. It’s amazing how much more light there is when the blinds are removed!

        Love the champagne bucket idea too! I found one on Etsy that is tarnished with a gorgeous patina which matches my cherry cabinates & antiqued brass handles. I think you started something because several people mentioned your champagne bucket, & I’ve seen it in another picture for another kitchen redo.:-)

        Great job on your kitchen! It’s beautiful!

  21. Christina from Dallas says

    How did you get rid of all that wallpaper? I have wallpaper in my bathroom and I want to remove it but don’t think I can talk my husband into hiring someone. We would have to do it ourselves.Any tips?
    I love the makeover. Removing that wallpaper makes all the difference!

  22. carol jane says

    The new kitchen is lovely. The paint color is to dark, and not so cheerful. I would have chosen something prettier. Thats just my opinion.

  23. Tracie says

    Very nice! Makes me want to take all our blinds and shutters down! It looks pretty snowy outside (lovely!). Do you notice the area being literally cold without the blinds? I love the wall color and lamps!

    • says

      Tracie, yes, we do. Although in the winter that spot was always a little cold with all the windows surrounding it. I may need to do some insulated roman shades at some point, that would warm the area up a bit at night. Good question!

  24. Julie B. says

    This is beautiful! Already had a great size and layout, so at first I was wondering what she could do to make it better. Amazing what a little lighting, paint, and countertops will do! She did just enough to make a huge difference. Love it.

  25. debbi in Texas says

    I love everything about the new kitchen remodel. I too thought the windows were replaced; they are definitely worthy of staying unadorned for the light and view.

  26. says

    I absolutely love your new and refreshing kitchen! This is especially for the wallpaper. The previous patterned wallpaper was fine but looks very cluttered and messy. The plain brown walls make the kitchen look modern and more spacious. They go very well with the nude tone drapes too. The granite counter top is light-colored, thus again making your whole kitchen look airy and spacious. As for your island storage, it would be good if you could share with us pictures of the shelves that will slide out and also the vertical storage for cutting boards. I would gladly implement those same ideas for our kitchen because extra storage in the kitchen is always a necessity!