Before and After: A Timeless Modern Farmhouse Kitchen and Laundry Remodel

Luxe Custom IKEA Kitchen


Everyone loves a good Before and After post.   So, I wanted to share images of a recently completed kitchen and laundry room that I designed for a client.  As you can see it was quite the transformation.  We transformed the kitchen from 60’s yellow explosion, to timeless modern farmhouse.
MLV - Before After 1 copy


I redesigned the floor plan and flow.


MLV - Before After 3 copy


Added in a ton of additional storage.


MLV - Before After 2 copy


Added a ton of useable counter space.


Luxe Custom IKEA white Kitchen Before and After Calcutta


Brightened up the place and made it more reflective of the owners’ lifestyles, all without removing any walls.


Luxe Custom IKEA white Kitchen Before and After Calcutta


Here are more views of the kitchen so that you can fully appreciate the metamorphosis. Lucky for us the kitchen’s footprint was large for a 1909 house.  The soaring ceilings add to the sense of airiness.
MLV After 10 copy


Luxe Custom IKEA white Kitchen Before and After Calcutta


MLV After 3 copy


Unfortunately, we uncovered a few structural and plumbing issues once we opened up the walls.  That delayed the overall progress of the project, but the end product was well worth it.


MLV After 11 copy


The punch line is that this is an IKEA kitchen.  Can you believe it?  All the cabinet boxes and interior fittings are IKEA, but we had a superb cabinet maker create beautiful custom shaker doors.  Since we were being more economical with the cabinets, the big splurge was the gorgeous quartz countertop.  Unfortunately because of how the light reflects in the pictures, you can’t really tell what counters look like, which is too bad because they have gorgeous, yet subtle veining.


Luxe Custom IKEA white Kitchen Before and After Calcutta


But it’s the smaller details, from the lights, to the counter stools, to the knobs and pulls, that really personalize the space, transforming it from a white kitchen into a warm and inviting family mecca.


MLV After 13 copy


MLV After 23 copy


Luxe Custom IKEA white Kitchen Before and After Calcutta


Luxe Custom IKEA white Kitchen Before and After Calcutta


From the kitchen you walk through a pocket door to the adjacent laundry room.


Timeless IKEA grey laundry Before and After butcher block


The laundry room also needed a complete overhaul, not only in terms of design, but also in terms of function.


Timeless IKEA grey laundry Before and After butcher block


Since the space is right next to the kitchen I really wanted to tie it into the kitchen design, while not repeating the same elements.  I did so by echoing the color palette with a different interpretation.  The real wow factor here was simply giving the room its proper function by removing the awkward shower, adding in much needed counter space for laundry sorting and adding tons of storage for all that stuff you don’t need to look at. Now the room can breathe.  The hardware though elevates the laundry room to a different level of sophistication.


MLV After 31 copy


MLV After 32 copy


MLV After 30 copy

Wouldn’t you love to cook in this kitchen and do laundry in this laundry room?  What are your favorite elements?

Out of respect for my clients and the design process I am only highlight a few sources. Kitchen: Cabinets bases – Sektion by Ikea; Knobs and Pulls from the Cottage Collection by Hickory Hardware in the Black Nickel Vibed finish that adds great depth and character without the contrast getting stark; Semi-flushmounts above windows by Schoolhouse Electric; Cabinet color is a creamy white BM Vanilla milkshake; Wall color is a warm gray BM Stonington Gray. Laundry Room: Oak butcher block by Ikea,  Appliances by Miele, Pulls by Keeler Hardware in a stainless steel finish from the Facette collection.

Katie - Carrie and Andy pointed me to your blog. Beautiful work–You have a great eye for this!

isadorag - Thank you Katie 🙂

Sonja - This is an amazing transformation! I love it!

isadorag - Thanks 🙂

Joanne Lewis - Where did you buy the top mount farmhouse sink?

isadorag - Hi Joanne,
The sink is a 30″ sink from Kohler from the Whitehaven collection.
Hope this helps.

Emily H - Gorgeous! What is the kitchen paint color?

isadorag - Hi Emily,
The paint is Stonington Gray (HC 170) by Benjamin Moore.

Nikki - Love this reno! If you don’t mind my asking, how much did it all cost you? We are about to do a complete tear down of a house we just bought but we don’t want to sink all our budget into the kitchen. Tnx! Beautiful work!

isadorag - Hi Nikki. It’s difficult to answer your question in a way you can really compare to your situation. I’d say that this cost $25k for the cabinets, counters, etc. excluding labor for electrical, plumbing, flooring, tiling, drywall etc. Also, the cost would have been higher if the homeowners would have needed to buy all new appliances. From my experience if you are gutting your whole house (which I did) many costs like electrical and plumbing are factored into your overall budget. Also, the counters we chose were probably the most costly of the quartz options available, but it was worth splurge. I suggest you set yourself a budget for your kitchen, then make your decisions based on the budget. Buy your cabinets and appliances during big sales. Shop around for your best deals. Good luck.

Katie - I can’t tell you how much I ADORE this kitchen. I used it as inspiration for final touches on our kitchen remodel (we had also used Ikea cabinets with after market fronts). We ended up using the same drawer pulls — THANK YOU!

isadorag - Hi Katie,
Your comment made me smile. Thank you! Would love to see your transformation. If you are so inclined you can post a picture to my FB page. Congrats on your new kitchen.

eileen Appleget - Can you tell me the name of the paint color of your laundry room? It’s ahhhsooommmee!!

isadorag - Hi Eileen,

The white paint in the laundry room is Vanilla Shake by Benjamin Moore. It’s the same color we put on the cabinets in the kitchen, but in a different sheen. It paired nicely with the cabinets which are a Stonington Grey.

Hope this helps.

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Inspiration: A Rustic Modern Guest Room

Our Farmhaus only has two bedrooms, so the guest room is really the boys’ room.  While the boys were begging for a bunk bed, I knew that with our low ceiling height that scenario would be less than ideal so I’m opting for a good ol’ side by side set up.  So far we have transformed their space from this:

FARMHAUS BEFORE - Boys Bedroom copy

to this:


The white paint and light floors have done wonders, but my favorite thing has to be the shiplap wall (which I previewed on my Instagram). Now that the construction work on this side of the house is done, I get to have fun and design the spaces. I want their room to feel rustic yet modern, warm yet sophisticated. I want the boys to feel comfortable, but I want the space to work for grown ups too. Something along these lines, but leaning towards a more casual vibe:

modern rustic bedroom black spindle bed


modern rustic bedroom black spindle bed


modern rustic bedroom black spindle bed



rustic modern farmhouse black spindle bed


The color palette is simple, yet the black spindle beds add a strong graphic element.  The bed can go either traditional or modern, it all depends on how the room is styled around it.  I’m going modern. Lucky for me, a while back I scored a pair of spindle bed frames at auction for a mere $60.  They were in pretty good shape and I knew immediately that they would be perfect for the boys once I paint them black.

The mood board for their room looks like this:

FARMHAUS - Rustic Modern Guest Bedroom copyAs you can see from the progress picture, I’ve already located a dresser, which my Big Boy modernized by switching out the original knobs.  To see what the dresser looked like before go here.  The spindle bed I have is less sleek, dare I say, more authentic than the one in the moodboard. But I had to find good place holder for my board. Can’t wait for all the piece to come together! So far, so good.

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Vintage Finds: March

Vintage Finds 02-16 copy

With the progress we’ve been making at the Farmhaus, I feel entitled to start collecting things to bring it to life. My recent scores are this original print, these flushmount light fixtures and this simple bowl.

The print was a find at a local second hand store.  When I’m in second hand stores or thrift stores I always rummage through the art, most of the time it’s absolute junk like pictures of cute cats, or cheezy sunset landscapes, but occasionally you can find a gem.  OK, so I didn’t find another original Picasso, but it is an original signed print with a dedication by the artist.  Not only do I like the piece, but it’s already framed!  All that for a mere $20.  Bargain.

My other big score were the light fixtures which I found at a local salvage yard. I was drawn to them because of the nice fluted dark glass and the patina they’ve developed from years spent as exterior light fixtures.  I got these for just $7.50 each.  Super cheap for light fixtures, but I’m paying the price in rewiring.  I wanted to make sure the light fixtures are up-to-date and safe, so I dropped them off at my local custom lighting shop.  Little did I know I would end up doing a ton of electrical work at the Farmhaus, so I probably could have handled rewiring these fixtures myself.

Last but not least a simple, earthy Japanese ceramic bowl with a lovely olive green glaze which I unearthed from the piles of junk at the Salvation Army.  Just $3. I imagine it sitting on my future coffee table filled with something interesting and tactile.

This coming weekend I am determined to make it to the Alameda Flea Market.  It’s been ages and I miss going.

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Construction: Farmhaus Progress – Part 2

Finally another Progress Report about the Farmhaus remodel.  It’s about time.  There’s be a lot of progress since my last report, getting here has taken A LOT of work.

Remember that dramatic video of Hubby making a wall crash?  Well we had to rebuild it. Not only from the interior but from the exterior too.  The windows went in, we added flashing and waterproofing… and then we had to shingle. I actually found shingling to be quite therapeutic.  On a nice sunny day, it took on a zen like meditative rhythm, but I found that once it got to the mincy bits that required a lot of measuring and trimming, it wasn’t so meditative.  But we got through it and now we can say we know how to shingle.


On the inside, the big step was getting the drywall up.  For this we hired some help, because we knew from past experience that we are not great at this step.  Seeing the bathrooms with walls was huge. It really gave us a sense of the space.


Once the walls were in and prepped, I knew I could start tiling.  I’ve never tiled before so I wasn’t quite ready to undertake both bathrooms by myself, so I decided that my contractor would do the main bathroom and I the master bathroom.  That way I could ask questions and get pointers along the way.  Let me tell you, tiling isn’t as easy as they make it look on HGTV and it takes time. A lot of time when you are laying each small tile. I think I might even write a post just about tiling as a first timer.


In this shot, I did a dry fit of the floor tile in order to manage my random pattern. Even when something is random, you have to be deliberate and plan.


So after tiling, I thought grouting would be a piece of cake. Not true.  That too, was not as easy as it looks.  Anyway, it’s all done now.


So, while I was toiling away in the bathrooms, Hubby got to work in the bedrooms, stripping all the old trim, cleaning up the floors.


He then put new trim around the windows, installed shiplap walls, and installed the underlayment and the new white oak floors. Under my breath I was kinda cursing him, because each time we finished a day of work, he got to look back at a completed job, where as I toiled over wet tiles… Did I mention I was toiling over tiles?


So what do you think?  The lighting and bathroom fixtures have to go in, but the space is looking so much more civilized. I can’t wait to have this phase of the renovation completed so that we can start sleeping there at the weekend and continue working on the house while the kids play in the field. We wont have a kitchen/living room/dining room for a while, but for some insane reason, I think that wont take as long.  Call me crazy.


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Celebrate: A Cozy Valentine

Lately, in California, we’ve had a lot of rain because of El Niño.  I’m grateful that we are finally getting rain, but this weather definitely has me all bundled up and looking to stay warm and cozy.  While our weather is nowhere near as cold as the blizzard that just hit the East Coast, I imagine that in most parts of the country getting cozy, at this point in time, is sounding really nice.  So, here’s my little recipe for a sweet, simple and cozy Valentine:

Cozy Valentine

1 | 2 | 3

All it takes is a card full of kisses confetti, a toasty fire and a yummy hot chocolate. Lucky for me, Hubby makes the most yummy hot chocolate.  Here’s a quick recipe for you.


  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar ( I like mine not too sweet)
  • 1 cup milk or any combination of milk, half-and-half, or cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (for a little something extra)


Whisk together the cocoa, sugar, and about 2 tablespoons milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until cocoa and sugar are dissolved. Whisk in the rest of the milk and heat it over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it is hot. Stir in the vanilla and serve.  Optional: Top with freshly whipped cream or a floating marshmallow.  Go here for super cute, ready made XO marshmallows.

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