Before and After, Interiors, Kitchen

Denver Kitchens: A Year in Review (Part 1)

Happy New Year!  I’m writing this on a bitterly cold (but sunny) new day in 2019.  I am a reflective person, but I’m not much of a backwards looking person and I think there is a difference.  One of my many self-preservation skills is a lack of desire to dwell on the past.  I think a lot of us have an innate skill for turning towards the new day and at times it’s necessary in order to put one foot in front of the other.  What do you think?  Are you a “looker-backer” or a forge on ahead kind of person?

That said – who’s ready for a year in review of kitchens I’ve worked on!?!  I know, try to contain your excitement.   All of these are site photos from myself or a client from 2018 curated just for you.   I thought this would be an easy post to write, but going back through my year in photos took awhile.  I have a penchant for taking awkward photos of clients and I had to weed those out for blackmail courtesy.   Also, I discovered another post I’ll need to do this month:  A year of Laura’s boring shoes on beautiful tile!

A lot of these are photos from kitchens that I won’t have professionally photographed, but I really enjoyed the work and the clients.  One of my favorite things about my job is the clients and their loved ones I get to meet and come to know.

before brown wood kitchen
BEFORE:  This client didn’t want to purchase all new cabinets, but she wanted to lighten up this kitchen.  See below for the transformation!
AFTER: Fresh coat of cabinet paint (Benjamin Moore’s Simply White), new tile, new hardware, new countertops.  I think this is such a great, visually easy to understand transformation.  The hardwood floors stayed the same and the cabinets stayed the same (for the most part).  We did move the microwave to another cabinet so it wouldn’t be taking up so much space over the stove, but the biggest transformation came from the fresh coat of paint and the new countertops.
After painted cabinets
Another view of the kitchen – charming!
before white kitchen
BEFORE:  This is a generous sized kitchen, but the vinyl-clad cabinet doors and the formica tops needed an update.
after two toned kitchen cabinets.JPG
AFTER:  New white uppers that go up to 8′, new wood lowers, new backsplash and countertops.  This client chose to keep the white tile floor for now – I think it could be really gorgeous with a darker floor but it’s a great transformation none-the-less.
farmhouse detail hgtv
I took this photograph at my most recent House Hunters Renovation kitchen.  The cow skull is from the client and I thought it looked great there.   I like the way the antiqued oak cabinet looks with the pine beadboard ceiling and reclaimed wood. Don’t be afraid of using a few different wood tones in your kitchen.  The dirty linen drape on the window is to block out Denver sunlight for filming, it’s not a hip design statement…
open shelves hgtv house
This is another vignette I took at the House Hunters home.  These are the shelves in use by the clients.  I like seeing how people use their space after I’ve come and gone.  Also, you can see the brass metal edge (called a Schluter) that we used to end the subway tile around the curved window casing.  This was the first time I’ve used a Schluter edge in brass.
open shelves hgtv.JPG
Here’s another from the same day – again, it’s another shelf as styled (or as used) by the client.  What I like about this is the little oil painting they hung up on the tile wall.
new white kitchen
Kitchen cabinet installation in progress!  This kitchen looks nothing like it did before – there were odd walls, an angled peninsula and an island here before.  New white oak floors and soon to be all new cabinets, tile and backsplash.  The wall color is changing also in case you’re worried about how “fleshy” this color is.  Don’t worry, I was worried too.
white kitchen island
A close-up photo of the new island in the kitchen above.  The cabinets are Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, one of my favorite warm whites.  The balsa wood straps that you see are what some countertop companies use to template for an island countertop.  Once your cabinets are installed it’s generally a 2 week wait until the countertops are installed.
Site visit gray kitchen
This is a kitchen in a new build home I worked on all last year and some of the year before!  The cabinets here are in Sherwin Williams’s Repose Gray.  This client has a brain injury and the keyword for this home was calm.  No contrast grout here!  I learned a lot about “visual noise” from working with this client.
gray kitchen site visit
This is an in progress photo from the kitchen above.  Notice the trim going up at the fascia.  We had to drop a soffit there for various mechanical and plumbing reasons and this is how we chose to disguise it.    You can see it painted and trimmed out in the previous photo and the one below.
gray ktichen at night
The same kitchen at night.  We took the backsplash up and around the inset window and I love the way that looks.  I also like taking an upper cabinet down to the counter for some variation, not to mention more closed storage.
mudroom navy blue
This isn’t a kitchen – it’s a mudroom – but I’m including it anyway.  I love the way the stained wood top looks with the white cabinets and the navy blue walls.  The wall color is Sherwin Williams’s absolutely fabulous Salty Dog.

This is the first of a three part series of kitchens I worked on in 2018.  I will post part two next week.  I enjoyed looking back at these job sites more than I thought I would and right now my takeaway from all of these is the people who live in these spaces and how much I’ve learned from working with them.



6 thoughts on “Denver Kitchens: A Year in Review (Part 1)”

  1. Laura,
    I still can’t believe I get to walk into this beautiful kitchen every morning and make my coffee. You listened to all my needs and created the calming kitchen I was hoping for. Thank you

  2. About your “visual noise” comment: I’ve never been able to understand why so many kitchens have so many patterns — one pattern in the flooring, another one on the countertops, another one on the backsplash, and sometimes yet another one on the ceiling. I love the warmth of certain wood tones, as in your first Before photo, but typically I don’t want to see too much variation in the tones or too much grain, either. (No TBI here; it’s just the way my brain works.) I really enjoy seeing your work here on and on Instagram; I just don’t understand some design choices (like contrast grout) because my brain instantly goes “Nope! Run away!” 😀 (Side note: I also enjoy your writing.)

    1. Thank you Catherine! Because all I do is work with different individuals it has gotten to the point for me that, after spending just a little time with someone, I can usually predict if they’re okay with something like contrast grout or not. It’s very similar to some people not minding having things out on the counter and other people tucking everything away. Maybe you are just more sensitive to your environment compared to others – also, everyone has their “hang-up” from past experiences….This part of my job is actually very interesting!!

  3. Wow, Laura! These are incredible. Thank you so much for sharing. You can tell you clearly put a lot of time and energy into these projects and it really shows in the details. I especially love your use of tile and the back splash to create subtle works of art. I am also a sucker for light, airy, and open kitchens so the vibe is right up my alley. I also really appreciate you sharing some of the products you use. I noticed Benjamin Moore’s Simply White was used on the first project. Is that favorite of yours? What are some of your favorite kitchen colors?

    1. Thanks for your kind words Whitney! For whites from Ben Moore I love White Dove, Simply White, Cloud White and Chantilly Lace to name a few. All good whites – varying in warmth. People seem to be particular when it comes to cool or warm preferences. Some of it depends on trends, but a lot is also individual. Color selection is one of the hardest things I do! 🙂

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