clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

A Kitchen Renovation Adds Charm Using Smart Savings

A few well-priced nips, tucks, and fixes gave a dated cook space a new look and lots more function

Ample Charm: After

Photo by Mark Lohman

Try renovating on a budget and see if you don't trim a bit here and a bit there until the best details are gone. Unless, of course, you're a pro like Melinda Dodson, who would rather sacrifice a couple of big-ticket items than a half-dozen small ones. The interior designer conjured this kitchen for friends Chris and Tela Webb, in El Dorado, Arkansas. "It was the least-expensive project I've ever done," she says, "yet it's one of my favorites." With the couple eager to shave costs while gaining function, style, and a home office, Dodson rejected a pricey apron sink, granite, and stainless steel for a drop-in basin, laminate, and basic white workhorse appliances. Molding gives the room a finished look—and hides signs of a former dropped ceiling. She replaced base cabinets to get needed drawer space but kept the uppers, simply adding new doors and hardware. Then, speaking of details, she painted the exposed hinges. "In old houses you often find the hinges painted," she notes. Splurges included custom built-ins, a storage-packed island, and a vintage-style weighted pendant over the sink, right where everyone can see it. The lesson, says Dodson: "Put your money where it counts."

Dated Look: Before

Worn cabinets, pink-and-white laminate, and an acoustic-tile ceiling dated the kitchen.

Shown: Chris Webb in the kitchen

Hidden Work Station

Photo by Mark Lohman

A desk and paperwork hide behind flipper doors that swing open and slide back.

Style and Function

Photo by Mark Lohman

A beveled edge dresses up simple black laminate countertops. Trays slide into "found space" between two cabinets near the sink.

Pendant: Restoration Hardware

Countertops: Wilsonart

Organized Set-Up

Photo by Mark Lohman

This spice drawer near the range has angled dividers to make locating the cinnamon as easy as pie.

Cabinets: MD Design

Bin pulls and glass knobs: Van Dyke's Restorers

Corner Cubby

Photo by Mark Lohman

An L-shaped built-in keeps the computer hidden and art supplies well organized and easy to grab. That way, homeowner Tela Webb and daughter Sophie always know where to find the scissors.

Extra Space

Photo by Mark Lohman

Open shelves help tap every cubic inch of the island, which has a beefy butcher-block top and furniture-like feet.

Paint: Sherwin Williams' Peacock Plume

Butcher block: John Boos

Vinyl floor tile: Azrock

Floor Plan: Before

A partition wall split the 382-square-foot bare-bones space, and a dropped ceiling made it feel even smaller.

Floor Plan: After

Removing the wall opened up the room and allowed for more storage and workspace within the original footprint.

1. Chose white appliances that blend seamlessly into white cabinets

2. Added cupboards and counter space near the dining room as a staging area for meals

3. Demolished the partition wall to make way for an island with drawers, storage cupboards, a recycling-bin pullout, and a butcher-block top

4. Built in an office area with a desk behind cabinet doors and storage for files and art supplies