Kitchen Makeover - Family Edition

They often say that working for family is not a good idea when you're a Designer because your personal attachment to people means that you may not be as receptive to their ideas and feel like you know best.

However, when it came to doing my Mom & Step-Dad's kitchen, albeit stressful - I actually enjoyed it.

My mother has never had a really nice kitchen, and when they moved into their current home a few years ago, it was only 10 years old and was well maintained by the previous homeowners.  But, the boring white cabinets, white floors and counter tops were not only lackluster, but the layout and hard to reach lower cabinets were taking the enjoyment out of cooking that my mom normally loved.

While perusing a decor magazine one day, mom saw an Italian sleek red kitchen that sent her into action.  
She set off to Home Depot the next day and came home with some paint and brushes, 
and sent step-dad to Bingo for a few hours while she got busy. 

Red kitchen
Nice variety of red kitchens here

This is what happens when someone takes out their white kitchen frustration with paint:

"Hmmm??  This colour looked great in the paint can!" said Mom.
My step-dad said "if it makes her happy, it's fine with me"  
but it was certainly a "statement" of the wrong kind.  Sorry Mom, but nice try!

With small upper cabinets under an empty bulkhead, white laminate counters, poor lighting, limited counter space, over sized fridge, awful flooring in a ridiculous pattern open to the family room, 
unused space in the eating area, dated white appliances, 
and now, it was also the colour of my favourite toenail polish!  

She really needed me!

After a couple of months of living with the Berry-Blast my mother finally convinced my step-dad that  a paint-job alone was not cutting it, and it was time to rip out the old kitchen and bring in something functional. 

They had a tight budget as retired seniors, but they had 2 important things most people don't have: 

a Designer for a Daughter
a General Contractor for a Son

I interviewed them (aka my mom) as I would any other client and reviewed their needs, the issues that needed to be addressed, the wish list and booked a slot in the Contractor's schedule (aka my step-brother). 
I pulled the design plan together and reviewed it with the Client.  They approved with "minor" tweaks.

This is one of the inspiration photos she really liked - back to the white kitchen, but with dark counter tops, stone back-splash, and light wood floors to match the adjacent family room.

She really wanted a large island with counter space to prep and eat with up to 4 chairs, a pantry, glass doors on some cabinets to showcase her collections, and lots of drawers for easy access to the back of cabinets.

We headed out to Ikea to see if she liked the options available and then input the design plan into the Ikea kitchen planner.  They selected the Akurum cabinets with Lidingo doors.
If you want a kitchen in a hurry, here's where you can get one in a couple of days!

Within a couple of weeks the demo started and then plumbing, electrical, flooring and painting were done.  The kitchen cabinetry was put together and installed a couple of days later, followed by granite counters, marble mosaic back splash and under cabinet LED strip lights.  Drapery and pendants in the final stretch.

And Voila!!

Drapery custom made with fabric from Tonic Living

They are very happy with the results and my mom has been entertaining a lot more and baking up a storm!

Final Before & After 

At some point, I would like to add some trim to the island to dress it up and get new bar stools, 
but for now - my mom has the kitchen she's always wanted and that makes me happy too!


  1. A designer for a daughter and a general contractor for a son – Wow, aren’t they lucky? But I get why it’s stressful for you to work for family. While it’s enjoyable, it often comes with expectations and demand, particularly from parents. =) Anyway, you guys did a good job despite the stress. Arthur @


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