Kitchen Remodel: It Begins!

By Kate Riley December 8, 2014

Last week we placed the order for our kitchen cabinets for the Las Vegas fixer and we’re now in the process of picking appliances and the backsplash tile. We gutted the kitchen in November now it sits empty with no cabinets or appliances until the end of December when the new ones arrive.

Ordering new kitchen cabinets is always a huge deal, one that requires a lot of research – it’s not like a quick refresh with paint or toss pillows ha! No, the decisions are so FINAL so you’ve got to think it through. We spent many months considering our options and I decided instead of repainting the 25 year old cabinets, to upgrade and replace them with a classic yet contemporary Shaker style. For this remodeling project I’m partnering with Cliq Studios, this post is part one of a four part series where we’ll be documenting the kitchen remodel from demo to completion.

First, some details about the kitchen itself. When we bought the house the kitchen was my least favorite space. I’ll come right out and say it, I hated it at first. It has no window, so it must get all its light from adjacent spaces. I’m a big believer in the idea that a kitchen of all spaces should have a window so that little detail was disappointing. Also the kitchen sits right in the middle of the home so it acts as a pass through and as a result will see extra traffic from kids and pets and visitors. As a cook I prefer kitchens that are tucked away, especially when I’m simmering sauces while drinking wine :) It also has an awkward angled peninsula and I prefer the classic U or L shape with a window above the sink so this kitchen’s layout was almost a deal breaker, but I concluded since I liked the rest of the house so much it was a space that if modernized could be really nice!

Here are pictures of the old kitchen cabinets before we removed them, it will give you an idea of the layout since the new cabinets have a similar elevation.The first thing we did over the summer was remove the *lovely* wallpaper which was everywhere and we replaced the tile floors (full details of the new porcelain wood tile here).

kitchen before range wall

Same view a few months later, but that big ugly box florescent light above has been replaced with four recessed lights and we added three pendants over the peninsula which is already a huge improvement.

range wall

The adjacent wall and old pantry…

cabinet wall

When we pulled out the cabinets they were in pretty bad shape, so we had no regrets replacing them. Pulling out the backsplash destroyed the sheetrock so we replaced that too. Here it is today, our blank slate!

kitchen before

Instead of an all white kitchen we opted for gray bases and white cabinets above. After our samples arrived, we chose the basic White and the very pretty Harbor hue.

cliq studios painted cabinets

The new cabinets will look much more modern thanks to the elevation drawn up by the kitchen cabinet designer at Cliq Studios. We’re not moving any appliances but we are upgrading with details like drawers and lazy Susan cabinets in the corner.

To the range wall we added drawers on the left for cookware, and to the adjacent wall we included a few glass cabinets in the new design. We are not adding a microwave, only a hood. We may build a chimney hood ourselves and paint it to match, we will share the step by step if so!

new kitchen cabinets cliq studios

Here is the angled peninsula on the other side, my least favorite thing about this kitchen because of the wasted space in the corners between the cabinets. It looks out into the family room and breakfast nook and when the remodel is complete will look much nicer and have more prep/serving space.

Since this is a slab foundation we’re not moving the water pipes so the sink’s position won’t change but we did upgrade the lighting already with new recessed cans where the old florescent box used to be and we will hang three glass globe pendants over the peninsula for additional lighting (and style!).

kitchen peninsula


The cabinets and countertop are now gone, the tile floor has been patched so the new cabinets and appliances will sit on top. We will be cutting the pony wall down a few inches so that the new countertop is at one level at counter height and not a two tiered bar height, what we discussed back in July, such great comments!

kitchen peninsula no cabinets


The new kitchen elevation will look very much like this, with gray cabinets below and a white solid surface countertop which will extend farther than the diagram so we can add stools on the other side.

new peninsula cabinets


Here is the bird’s eye view that shows the work triangle and appliance placement.

birds eye view

The new kitchen plans do not include a built in microwave although there is room for one on the counter for any future homeowner. We decided instead if we ever need one to place it in the breakfast nook next to the kitchen. In here we decided to install another new wall of cabinets, the idea came to us when we were struggling where to put the pantry in the new kitchen design.

It will include two utility cabinets to replace the old pantry and cabinets in between. This is the wall in the breakfast nook, the entry to the kitchen is 5 feet away so this is a great space to add more storage!

breakfast nook wall

There is no walk in pantry in this house (bummer!) the only pantry was the skinny cabinet that used to be in the kitchen. I was going to do a full built in bench in the breakfast room but once we decided to move the pantry into the breakfast nook to allow for more counter space in the kitchen, we scratched the bench plan for a wall of storage in the same cabinet style.

new kitchen pantry wall

This will be a great location for pantry items, and dishes! glassware! The pretty stuff! Also the counter allows for a place to tuck a microwave or coffee maker since we will raise the electrical plug to accommodate and sit at counter height.

For the kitchen backsplash I’m thinking of a pretty glass tile perhaps with some blue in it and installed up to the ceiling behind the chimney hood and range, I’ve always loved this one one by Rachel Reider Interiors, but I’m still looking around for the perfect tile.

blue backsplash tile


I’ll have more to share in January once the cabinets and countertops are in and I’ll share more about the smaller details too (light fixtures, faucet etc.). We’re excited for the changes and the new kitchen!

*This post is one of four part series sponsored by Cliq Studios, we were provided with discounted cabinets, all opinions are my own. ..


  1. I love what I see so far! I think Cassie at Primitive and Proper has that same backsplash tile. Very pretty!

  2. When you say “kitchen elevation”, is “elevation” another word for “layout” in the kitchen-diagramming world, or are you actually elevating the kitchen and making it sit higher?

  3. Hi Kate, I hope you will be sharing the cost breakdown of the cabinets when you are finished. I am always looking for an alternative to kitchen cabinets that are stylish, quality and affordable. I love the colors you are going with.

    I am curious though, I keep going back and looking at your layout, and I was just wondering why and if you could of closed off one of the entries to the kitchen? It seems as though you could walk around the kitchen to get to one of the areas where there is an entry into the kitchen. Just my personal preference, I don’t know if I could ever not do a microwave…they are so convenient in a kitchen, but maybe that is me.

  4. The kitchen will be beautiful. You guys have such vision. I love all your choices.

  5. “Elevation” is just a word used in the industry to describe a sketch/plan as if you’re looking straight at it Jenna, no we’re not changing any floor heights!
    Stephanie, we can’t close off an entrance on either side, it would restrict the flow – I should probably post a downstairs floor plan right?! I’ll post the breakdown on the remodel at the end!

  6. Looks like it will turn out wonderfully! We are just about to start out kitchen reno. I’m so nervous about it, I haven’t even finished my blog post on it! LOL!

  7. It’s going to be so pretty. I do have a question, however. I find it interesting that there is a bank of drawers between the sink and dishwasher. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to switch those around so one wouldn’t have to reach so far to put dishes in the dishwasher?

  8. I was wondering the same thing as Lisa E. I need my dishwasher close to the sink so I can rinse & load.

  9. True Lisa and Mary except with an angle the dishwasher directly next to the sink cabinet when open invades the space of the person washing dishes in front of the sink so we separated it with a narrow bank of drawers. When open the dishwasher (at an angle) is still reachable but not hitting the backs of your calves!

  10. Kate,

    I am in the process of searching for a home right now. But I CANNOT stand microwaves over the stove. But in looking at your pics was that a thingy, yes that is a technical term!, in your cabinets above the microwave that took the air and swept it outside? I love to cook so I need some ventilation in my house. But if I could take out the microwave and pay someone to add a hood. that would be awesome. Or just wait and see how you and your hubby do it. Whichever way I may need to go back and look at some houses I rejected if that is a hood sweeper out duct work thingy:(

  11. This is going to be SO beautiful, lovely colors. You make me -almost- like gray. I forgot why you are doing this house, I thought it was a charitable fix up but it seems your family is going to live here?

  12. The elevation is the view – a plan view is from above, elevation is from the front or back, and a section is through whatever you’re looking at. I think the elevation Kate is talking about is just what it looks like from a few feet a away (it’s the view shown in the schematic drawings she has).

  13. Using the wall in the breakfast nook to add extra cabinets and pantry space is genius! Love everything you have planned so for and looking forward to seeing the finished kitchen in a few months.

  14. love the use of the grey and white cabinetry! Beautiful backsplash choice as well. I think that its great that you are going bold and bright and avoiding what I would do. Go with safe and boring:( looking forward to seeing how it comes along in real life:)

  15. I wish you the best in this remodel. I have an old kitchen I need to redo. All I have been thinking about lately is ripping cabinets out. I can’t wait to see how it turns out for you. :)

  16. I will be moving soon and will have to completely remodel the kitchen. You’ve provided some inspiration and excitement for me! I can’t wait to see your finished kitchen space!

  17. Did you consider a pull out garbage bin (or garbage / recycling combo) for DB18 between the sink & dishwasher? You can still have one little drawer above the pull out. Extremely useful everyday and especially when you have a kitchen full of clean up helpers. Here’s a random link from the web.

  18. It’s look great, Kate! We had a huge box light like that in an apartment kitchen early in our marriage. I called it “the forbidden light”, because I did not allow anyone to turn it on! Those things should be ripped out all over the country!

  19. Nice plan. I like the colour scheme…..was it ever considered to move the fridge where the stove is and the stove to where the fridge sits. I find the sink beside the stove more practical when cooking.

  20. We’re in the process of designing a new kitchen as well and I have that EXACT same annoying peninsula with the bar height counter. I’ve been going back and forth trying to decide what exactly to do with it and will probably leave it as well (if only money grew on trees!!). Question though: do you think it will bother you at all that there’s nothing to “hide” everything that’s on your counter and sink and that you’ll be able to see it all from the family room? I hate having the bar height counter at my sink, but I’m concerned about having all of my counter stuff open to the whole room. Thoughts?

    • Hi Lindsey, we went back and forth too, it’s tricky! The “hiding place” is definitely a bonus for the bar height, but I want a big surface for prep and serving so we decided on counter height and will just have to tuck dirty dishes in the sink and be good about cleaning…. see that post I linked to, there are a lot of helpful comments that may help you decide :)

  21. I really like your design. I just did a total gut on my 11 x 11 kitchen using Aspen White shaker cabinets and stellar snow quartz counters. I loved the Pacific Tile from your Hawaiian vacation pics post, but could not get that link to work. Any other reference to that particular backsplash tile?

  22. One more thought. I have had the corner sink in the past and found if your sink is not close to the edge of your cabinet, that you will have a lot of backache issues because you are constantly leaning forward to reach the sink.. Just an FYI !

  23. I do have an angled sink (for now) with the dishwasher right next to it and it’s not a problem for one person. However, if somebody wants to help, then there’s an issue. @Lindsey S. there was a post on this dilemma on another blog and it all comes down to personal preference. While most seemed to prefer the counter height there were still many of us that preferred the bar height to hide things.

  24. Your kitchen will be lovely! It appears as though there is no tile where the appliances will go, meaning the appliances will sit lower than the tiled floor. Once you get the cabinets in, and a countertop installed, there will be no way to move an appliance without destroying a good part of the floor in front of it. We all know appliances don’t last forever.

  25. We’re doing a similar design with the white above and a different color on the bottom cabinets. I’m wondering how you’re doing the surround around the fridge? All white? I’m trying to figure out what will look best in ours. Anyways, love the design!!

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