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Before and After: The Subtle Changes to This Reconfigured IKEA Kitchen Are Everything

An interior designer helped update this San Diego kitchen for her parents, who requested “a fresh, modern yet classic style” with a generally black-and-white palette. To keep the budget under control, the family turned to inexpensive IKEA cabinets, then gave them a boost with Semihandmade doors.

Beth of 1111 Light Lane did a fantastic job giving the kitchen an update that definitely feels fresh and classic. The Shaker cabinetry is a great balance between modern and traditional. The slim proportions of the cabinets and drawers nicely echoes those of the subway tiles, which are much longer than most, and a nice twist on the usual proportions.

This mostly white kitchen has so much organic warmth, thanks to its hardwood floor (which didn’t need an upgrade), wooden accessories, and richly veined quartz countertops. The wood shelves only need to hold cheerful, lush plants, thanks to all of the storage elsewhere in the kitchen. The black accents are artfully chosen. The handles, faucet, shelf brackets, and pendants are all slender and, again, have that enviable balance of detail and modern simplicity.

The new range hood has a gorgeous sheen and sculptural presence — and without it one might wonder where the stove is. The new cooktop is from IKEA, and it has a nicely understated presence.

This house has fantastic natural light; it’s nice to see how both the light and wooden floor flow throughout the home. This photo shows that a lot of the counterspace before was divided into segments that might be frustratingly small or separated. The area on the left doesn’t seem especially useful in a kitchen with so much counterspace elsewhere, and the section to the left of the stove is really only large enough for a spoon holder and maybe salt and pepper shakers.

The refrigerator, microwave, and oven are now grouped together in an ultra-cool stainless steel command center, making the most of that possibly underused counter. It’s also nice to see a newly installed wall oven — we often see them removed from older vintage kitchens — and there’s at least one great reason to choose one. As Beth of 1111 Light Lane explained, “My mom also wanted a wall oven — because it is easier on her back!” Casseroles and roasts are heavy, and a dutch oven can easily weigh almost 20 pounds — a ton of weight to attempt to lift from a low bend.

This wall offers a fantastic amount of storage space, especially considering there are even more drawers and cupboards in the peninsula. The stunning counter doubles as a breakfast bar with a fresher look than the previous version. Where there were once curved brackets, a ledge, and paneling are now simply a flat vertical surface and a massive slab of quartz with a generous overhang.

This kitchen really was quite nice, what with the stainless steel sink and appliances, luxurious countertop, ample storage, enviable floor, and the fabulous window.

One subtle but crucial change made was centering the sink on the window. One is no longer crowded against the peninsula while washing dishes. The new arrangement just breathes better, and it must be much more appealing to gaze out of the middle of a window while washing dishes, instead of peering out oddly from one side. The new undivided sink accommodates larger pots and pans, and the dishwasher fits so nicely tucked to the right.

Creating a tiled border around the window is another subtle touch that paid off nicely, an elegant finishing touch in a lovely kitchen.

Thank you, 1111 Light Lane!

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: This Newly Reconfigured IKEA Kitchen Has a Bit of a Twist

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