a kitchen before and after

Elizabeth and her family live in Lexington, Kentucky.  She emailed about a year ago and said can you help me?  And attached these photos.

We helped.  Poor Elizabeth was without a kitchen for a very long time.  She had us on speed dial and we (I say “we”, it was mostly Allison) offered design and moral support for Elizabeth during this renovation.  We’ve never set foot in Elizabeth’s house.  All of this work was done via email and phone.  There were times of panic (Elizabeth, I hope you can laugh now)… the faucet was back-ordered, should she wait for it, or should she reselect?  The cabinet guy goofed on the door style, but he made it right.  The lights, we ended up ordering two chandeliers and played a lot of “hold this up and send us a picture”.  And at the very end of it all, Elizabeth decided she wanted tongue and groove pine on the ceiling.  The kitchen was completed and then the ceiling work began.  I know she was stressed out.

Living without a kitchen for a long period of time is total insanity.  You don’t realize how much you appreciate your kitchen until it’s gone.  Elizabeth did dishes in her bathroom sink for months.  I think in the end she would agree… it was all worth it.

[All photos were taken by Elizabeth, she's pretty darn good with a camera! Thanks Elizabeth!]


  1. wow! what a change. a wonderful change. love it.

  2. Bravo! The best kitchen remodel I have seen. I am friends with Elizabeth and I know there were lots of sleepless nights but it was so worth it. I wish all of you could see it in person, it is truly gorgeous in every way. xo

  3. LOVE this! The ceiling and the faucet are perfect! And the wall color? To die for! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Im shocked!! wow. the before and afters are great! what a beautiful kitchen she has now!

  5. WOW! I am totally gobsmacked.

  6. Fantastic! I can’t believe you were able to pull that off via long distance, that is amazing!

  7. Beautiful! I love the herringbone pattern with the tile. And such an endeavor, you’ve moved all the appliances and plumbing, but it is such a better design now.

  8. Wow! Looks great!!! Love the lights in the kitchen, the ceiling, the faucet, and the barstools. Where are those barstools from? What a great remodel!!!

  9. Jennifer M. says:

    Fabulous!! I’ve been telling my good friend here in Ohio that she needs you! She may be calling soon! :)

  10. Stephanie Powell Rushing says:

    Beautiful Erika! I hope one day to hire you to fix my “design challenged” home!

  11. WOW! You give me hope…and ideas! The tongue and groove kitchen ceiling adds such depth and interest to the space. I saw you removed one of the arches and left the other. My only question: could two 6’4″ sons walk under those fabulous retro schoolhouse globe lights in the kitchen? I fear not. As always I am impressed that you seem to perfectly balance good design with functionality (is that even a word?!)

  12. Beautiful! You all did such a great job.
    Just curious…I’m wondering what the budget was for this redo? It is so fabulous I want to do something similar myself! Hopefully one day I can work with you Erika!

  13. I’d also like to know where the barstools came from. They’re awesome!!

  14. Love a good before and after…great job.

  15. It looks phenomenal, E as did everything you posted yesterday. You never cease to amaze me!

  16. WOW. I’m sending this to my husband so that he can see how good our kitchen could look with your help! ;) I love everything about it. I’m also curious about budget…I’d love to know how much we should start saving so that I can have this some day ;)

  17. lovey lovey lovey!! obsessed with the ceiling and the lights … and the colors and the fabric!

  18. OMG – this came out so well! I am totally jealous of Elizabeth. What a fantastic job Erika and team!

  19. I’m *blushing* that a whole post was dedicated to my project. Thanks so much UG! There was quite a few obstacles, and tears throughout the renovation, but yes, I can now laugh about it because I’m so pleased with the outcome! Y’all need to add that not only do you design but also offer therapy through those moments! Thanks for everything.

  20. Christine says:

    This is awesome! And that you did all this without stepping foot in her kitchen is amazing as well. Bravo! I am with Jessica, I am curious about budgets. Without being too specific, can you give us a ballpark figure on what kind of budget one could expect when doing a kitchen remodel such as this? Loving all the posts!

  21. When I saw the ‘after’ photos, I immediately said “mmmmm”, as in, yummm! It looks great! And I have to mention that I like the bar stools. I spotted them in a recent Martha Stewart Living and have been thinking of ordering them myself!

  22. Love this kitchen! Are the countertops soapstone?

  23. Love the details – wooden ceiling, lights, etc. Simple enough to not seem busy- yet very detailed. Is that black marble, slate or what?

  24. I am in LOVE! This looks amazing! Where are the dining chairs from, I need them in my life!

  25. anne marie says:

    this is gorgeous, I, too want to know…what is the kitchen color???!!?? beautiful!

  26. love her kitchen! I think it is my dream kitchen, everything is perfect! I remember in highschool my parents renovated their kitchen and we were without one for months! Our temp. kitchen took residence in the dining room and we ate mostly microwaveable meals or out!

  27. What a beautiful redo… it is exactly the style that I am trying to capture in my own home (with similar limited kitchen size)! Would you share details? Like the wall color and the fabric?

  28. I just LOVE this! :-) I want that chandelier :-)

  29. Holy @*#$!! I can’t even believe it is the same kitchen!! I don’t know what you charge but you are worth every penny!!!

  30. You were right… you’re totally on a blogging roll. Beautiful job! I am envious of Elizabeth’s new kitchen. That chandelier! Oh and Ah! Where did you hide the microwave?

  31. I love the exterior door in the kitchen! Do you mind me asking where it’s from? We have a 1950s ranch house and all the doors are original (and we love it) but a few…and I have been having a hard time finding doors that would match them. The whole kitchen is beautiful!

  32. Loved Elizabeth’s kitchen! Will we ever see yours? :)

  33. Beautiful job! I absolutely adore every detail. Is that BM Camoflauge on the walls?

  34. Goody Gumdrops!
    There’s nothing like kitchen porn on a Friday! What a fabulous transformation.
    I love the herringbone backsplash. Such a chicly, quintessentially southern space.
    Bravo and happy weekend, Alcira

  35. Great decision to go with the tongue and groove ceiling. I love it! I would love to have that kitchen in my house.

  36. NICE!!!! love it!!!

  37. I heart herringbone subway tile. *drool*

    Wonderful job, Erika! I can’t wait to use you gals one day!

  38. you’re amazing! love it.

  39. LOVE!

  40. Stunning. Love it!!! (But now I want to see your new kitchen! That tease from Sloane’s bday wasn’t enough!)

  41. I just gasped at the site of this renovation! Take a bow, ladies!

  42. literally amazed! wow wow wow! this is my first time to comment, my friend Jamie and i are CRAZY about this blog :), thanks for blogging, we love it!

  43. My goodness… I KNOW Elizabeth now believes it was ALL worth it… and UNBELIEVABLE transformation… of course no surprise with Help Wads like y’all! xoxoxo

  44. Absolutely drop dead gorgeous!!!!!!!

  45. Again, with the ridiculously awesome!!!!!!!!!

  46. Looks AWESOME! I’m so impressed that all of this was done via email and phone. Very well done!

  47. Renee Smith says:

    UH-MAZING. Are those soapstone countertops?! Love it!

  48. Gorgeous!!! I LOVE the countertops!

  49. Absolutely Beautiful!

  50. Amazing work! Technology rocks doesn’t it? Love the transformation. I would love to cook in there. :)

  51. It’s beautiful! I love the T&G ceiling.

  52. tara faulkner says:

    Love, Love, Love it! This kitchen is dripping in class!

  53. A GOREGOUS kitchen for a sweet girl! You guys made a good team! Love, love, love it!

  54. I LOVE this kitchen. I was fun to see the progress on her blog! And those chairs – perfection…

  55. What a beautiful transformation of a very typical kitchen. I can’t find the microwave in the new shots. Was she brave enough to go without it, or does it have a nice hiding place?

  56. I love every last detail – the ceiling, the light fixtures, the faucet! I would live without a kitchen for months with an end result like this! You and your team are AMAZING!

  57. You did an awesome job – kitchen is beautiful!

  58. Fantastic remodel, Erika! Elizabeth – I had those exact same “butcher block” laminate counter tops and just remodeled too. I was so glad to see them go! Remodeling a kitchen is exhilarating and maddening, but so worth it, especially with results like yours. Gorgeous!

  59. It is divine! I love the look of the industrial stools with the more traditional accents. The cheveron pattern on the subway tile backsplash is great too- such a nice remodel!

  60. Gay Riggs says:

    This transformation is fantastic!!! It is so much more livable now with the light colors. I love the ceiling – I love it all!! Excellent choices.

  61. I saw this on Elizabeth’s blog and fell in love with it before I realized you had helped her with it. Another great renovation! Its the details that really make this room shine… the herringbone backsplash, the industrial stools, the paint colours, and the PERFECT chandelier. Its amazing how some design guidance (even over the phone) can have a huge impact on the outcome.

  62. Wow, so beautiful. I love how neutral, yet striking it all is!

  63. GAW-jus! Like a breath of fresh air! And yes, great pics, too!

  64. What a wonderful kitchen! I love seeing before and afters…. that chandelier is perfect, and the herringbone pattern tile, love it all!


  65. I AM IN LEXINGTON!!! And of course I LOVE it! Now that you know how to get here I need you to come help me! I love your work, great job! :)

  66. fantastic renovation! living without a kitchen is the worst but i’m sure she agrees it was well worth it.
    have a great weekend team urban grace!

  67. beautiful work! very impressed this was all done via email and phone!

  68. Wowee kabowee. I bet Elizabeth is one happy woman. (And you are right, a good photographer, too – she really captured it. )

  69. Love the tile, shade fabric, barstools and the ceiling (to die for!!!)…amazing transformation and great job hanging in there Elizabeth!

  70. Love this renovation! The chandelier is beautiful, where could I find one!

  71. Just beautiful!!! I’ve always loved that chandelier you used!!!

  72. It looks amazing! I love it all.

  73. Gorgeous!!! I love the ceiling and tolix stools- the dining chairs are also totally gorgeous! I’m sure Elizabeth is thrilled!

  74. LOVE the white cabinets and tiles – looks so clean and fresh! Wonderful job!!!!

  75. Absolutely beautiful! Erika, you never disappoint. I’m sure your client is beyond thrilled!!!

  76. And boy did you! Wow. Fabu! M.

  77. LOVE it all! Have so many questions… Paint color? Where did you get the stools and the chairs? Great job! Love your style!

  78. Wow! That’s inspiring! You guys did a great job. It looks like it was all worth it. I agree that Elizabeth has some pretty awesome camera skills.

  79. I don’t think it could be any more perfect! Love every detail!

  80. simply SMASHING! love it!!! Great collaborative work!!!! :)

  81. Where are the dining chairs from? I want to copy! Please tell us!

  82. Love this – the whole thing is gorgeous – my absolute favorites are the chandelier, the faucet, the pendant lights and those awesome stools!

  83. Love everything….especially the faucet!!

  84. What an incredible makeover! I know this is an annoying question, but I’d love to know the name and manufacturer of the fabric/paint. Beautiful!

  85. Elizabeth’s kitchen is lovely. Its great to see a small space decorated with such care and class. Well done and have a happy weekend.

  86. Elizabeth is one of my peeps…love her blog and now I love her kitchen even more! An amazing job….just timeless & lovely.

  87. I love this makeover!! It gives me great hopes for my future kitchen renovation!

  88. WOW!!! It is BEAUTIFUL!! What a change!! Thanks for sharing!! It’s remarkable what y’all can do!!

  89. Wow Erika! You and your team did an amazing job. I can’t believe all that you did from a remote location! That must have been tricky at times. I love what you did with such a small space. Thanks for sharing!

  90. Gorgeous! I want that kitchen! Is the counter marble?

  91. Wow, this is a beautiful kitchen! Bravo to all involved!

  92. Wow! It’s beautiful. Every bit of it. What an amazing job.

  93. lovely! my favorite color of kitchen an the backsplash idea is in my back pocket. love it!! can’t wait to see your new kitchen as well. its like porn for me. lol

  94. W.O.W. What an awesome transformation! Love: the herringbone subways, the gold on the light fixtures, the cabinetry all the way up to the ceiling, and about that ceiling (gasp!)….so, so, so beautiful…..

  95. Omg I’m totally hiring you when I build my house. Keep up the good work!

  96. Love the herringbone layout of the backsplash! Post more of these! As much as I adore your portfolio of super-swanky spaces, these smaller more intimate makeovers are just as inspiring. Can’t wait to see your kitchen next!?

  97. OK, we can’t afford a remodel right now, but once we move into our next home (we’re in a “starter” right now until we pay it off), I am HIRING you. Wow, you (and your staff) are so talented!

  98. Amazing. And the fact that you did all of that without stepping foot into her house is even more amazing!! Now that’s talent. Great job!

  99. as always…beautiful work! Impressive for a long distance job!

  100. Sooooo jealous! I am absolutely in love with your kitchen. Erika and Urban Grace…fantastic job!

  101. WOW! What a great job you all did. The ceiling is perfect. That took vision & faith.

  102. What paint did you use for the cabinets? Is it proving to be sturdy/reliable?? No chips yet?

  103. Looks great…she must be especially pleased that her fridge is no longer in her dining room!

  104. i LOVE the new kitchen! and i live in Lexington! Thanks for beautifying our city Erica…I wish you help my kitchen too, or convince Elizabeth that I would be a nice fixture in her kitchen as well.

  105. Could you let me know where you/Elizabeth found the chandelier? We’re in the process of doing our kitchen now and this is perfect!

  106. Where are those awesome barstools from? I found them online, but you have to order them in a pair and I only need one for a bathroom!!!

  107. Beautiful…but where is the microwave?

  108. Holy Mother! Is that really the same house?!

    LOVE the light fixtures.

  109. Love your blog. And love this kitchen! I especially love the subway tile layout! The curtains and stools are also awesome. Talk about a dream kitchen!!

    As a future interior design student (going back to school soon), I would love to hear more about your decision to do home design and how you transitioned from school to a full time career with a family! OurSoundHome.blogspot.com

  110. Freaking amazing work, Erika and Allison! I am so so jealous of Elizabeth’s kitchen. The countertops are the best!

  111. That is beautiful. I love the table and chairs! Love that ceiling and all the little details. Great finishes. Thanks for sharing!

  112. wow.. what a great transformation. i love it.

  113. I’ve been a longtime reader but this is my first comment. I absolutely love all of your work and this kitchen is so amazing, what is that paint color? I think I need it in my kitchen pronto!

  114. Can you tell me who makes the kitchen light fixtures?

  115. Deborah Schneider says:

    Love the kitchen. Just went through a reno myself and swear I will never do it again although the inspector smiled and said I will see you later after he gave me the final OK. BTW, where did you/she get the dining chairs? Looking for those in my breakfast room.

  116. This is SOOOO amazing! i want you to come to nashville and re-do my home!!!!

  117. Amber Rodland says:

    Hi Erica!!! Love your blog and loooooove this kitchen. Who makes the chairs? Please share!

  118. The before….dear God. And the after is sent straight from heaven! Can I move in? Just curious, where are those fabulous stools from??

  119. What Kind of counter top material did you use? They are gorgeous!

  120. I also love, love, love the materials you have used to create this wonderful kitchen. I am interested in the counter top materials as well as the tile in the herringbone pattern for the back splash. You are so talented! Thanks so much for your willingness to share!

  121. Jordana Zabaneh says:

    Stunning kitchen! Could you please share the paint color and window treatments? Thank you:)

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