If you’re hesitant about diving into a kitchen remodel in 2020, look at this project for some motivation. It showcases how to make your old kitchen look brand new without gutting it, adding square footage or changing the layout. So, basically, you CAN get an updated, stylish kitchen without having to break the bank next year.

This original kitchen was dark and dated, as were most of the rooms in this Bronxville, NY home, before Ken Gemes of Ken Gemes Interiors came to the rescue. (Click here for Part 1 of a Bronxville Transformation)  And while spacious, it was not comfortable or inviting.

A Large Island Brings Balance & Function

At differing heights, the small, horseshoe-shaped island was not user-friendly and did not fit the space.  A larger island was needed to balance the room. Also, now at one level, the island allows more room for meal prep and a place to gather and eat. It offers storage as well as a home for a larger sink and dishwasher. Counter stools by Bungalow 5 tuck nicely underneath thanks to the deep overhang. The original pendant light fixtures actually fit the new aesthetic better than before and were able to be reused. 

Save by Painting Cabinetry

While the upper and lower wooden cabinetry was dark, it was in good shape. Therefore, this remodel did not incur what Gemes would estimate to be $75,000 in new cabinetry. Instead, he kept exactly what was there and simply brought in his trusted painter to lighten them up.  A darker stain on the floors gives definition and contrast.

 The key is you need a good painter,advises Gemes.  The finish should look clean and perfect, so that you arent reading brushstrokes. Even the panel doors on the refrigerator panels are painted.

For a more contemporary look, the cabinet hardware was swapped from knobs to handles.  Also, the inside of the glass front cabinets were painted a slate blue to give a pop of color that complemented the fabrics in the room. 

New Backsplash & Countertops

The khaki colored backsplash and speckled, creamy brown granite countertops, read “muddy” as Gemes would say.  So, the backsplash was ripped out and substituted with a clean subway tile in off white.  The countertops were replaced with new absolute black honed granite marble. Gemes believes that the matte finish makes the space feel more low key. 

A Necessary Division

The other side of the kitchen was too open, says Gemes. While most people these days are looking to take down walls, he realized it made more sense to put one up in this case.  The wall did not close up the room, but defined the butler’s pantry and office spaces from the kitchen. It also offers a place for artwork, setting the perfect backdrop for the breakfast table. Now, the butler’s pantry is hidden away as it traditionally was in the old days and paperwork that often accumulates in an office area is out of sight.