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The Tree House Kitchen Reveal!

It’s a Monday Rewind! Yellow Brick Home has 12 years of archives, so from time to time, we’ll be sharing our favorites from posts past. Since we have kitchens on the brain, here’s a makeover that was originally published in August 2018. Enjoy!

Both the kitchen and mudroom renovations were completed in tandem, which allowed us to think of these two rooms – separated only by a cute pink pocket door – as a whole. On paper, they perform two unrelated functions; one is a place of cooking, simmering and gathering, whereas the other is home to greetings and hugs, piles of coats and mounds of shoes. But as we began to brainstorm the design of these spaces, we knew they would shine the brightest if only they could work together. As we sketched ideas for cabinetry and layout, we quickly realized that not only would the same style of drawer fronts allow the rooms to feel like an extension of each other, but so would a unifying color. And as you saw in our mudroom reveal, we were even able to extend our kitchen pantry alongside the mudroom bench!

Follow along with the kitchen renovation from the beginning:

our initial design meeting | how we pieced together panels + fillers | how we shopped for durable countertops | how we built thick floating shelves | our DIY subway tile backsplash | the mudroom reveal

We worked closely with our Lowe’s Design Specialist to come up with a plan that felt effortless, fuss-free and, of course, practical. During the meeting with our Design Specialist, it was so helpful to see so many of the options available to us at Lowe’s! We browsed the staged kitchens in-store, opened cabinets and drawers and compared range hood A versus range hood B. There were a few rounds of revisions, and we debated everything from colored cabinets to black granite countertops to more drawers to less cabinets. We stayed up late second-guessing our choices, re-sketched our ideas and relaxed when we re-remembered why we chose X, Y and Z. With every revision, we were shown how the budget would break down, and this allowed us to hone in on the options that were the most important to us (such as deep drawers in our base cabinets ) versus options that we weren’t (like excessive upper cabinetry). The expansive selection and configurations available at Lowe’s allowed us to stretch our budget to create our dream kitchen. You can see how the budget breaks down right here!

Now that both rooms are complete(!), we can look back and say that all the achey muscles and moments of overwhelm were worth it. Now, it’s time to enjoy it. Psst: All sources are listed at the bottom of this post.

The Kitchen Before

The Kitchen After Demolition

The Kitchen Now

When we discovered that the original 1930s Douglas fir floors were hidden underneath the vinyl, we might have freaked out. We knew there was no way we could have this knowledge and ignore it, so we did what any sane person would do, and we decided to refinish all the floors! Although it was a somewhat unexpected expense, it drastically changed the entire look and feel of Tree House. We brought a sample of our reddish-toned flooring to our Lowe’s design meeting, which helped us to land on Kraftmaid cabinets in the Cayden style, Dove White with a Suede finish (which has a lower sheen). To bring some contrast above our mostly white quartz countertops, we chose a warm gray subway tile with bright white grout.

The former kitchen was fully stocked with upper cabinets, and in this small room, it felt very heavy. We’ve always loved the look of open shelving, and we agreed that Tree House was the perfect place to put that look into practice! For now, we’ve loaded them up with a mix of lesser used items up high (such as pitchers and serving bowls) and frequently used items down low (such as coffee mugs and a jar of dog treats).

To the right of our range is our only upper cabinet, and it sits above our panel ready counter-depth refrigerator. You can see in the ‘before’ photos that the fridge we initially inherited was full size, and as a result, it sat directly next to the oven, also jutting out past the side wall. To give our range breathing room, we added a 12″ wide spice drawer between the two, and we added a side panel to the left of the counter depth fridge for a more built-in look.

Our only regret is that because it’s panel ready (meaning that it can be customized to have matching cabinet fronts on the doors), it should have been installed inside an appliance box. In doing so, the fridge would have been raised off the floor to allow for a toe-kick underneath (you can see how this is missing above and below). We didn’t know this, and because this isn’t super common in our area, we think this is why our designer may not have known either. So now, we all know, and no one will make our mistake moving forward!

Across from the fridge, the peninsula got a major overhaul with a new shape! It’s 4′ at its widest point and 3′ deep, and we allowed for an overhang to accommodate two counter-height stools. The peninsula is the same Kraftmaid Cayden style as the rest of the kitchen and mudroom, but we chose a Natural Suede finish, which ties into the Natural accent behind the mudroom bench.

When sitting at the peninsula, we love that you can catch a glimpse of pink from the front door!

The dishwasher is also panel ready (you can see it below on the far left), and we were so excited to add an apron front sink to our setup! Here’s a fun fact: The sink we chose can be retrofitted to a standard sink base cabinet, meaning that we didn’t have to special order a farmhouse sink base cabinet. This also means that if you have a standard cabinet and non-apron front sink now, you can add this specific sink to your current setup! We also opted for a touchless matte black faucet above, which plays nicely with our freshly painted window frames and black accents throughout both spaces.

Aside from changing the shape of our peninsula, the layout of the kitchen before our renovation was already awesome. We added the dishwasher and moved around a few electrical outlets, but the bulk of our plans relied upon what was already in place. (And how sweet is the beadboard ceiling?) It’s open to our living room, and it makes us feel so warm and fuzzy to cook (and to drink and to sing and to dance) in here!

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Now

View From Mudroom Before

View From Mudroom Now

Kitchen Peninsula Before

Kitchen Peninsula Now

Our most sincere thank you for your feedback, encouragement and creative problem solving along the way. We hope that you’ve found our renovation helpful – whether you’re in the midst of your own or embarking on one in the future! – and please let us know if there is anything else we can answer! 

Kitchen Sources:

Kraftmaid cabinets | quartz countertops | apron front sink | subway tile | pencil tile | bright white grout | floating shelves | range | range hood | panel ready dishwasher | panel ready counter depth refrigeratormatte black faucet | semi-flush ceiling light | pendant lightcabinet hardware | floral print | bear bottle opener | clock | marble fruit stand | counter stools | amber soap pump | oak cutting board | coffee maker + jar | mineral mugssalt + pepper grinders | enamelware | utensil crock | wood serving bowl | toaster | dutch oven

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  • Stacy | Blake Hill House8.16.18 - 7:59 AM

    Yessss! I love this entire makeover. I am so happy that you kept the original hardwood too. We made the same lucky discovery in our kitchen!

    I have so many favorite parts of this project, but my top five are:

    1. The tile color
    2. The bear bottle opener
    3. The floating shelves
    4. The continuity of the view between the kitchen and mudroom
    5. The warm color scheme. The feeling of warmth is so important during the long, cold winter.ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.16.18 - 9:24 AM

      Thank you, Stacy! I think the tile might be my favorite thing as well. We were scared at one point that it might end up looking dated (google ‘gray tile’ or ‘taupe tile’ and you’d be scared too!), but we pushed through, and now we love it so, so much.ReplyCancel

  • Haley8.16.18 - 8:02 AM

    Looks so great! Love how the tile manages to be warm

    Last night I was thinking about your main house (because I recently toured a historic apartment that kind of reminded me of it in some ways) and I remembered that I think the downstairs bath is really the only major project left, right? Is that something that’s on the horizon? So interested to see the outcome of the shower vs no shower debate (team shower all the way!)

    That long winded explanation to get to the question was so you didn’t think I was one of those readers who is like “great, thanks for the content, GIVE ME THE NEXT THING.” Just had wondered about the status of that one for a bit.

    PS, Once I started obsessing about this apartment, I immediately thought of the Audubon bird prints and started digging through those. I envisioned them large-scale down the hall and was thinking about doing the state bird from each place we’ve lived.ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.16.18 - 9:20 AM

      Hi Haley!

      Yup, the bath is the last room in our Chicago home that needs a complete overhaul. In some ways, we can’t wait to dive in and make it the cutest, sweetest first floor bath, and in other ways, we’re so torn on where to go with it that we’re happy to put it off. It’s functional and FINE, but it’s far from ideal (the floor has so many layers, you have to actually step UP into the bathroom – no bueno). Maybe we’ll tackle it next year? It will be such a relief once we do!

      LOVE your Audubon bird print idea! That would look absolutely stunning. Please send us a photo if you do that!ReplyCancel

  • Ardith8.16.18 - 8:41 AM

    Modern awesomeness!ReplyCancel

  • Katie8.16.18 - 8:58 AM

    Beautiful! Where do you get your black windows from. I have been having a hard time finding windows with a black interior and exterior option. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.16.18 - 9:18 AM

      The window is from Lowe’s! It’s a wood window and we painted the interior of it black using exterior grade paint.ReplyCancel

      • Katie Edwards8.16.18 - 9:37 AM

        I see. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Paige Cassandra Flamm8.16.18 - 9:35 AM

    I love how your kitchen turned out! It totally gives me some great inspiration for gutting our new kitchen we’re about to move into!


  • Vid8.16.18 - 11:08 AM

    I love your kitchen! But as someone who is embarking on a kitchen renovation soon, it gives me a bit of pause that in the last few years, you guys have done a bunch of renovations, and you never seem to go back to the same company twice – for cabinets, you’ve used Ikea, RTA, these ones from Lowe’s, and your local maker for your kitchen.

    While I totally get that you have business obligations to these brands, it can make me as a reader feel as though your recommendations are not based on what cabinets you would *actually* choose, had you the freedom to choose any company you wanted – if you truly liked a company’s cabinets, you would want to back to that company, again and again! If I’m considering Kraftmaid (or Ikea, or RTA, etc), and what I get from your posts are that you guys like them enough to try them once but never mention them again and certainly don’t consider them for your next renovation, well, that’s a pretty clear signal to me not to use them!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.16.18 - 11:21 AM

      Hi Vid! Totally a fair and valid point. I answered this on a previous post, so I’m pasting that here:

      This is such a good question and a topic I was just talking with a friend about (in helping her decide between brands). In short, we would 100% recommend the other types of cabinets we have used.

      The long answer: Our laundry cabinets look as good as the day they were installed (love them so much), and after completing the garden apartment kitchen, we were super impressed with the quality of IKEA – especially all the organizational options they provide! In this case, we’re excited to be able to work from design to finish with another company, especially as a way to be able to share and compare the process with all of you. There’s a big jump in difference between the other two companies and Lowe’s, because in this case, we were able to customize the height, width and depth of cabinetry quite a bit more. If I remember correctly, IKEA has three height options for cabinets, whereas we scrapped a few designs from the mudroom before finding JUST the right height of cabinet above the bench – to the inch. With Lowe’s, there’s also a larger selection of door styles and colors, as well as customization options inside the drawers, too. All the design processes have felt different, and each one has their own advantages – whether it’s options, price or quality. That’s why we’re going to be as transparent as possible throughout this kitchen and mudroom remodel.

      I’ll wrap this up, but all brands have their advantages. The garden apartment was a budget remodel and we mixed in a few pieces to upgrade the look (like a Schoolhouse light fixture, for example). With Lowe’s, we went about 99% head-to-toe with Lowe’s product for a fully custom look that we wouldn’t have been able to achieve with IKEA (simply because of available sizes). The quality has been outstanding with all, and I sincerely hope our reviews and makeovers can help others when deciding which cabinet works the best for YOU and your space(s)!ReplyCancel

  • Emily May8.16.18 - 12:21 PM

    Oh, this came together so, so well. As always! The gray color of the tile is dead on! This is the first time I’ve seen the first floating shelf placed below the tile line. Normally it is placed right at the tile line. So, so pleasing to the eye. I think I prefer it this way! Great job per usual.ReplyCancel

  • Meghan Campbell8.16.18 - 1:02 PM

    My mouth literally dropped open in awe starting with that first photo. Absolutely incredible. So so tasteful. Like wow!!!!!!!!!

    Meghan ?
    Mommy of pet portrait pup Ndugu (hi! and congrats on sweet Lucy)ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.16.18 - 1:19 PM

      So great to hear from you, Meghan! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • AmandaKB8.16.18 - 1:36 PM

    This is such a great makeover. I love it. I have to say, though, the jar terrarium with the dinosaur in it pretty much stole my heart. Ha,ha. Thanks for sharing your projects with us :)ReplyCancel

  • Lindsey8.16.18 - 2:16 PM

    Love the whole space! I agree that your backsplash is a risk that is totally paying off. The white grout was the perfect choice too.

    I also heart heart heart your cabinet hardware. We are currently redoing our kitchen and ADDING a bunch of cabinets. If we didn’t need 42 pulls, I would spring for your fancy pulls in a heartbeat, but at $29/each, it’s nearly half of our new cabinetry budget!

    Also, how do you like the KitchenAid range? We are about to install the same one, but in dual-fuel.ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.16.18 - 2:51 PM

      We LOVE it! We’ve cooked many meals on it and in it already. :) The only thing I would say is that it feels pretty easy to accidentally bump the touch screen if you’re standing near it. To prevent anything from turning on unintentionally, we have it in power save mode with the ‘beep’ sound on (it beeps as you touch the buttons). As a result, you have to hit a button to wake it up, and then proceed to touch anything you need – such as bake, broil, timer. That extra touch of ‘waking’ it up and hearing the beep makes us feel better about accidentally touching something without knowing!ReplyCancel

      • Lindsey8.16.18 - 6:04 PM

        Thanks! I have a three-year-old who is into everything, so it sounds like Power Save will be my savior!ReplyCancel

  • Austin8.16.18 - 4:44 PM

    So beautiful and calm! I actually felt like I exhaled as I was looking through the pictures, which is so nice because so many kitchens just feel overwhelming these days. Pinning lots for future inspiration! Y’all knocked it out of the park.ReplyCancel

  • Susie G8.16.18 - 6:25 PM

    The kitchen and mudroom came out wonderfully! Is it weird that my favorite thing might be that you took the tile to the floor near the mudroom door? It really upgrades the look for me to something custom and interesting. Looking forward to more Tree House content in the future!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.16.18 - 8:00 PM

      Thank you! For a hot second, we almost didn’t bring the tile all the way down, and then we got some sense knocked into us. It really does make it feel more custom.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda8.17.18 - 6:25 AM

    This kitchen is so beautiful! I can’t decide what I love the most but my top three things?
    1. The tile… that grey!
    2. The open shelving. It makes the space feel so open and fresh.
    3. That you used cabinet covered appliances. Normally I like embracing appliances because it adds another element of colour and texture to a kitchen but in this case it would of been too much, because of how small the room is. Your eye would of been bouncing all over the place. By using the cabinets, it’s simple and streamlined! Great touch!

    I absolutely love that you’ve painted the window inserts black. It adds another colour that is so beautiful.

    The way you accesorize always gets me. It’s always so clean and simple, but functional and beautiful. Kudos. I’m going to definitely invite myself over. Ha. ?ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.17.18 - 8:28 AM

      Haha, thank you! We wish we could have you all over! You’ve been the biggest help and cheerleaders along the way!ReplyCancel

  • Jen8.17.18 - 7:06 AM

    Hey Kim! It looks fantastic. Quick q – did you use special appliance pulls for the fridge and the dishwasher or did you just use the larger version of the cabinet pulls? Still trying to sort out how necessary it is to pay the up charge for “appliance” specific pulls. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.17.18 - 8:23 AM

      We just chose the larger version of our pulls, but it was tricky, because we wanted them to match! So we were sure to choose hardware that had options in 4″, 6″, 8″ and 12″ (although we only used 4, 6, and 12).ReplyCancel

      • Jen8.17.18 - 9:07 AM

        Thanks! Love how it turned out.ReplyCancel

        • Kim8.17.18 - 1:04 PM

          You’ll have to see it in person – soon!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth8.17.18 - 1:03 PM

    Kim! Scott! This is STUNNING! I love the pinkish hue of the floors with the beautiful pink pocket door. I love the gray tiles. I love the sink! I love the black window frame with the black faucet! It is just gorgeous. I would love to see the former owner’s reaction to this change.

    Thank you for the eye candy!ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.17.18 - 1:04 PM

      Thank you! We always wonder the same thing about the former owners, haha.ReplyCancel

  • I think the tile color you chose really makes it. This looks so well done. Thanks for the warning about the panel-ready fridge. Where did you get the panel-ready appliances and did you find them to be costlier than other appliances?ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.17.18 - 3:04 PM

      All of the appliances are from Lowe’s, and yes, panel ready is pricier. On top of that, you’d need to factor in the cost of the cabinet fronts. This is definitely something to keep in mind when considering panel ready!ReplyCancel

  • Erin8.18.18 - 7:41 PM

    Looks awesome! How high is your tile backsplash? I don’t have uppers and I can’t decide on a height for my backsplash. Yours looks nice and proportional!ReplyCancel

  • Aileen Wenzel8.20.18 - 9:39 AM

    Love this kitchen. Saving for our own remodel but in the meantime making small improvements. Quick question — Where’s your kitchen towel from? I couldn’t find the link.ReplyCancel

  • Erin8.23.18 - 12:40 AM

    It looks gorgeous. Is there no microwave? What prompted that decision? I would think with a small baby and wanting to do holiday let a microwave would come in handy.
    E xxReplyCancel

  • Dana8.31.18 - 12:15 PM

    Love it! So serene!

    I have a couple quick questions:

    1) if Ikea cabinets would have worked dimensionally, would you have gone that route?

    2) how wide is the peninsula overhang for your stools?


    • Kim8.31.18 - 4:36 PM

      Hi Dana!

      We like that we could get higher end appliances from Lowe’s, so it was a one stop shop in that sense. (You can certainly get appliances from IKEA as well, like we did in the garden renovation!) This is a tough call otherwise. Kraftmaid also had a lot more internal drawer options and storage bench designs… so due to these two rooms being a bit more complex, we’re super thrilled with having gone the Lowe’s route.ReplyCancel

      • Dana9.4.18 - 8:49 AM

        Thanks Kim!

        I just watched your kitchen cabinet tour (I also would looooove to go through people’s drawers ;p) — and totally see that the kraftmaid internal drawers seem to be much better quality and more tailored to specific needs. We’re doing a full home renovation on our 1920 four square cottage and I’m trying to narrow down choice — your input has really helped in my cabinet choices!

        And thanks on the peninsula overhang — I’m also tight on space and was going to do 9-10″ but wasn’t sure if that’d be too tight. Good to know it’s doable :-)ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.31.18 - 4:37 PM

      Oh and the overhang! It’s 10”, btnif we had more space, we would have loved to do 12.” It still feels comfy with 10 though!ReplyCancel

  • […] I were a kitchen, I’d be this […]ReplyCancel

  • […] Source: Alma Homes Source: Blushing Momma Source: Fashionista Barbie Source: J. Nicolette Source: Yellow Brick Home Source: This Northwest Home Source: Design Darling Source: Une Femme D’un Certain […]ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - The Gold Hive8.22.19 - 1:17 PM

    What color did you use for your sink drain trim? Did you do ORB to try to match the black faucet? Or SS to match the range? Asking for a friend ;)ReplyCancel

    • Kim8.22.19 - 1:33 PM

      The sink drain is stainless steel, as is the strainer. It works since there’s SS for the range!ReplyCancel

  • […] Go minimal – Small Kitchen Design Ideas (See More at : […]ReplyCancel

  • Julie Marquez5.25.21 - 3:25 PM

    Great repost – I love this kitchen reveal! And if I ever do a built in fridge I will remember the toekick now.ReplyCancel

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Kim and Scott

We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

Join us as we renovate and nurture vintage homes across Chicago + SW Michigan!

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