One of my bestest friends and I are terrible influences on each other; hardly a day goes by when we aren’t calling each other about a new makeup or face product we’ve read about and want to try, or a top we saw while shopping we need an opinion on, or a new fabric or piece of furniture we’re thinking of getting.  It’s really awful.  But wonderful at the same time.  I even have a whole email folder dedicated to “L’s Projects” to house all of her endeavors and projects I “consult” on.  (This is the same gal I helped pick out an outdoor color scheme!)

A major project she’s been working on for the past 6 months is a totally gut renovation of her kitchen/living space.  She’s lives in a sweet rambler that, like many ramblers, was chopped up into a zillion rooms and just didn’t flow.

Her hubby (a real man’s man who knows how to do all sorts of manly projects) took down a wall between a former office/den and the former dining room, and then the wall between the former dining room and the galley kitchen, creating one huge room.  He also enlarged the opening from the living room and now huge room, and re-drywalled the whole space, ceiling and all.

What they created is a bigger and much more open and inviting floor plan.  Here are some before/during pics:

view from living room through the newly widened doorway

view from living room through the "new" doorway (pre-re-drywalling)

looking into the living room from the future kitchen/dining space

looking into the living room from the future kitchen/dining space (aren't those patterned chairs the best?!)

looking from the curent kitchen into the re-drywalled space (opening to living room taped off on left)

looking from the curent kitchen into the re-drywalled space (opening to living room taped off on left)

the current kitchen, looking into the newly opened up room

the current kitchen, looking into the newly opened up room (there's her little rugrat!)

So the space is opened and primed for maximization of space and a brand new kitchen/dining space (now open to the living room), but the bigger question still looms:

NOW WHAT TO DO WITH THE KITCHEN?!

They’ve gone through several plans

  • Simply leaving the galley kitchen as-is and refacing the cabinets and replacing the appliances
  • Having a friend/architect draw up a basic plan pulling the kitchen into the opened space and creating a mudroom and his & her desks where part of the current kitchen resides
  • Having a kitchen designer designing a number of island variations of the kitchen in the new space (similar to the friend/architect’s plans but with more variation)

But none of the plans were really speaking to her…  She was paralyzed with indecision.  She wanted this renovation to be PERFECT…to make it a true living space…to flow and be efficient…to be the hub of her home…and most of all, to be of a reasonable cost and not price them out of their neighborhood.

She has quite the inspiration file (daily links sent to me…all ooh-ed and ahh-ed over and into my “L’s Projects” folder).  She’s been in love with this kitchen from (now defunct) Cottage Living (I think everyone drools over this one!!!)…

love the contrasting cabinet colors and the under-cabinet shelf

...the contrasting cabinet colors! the under-cabinet shelf!

...and the ceiling and pendant and bamboo blinds!

...the ceiling! the subway tile! pendant! bamboo blinds!

She was also ga-ga for the 2008 Southern Accents showhouse kitchen (sorry for the teeny tiny pic – can’t find a bigger pic anywhere!):

she LOVES the island here

she LOVES the island here

And she also loves Ina Garten’s barn kitchen, featured in House Beautiful:

bright and open, yet comfy

bright and open, yet comfy

I shared with her my favorite renovation blogger queen’s Brooklyn Limestone kitchen (check out her renovation Flickr stream), and she instantly fell in love with it as well:

hel-lo!

hel-lo!

With so much inspiration and starts and stops of plans, what’s a girl to do?!

Me being the awful, dangerous friend that I am, sent her a link to the professional portfolio of one of  my favorite bloggers, Erika of urban grace interiors.

urbangraceinteriors

Everything she touches – I swear – is my most favorite kitchen/bathroom/house/interior ever!  She has such a way with colors and textiles; it’s really astonishing.  Here are two recent kitchens she’s done, posted on her blog:

urbangrace1

look at that backsplash! the hood! the pendant lights!

i die! i can't get enough of this one!!!

i die! i can't get enough of this one!!!

She swooned.  She had to use Erika to design the kitchen.  So she emailed.  Erika was able to fit her in.  Now she is anxiously awaiting the plans (as am I!).  I love vicariously living through her – especially working with a talent such as Erika!

So this isn’t quite a “before & after”…but more a “before & very soon there will be an after”…  I’ll keep you posted on the progress!

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