5 Steps to a Small Kitchen Remodel

Once upon a time, this kitchen in Ottowa, Canada, was the worst kind of vintage—not remodeled for 40 years, cabinets falling from their hinges, laminate countertops, no storage space and “the worst tile job I’d ever seen,” recalls homeowner and blogger Kim Johnson of Desire to Inspire. It took about seven months, plenty of sweat and toil, and $23,000, but now her tiny 1925 home’s kitchen not only functions as she needs it to, but also exemplifies her favorite style: East-West Fusion. She shared with us the whole kitchen remodel process—from her first, desperate attempts to fix her kitchen to the joyous cabinet installation—and offered her tips to help you remodel your kitchen on your budget.

old kitchen

Kim’s kitchen in its original state (Photo: Kim Johnson).

Here are the five steps Kim took during her small kitchen remodel:

1. A Quick Fix: Kim hated absolutely everything about her old kitchen. Desperate to do something to it, she painted all of her white cabinets bubblegum pink. “Not many people have the opportunity to do something that drastic with their kitchen. I decided to have fun with it and do something really crazy,” she laughs.

kitchen design

Kim’s kitchen in its pink stage (Photo: Kim Johnson)

2. Planning: Kim’s biggest challenge was working with the tiny, narrow space, as her whole house is—believe it or not—only 12 feet wide. “Given the narrow and generally small space I had to work with, built-in seating was not an option,” Kim says. Due to the space constraints, she originally wanted a galley-style kitchen, but she decided to design the kitchen so that the gorgeous Greentea cabinets she wanted really stood out. With the help of a Greentea designer, she created the layout shown here, which gave her the ample cabinet and counter space she desired and room for a dining table (which would double as an island) in the middle of the room.

The new floorplan for Kim's kitchen (Photo: Kim Johnson).

The new floorplan for Kim’s kitchen (Photo: Kim Johnson).

3. Demolition: Once she’d chosen her cabinetry from Greentea’s catalogue, Kim, her boyfriend and their contractor took the room to its studs, with the unhelpfu supervision of her seven curious cats. Together, they removed all of the cabinetry, flooring, a window and a wall.

4. Installing the Cabinets: Kim found that the cabinets fit perfectly into her new kitchen and were incredibly easy to install. “The only challenging part was knowing exactly where I wanted everything before I started putting holes in my brand-new walls,” Kim says. “And I was terrified of the thought of us installing the upper cabinets to the wall ourselves only to have them come crashing down onto my brand-new countertop. So we left that to the contractor.”

remodel kitchen

Kim’s beautiful East-West Fusion kitchen after the remodel (Photo: Kim Johnson)

5. Researching, Purchasing and Installing Appliances: Kim chose her materials and appliances to round out her kitchen remodel, installing them all herself, after spending significant time pouring over catalogs and websites. When asked to dish the dirt on her big-ticket purchases, Kim laughs. “Yes, I would’ve done the backsplash differently. But I have to admit, I wouldn’t replace any appliance I purchased,” she says.

For more kitchen remodel advice from Kim Johnson, keep reading blogs here on Well Styled Kitchens.

Written by Elaine K. Phillips

Photographed and styled by Kim Johnson

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