A 22 Year Old Kitchen Renovation

Has It Stood The Test Of Time?


In 1989, we moved to a 3 acre property, into a 4 bedroom, 2 year old Cape Cod home, with 7 impossible to decorate dormer windows. This purchase was a huge compromise for me as not one item on my ‘new home wish list’ was realized. The kitchen was a great disappointment, and although very large had only one redeeming quality … an entire wall was decked out in ‘supposedly’ reclaimed bricks to house the wood burning fireplace, a mantel a hearth and two wood storage areas flanking the firebox. As was typical in the 80’s, our kitchen cabinets were that overly used almond melamine with oak trim and handles, the counter was almond formica, and the floor was almond laminate (not shown). Even the walls were almond in colour. It was like diving into a big almond milkshake devoid of ice cream, flavour or colour. 

Please excuse the quality of the following photos…they are 30 and 22 years old and not taken with a contemporary, high tech phone camera.

Although this renovation preceded my interior decorating schooling and design business, LUXURY TRANSITIONS by 5 and 10 years respectively, my end goal was clear… I needed to transform the kitchen to make it warm, cozy, and incredibly functional. Unfortunately, I had to wait 8 years to realize that dream. In the meantime, I had drapery panels and matching valance made out of white, yellow, green and blue Waverley fabric and I laboured on a ladder for two days stencilling the floral boarder around the kitchen perimeter, with 3 little girls, including one a baby, underfoot. These improvements were bandaid solutions for the decor, and did nothing for the functionality of the kitchen, but at least colour had been injected into that horribly dull almond milkshake.

In 1997 my dream kitchen for this home became a reality. I should point out that my design and decor aesthetic 30 years ago was decidedly ‘Canadiana’ … reproduction pine case goods, small print floral upholstered furniture, and fabrics, mixed with rustic antique furniture and accessories. The Cape Cod, centre hall plan architecture was the perfect background for my style….but the ugly kitchen had to go. While the footprint basically remained the same, I deleted storage and added counter space until I had the functional kitchen our home deserved. 



  1. stand alone (junk) closet between hall and study (not shown)

  2. moved fridge to microwave wall

  3. useless pantry on microwave wall

  4. small island

  5. drop ceiling with super ugly fiberglass panels, covering florescent lighting  

  6. cupboards 

  7. original laminate floors (replaced with hardwood after a burn, prior to renovation)

  8. formica counters 

  9. stainless sink 

  10. wall oven

  11. moved location of dishwasher 

  12. removed ugly fan light



1. closet replaced with desk with cubbies and liquor cabinet above (bottom left photo) … the hub of the kitchen

2. panelled french door fridge moved to smaller counter in order to utilize larger counter for food prep and baking and dishwasher

3. tall narrow 9” deep, 2 door wide pantry next to fridge gable end, no wasted space and incredibly functional

4. peninsula with round end/ table with room for 6 counter height, swivel chairs 

5.  perimeter pot lights

6.  drawers replaced some cupboards, for convenience, one drawer beside range houses pull out ironing board; and wine cubbies

7. refinished hardwood floors

8. black/green granite 

9. under mount white acrylic sink (looked fabulous, but would not recommend as it marked easily)

10. slide in, down draft range with grill and griddle attachments

11. panelled dishwasher moved closer to dish cupboards and cutlery drawer

12. replaced with less ugly fan light (we didn’t have AC…but thats another story)

The walls were painted BM, HC-26 monroe bisque, one of my all time favourite neutrals and the wainscotting, chair rail, doors and all trim were painted BM, OC-17 white dove, which has since become one of my go to whites. Over time, the rug was replaced, an antique step back cupboard was placed on the perpendicular wall, next to the swivel rocking chairs to the right, and a new valance and window treatments were installed (bottom, middle). This ‘country kitchen’ included all the elements that I needed and wanted. The end goal of warm, cozy and incredibly functional, was indeed realized. We especially noticed this when we entertained 50 people in our kitchen, for my 50th birthday.

Does this now 22 year old kitchen stand the test of time? There is no way to know as we moved from this house in 2008. Undoubtedly, it is dated now, but there was nothing trendy about it then. It perfectly suited the environment, the house and my aesthetic.

Would I design another kitchen with these elements … hardwood floors, white cabinets, dark granite counters, peninsula counter combo table, and panelled appliances? I have no idea. I do know however, that for our family, visitors and friends this kitchen was the hub of our home. It was a pleasure to live and work in this space. Although my own personal style has migrated away from country pine and rustic antiques, I still love everything about this kitchen.

Kitchen design has evolved incredibly in the past 25 years. My recent #designhoundsKBIS trip to KBIS and follow up post, reveals some of the most current and outstanding kitchen and bath updates. Appliances can practically read your mind with a little help from high tech apps; flooring and countertop options have taken a step back in time to include fabulous new laminates; sinks now perform multiple functions, they are no longer just water catchers; and faucets turn on and off with just a blink of your eye (practically); and don’t get me going on kitchen cabinetry functionality and storage….mind blowing.

For more kitchen design inspiration, check out LUXURY TRANSITIONS portfolio and follow #magnoliawaybungalow on Instagram and Facebook for updates on my current new build bungalow and kitchen, coming soon.

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Maureen coateskitchens