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Posted by on Dec 20, 2011 | 2 comments

The Scary House Gets a Stunning Kitchen Makeover

The Scary House Gets a Stunning Kitchen Makeover

When David bought his Del Ray rowhouse 11 years ago, his realtor referred to it as the “scary house.” A run-down rental unit for years, the front bay window was closed off by blankets (nailed in place) and the house was scattered with cat litter boxes and clutter. But David saw through the mess and smell, using his creativity to imagine the hidden potential.

Though major renovations weren’t necessary at the time, David did want to remove an oddly arched faux brick wall in the dining room. During the process, he discovered another relic of 1980s interior design — a wall of mirrors. He hired painters to repair and smooth the damaged walls and apply a clean coat of paint.

Five years after living in the house, David decided it was time to renovate the kitchen — a typical 1950s galley with no storage, no functional cooking area, and no room.

As a former interior designer, David put his skills to work and created a stunning space blending warm earth tones, sleek appliances and fixtures, and a variety of textures and patterns. There is nothing scary about this kitchen.

1950s galley kitchen renovation

The renovations took about three months. The entire kitchen was gutted and the wall dividing the kitchen and dining room was removed. The contractor also pushed the nook for the refrigerator about 3 feet into the living area widening access to the basement and creating a much more open kitchen/dining/living room.

David mimicked the look of sand through the granite on the large peninsula, which also features deep drawers and shelves underneath.

granite counter on peninsula

This golden honey-colored pendant (there are two) above the peninsula reminds me of a bee hive.

small pendant lamp

For a backsplash, David chose an opaque glass tile that shimmers in the afternoon light. Depending on how you look at it, you’ll see variations in the color. You can get a taste of it here.

stainless steel stove, granite counter, glass tile

To add more counter space, David moved the sink to the right corner of the back wall (it used to be in the middle of the counter).

glass tiles, granite counters

A full glass door looks out onto David’s slate patio and garden, which in warmer months becomes a beautiful botanical retreat.

glass door to patio

David selected the pattern for the ceramic tile floor to match the pattern of the patio. I love the cohesion.

view of patio through glass door

And speaking of gardens, you can’t help but notice all the indoor plants throughout the home. Around every corner you’ll find lush greenery — soothing, tropical, and oh so good for your chi.

Though the dining room is small, it is not cramped. A friendly stained glass dragonfly pendant hovers over the modest-sized dining table. The sage green walls with crisp white crown molding are fresh and healthy.

stained glass pendant lamp

The warm, cozy, and sophisticated design elements continue to the rest of the living space on this floor. It’s so inviting, my 2-year-old (who usually clings to my leg while on a house tour) marched right over to the rich brown leather couch and took a seat. I’d like to take a seat for a while too.

dining/living room

Posted by Katie


  1. Would love to see before pics and approx cost of this type of renovation :o)

    • Hi Jen — Unfortunately the owner didn’t have any original photos, but imagine a wall where the large peninsula is diving the kitchen and the dining room and there was no dishwasher. The refrigerator wall was also closer to the stove, so he bumped that wall back into the living room. As for the cost, it can vary based on the contractor’s rates, how much you DIY, the materials used, etc. I would guess anywhere from $20-30,000.

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