My Temporary Kitchen Facelift

Photography by Sarah Elliott

I have shared with you all my recent purchase of a townhouse in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Many of you have asked when I will reveal a glimpse into my design process. Believe me, I too am super anxious to get started, but it’s gonna be awhile. I have been designing and finessing the plans these past few months and filed with the Department of Buildings this past Friday. As I await approvals, which can take up to six months (eeek), I decided to temporarily move our family into a teeny apartment within the home. We will move out and gut-renovate the house in early summer.

Since the kitchen is my domain, where I spend time in the evenings cooking for my family and during the days shooting for EyeSwoon, I knew the dilapidated 1970s rendition would not do! I was left with a quandary – I could not pour money into a kitchen to only rip it out in a few short months, BUT I was also uninspired spending the majority of my time in a not-so-swoony space. I decided to execute a few minor and inexpensive upgrades that completely transformed the room.

Here are the steps I took:

  • First order of business was to paint the horrific honey-toned kitchen cabinets a dark gray. To do this, I simply went to Lowe’s and bought wood primer and premium paint — no need for any sanding as the primer perfectly preps the surface so the paint adheres to the wood. After priming, I painted the cabinets with one coat of Valspar “Mark Twain House Ombra Gray”.
  • The second essential upgrade was to rip out the cheap-y and customary ’70s brown laminate countertops. I chose to replace them with simple, Scandi-inspired birch butcher block. A piece of butcher block is $79 from Ikea and is without a doubt worth the investment!
  • The third and final (not to mention, functional) facelift was a dishwasher — a necessity since I cook so often. I have a new appreciation for dishwashers after hand washing, five times a day, for two months. The team over at LG sent me this beautiful and super-sleek unit from their new LG Studio line, which my dear friend Nate Berkus designed.

While this is a temporary solution for myself, I share it as inspiration. Undergoing a massive kitchen upgrade — particularly in a rental — is not ideal for most, but it’s incredible how a coat of graphite paint, the warmth of butcher block, and the function of a new LG dishwasher can elevate and transform a space on a budget!

A temporary apartment yields a temporary [yet swoony] kitchen solution.
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Necessary Objects

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