Kitchen Renovation – the Before and After

| August 4, 2012 | 10 Comments

You’ve seen my new bathroom.  Now I’m happy to (finally) reveal my all-new kitchen and dining room!  It’s in a 3-bedroom (or 2 and a studio) block home in GHI.  First, the views that I have “before” photos for – from the realtor’s website.


The narrow entrance to the dining room is on the left, hidden in this photo.

The room was opened up by moving the door to the dining room and then creating a half-wall where it once was, which is located about a foot into the space that used to be the dining room.   Other than that major change, the lay-out retains the basic galley arrangement in order to keep the the electric panel accessible (as required by co-op rules).  Here it’s been hidden by hanging a shawl over it.

The cabinets, formerly from Ikea (and now out of stock), are now by American Woodmark via Home Depot.  The Shaker style is called Reading and the wood is maple, the (very cheap) hardware from Home Depot.  Speaking of which, the wonderful kitchen designer at the College Park location tipped me off that all their major cabinet brands are of comparable quality, so that if I could find one I liked from the more affordable Woodmark supplier, I should take it.  Deal!  I also saved $600 by choosing maple, not cherry.

The countertops are of granite and here I recommend against buying from Home Depot.  I would have had to wait 2-3 weeks for Home Depot’s marble supplier, versus using the marble supplier my contractor recommended, who measured and installed in THREE DAYS.  And man, after you’ve been without a working kitchen for 4-6 weeks already, you do NOT want to wait a few extra weeks if you don’t have to.  So I cancelled the order at HD and saved not just time but also some money by buying from Franco’s in Rockville.


Above you see highlighted in the old kitchen three white appliances – washer/dryer and dishwasher – which I decided to get out of the kitchen to make room for more cabinets, and because they’re so ugly.  (Solution below).  The two Ikea cabinets on either side of the window I like well enough, so I had them hung in my smallest bedroom (also sometimes called a study), which I use as a walk-in closet and occasional guest room (with the help of an inflatable bed).

Solution: the washer/dryer were moved to a newly built closet in the dining room, next to another new closet – a pantry for food and the trash.  Love my pantry!

Now about that old dishwasher, you may be shocked to learn that I just gave it away and didn’t replace it.  I find that I just don’t use them.  The new cabinet next to the sink is the right size for one, if a future owner wants one.

The photo above and the next “after” shot illustrate how much more open the whole space is with the new half-wall.

Dining Room Before

The dining room is now smaller than it was, but in my last house I had eliminated the dining room altogether.  This small space, with an antique enamel table with two leaves for seating four, works fine for me.

The dining room walls are painted a light shade of gray than walls in the kitchen itself.  Below, the view out to the garden side, through the new screened-in porch (photos of that coming soon).  The quilt is by my good friend Pam.

The kitchen floor, originally squares of linoleum, is now the same engineered wood as the living room.  Recessed lighting in the kitchen was made possible by lowering the ceiling.

Mistakes Were Made

It’s hard for me to believe now, but I was originally going to keep the washer/dryer in place.  I changed my mind after seeing that 1) they’re too wide to fit completely under the new cabinets; 2) I needed more cabinets; and 3) they’re too ugly to be so prominent is a pretty new kitchen.   That’s when we hunted for a place to move them and decided on the new-closet-in-dining-room solution.  They wouldn’t fit in any existing closet.

And this isn’t a biggie, but the corner lazy-susan-style cabinet under the half-wall looks like it would be great for storing food but I hated having to bend down and look in the dark to find a box of pasta or whatever.  So the new pantry solved that problem, too.

But solutions were found – by spending more money and pushing back the finish-by date.  Oh, well!  It’s crazy to have finish-by dates and fixed budgets anyway, right?

All work by Mozer Works of Takoma Park.



Category: Our Houses

About the Author ()

Susan Harris has been writing online since 2005 - about gardening. (E.g., Garden Rant, Lawn Reform Coalition, and Behnkes Nursery.) In 2012 she started this community blog for and about her adopted hometown. She also created and curates the Greenbelt Maryland Youtube Channel and does digital promotion for several Greenbelt organizations.

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  1. Greenbelt House and Garden 2012 Roundup | November 1, 2012
  1. Stephanie Fleming says:

    Love this Susan! Thanks for sharing how your new home is coming along.. Almost makes me want to re-do my kitchen.. well almost.

  2. Pam J. says:

    I’m sort of dizzy from the speed of your total house transformation. It really has to be seen in person to fully appreciate the beauty and ingenuity of the changes you made. Job very well done! You should be so proud of what you created.

    And I say good move in getting rid of the dishwasher. They are such a waste of water and space, and therefore not in the spirit of Greenbelt.

    • Flory says:

      Actually, I have found by adding a dishwasher to our renovated kitchen, we REDUCED the amount of water we use and our water bill is lower! Of course, we usually wait until it’s filled before running. Our electric bill has stayed about the same, but I think that’s because we have a new and better energy saver fridge, so it balances out the electric use of the dishwasher, which is also an energy saver model. So, my point is, having a dishwasher does not go against the spirit of Greenbelt!

  3. Susan Harris says:

    Thanks, y’all. Now come visit!

    Oh Pam, about the dishwasher. I’ve researched this a bit and been surprised to learn that as long as they’re filled completely before being used, they use less water than hand-washing. Not sure how electricity usage compares, considering it takes power to heat the extra water for hand-washing. In my case it’s moot because it would take me forever to fill the washer, and running it half-full would be really bad.

  4. Sarah says:

    Very nice!! We just redid the kitchen in our block home too, and made some different choices based on our family make up and budget. Would you be open to having us do a guest post? I think other GHI homeowners would appreciate seeing both approaches.

  5. How wonderful to see what you have done. Lived in Greenbelt in 1956 and really loved it there.

  6. Astock1 says:


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