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Blog — home diy

Kitchen Update // Before & After

Heidi Shenk home home diy

Rustic Modern Kitchen Update

It's finished! We've been working on these kitchen projects for about three years, but they're all finally finished! When we moved into our row house six years ago, we swore that the first thing we'd change was the kitchen backsplash and cabinet pulls. Man oh man were we wrong about that. Instead, we completely overhauled our back patio, our bedroom, a half bath, and part of our basement first. That being said, it's awesome to finally have it all come together. Just for reference, here's a look at a photo I snapped of our kitchen on closing day.


While there really wasn't anything wrong with the kitchen when we moved in, it just wasn't quite our taste. The house had been completely gutted and renovated three years before we purchased it, but a lot of the finishes were things we knew we'd want to change. Many of them were very traditional in style, and that's just not our cup of tea. So we opted to swap out the more traditional items, add a few new details, slap some paint on the walls (twice!), and give it a more rustic modern feel.

First, we went to the architectural salvage yard and purchased about $10 worth of salvaged lumber, used hidden fixtures that Andrew got for free from one of his firm's hardware partners, and installed floating shelves on our empty brick wall. We added a new bar cart and some hooks and now have a nice spot for mixing drinks and making coffee and tea. And voila! More storage to boot. Always a bonus when you're living in a tiny space. The aqua coffee and tea tins were an Etsy find, while the other tea tins and bar tools were found at various flea markets and our local vintage shop Rust N Shine, respectively.

Salvaged Wood Shelving Industrial Bar Cart Coffee Bar

Next, we swapped out our old bar stools for some new clean lined beauties. We moved a few plants to the windowsill to brighten up the room. And added another cart to the room adjacent to our island. The second kitchen cart is a piece that my grandfather made in high school shop class. When we first moved to Baltimore, my aunt passed it on to me, and I refinished it and added the tile top.

Kitchen Bar Stools Plants on Kitchen Windowsill Tiled Kitchen Cart

When we first moved, we had purchased the set of Caribbean blue Le Creuset pots with money left over from a tax credit. I then received the matching crock and spatulas as a gift from a friend. We swapped out the boring black square-inch tile backsplash for beautiful white marble. I found the mid-century teak and glass canisters on Etsy.

Turquoise Le Creuset Mid Century Teak and Glass Canisters

We painted the walls a light peach color that really goes well with the turquoise theme as well as the rich wood colors. We swapped out the traditional, round nickel cabinet knobs for clean lined stainless steel pulls. And lastly, Andrew removed two recessed lights above our island sink and installed glass pendants with Edison bulbs.

Stainless Steel Cabinet Pulls Bubble Glass Pendant Lights

And there you have it! The kitchen is complete! Even though it may have taken us three years to get through each of these changes, we're finally there. The finished look of our kitchen is just as I had envisioned from the start, which makes it even more satisfying. Since we spend a lot of time in this space, it's nice to have a room that is truly a reflection of our style.

Have you ever updated your kitchen? What projects are you working on right now?

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Rustic Modern Coffee and Tea Bar

Heidi Shenk home home diy

Coffee is king in the mornings around here. If you've ever attempted to speak to me before I've had my morning coffee, you may know that the conversation to ensue will be jumbled, incomprehensible, and quite possibly grumpy.

While brainstorming ideas to create more counter space in the row house, we opted for a coffee bar along the brick wall in our kitchen. Moving the coffee maker would free up both counter and cabinet space. We needed a narrow console that would fit behind our counter bar stools and still allow foot traffic, and we needed shelving for our mugs, tea, coffee, and other accessories.

In the end, we opted for a rustic yet industrial styled console for the bar. We stopped by our architectural salvage yard and picked up two old 2x10 boards to reclaim and use as floating shelves. I found an assortment of vintage tins on Etsy and at the Cleveland Flea, while the mid-century modern tea set was a Christmas gift from my mother in law.

Coffee and Tea Bar 3.jpg Coffee and Tea Bar 7.jpg Coffee and Tea Bar 6.jpg

This little bar area has become the perfect space to quickly make a pot of coffee or a cup of tea, and has also doubled as extra storage space for our other indulgences-- beer and wine. The bottom shelf of the console serves as a bookshelf for our many cookbooks as well. This tiny little transformation of such a small space is a huge win for overcoming the problems faced when living in a narrow row house. In addition, the bar has been a fun way of putting some of my favorite items on display.

Do you have a coffee bar or a favorite nook in your house?

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