Lake Drive Easy Kitchen Remodel (Phase 1)

Not every kitchen has to be a tear out and gut job. This kitchen used 3 easy updates to remodel the space and transform this traditional space into a modern kitchen. The end results? A minimal, organic and raw feel brought to life.

When we bought our 1995 house on Lake Drive in 2018, my husband and I could see it was made with quality materials from the foundation on up fit for an easy kitchen remodel.

The kitchen had been designed with precision and a defined purpose. The flow and layout worked for our family, and the existing wood cabinetry was excellent condition. As we discussed areas of the house that we’d eventually do a easy kitchen remodel, we decided that the space structure – including the walls – would remain as is. We felt that the kitchen just needed a facelift without having to go full-on remodel.

The pre-remodel kitchen had a dark backsplash, rounded countertops, white cabinet hardware, and dated lighting. The after features a new countertop, hardware and plumbing fixtures.

A renovation can be a vehicle to express your creativity and tailor your space to suit your taste. We approached our easy kitchen remodel with that perspective and with an economical budget.  We made three easy kitchen updates to transform a traditional “before” to a modern “after” with a nod to minimal, modern Scandinavian design.

The kitchen has a minimal, organic and raw feel brought to life by the wood hardware.
The kitchen has a minimal, organic and raw feel brought to life by the hardware.

Creating a Mood Board to Focus the Vision

In creating a mood board and vision for the easy kitchen remodel, we looked to solve how to change the traditional aesthetic while keeping the existing footprint.

Our goal was to refresh the space to a modern Scandinavian design since that’s both my husband and my heritage, and we like the non-fussy look. We’d looked at the white kitchen trend, the colored cabinet trend, and the combination of both. Though all beautiful designs, it wasn’t what we were looking for. An image of a kitchen – shown below – led us to simplify colors and textures, materials, and elements to create a simple and timeless design.

We began to question things like trendy hardware and quartz surface colors and patterns. The moodboard forced us to focus our vision to visualize slight differences in the materials and how they would play out in the space. Moodboards can be used as a tool to curate the color palette and textures you are considering to examine how they complement each other.

A moodboard featuring different elements of the kitchen.
A design moodboard can help focus your design vision.

Create a mood board: https://project-remodel.com/interior-design-inspiration/

Cambria Quartz Countertops & Backsplash

Countertops play a significant role in any kitchen design. Because the kitchen is the heart of the home (especially true during COVID), selecting a quality kitchen countertop for our remodel was paramount. We wanted surfaces that were durable, non-porous, and easy to maintain. While we were contemplating the colors and styles of Cambria, other materials samples arrived.

These items, along with lighting, and paint and cabinet colors, led us to select the Cambria Smithfield design. It’s a soft white with very subtle veining. Some of our other favorites included Swanbridge (marble-like veining) and Ironsbridge (a creamy white with gray veining). We are very happy with our final selection!

wide angle shot of kitchen and island
A simple mix of natural wood tones paired with matte black accents.
close up photo of countertop and backsplash by cambria
Style, sustainability, and durability. The benefits of Cambria offer a higher-performing marble look in your home.

We’d seen a full-height Cambria backsplash on houseofhipsters.com and knew it was the right choice for our pared-down aesthetic. The countertop ended up being installed before the backsplash, so we could see how the space would have looked if we’d only installed it on the horizontal surfaces.

The Cambria Smithfield design that we chose has very subtle veining, so the countertops didn’t have much of an impact on their own. However, we were delighted to see that when it was carried up the backsplash, it made a beautifully quiet, though impactful statement.

a swatch of the cambria smithfield design
Cambria Smithfield is a soft white with faint veins just under the surface of this design.

TIP: The temperature of the colors in your existing layout, light sources, and cabinetry can influence the selection of your materials. Physical samples are a must to test in any space before making your final selection.

Custom Cabinet Hardware

The craftsmanship of our existing kitchen cabinets was exquisite, and we wanted to celebrate that. We ordered numerous samples to test before we made our final selection. Like other materials, viewing hardware in the actual space can be powerful to envision your design.

a close up of the monochromatic hardware
The wood hardware creates a monochromatic look to the cabinetry design.

To create a modern, organic, Scandinavian look, we wanted simple hardware with a little texture. We landed on handmade wood handles crafted by a local artisan. Initially, we were going to use all knobs but added contrast by installing pulls on the upper cabinets. That visual interest really made a difference. This unexpected, unpolished, monochromatic wood-on-wood aesthetic is a departure from so many remodels right now, and we were excited about that.

a close up of the monochromatic hardware
Vertical hardware on top cabinetry added visual interest to the space.

Black Matte Undermount Kohler Sink & Faucet 

To add high contrast with the monochromatic, wood-on-wood cabinets and the white countertop and backsplash, we chose a matte black sink and faucet that went with the stove, ovens, and other black accents throughout the kitchen. The sink is easy to clean, has low-maintenance upkeep, and brings drama to the space. 

a vignette of the kitchen sink
The sink is easy to clean, has low-maintenance upkeep, and brings drama to the space.

Undermount sinks are popular because they allow for easier management from the countertop surface to the sink and the install process is smooth. If you are considering replacing your sink with an undermount sink, you will most likely need to replace your countertops at the same time, as the countertops were fabricated specifically for the sink and installed during the countertop installation.

close up looking down at the kitchen sink
The matte black Kohler sink and faucet adds a dramatic contrast to the design.

From the countertops, backsplash, and custom craftsmanship in the hardware, this kitchen has made a clean transformation with updating so few materials. Not every kitchen remodel has to be a tear-out and gut job. This kitchen was updated with a few easy updates. The end result? We are in love with this minimal, organic, and raw feel brought to life!

What’s next? Stay tuned as we continue to personalize this kitchen in phase two with ceiling treatment, new lighting, new flooring and potentially updating a few appliances.