ABM Studio: The Kitchen (Complete!)

Kitchen Tour (via A Beautiful Mess)Even though it's my firm belief that you can never really label a room as "done", it feels amazing to have completed this giant project!

Giving this room a makeover has been one of my absolute favorite projects to date. It was pretty crazy! Today I'm here to share all the details. 

Kitchen Tour (via A Beautiful Mess) First off (yeah, you know what's coming), a little walk down memory lane. Remember this kitchen??

The wood walls, ceilings and cabinets made it feel smaller than it really was. The layout was squished and impractical (when we looked at the house, the fridge was squeezed in between the stove and the window, and there was a washer and dryer in the kitchen). When we bought the house, we were given a magazine of historic homes from the 1980s, and most of the homes looked identical to how this one looked when we found it. It hadn't been updated in a good 30 years. We like to think that made us soul mates. Yes, soul mates with the house. :) 

Today the kitchen feels larger, brighter and happier…most definitely happier. 

Kitchen Tour (via A Beautiful Mess)  One of the first big choices we made was to remove all of the upper cabinets and to install open shelving. We've been super happy with this choice! I love the white subway tile all the way up the ceiling, and I personally enjoy seeing our dishes at a glance all at once. It's convenient. 

Kitchen Tour (via A Beautiful Mess)   Changing out the door for a door with windows made a big difference in the light in the room. You can also see here that the window above the sink is now twice as big. That was one of those (rare) projects that actually cost less than I thought. In the future, I won't hesitate to get window quotes because the impact a larger window can have on a room is just incredible! 

Kitchen Tour (via A Beautiful Mess)    Kitchen Tour (via A Beautiful Mess)     We had to relocate the washer and dryer, but it was completely worth it to free up this wall for the fridge. We added a few shelves here, and use this wall to store our rolling cart that we often use for food photos. 

Kitchen Tour (via A Beautiful Mess)      Kitchen Tour (via A Beautiful Mess)        When we decided to paint the lower cabinets a bold color, there was a lot of debate (admittedly, mostly inside my own brain) about which color to choose. Around here yellow often wins. I'm so glad it won this time. I can't imagine them any other way. 

Kitchen Tour (via A Beautiful Mess)         The addition of the barn door was incredibly helpful. It was a practical choice because previously the door swung out into the kitchen and all the way into the dining room. It was awkward. So the sliding door solved the practical problem, but it's also incredibly charming. I would definitely recommend it and do it again in my own home. 

Thanks for taking a look at our crazy before/after experience! Let me know if you have any questions. It was so much fun

Kitchen Tour (via A Beautiful Mess)           Stay tuned, because tomorrow we'll be sharing the before/after video tour of our kitchen space. It's probably my favorite video we've ever made, and I can't wait for you to see it! xx. Elsie 

Credits // Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with Stella from The Signature Collection

DIY Links: Window Ledge Plant Shelf, Woven Rag Rug, Vertical Kitchen Organization, Hanging Vase DIY, Magnetized Mail Holder, Concrete Counter Tops

Source List: Paint Colors—Trim/Ultra White by Valspar, Walls/Paramount White by Valspar, Yellow/Golden Meadow by Valspar. Barn Door/Rustica Hardware. Let me know if I've missed anything! 

  • This is so inspiring! I adore that fridge-my husband and I are hoping to buy a mid-century remodel soon and I’d love to find a retro fridge like yours for the kitchen. Where is the fridge from?



  • Thanks for listing the DIY links at the bottom, uber helpful! As I was scrolling I was trying to remember if I’d seen the tutorial about the rug but you answered it for me.

  • I love that you used yellow for the cabinets. I think it looks so good with all of the white and then the darker counters.

  • Love the job you did,especially the larger window and door with windows in the kitchen. The wall storage cannister are neat. In that vein, take a look at www.clingerclip.com for a product that holds cannisters are potted plants. If you would some, I would be pleased to send at no obligation. Just sharing a clever idea. Stratton Pritchard

  • Amazing! Could you please tell me if the sliding barn door is a DIY or purchased somewhere!? Thank you!

  • I just can’t get over this transformation! It’s gorgeous!

  • This is so beautiful! Could you tell me where the rolling cart is from? It is just perfect for a space without a kitchen island! xo

  • pretty awesome!!!

    can you post a tutorial how to install the sliding barn door? i want to change the doors in my kitchen for ages now, but i don’t know how to build them… 🙁 would be really great!

  • I love the yellow! I’m toying with cabinet color in my house. Right now all pictures of my kitchen looks like you are in a bad seventies made for tv movie. But soooonnnnnnn. I’m not sure I’m an open shelving person either but every time I see it, I love it.

  • It so crazy how similar your kitchen is to mine! same colors, same-ish dishes even! We refinished the 1955 metal cabinets, kept the yellow counter top and did open shelves with recycled glass dishes.

  • Gorgeous kitchen! I just moved into an old house with no counter space and am looking for a kitchen cart just like that one– where did you find it? It’s so cute!
    xoxo Justine

  • Can you talk a little about the open shelving? did you use the existing wood from the shelving cabinents? did you make the open shelving or was is purchased!

    I love it!

  • Hi Laura! You can find it here: https://abeautifulmess.com/2014/05/window-ledge-plant-shelf.html


  • Can you tell how you did the plant shelves in the window? Awesome!

  • Hi Viviana! They are concrete countertops. Here’s the tutorial: https://abeautifulmess.com/2014/01/concrete-countertop-diy.html 🙂 -Jacki

  • I’m really curious about the brick walls! Is that real? Did you tear off the wood to get to get it??

  • I can’t believe that this is your STUDIO kitchen…you are the luckiest crew to be able to work – and eat! – in such a cheerful environment!! Of course, you all are also the creative force BEHIND this environment…kudos!!


  • Absolutely gorgeous update! And I love the barn door! I’ve always wanted one, but snot have a place in my house. The next one!


  • My husband and I purchased a fixer in March and I’m using this as my inspiration for the kitchen. It is a ranch style home and needs brightening! The cabinets have finally arrived, I can’t wait to install them. When it is done, I’ll have to send you a picture to see our take on your sunny kitchen. Thanks fir the inspiration!

  • Love love this remodel, I am about to remodel our small kitchen and this is such an inspirational kitchen!:) oh and Is that a concrete overlay? Or what is it called that you did to your counters?:) it looks like we have the same older countertops that u had.. I would love to give it same look.


  • Love love this remodel, I am about to remodel our small kitchen and this is such an inspirational kitchen!:) oh and Is that a concrete overlay? Or what is it called that you did to your counters?:) it looks like we have the same older countertops that u had.. I would love to give it same look.


  • I love the barn door and we are planning to do one for our powder room too! Where did you get the sliding rail system for yours? I know they can be kinda pricey… Did you diy?

    LOVE the kitchen update 🙂

  • I agree with Becca – love how bright and airy the space feels! Love how you reconfigured the cabinets to fit the dishwasher. love the old style fridge and the subway tile backsplash! Gorgeous job you guys!!

  • I went back through and looked to see if there was any info on your floating/open shelving and how you made them sturdy enough to hold up that much weight, but I couldn’t find anything. Am I just missing the post or is it your general magical powers?

    I seriously love this kitchen! Counting down the days until I have a kitchen of my own I can remodel!

  • I’d love to know how you guys installed your floating shelves. My husband and I are buying our first house and that’s the 1st thing we want to do in our old kitchen. Did you do a blog post about that already and I’m just missing it?

    Thanks! 🙂

  • Such an amazing transformation! I love the sliding door – its such a good use of space!


  • Love the remodel! I was wondering about your rolling food cart. Is that something you put together yourselves or can I find it somewhere? I love the idea of how versitle it is!

  • Hello! I was wondering where the rolling kitchen cart is from?? Thank you!! 😀

  • Great makeover! I always say, when you need to lift up a room…paint it all white! Love the open concept feel including the shelving. Also love the yellow barn door and cupboards in yellow. Much brighter space, it looked a little depressing before. I find all brown cupboards in a kitchen is too much, paint them white I say!! :-)) good one all around.

  • I’m speechless, what a fantastic work! It seems as it wasn’t the same place, amazing! I love the colour choice you’ve made.

  • Can I ask where the fridge is from? We’re doing a kitchen remodel and that would be perfect for our vintage vibe!

  • Absolutely stunning!!!! I love it, great choices. It looks so much bigger and brighter. Definitely happier!


  • What shelves did you guys use for the open shelf concept? I’m seriously LOVING this re-do – you guys rock!

  • Whenever I see a photo with those yellow cabinets, I KNOW it’s The A Beautiful Mess kitchen 🙂


  • I love,love,love the bright yellow cabinets!
    Such a bold choice but they work so well against the wood.
    Lovely design choices as always.

  • That is pretty much my dream kitchen… I love the yellow and the brightness and EVERYTHING! Please give it to me!

  • I am a total sucker for before and after posts! This one didn’t disappoint. The changes you guys made are so perfect!!

  • It’s gorgeous! I love the yellow – such a happy colour! Well done, ladies!

  • This is just beautiful, and oh-SO-functional. The open shelving is a favorite, and I just painted a whole porch set a bright, happy yellow. Yellow DOES win;)

  • I love your new kitchen. It is so bright and happy! I love white and yellow.

    I had a question…..not related to your kitchen…..but are you planning on adding a gardener/landscaper person to your team in the future?

  • Hi Heather,
    I’ll have to check with my contractor. We picked them from samples he brought over, so I never knew the color. We have these same floors in almost the entire upstairs of the studio so I’ll be sure to include that detail in those future tours if I can track down the info! 🙂

    Thanks for asking- Elsie

  • Hi Julie!
    It’s from Lowes. 🙂 Easy Peasy!
    xx- Elsie

  • I am not really a fan of yellow, but it really works in the kitchen. It adds such a nice pop of colour! I bet it is a blast in cooking in there too 🙂 I am so jealous of that fridge!

    Emma Eats + emmalovisaa.blogspot.co.uk

  • I love the space. The white walls make the room really open and clean looking, and I love the yellow cabinets creates a upbeat/fun atmosphere 🙂

  • How did you do the knives above the stove!? I would love to install that or something similar in my own kitchen.
    It’s beautiful, your space. Congratulations on finishing!

  • gorgeous space!! i love all of the white!!



  • The final kitchen looks amazing, I love the bright yellow/white/grey combo.

    How were the shelves installed over that beautiful tile, was that handled by the contractor?

    And, what kind of oven is that? Does it function as a double?

  • I love it! So well done you guys. Thanks very much for sharing!

  • Absolutely stunning remodel! I love the yellow cabinets and barn door! The place looks SOOOOO much brighter and definitely happier than before.


  • The white color for the walls really made the space bigger. Nice job! I really love how you do stuff and keep it on a small budget. Much to learn here.
    Can’t wait for more stuff like that!


  • What a drastic difference! It was so dark in there before. I love this new kitchen. Great work, you guys!

  • This looks amazing! congrats! My husband and I just redid our first kitchen as well, so much hard work, but totally worth it!

  • What kind of paint (sealer?) did you use for the cabinets for durability?

  • Wow!! I never thought you could change the light of a room just with colors! This is amazing 🙂

  • It´s so beautiful, good job!


  • Oh my goodness, this kitchen is totally transformed, it looks incredible!

  • Wow, what a big change. I love it, it´s so much more lighter and friendlier now. And it looks like you guys made it. Thumps up!

  • Forgot to ask earlier: What material or what are the kitchen tops called?

  • OHHHHHHH! good job! excelent…I love the colours, white, bright…100% change!
    have a nice weekend!

  • Wow! It must really feel great to have completetd it (so far)! It truly looks beautiful 🙂

  • This is really great. I love the yellow. Overall though, I’m just left wondering why someone decided to have such a wooden kitchen int he first place!

  • I agree that it would be really cool to see some kind of ballpark cost breakdown with future projects as it is very inspiring for other renovators (including me!) to get an idea of how looks can be achieved for less. I know it’s hard to keep track of all those little costs though, so just a bit of feedback more than anything 🙂

    LOVE the blog and this amazing kitchen. x

  • I love the colors, you’ve got such a cheerful kitchen!

  • This is my dream kitchen! I love everything about it – the open shelves, the yellow cabinets, the wooden floor, all the light, the tiles on the wall… Definitely inspiring me for when I have a kitchen I can refurbish 🙂 Great job guys!

  • This looks amazing! Bright, fresh – and I definitely agree with happy, too 🙂

    I’m a huge fan of the looks of open shelving, but I always wondering – isn’t that a huge effort to keep the shelves and the crockery clean? It would be great if you could share a few insights! I will be updating my kitchen in the summer and I am thinking about open shelving, so it’d be great to know what I would get myself into, if I were to go for for it.

    Many thanks in advance 🙂

  • Can you come to Germany and do amake over of my house? Pretty please? 😉

  • I absolutely love the outcome!! What you’ve done makes the space really so much lighter and bigger! I’ve always been sceptical about open shelving because, even though I adore it in kitchens, I worry that all the plates and glasses will get full of dust and I’ll have to wash them each time before I use them..!

  • I love the yellow cabimets and open shelving. A couple of years ago I painted my fifties kitchen cabinets and walls a Tiffany blue, but didn’t do a backsplash. I like the look of your subway tiles. They would work nicely in my kitchen. I saw lacquered yellow kitchen cabinets on the show: Kitchen Cousins and loved it. I believe that kitchen was also in a Victorian house. Thanks for sharing!

  • Wow, I love how much more bright and happy this room has turned out! The bigger window, and windows in the door, along with the lighter colours makes such an amazing difference! I would love a space like this to cook in! 🙂

  • I absolutely love it! The colour scheme is gorgeous and the potted plants add so much to the space.

    Erin, beingerin.com

  • love the yellow. where are the floors from? and what color?

  • wow.. it was so pretty.. love it! :)http://lovesimplegreen.blogspot.com/

  • Wonderful place, Amazing Clicks..!

  • This is SO GREAT. Currently living with a dark wood kitchen and deciding whether to be brave with colour or not – this is definitely helping sway me towards yes!



  • it looks amazing. You’ve also convinced me to get open shelving as soon as I have a kitchen of my own t renovate – it opens up the space and is handy to see what you’ve got on hand. Great job!

  • The yellow with white is so summery and cool! It makes the whole place feel so bright. I also really love the idea of open shelves on top – keeps is airy.

    Great job! I bet it’s so nice having it all done!


  • What a huge difference you guys made. Love how it turned out. The yellow and white makes it so bright and happy.

  • This is Beautiful! Great job!

    Like The Yogurt Fashion. DIY. Beauty

  • This is an amazing transformation! So inspirational 🙂


  • It looks so good! What a huge transformation. It makes me a *little* less scared of renovating older homes. My husband and I are looking to move and this is all the more motivation that we could totally transform a home and bring new life into it.


  • Love, love, LOVE this kitchen! You guys did a beautiful job.

  • WOO! It looks amazing! Sunny and happy, just like a kitchen should be. Congratulations on finishing it up, it looks awesome!

  • Love the yellow, gives it some cheer. Love the plants and pottery in the windowsill. Love how open, light & airy everything is! Looks amazing 🙂

    Love and Luck,

    Laurali Star


  • What an inspiring, welcoming space! The yellow is perfect, As is the barn door. I wish my mind could conceptualize like this! Cheers!

  • Wow! Love it! I love how spacious and bright it looks now! I just posted too! Hope you come by:D!


  • This kitchen is seriously a dream! I would love to know where you got the hardware for the cabinets? So impressed with this makeover (though not surprised you guys pulled it off)–it is beyond incredible!

  • It’s amazing! Totally impressed at your vision despite that dark wood everywhere! Completely different room now.

  • What a fantasic kitchen remodel. You guys have a great eye for seeing a space for not what it is, but for what it can be. 🙂

  • I absolutely love the way it turned out! I’m a big fan of the open shelving and yellow cabinets, especially. And that fridge! I can’t wait to see the video tour!

  • What an incredible space to cook in! Simply fabulous. You guys have such amazing taste <3


  • Our contractor did the shelves. We said we wanted them to be able to hold stacks of dishes. He put them on to spikes that came out of the drywall. It was kinda freaky looking. Definitely a job we’re glad we hired out instead of DIYing. 😀
    xx! Elsie

  • It’s from ModCloth. 🙂 Thanks so much Maria!

  • Love it! The previous owners must have held into the ‘more wood is better’ philosophy, lol!

    What kind of brace did you use for your shelves? I want to do that in my bathroom. Thanks!

  • Oh how I wish I could brave enough to paint my kitchen cabinets. Yours are ABSOLUTLEY amazing! GREAT color choice! Can’t wait to see the video.

  • This is incredible! Seriously, you guys need your own show on HGTV or something! I’m in awe! 🙂

  • i swear you guys are fairy godmothers or something. you completely transformed that kitchen! it looks absolutely perfect.

  • love love how bright and airy the space feels! (and i was totally admiring emma’s dress on modcloth today.)

  • Absollutelly beautiful! Just in love with the colors, the plants, the brightness! And getting inspired to my own kitchen reno! Thank you for sharing this!!! Congrats!!!

  • Stunning transformation. Love that you kept the ceiling and the yellow is so pretty

  • Hey Selena,

    I honestly don’t know because we did all our renovations for the house in one round before we moved in. I’ve never broken it all down.

    I will say that finding a great contractor is very important. We use ours every month for some sort of update! You should get some local quotes and just see. It might be less than you think!


  • I am also curious to know where’s Emma’s dress from! 😀 I always love your remodels, especially the presence of plants in the kitchen.

  • Yes! I would definitely do it again. They are holding up perfectly so far!

  • I am also curious to know where’s Emma’s dress from! 😀 I always love your remodels, especially the presence of plants in the kitchen.

  • Good job girls! Sorry, and boys as well?
    Your kitchen is fantastic! I wait you for relooking my home 😉

  • Good job girls! Sorry, and boys as well?
    Your kitchen is fantastic! I wait you for relooking my home 😉

  • Kitchen looks beautiful! Would you be willing to share the ballpark cost of the remodel? I’m planning some changes to my kitchen and want to see what you were able to accomplish between our smart shopping and DIYing.


  • What a beautiful remodel! Where is Emma’s dress from!?! Love it, too!

  • One of the most beautiful kitchens ever! I see myself in there dancing in circles and singing while cooking 🙂

  • What a beautiful remodel! Where is Emma’s dress from!?! Love it, too!

  • Ah, I just love it! I just bought my first house and am moving in in a few weeks. I’m so happy to hear that the window enlargement cost less than you thought it would. I definitely want to enlarge some of the windows in my new home. I want/need as much natural light as possible!

    Are you still loving your concrete counters? How are they holding up?

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