ABM Studio: The Kitchen (Progress!)

A Beautiful Mess kitchen updatesPROGRESS!!!! 

Words cannot describe how happy we all are to be past the "before" phase and officially ready to share some "progress" updates. It's been about two and a half months since we closed on this house, and it's been a ton of fun to get from point A to point B with our awesome team of contractors (from Martin Remodeling). 

We planned, we re-planned, we picked out paint then we picked out more paint. That more or less describes our day-to-day lives for the past few months. Totally TOTALLY not sick of house stuff though! The process, although lots of work and definitely challenging, has been a complete dream project.Remember me?(( Remember me? ))

This is how the kitchen looked on the day we closed. It was dark and felt very small. The floors were aged linoleum and the cabinets were homemade (of plywood). One of the things we really did not like is that the only place for the refrigerator (not pictured here because the house didn't come with a fridge) was next to the stove, blocking a huge window.Goodbye shelvesAnd here's how it looked a couple days after we closed. Goodbye upper cabinets! We had a vision, but it was lookin' pretty scary for a bit. A Beautiful Mess kitchen updates Here are a few of our favorite updates. This window is now twice as big! We removed the upper cabinets and opted for some open shelving.

A Beautiful Mess kitchen updates  LOVE those shelves. We decided to try subway tile all the way up to the ceiling this time and I love the look.

A Beautiful Mess kitchen updates
We decided to keep the (homemade plywood) cabinets along the bottoms and just give them a fresh coat of paint. I'm pretty happy with this choice. They look completely new to me now. We decided to go with a wood floor. I know it's a very controversial choice whether to do tile or wood. This is actually an engineered hardwood, and we've heard it stands up to water pretty well (not, like, a flood, but you know what I mean). Oh yes- and we added a dishwasher! That is pretty essential with all of the food blogging we do. 

A Beautiful Mess kitchen updates    We moved the fridge to the back of the room where it can have a little more space. We added a few more shelves back here too. There is room for a cart below the shelves. A Beautiful Mess kitchen updates    You may notice that we borrowed a few favorites from my home kitchen. We decided to get the same stove and hood and the same fridge in a new color!

Yellow barn door in a kitchenLast, but not least. We solved our awkward door problem on the half bathroom. The door that was there before would swing into the kitchen and if you left it open it hung out halfway into the dining room. To fix this, we had a sliding barn door installed. It is both beautiful and perfectly functional! We're obsessed. 

The next few updates we have planned for this room are new light fixtures, a cart, wall art and DIY Concrete Countertops (we figured we have nothing to lose since they need to be updated anyway! we've always wanted to try this project). Plus, a million tiny details! 

Well, that's all for today! Do you want to see more? (Please say yes!) Next time you see this room it will be styled and in use! We're looking forward to making all our recipes for the blog in this newly renovated kitchen. xo. Elsie 

Please note: In a future post we will share a full list of resources (paint colors, sources, appliances etc!) but we aren't quite there yet. Don't worry. It's coming! 

Credits: Author and Photography: Elsie Larson

  • As someone who just painted all her downstairs white, I love this look. I can’t praise the fresh white and accent colour enough. Plus I love the tiles, my Mum says they are 1960s underground (London) style but I think they look stunning and nowadays are considered modern vintage. This is how I imagine my kitchen when I finally get to re-do it. However, I am a mint/turquoise junkie so that would be my accent colour!


  • This is looking really great so far! I love the subway tile to the ceiling and the yellow cabinets. I do wonder if you plan to change out the outlet and switch plate covers? Right now they just look so dirty in comparison to your shiny new kitchen. It’s a really inexpensive update that makes a big impact! I can’t wait to see everything you will do to this house!

  • Beautiful! The kitchen looks so bright and sunny. The subway tile looks excellent and it was a good idea to keep the cabinets. Pepping them up with paint worked so well!

  • Literally love it, so bright and it will be fab to do all your blog baking in there. Nailed it again. Zoe x

  • Looks so good. I dream of the days I buy a house and can have fun like this!


  • This is amazing! You guys did an FANTASTIC job! I can’t wait to see the progress of the other rooms. =) Thank you for sharing this with us!

  • Wow!!!!! It’s aha-mazing!!! The color of the cabinets is absolutely stunning and all that white….(!!) gives out an optimistic and bright feeling! Well done ABM!!! Can’t wait to see it finished, and can’t help but imagine what you’ll put on the walls and what’s to do next!

  • I feel like we’re decorating soul mates! I closed on my house the same week you closed, and we have really similar plans! I’m excited for you to share your experience with DIY concrete countertops, because I’ve been trying to talk my husband into it for weeks!

    Looks amazing!

  • I love this update! It looks very A Beautiful Mess appropriate. The yellow cabinets are so cheerful, and the subway tile with open shelving has been a favorite kitchen look of mine recently. Definitely want to see more as you progress with the house!

  • Subway tile up to the ceiling?! I LOVE IT!

    I’m so happy to see such a bright, bubbly kitchen: it totally reflects the personality of ABM. Props to you and your contractors!

  • That’s the first thing that I noticed too! It’s amazing how quickly just switching out the outlet and switch plate covers modernizes an entire home. The vinyl switch plate covers are great, because they’ve got movement to them, and won’t crack on installation. I think the most expensive cover we bought was maybe $2.50. Very cheap update!

  • YES!!! I sure do want to see more. I love what you all have done so far. I know it is going to be an awesome space to work in. To me the kitchen is somewhat of a sanctuary, don’t you think? 🙂 Anxious to see the finished product.

    – Angelina

  • The new kitchen looks amazing! Love your choices. I think my favourite part is the white board ceiling – really raises the height of the room. The yellow is a fun pop of colour, and because of the amount of neutrals, you can totally pull it off. Beautiful!

  • You are giving me house envy to the hundredth degree! The kitchen is jaw dropping. So jealous, keep up the good work ladies!

  • Can you do countertops after tiling? That’s exciting! I’ve always held off doing that because I didn’t think it was possible… now you’ve got me thinking!

  • Love it, especially the yellow cabinets! The outlet and switch plate covers kept distracting me, lol. Hoping those are part of the minor details that y’all are finishing up. 🙂

  • I love this! The colours are great (yellow is one of my favourites) and I like the tiles up to the ceiling too. Just hope the “freshness” stays once the open shelves get filled up – but I’m sure you thought of that!

  • LOVE IT. More more more please!!!!! Looking amazing already. Can’t wait to hear about the concrete counters! 🙂

  • looks great! definitely change out switch plate covers, overhead light, and faucet down the line. the concrete grey will offset the yellow so nicely.

  • I noticed this too, really shows how beautiful and white the new updates are!! the comparison becomes somewhat stark.

    The plate covers are cheap, but you’d also want to switch out the actual outlet, not just the cover but the rectangle inside the plugs go into. Not a difficult change either, just have to be sure the power is turned off!!!

  • Hi Adrienne!

    Congratulations on your new home! Send us pics when you are done!!

    & yes we will definitely share the pros and cons of the concrete countertop!

    xo- Elsie

  • Thanks so much Katie!
    Can you tell that the ceiling is what came with the house?? Crazy, right?
    We wanted to keep all the wood (just paint it) but it wasn’t an option after we ripped out the cabinets!

    xo- Elsie

  • I love love love the yellow cupboards. It’s such a fresh, fun, bright colour. How could you not be happy in this kitchen?! I also long for open shelves like these. One day. X

  • Hi Liana,
    We are very nervous about getting the edging perfect, but we do have a back up plan (white grout paint!) Cross your fingers for us!
    xx- Elsie

  • This looks amazing! I LOVE LOVE the yellow. I’d be very interested to know the sheen of paint your used everywhere because it looks perfect. In particular is the ceiling eggshell or flat? we made the mistake of painting a beadboard ceiling with gloss trim paint. I need to repaint but want to get the finish right this time.

  • I love it!!! You guys are so stinking creative!! You should have your own interior design company!!!!


  • This is FANTASTIC! I’m so happy you are finally at the “progress” stage, too. You girls are such a huge inspiration for me. Looks so beautiful!!!

  • I’m slowly getting to loving the open shelf look but I don’t think I could keep it edited and styled they way you gals can! I love the white ceiling and wood floors. Can’t wait to follow along on your DIY concrete counter project since I have been wanting to take out our ugly tile kitchen counters and replace to with modern concrete ones. Best of Luck!

  • SO SO GOOD!! I love it, what a transformation! The open shelves changes the whole feel of it, and I love. that. tile. Can’t wait to see more!

  • OMG love it!! My kitchen has the same colors and feel (except I kept the upper cabs!) Great work!

  • My beau thinks yellow in a kitchen is a no-no but I don’t see how. I LOVE yellow in a kitchen and y’all did it in a way that is tasteful and not excessive.
    Also #drool

  • What an unbelievable difference! I can’t wait to see more, especially all styled out with cute dishes and more color popping in front of that sparkly new white! Yum.

  • More, please! This looks gorgeous. I really like the bright yellow on the cabinets.


  • The kitchen looks beautiful! Good idea to move the fridge since I’m sure next to the stove isn’t the most energy efficient place for it. I also agree that a dishwasher is a must!

  • What a change! The kitchen is looking amazing. Love how good the yellow cabinets look and the hardwood floor. Your fridge is beautiful, I just love everything and its not even done yet. Can’t wait to see it once it is all done.

  • Wow…Gorgeous!! I love the yellow with the white subway tiles. Open shelving was a great idea. Not only does it seem more spacious but I know you’ll have beautiful items to display. The barn door is fabulous! I can’t wait to see the concrete countertops…very nice choice. Don’t second guess the engineered hardwoods. Not only do they look great and much less cold than tile, they really do hold up well in a kitchen. I’ve lived with that set-up and have had zero issues. Have fun! I can’t wait to see more!

  • LOVE it!!! Love the fridge, yellow, sliding door…. can’t wait to keep watching the progress. 🙂

  • LOVE THIS. Y’all are doing an AMAZING job. Also, a great inspiration for any future home plans I may have.

  • I’m SO happy you guys are sharing progress photos! I’ve been dying to see how the space is shaping up – it looks wonderful!! Do you think you would ever share the budget? I’d love to know if these are changes I can afford 🙂

  • oh my goodness, i am in love! my family is currently redoing our kitchen as well. subway tiles must be the thing right now. that is the next thing to go in! what an incredible vision!

  • I know many people have said it, but THIS is exactly how I envision our kitchen update. I’ve always loved subway tile and I never thought to take it up to the ceiling — amazing. And we’re thinking about open shelves to reduce clutter and open the kitchen up. I noticed your shelves didn’t have brackets, where did you get them?? Thanks so much for the inspiration.

  • Ahhh this makes me miss the days when we fully renovated a house! It’s looking lovely. If you need a design intern, let me know! 😉 But seriously, it’s looking beautiful and I’m so glad you kept those cabinets and paneled ceiling- just lovely!

  • I bet it’s so great to be able to have another home to let out some creative outlet on….especially a home that’s purely a creative space. I would imagine it helps you sort out ideas for your own home really well without making too many decisions that you would end up changing too quickly in your own home! So amazing and so stunning!!

    Can’t wait for the rest! Wish i was there helping you and learning all the way through!


  • yes yes yes! more! the whole process is exciting to follow!

    beautiful choices and i just LOVE concrete counter tops.

    looking forward to seeing more!

  • Let me know when the bedroom is done. I’ll move in as a permanent house guest 😉 . Awesome work!
    Are you planning any work outside the house ? Is there space for your own little organic garden ? That would open up a whole new blog section – GARDENING!

  • its looking fabulous, the yellow and white looks so crisp and fresh and a total transformation! Can’t wait to see it finished.

  • WOW! What a HUGE difference! It looks amazing, and I love the pop of yellow and white, it makes it an energetic, happy space. I also adore the functional open shelving. We are still renters, but I am eagerly saving up some ideas for our one-day dream home;)

  • I love the yellow! So bright, clean and cheerful! I would change all the plug covers to white though. So amazing!

  • My new dream kitchen! It’s so sunny that I now want to come over and cook breakfast there… Can you explain the open shelves and how they are attached to the wall with the subway tile? Thanks! can’t wait for more!

  • The ‘before’ kitchen was a little frightening… but I LOVE the brightness in the new kitchen! It looks like a completely different home! The yellow is a nice pop of colour and the white just really open the kitchen up. Great job so far! Can’t wait to see more 🙂


  • I’m glad to be finally seeing progress photos instead of all befores and inspiration photos (not that I didn’t like those, this is just so much more exciting!). Digging the yellow cabinets but I’m not a fan of the flooring. I look forward to seeing the artwork that goes into the kitchen.

  • Bravo! Love the clean look with details that make the look standout. Like the modern retro refridge, the clean lines on the cabinets, and the all white look domesticates the industrial look of the subway tile. Good call on widening the window. Also, just noticed you are employing a remodeling co. Also good call; I am positive that our remodels felt so intensive BC a lot of the work we did ourselves. Looks great.

  • Gorgeous! It’d be super helpful if you added a budget too: I know one of the main reasons I read blogs is to get ideas for my own home and it’s soooooo useful to know how much various updates cost.

  • THIS LOOKS EFFING AWESOME!! Love the choice to keep the original bottom cabinets. So long as they’re sound, why not?! The tile all the way up looks great and soooo easy to clean. I’m not personally a huge fan of open shelving for practical reasons (I’m a slob…) but it looks so flipping good. And for these purposes, perfect.

  • We used the same method to fake concrete countertops. It was pretty easy (and cheap!) and most importantly, convinced the appraiser. But… the material is really much too soft to last very long in a kitchen.

  • It looks amazing! I love the idea of concrete counters, my husband used to design and install them, and they look so beautiful! Someday when we have a house of our own again we will go that route! You do have to be careful of acids though. I have seen some in a restaurant that were torn up by lemons.

  • This is so freaking great! It doesn’t even look like the same room! Beautiful work girls!

  • Whoa! What a huge improvement! I love everything about this kitchen. Great work, ladies! 🙂

  • It looks awesomely amazing!! How are the open shelves support to hold the weight of dishes? I am curious 🙂 You guys amaze me and give me so much motivation for my home.

  • THIS IS BEYOND GREAT. Hot colors are my favorite, and I am in shock. this is beyond great!!! YAYAY!

    Andrea Fer, Not Quite Grown Up Guide

  • Amazing!!
    My boyfriend did concrete countertops in his home and they’re awesome!!

    Can’t wait to see it finished !!

  • I’m following you guys for quite a while already but NOTHING has ever thrilled me as much as this whole house make-over. I’m basically waiting for new posts on a daily basis.

    This kitchen is already fantastic and knowing you and your team, it will only get better! I can’t wait for more pictures, more posts, more everything-this-hous.

    I’m giving out a fair warning here: I have my mind set on being a house guest over there one day and be able to say that some of my writing has been done there! And yes, I intend to come all the way from Germany for that!

    (I’m only half joking, I would LOVE to… the energy you guys are displaying is infectious!)

  • so excited to see all the progress photos finally.
    and of course you guys totally nailed it. this kitchen is completely awesome!

    can’t wait to see more!

  • I love it … the subway tiles, the yellow, the barn door. Every bit as fun and funky as I would have expected from you. It looks like an entirely new space. Can’t wait to see more!

  • Looks terrific so far. I really like that sliding door! We have a spot that could really use the same treatment, and now that I’ve seen yours I’m very keen to get on with that job.

  • I love, love, love the bright white and yellow! And a bigger window is always a plus! This space is looking awesome so far, and I can’t wait to see what else you end up doing with it! I have a feeling I’m going to very much enjoy seeing all your house updates! 🙂

  • This looks amazing so far! I love that bathroom door and I’ve already pinned the fridge for my future hypothetical dream home.

    The Rambling Fangirl

  • Yes! I love the open shelving. I used to have a kitchen with it open and loved seeing evetything for easy grabbing. Now I’m thinking about ripping cabinet doors off at least.

  • It looks so great and I’m jealous of my own suggestion on the Barn door! I can’t wait to see the rest of the house!

  • Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! So so happy for your beautiful home, its progress, and the amazing journey you’ve been on to get it to where it is today. It looks so happy! Thank you for sharing with us, all my very best to you in your new projects!

  • Of course I want more! We’re renting, and although I love making this space a home, I can’t wait to be able to buy a house and go all out. Until then, articles like this allow me to live vicariously (and squirrel away inspiration – like that sliding door on the bathroom!)

  • WOW! What a difference – the open shelving + tile opens the whole space up. Can’t wait to see more.

  • It looks so good! Though, I think you should replace all outlet covers with a white, instead of that yellowish color. It will totally add a finishing touch.

  • Excuse my language… but holy shit! That is incredible. The turn around is amazing and it just shows that you really do need to keep an open mind when purchasing a house. Looks expensive,but soooo beautiful. I’m personally loving bright yellow now and these yellow cupboards aren’t helping my addiction! 😉 xo Ali

  • Love the colour of the cabinets and the open shelves. So light and bright. I think the diy concrete counter tops will look amazing!

  • wow it’s great how motivated and fast you work! you are a serious inspiration!

  • It’s so gorgeous!!! I’ve been checking in most days, itching to see the new rooms….I’m not even a fan of yellow, but this is lovely. It will be like cooking in a room full of sunshine! Can’t wait to see it when it’s completely done…and also the rest of the house! x

  • amazing! I love the subway tiles (it’s on my kitchen to do list!), the barn door, the fridge, and the fact that you kept the old cupboards. would love to see a tutorial on how you did the barn door, as that’s also something i’ve been considering for my kitchen! i am so excited to see how the rest of the house turns out!

  • This is great! I love the floor and the subway tile, and that sliding barn door is so pretty! It also really brings the room together colourwise, with another bit of yellow other than the cabinets. Lovely! And of course I’m looking forward to more details!

  • Oh wow, even without the before pictures this would be absolutely stunning -such a happy, bright and airy space! Yellow cabinets might be my favourite kind of kabinets; they bring the sun right in! I love the wood floor too, but I would probably be too wary to try it (I usually provoke lots of accidental splashings and spillings when I am in the kitchen…). So I was wondering what kind of tiling would you have gone for, if you had chosen to tile? Something small, something big, something white, something colourful, something understated or something funky?

  • Eeek, it’s just gorgeous, I can’t wait to see more! I’m wanting to make over my kitchen this year too and i’ve been thinking white, yellow and gray so these pictures are gonna be pinned to my inspiration board! x

  • I love the yellow. But I think the open shelving are not very practical, cause of all the dust

  • Holy crap its gorgeous. I mean realllly. And then you see the befores and you just cant believe its the same space! You are breathing life back into that home. I love that crazy pop of color for the bottom cabinets. They look great. Cant’ wait to see it completed!

  • This looks beautiful! I love that you kept the old lower cabinets and just painted and added new hardware! Are the shelves pre-made (Ikea??). We are looking to do some open shelving and have been eyeing some ikea shelving with hidden brackets, but were wondering how sturdy they would be? Love the full-wall subway tile too – stunning!

  • I’ve got a friend who went with the DIY concrete counter tops and was not happy with the decision, they’re hard to maintain.
    You ladies are miracle workers, that kitchen was definitely a difficult task.

  • We have the exact same kitchen layout and would love to do something similar. How did you hang the shelving on the tile?

  • It looks great, ladies! Love the yellow, and you definitely made a good choice in making that window larger.

    xo Ashley

  • This looks great so far! You guys are doing an amazing job, and so quickly! My boyfriends brother did barn doors like those, I love them!

    Leah Faye
    a clover and a bee

  • I love what you did with that dark old kitchen; the only thing i would say to change is the outlets! I have rehabbed 3 houses myself and I just do not care for almond colored outlets and switches – especially when the walls are stunning bright white! It makes them look dingy and dirty. I also love the wood floors in the kitchen- anyone who is concerned about water damage must soak their kitchens down! LOL those floors can handle the occasional dishwater splash or dog bowl drips, I’m sure. I really like that you chose a bright cheerful kitchen palette, I am so sick of seeing dark cabinets, dark granite make-overs! The fridge rocks! Thanks for being unique and original- can’t wait to see what you do with the rest of the place!

  • WOW! That is quite a transformation! Really lovely – love the open shelves and the yellow you’ve chosen for the doors. Nice, bright space to spend time in!

  • What an amazing job you’ve done! I love the yellow kitchen cabinets – I couldn’t believe they’re the same ones. You’re both so brave to take on such a huge project like this and I can’t wait to see more ‘after’ photos! x

  • this looks SO good! mu husband and i bought a 100 yr old home and took a few cabinets off and put up open shelving like you did. we painted ours mint green and got white subway tile to brighten the space as well 🙂 we live in pittsburgh and there is this AMAZING place called ‘construction junction’ where you can get incredible and historic pieces of salvage to repurpose from old homes/businesses. it’s such a great money saver and a way to add character and interest to a room on a budget! nice job you guys!

  • It´s so much prettier, but I see that the woodcabins is old… I don´t think that was a good choice to keep them!

  • Did you plan to put a larger window in before you got the wall off? It looks kind of like the window was originally larger and they put a smaller one in. Is that the case because if so you guys got so lucky!

  • I love the subway tiles – good call on the open shelving and tiles to the ceiling. I also love the barn door!

  • When I was little, my parents decided to re-paint the house (inside). To try and include me, they asked me what I wanted. Being about 7, I said ‘rainbow’. Needless to say, they ignored me! But here you are, with pops of colour all over your work and I LOVE IT. Keep it up team. xx

  • This kitchen is gorgeous! I can’t wait to see what the rest of the house looks like. I’d also like to say thank you for providing helpful decorating tips. I’ve read your blog for the last four years and your advice has helped me decorate my dorm, first apartment and first home. You guys are inspiring!

  • love looks awesome. I would just say switch out those beige outlets for bright white, so they blend into the beautiful subway tiles. Inexpensive and voila!

  • what a daring color on the cabinets! When I was young my bedroom walls were painted bright yellow and my mom always called it “YELLOW!” I love the tiled wall, and that fridge!

  • Beautiful update!! Yellow is my favorite color too so I am a big fan of the bold choice.
    I have lthe same cabinets too and am looking at updating. What was your process?
    Thanks again!!

  • Such a clever idea with the sliding door! I’ll definitely be keeping that in mind if I ever get around to buying a home!

    The subway tiles with the open shelving are also looking fantastic!

    xo, Regina


  • I know you plan to post the sources later, but I can’t wait!! We have a similar door issue in our kitchen. Where did you purchase your barn door sliding rail hardware, and how much approximately did it cost?

  • OMG, it’s amazing!!!!
    But it ruin my day:( Now I want to go to much kitchen and throw out my hanging cupboards…
    Happily I have yellow wall in the kitchen (I love yellow!) 😉


  • Over the summer we followed the same tutorial and did concrete countertops in our kitchen. They turned out really well and were an awesome – and inexpensive – quick fix for laminate countertops.

  • Next you ladies will be offering local house makeovers….right?! Well, let me just volunteer my kitchen… Ha! xoxo

  • The tiles and the door!! Love love love. Can’t wait to see the countertops too. Really tempted by concrete for our kitchen so would be great to see the process and how they turn out.

  • love it! What a difference. Never would have thought of yellow cabinets, gorgeous!

  • hello! Where did you buy the shelves? They look like Ikea lack but higher quality. Looks great, thanks!

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