Elsie’s Kitchen: Progress Report

Elsie's Kitchen Progress ReportHey, friends! I’m here to share a bit of a progress report about our kitchen today. A couple weeks ago I shared the before and some of our initial plans. We’re currently DEEP in the renovation and really excited to see it coming together.

ProgressDecisions you can spot in the photo above:
1. This epic flush mount light fixture from Lucent Lightshop on Etsy. It’s absolutely incredible in person and totally makes the room (and it has a cute sister in the breakfast nook right next door). I made the decision early on to embrace mixed metals. There is some brass in the kitchen and some stainless steel as well. And, so far, they’re getting along pretty well. 😉

2. Patterned subway tile. I geeked out over all these patterns for like two months and ended up choosing the straight herringbone. I loved it instantly and have had zero regrets (which is ALWAYS my favorite number of regrets).

3. Open shelving. I think you have to live with and without open shelving before you know if it’s for you or not. I’ve heard a lot of people say that open shelving drove them crazy, which is funny to me because I am so the opposite. In my last kitchen we kept all the existing cabinets and just updated them with white paint, and some time around year two, I got quotes to replace the upper ones with open shelving, which my husband forbid because we’d already reached the “max value” on that house (meaning additional updates wouldn’t increase the value for resale). Anyway, we did them in the studio kitchen and I loved them so much, I vowed that in my next home there’d be epic open shelving. And I’m SO happy with them. Next up will be the styling part (aka: the fun part).

4. New appliances. This was an obvious choice for us since the appliances were super old and some of them broken. We’re still getting used to our new oven and the dishwasher was just hooked up yesterday, so it’s still much too early to report on if I love them. But I love how they look, and that’s not nothing.

5. New cabinets. The price difference just made sense to do new, basic shaker style cabinets rather than spend money reconfiguring what was already there. I love them SO much. I have never lived in a home with new cabinets before and it’s pretty awesome. Can’t wait to add this hardware.

6. Marble tile floors. This was a tough decision for us! We’ve never done marble tile before, and we’re honestly a little terrified of caring for it over the years. We’ve already sealed it, twice! And we’ve been cleaning it with a special marble cleaner weekly. AUGH—are we doing this right? If/when I spill red wine or spaghetti sauce, is it going to be tragic? Please share all the tips.

As far as the visuals go—whoa. We really REALLY love the marble tile. It’s stunning. It goes from the kitchen to the sunroom and makes the space feel so clean and bright.

Hey Nashville7. Quartz countertops. We considered marble (heart eyes!), but ultimately had to go with quartz because it’s so durable. It comes in a lot of different colors and patterns. We picked Lyra, which has sort of a marble look. I say sort of because when you compare it to really veiny marble (we used some in our bathrooms), it’s not as pronounced. It’s sort of a very subtle marble look.

QuartzThese were my top quartz picks. I like how the gray one kind of looks like cement. I also really like the one that is completely solid white (not pictured). The one we went with is in the upper left hand corner. We got them at Stone World in Nashville. You can see the finished results more in this post.

There are some other details that you can’t see, so I guess I’ll save them for a future post. 🙂

Here’s some inspiration!

Elsie's kitchen inspirationLast winter/spring when we started house hunting, I began collecting inspiration for our new home. Basically I went into Pinterest Hibernation. Haha!

Collecting inspiration can do two things: 1. Inspire you endlessly, and 2. Confuse you! Because there are SO many pretty rooms out there, and so many choices. Augh. It can be overwhelming.

Some of my inspiration starting points (above) 1. The Style Files. That tile, that floor. Wow! 2. The Hunted Interior. Love her backsplash tile and light fixture. 3. ABM Studio Kitchen. I really loved this space and wanted to repeat certain elements in my home. 4. The Hive Mag. Love the laid back vibe in this kitchen. Reminds me that the “feel” is even more important than the “look”.

Elsie's Kitchen progress This photo was taken yesterday as Jeremy was painting the ceiling. As you can see, we’re still very much in a progress zone. The next steps I need to take are adding hardware, filling and styling the open shelves (including unpacking a lot more boxes), and then I have a few semi-crazy DIY projects on my horizon that will make our kitchen a more colorful place! Oh, and rugs, I need two small rugs ASAP. I’ll probably wait for Black Friday sales though. (Anyone else COMPLETELY stop shopping in late October/early November because you know Black Friday is coming up soon?)

We just got our plumbing snaked out a couple days ago and have running water ALL through the house, including a dishwasher, for the very first time. Baby steps, you guys! These are exciting times over here. 🙂

Thanks for letting me share my kitchen progress with you. I cannot wait to share the finished space in the next month or so. And I’m pinching myself that I can actually cook food AND wash the dishes all in the same room (only those of you who have renovated recently can relate to these simple joys most of us take for granted. Haha!) Be back soon with more! xx- Elsie

Credits// Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. Inspiration images linked above. 

  • Saw this post when you first published it and keep coming back to it. Really love how this room is turning out. Definitely see your style changing and maturing over the years. It’s polished and yet still has that cozy DIY/completely custom feel to it.

    Nice work, guys!

  • Marble is porous, making it subject to easy staining and cracking. So just don’t ever spill anything or walk on it with heels! 🙂

  • I seriously love the upgrades! I’ll be pinning this for inspiration. 🙂


  • I can’t wait to see how the renovation goes! It’s looking absolutely amazing right now. I absolutely love that marble flooring and the worktop. I’m totally one of those people that couldn’t live with open shelving – I love the look of it (my kitchen pinterest board is full of open shelving kitchens) but to keep up with the cleaning would be a total nightmare for me haha!
    xo April | April Everyday

  • Oh I love that! Snooping in from Australia here and I’d say that is not something seen here. I want one though!!!

  • I currently have a very old marble floor in my rental apartment, I absolutely and positively hate it in the kitchen. Probably because it is old and was never properly vitrified. My advice is spare no expense on taking care of it, Marble is pretty but high maintenance, and you might have to have it re-vitrified regularly. Marble is a super porous stone that will absorb all the grease and spills that it can absorb. I live in India and it is still quite a trend to have marble all over the house but nobody cares about the maintenance aspect much over here.

    With the kind of lifestyle I have and the pollution levels in Mumbai, I know that the day we own our own place there will be no marble in the kitchen. Other rooms, totally, but I am on the fence when it comes to the kitchen.

  • Love the floor, so pretty. We are mid kitchen renovation and it’s always comforting to see others going through it too.:) Yes to a lot of white & open shelving!

  • Oh my gosh! I love the changes you’ve made! It really inspires me to remember that spaces can be reinvented.

  • As a commercial interior designer, I will tell you that maintenance with your marble will be key. I wouldn’t worry as much about acidic items (like the tomato sauce you mentioned) as I would with stuff like oils. Marble is a porous product, so it will absorb and stain easier than, say, a ceramic tile. I would try to at least wipe down the floors after your done cooking – especially if you were frying something on the stove that would cause oily-ness to splatter. I’m sure you could get something for your swiffer to make it easy. Otherwise, just seal it regularly and enjoy it! It will change and wear with age and as you break in the house, but will become a part of the family (as weird as it is to call marble a family member). 🙂

  • Hi Elise,
    Could you tell me the brand of your range/stove and hood and where you purchased? Thanks for the information!

  • I gave it away to someone who was here buying Craigslist chairs from us. Sorry!
    xx- Elsie

  • I love their matte black stuff! So pretty!
    Ok- I’ll add that post to my list. :))
    xx- Elsie

  • Loving the exposed shelves. Although they seem like a pain in the ass to keep clean all the time, design wise it’s so worth it. You ladies sure do know how to remodel a home.


  • “Which is ALWAYS my favorite number of regrets.” HAHA love that! And your kitchen is looking amazing! The tile pattern is perfection-cant wait to see it all finished!!

  • I would love to see a post regarding mixed metals! I recently put up copper curtain rods and have been trying to evenly distribute other metallic finishes around the place. And like you… I ordered a new fixture from Lucent Light Shop… in matte black out of pure fear!

  • Omg! Such an awesome kitchen! So, may I ask what happened to the metal floral chandelier? I have a crush on it and want it for my very own 🙂 I’m local if you were looking to sell it (I may be too late ?).

  • I like your blogg, great ideas and all the best.
    PS: My blog is http://monikajanina.weebly.com/ check it out!

  • Thank you soooo much for your updates, we’re thinking of updating my boyfriend’s kitchen in the upcoming months an are thinking of what we’d like… So I’m always eager to get news from all of you!
    Just a question Elsie: isn’t all-over open shelving a pain to maintain? I’m afraid of getting too much dust everywhere…

  • How long did the kitchen remodel take? My kitchen is my next big house remodel, and I’m a little nervous about how long I’m going to be without a kitchen! I’d also be interested in a price breakdown or budget planner if you guys did one. Looks absolutely lovely so far!!


  • I got them from Wholesale Cabinet Warehouse in Nashville (for the bottom, the top is custom built).
    xx- Elsie

  • Yep! Just find out how much is the most expensive house in your area (per square foot). Then if you are planning on staying for a long time you can add more updates because the property will likely increase in value over time. If you got a really low price on your house then you can probably put in a lot more $ before you hit your max. If you paid a premium price then you’ll have to be more careful about expensive updates.

    In our last house we already were pushing the max value because we had already done a lot of updates and our house was on the more expensive end for the area. Our realtor told me what he thought was the max price we could list it at (even though we weren’t thinking of selling yet) and I knew that putting 5-10k more into our kitchen wasn’t worth it.

    Hope that helps!
    xx- Elsie

  • Really? I’m surprised to hear that! But I LOVE yhl, so that’s really nice.
    xx- Elsie

  • It’s held on from spikes that are attached to the studs. My contractor did it. 🙂
    xx- Elsie

  • Hey Caitlin,
    Inevitably some of the things at the very top won’t get much use and I’ll have to wash them really well a few times a year. It happened in our old house too (we had some baskets with wine and sparkling water up over the shelves). They get a thin coat of oil and dust, from cooking. Not my favorite part, but more than worth the extra effort in my opinion. :))
    xx- Elsie

  • This is my favorite kind of posts here on ABM. I love to see what you ladies come up with in your own homes. The light fixture speaks to me!

  • Thanks Sarah!
    It took about four months for us (so far) but we’ve had a lot of unexpected issues. I’m not planning to sharing a full budget breakdown but I’m more than happy to answer any specific questions you might have about $!
    xx- Elsie

  • We’re using a product called “once n done” now (just a cleaning spray for marble). So far, so good!
    xx- Elsie

  • Elsie, Love your kitchen so far,! It is stunning. I am in the process of installing marble floors and wall tile in our master bathroom. So, I’ll be watching and anticipating your care routine. If you don’t imind, can you share what cleaner you are using? You must be giddy about your new kitchen is almost done!

  • Omg you are SO right about holding off on shopping because Black Friday is coming! I can’t wait to go this year…it’s a good way to spend time with my family, and we make some great memories. Can’t wait to see what you buy this year!


  • this new kitchen is so great! i love the idea of open shelving! we all have lots of beautiful stuffs in our kitchen which are invisible in cabinets, having open shelving is a way to show them!

    i think putting sm colorful glasses near that window and its light can be really nice!

    cant wait to see how u design that part

  • One word…. perfection!!!!

    Meg | Meghan Silva’s Blog
    @MeghanSSilva on Instagram

  • I love your home updates! The kitchen looks great! 🙂


  • It’s so exciting to follow up on your house renovations, I’m always excited for that! And the kitchen already looks amazing!

  • Ha, I can totally relate to being excited about cooking food and wash the dishes in the same room! We did up our kitchen this summer and it took way longer than we expected, and we ordered far more pizzas than we expected. Cleaning dishes in the sink in the bathroom got old real quick. So far your kitchen is looking stunning though, can’t wait to see the finished result!

    Oh, and as for marble floors, we’ve got them downstairs in our entry way. They’ve been there for about 30 years and they look fine! And to my knowledge they’ve never been sealed or anything like that? My dad installed them himself (we bought their old house), and his only complaint was that the tiles were really uneven which made them a bit difficult to install. But out of all the updates I’ve got planned for this house, those marble floors aren’t getting touched!

  • Ah, I love your kitchen as well as following your whole reno process! So much fun to watch and be inspired by.

    So, I love the look of open shelving but I really worry that everything would get dusty if it’s not used every day or two. Have you found that to happen, or is it really no worse than closed cabinets in that sense? Thanks!

  • It is looking amazing! I would love to have open shelving. I can’t wait to see if all completed. ♡♡

    xoxoBella | http://xoxobella.com

  • Props to you for going for the open shelves! I could personally never keep my kitchen organized and clean enough to make that work, but I think they look so pretty when styled.


  • Beautiful! Just beautiful! One tip with the marble (from experience). This is probably not likely on a kitchen floor but if you notice any discoloration from an object or whatever a poultice (can be found at The Tile Shop) can save the day! You just sort of create a thick paste, smear it over the discoloration and cover with some Saran wrap and tape. We did a full gut remodel of a bathroom and did the floors, walls, everything in marble. Unfortunately, we didn’t consider the hard water from a broken water softener and the shower tile began to rust (it actually turns brown from the oxidation of the minerals in the marble). You could see where the shower would hit the wall! NOOOO!!! The poultice helped. ^_^ Whew!

  • i love everything so far! One of these days i want to do open cabinets or at least glass windows on the cabinets! They look amazing in your kitchen!

  • Wow, the open shelving looks amazing. How is it held to the wall? I have a shelf like that which I’m constantly worrying is going to fall down, haha. Loving seeing the progress on your home. 🙂

  • It looks like it’s going to be beautiful! Can’t wait to see the finished space!!


  • I just love the open shelving! It’s so beautiful!! The backtile is gorgeous too!! How exciting!! Best wishes with the rest of the remodel! =)

    Melanie | Toots + Dill | http://tootsplusdill.blogspot.com

  • I’m interested in this idea of “max value.” Could you write a post about how you calculate max value and how you use that information to plan renovations when you move into a new house?

  • Where did you get your cabinets from???!!! Im knee deep in a gut reno too and I am trying to source out the best place for cabinets!

  • Looks really great
    just keep up with the mopping and follow the sealing directions(can’t remember how often you need to reapply) for your marble floors , We let it go for too long and it’s a real pain drawing out the stain !!
    All the best

  • OMG I am so glad to see this wonderful kitchen, such a huge inspiratin for me=)))


  • I couldn’t stop singing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” while reading this post. So far, stunning!

  • We’re getting our kitchen done at the moment so it’s great to hear about your progress! We’ve decided to have open shelving on one wall and then the main wall will have units up to the ceiling, adds so much expense but we badly need the storage 🙂

  • Looks amazing! We bought a slightly older house in Nashville that looked just as dated. Hope you are enjoying process a little bit! It can be stressful but when you get close to the end of each project, it is so nice.

  • Yippy! We’re totally excited for/with you! 🙂 Looking forward too see the DIYs! -IVA

  • Oh wow, I just love what you have done so far! I can’t wait to see how you style the shelves, I have a very similar look to yours and LOVE it.

    What kid if fridge did you go for or do you still have the lovely green one? X

  • Dear Elsie,

    What a great job! Kitchen is really the centre of a house and deserve attention but yours succeed to be both simple, practical, stylish and so personal. I especially LOVE how you placed your subway tiles, that’s clever. Open shelves are also fantastic and its inspiring to see how lightning can make the difference.


  • Your kitchen looks amazing! I love everything you guys have done in there so far. It’s gorgeous!!!

  • Whoa! This is crazy fast progress, Elsie! It looks so much more open and bright, I can’t wait to see how you style and add pops of color! It looks beautiful!

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