Holiday House Kitchen Before & After

If you follow us on Instagram, then you know that my big project this season is working on Elsie’s “holiday house” here in our hometown of Springfield, Missouri. This is the home that the Larson family plans to stay at during their frequent visits home, especially around the holidays. And the rest of the year we hope to rent it out as an Airbnb. Today, I’m sharing one of the biggest room transformations in the whole house—the kitchen! We have been working with The Home Depot and basically everything you see in this kitchen is from there. They have SO much great decor and home goods on their website, including everything from light fixtures to glassware. We also used some of its design services, which I had never used before, and I’m excited to tell you a little more about that. To me, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a home. So many memories happen in the kitchen, even if you or your family are not big into cooking. I can’t wait to bake cookies with Elsie, Nova, and Marigold this Christmas in this kitchen!

Like I said, this room has been completely transformed. Many of the spaces in this house are only getting minor changes, but not this kitchen. So, let me remind you what this room looked like when we first purchased the home earlier this year.

This house is in one of our favorite neighborhoods in Springfield. It’s very close to our downtown, but very much feels like a cozy and friendly neighborhood where neighbors sit on their front porches in good weather and say, “Hi.” It’s truly an adorable area, with many of the homes being very old. This house was built in the 1920s, and one goal Elsie and I have had as we planned the updates we wanted to make was to modernize in a way that also felt appropriate for the age and style of the home. The kitchen didn’t really have much that felt original or even close to the age of the home, so we felt OK changing it up. We also were hoping to remove the linoleum floors and recover the original wood floors (if it was still there, we had no idea until we tried), as the rest of the home still had them. We didn’t plan to change much of the layout of the space, but just update it to be a little more functional and much more the style we were aiming for throughout the house.

Here is what we found after the linoleum was removed:

This is the transition between the dining room and the kitchen. The floors were indeed still there! But we had a LOT of scraping to do before they were exposed and could be refinished. There are also a lot of little imperfections, like old staple marks/stains. And we’ve worked to minimize these, but also the ones that are still visible we don’t mind. They only add to the story of this house.

We knew we wanted different cabinets as well as countertops, and so we worked with The Home Depot’s in-store design services to pick out our lower cabinets as well as countertops. I’ve never designed kitchen cabinets from scratch—I’ve mostly just repainted what was there in other homes I’ve lived in or worked on. I was amazed and overwhelmed about how many options there are! Kitchen cabinets can be so much more functional when you get to design them yourself. You can add all sorts of things that might matter to you, like built-in Lazy Susans in the corners so you can reach/use the corner cabinets more (we added these) or other fun things like a built-in wine rack, spice rack, trash cabinet, built-in microwave, and so many other things. It’s crazy how many choices there are! This post is sponsored but here’s my honest opinion: I LOVED working with THD in-store services to design the lower cabinets. The gal at my local store is named Rebecca and she’s the best! She was super knowledgeable and seemed genuinely excited to help me with my project, and she didn’t at all mind working with my timeline or budget. Cabinets and countertops are one thing you really don’t want to get your measurements wrong on, so I also felt much more confident ordering things with her help.

We also had our local contractor team add floating shelves for the upper cabinets. Not only do Elsie and I both love the look of floating shelves, they also do a couple things in this space. First, it really shows off the tile backsplash (!!!!!!!). And second, since this home will be rented out by other families at times (or at least we hope so), this may make it a little easier to find things. 🙂

I’m going to link everything at the end of this post in case there is something in our kitchen that you want to read more about. But I wanted to point out a few details that we are obsessed with. First, we LOVE this kitchen faucet and pot filler. They also ended up going really well with the cabinet hardware we picked. Even though these are all brand new, they have that old-charm feeling so they felt perfect for this space. We are also really obsessed with how pretty (and functional) this range is!

Elsie and I have had one major disagreement in this kitchen—and it involves the microwave. Ha. First, let us know if the comments if you are a “I like microwaves” person or a “I hate them!” person. Elsie really doesn’t care for them (although she admits this one is quite pretty) and I like them fine. It’s not my favorite feature in a kitchen per se, but I just feel they are useful and especially if you’re planning for being an Airbnb. So we decided to get the prettiest microwave we could find and just have it on a cart that could be wheeled out of eyesight if needed. 🙂 That was the great kitchen compromise of 2019.

Really this wasn’t much of a fight. I’m just framing it up that way because it’s sort of funny. But we did disagree, and now you know what kind of high drama you could expect if this was a reality show.

I also want to point out our Google Hub, which is that device that sort of looks like a mini tablet. This connects to many of the smart devices we are installing throughout the house (like light bulbs and our front door Nest by Yale lock). I love that you can see who is at the front door from this screen in the kitchen and you can unlock or lock the door from it. However, I have mostly done this from my phone so far, as no one is yet staying at the house (we are still finishing a few more things).

I already mentioned the tile backsplash, but gotta mention that again because isn’t it just lovely? It adds so much character to this kitchen! I’m also obsessed with the star ceiling light.

I am beyond thrilled with how the kitchen turned out! A big thank you to The Home Depot for sponsoring this kitchen renovation. I seriously cannot wait to makes some memories in this house with Elsie, Jeremy, and my soon-to-be two nieces when they adopt again next month. Thank you for letting me share and I cannot wait to give you a tour of other spaces in the holiday house soon. xo. Emma

Room Details: Lower Cabinets / Cabinet Pulls and Knobs / Countertops / Sink / Faucet and Pot Filler / Oven Range / Hood / Refrigerator / Google Hub / Backsplash Tile (similar here) / Ceiling Light / Wall Sconces / Microwave / Cart / Stand Mixer / Knife Set / Rug / Canister Jars / Dishes / Small Cups and Large Cups / Nest x Yale Lock / Toaster / Tea Kettle / Chemex / Google Hub / Wood Tray / Round Basket (by microwave cart) / Utensils (wood and white set) / Blender

P.S. Click here to see more of my kitchen must-haves and check out Elise’s Open Concept Kitchen Transformation if you love a good makeover!

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Janae Hardy and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop. Additional contractor work by Martin Remodeling.
  • Love the transformation! Made a small space very useable. I am not a fan of microwaves – just use it to defrost food and reheat my tea cup. I think the microwave takes up too much valuable space and wish I could find an alternative for the convenience of having one.

  • We’re currently looking at re-doing and designing our kitchen, so this post is fab, as it isn’t all that big. I’m looking to completely change the styling and these are right up my street! Thank you so much for sharing so many amazing ideas.

  • Such a beautiful space! I’m pro have a microwave, but keep it out of sight! Not a fan of how much space they take up on the counter. My husband and I bought a little hutch for our microwave and drilled a hole in the back to feed the cord through. It’s also acted as a great place to store extra pantry goods!

  • Wow what a change! The white looks so classic and timeless it’s awesome! I am planning on doing my kitchen sometime soon and this definitely helps with the design part in my mind! I found another post that has helped a little but this one is fantastic! (

  • I am so glad you added the microwave! I’m not a cook at all, but I can make a mean microwave-mug-brownie 🙂 More often that not when traveling, I am heating leftovers, haha. I have to say it would make me think twice to book an Airbnb without one (I get along without a stove/oven just fine), but now that I have family who moved to your area I DEFINITELY have stars in my eyes over this one!

  • What a great transformation! I absolutely love the floating shelves, but I’m with your sister on the microwave debate. Good compromise to put it on the wheeled cart so you can roll that ugly thing out of there 🙂

  • Which dishwasher brand did you use for the Holiday House?

    A fan of your blog! Can’t wait to see more.

  • This is gorgeous! The tile… whoa. Amazing.

    And seriously, I rely SO heavily on my microwave that I honestly don’t understand how people live without one! Do people not warm up leftovers? Or have children? Warming up baby meals (often dinner leftovers) super fast is so critical in my house, haha. There’s no way I’m taking the time to warm up meals for kids on the stove/toaster oven. Good choice, team.

  • ????????‍♀️ Also anti-microwave! However, I see why an Airbnb could use one. Love the backsplash in this space!

  • Definitely team Elsie for my home butttt I can see why in an Airbnb it could be useful to have a microwave????

  • Beautiful reno! Really peaceful vibes as well.

    Random observation – I love the rainbow sheen of the oven! Is it accidental or intended? ????

  • I am team “You know some renter will leaving a scathing review if you don’t have a microwave.” And honestly, when you are traveling with little little kids, sometimes you need something FAST. We were in an AirBnB in San Diego, did NOT know the area, went to two restaurants that had 45 minute wait times at 6pm that I knew my 18 month old would NOT hang with that. We wound up up grabbing food from the local market and I am not ashamed I microwaved frozen peas and chicken nuggets for my kid while I placed a DoorDash order for delicious Italian food for the grownups (that arrived as kiddo fell asleep around 7:15pm). He also had some delicious fresh produce he selected himself and a glass of whole milk. But there was no fresh deli counter at this market and my options were limited. It’s hard figuring out something on a tiny tummy’s deadline while juggling the schedules of leaving work for travel, zoo hours, traffic, etc.

  • Pro Microwave here. It’s especially helpful to have when warming up leftovers from restaurants.

  • I love love love that y’all picked white appliances for this kitchen! I have always preferred white appliances, but it sometimes feel like I’m the only one.

    We have been going without a microwave for about 6 months now. I usually just store my leftovers in Pyrex and heat in the oven. I do miss sterilizing baby items in the microwave sterilizer, and I also miss eating the occasional Lean Cuisine!

    We are currently building a new house and I opted for a microwave hood and I’m now regretting it! They are pretty ugly but I was thinking it would be good to save counter space since we won’t have much. :/

  • I have been microwave free for 5 or 6 years and have not missed it once!

  • I’m with Elsie on this one. We haven’t had a microwave in 10 years, and my husband (a pilot) recently started talking about getting one. I told him he could buy as many planes as he wants, but if he brings home a microwave, we are going to have problems haha. (Though I do agree a microwave is a good call in an air bnb type space)

  • I am honestly just in awe of the whole transformation: it really doesn’t even look like the same space!! Love love love it!! I’m also a super anti-microwave person: I used to have one but when I married my husband and moved in with him, I discovered, much to my horror, that he was microwave-less. But I adapted and now I’m so glad we don’t have one! I think it makes me more mindful about what I cook slash eat and warming food up in the oven or on the stovetop really only takes a few minutes extra and preserves the taste that a microwave just zaps out of food. Plus, I don’t know that I really feel comfortable with the whole extra waves emitted in the house, even though it is small.

  • I’m also not a fan of microwaves, but in a bnb it does make sense to provide one.

  • I am team microwave! When my boyfriend and I moved in together we didn’t have a microwave for over a year. We also didn’t cook at home very much. When we moved into a bigger space we got a microwave but still don’t use it a ton. It’s more for convenience and it’s super helpful now that his kids are old enough to cook, or at least microwave, their own meal/snack. I think a microwave is important in a rental space though as when traveling I often want the easier option. Pop in snacks for kids (especially since they can do it on their own) heating up leftovers, etc.

  • I hate literally all light fixtures but I’m obsessed with your star light! Adds such nice character and I think it fits with the character of the house.

  • Wonderful job! Looks so bright and airy! The green you’ve added really makes it inviting. The weird small detail I love? That pot filler!

    I microwave a lot and find it super functional but also agree they can be blocky and ugly! I particularly dislike over the stove combos where one must rely on the unit for venting while cooking. I definitely think placing it on a cart that can be wheeled away was the perfect way of settling the disagreement. 😉

  • It looks amazing! I have a question though, and maybe this is good for Elsie, but how does cleaning of the open shelves go? I currently live in a tiny suite and store some jars on top of my fridge (so an “open shelf”) and I always find that there is some buildup of – presumably – grease from the stove, even though I always have my fan on when I’m cooking! I would just worry about that building up on the open shelves?

    • Hi! I’ve had open shelves in my kitchen for four years now and *some* open shelving in our home before that too. Here’s my honest opinion!

      -I am not bothered by some dust. I have found that the stuff on our bottom shelves (dishes and glassware that gets daily/weekly use does not have time to collect dust. The stuff at the very top is mainly used for parties or occasionally and it DOES collect dust. I deep clean the entire shelves maybe twice a year, otherwise I just rinse things off if they seem dusty. I LOVE our kitchen and I have zero regrets. I would do it again (well, I guess we did in THIS kitchen).

      -If you are a person who worries constantly about dust- don’t do it.

      I never knew there were so many people who worry about dust WAY MORE than I do until I was a blogger. It’s still weird to me, but everyone is different. If it really bothers you just choose closed shelves with glass doors. Problem solved!


  • I’m so torn on the microwave debate! I’m currently planning my kitchen remodel, and want to ditch the microwave, but feel that there are some cases when I do use it, or especially for guests. Wishing I could get one of the drawer microwaves so it’s out of site, but still easily accessible. Anyway, beautiful remodel! Will definitely be using this as a resource for my own remodel 🙂

  • Beautiful and airy. I’m so curious though, are the plants fake? Since nobody lives there full time it looks like a lot of watering!

  • This is beautiful and definitely good inspiration for our kitchen!! We have a google home hub and we LOVE it I could go on about it forever ???? It’s in our kitchen as well and it seems so simple but we use the timer on it a ton for cooking and for kid stuff (ie you have five minutes left of screen time) and for some reason when they hear the timer go off they know we are for real ???? but it’s been a great little feature to ease into the whole smart home thing and the pictures feature is really special too!

  • Thank you for putting in the microwave:). It’s nice to have a pretty looking BNB but at the end of the day you just want a place with practical touches. A microwave is a necessity when you’re travelling just because most people aren’t going to use an oven and cook a meal from scratch. I pretty much go out to restaurants. I think I’d prefer the microwave on the counter for safety reasons… sometimes dishes come out really hot and it’s easier to transport a plate close to the counter. Anyway, nice job and the brass drawer pulls are gorgeous.

  • That is such an amazing transformation and really gives me some great ideas for my kitchen. Ours looks like your “before” kitchen, except that we also have blue linoleum countertops 🙂 I didn’t know that the Home Depot had design services. I assume there is a fee for that? And that star light fixture literally made me gasp because it is gorgeous but alas it is almost $600 so I’m gonna go cry now 🙁 hopes dashed. But thanks for the inspiration and I will be on the lookout for a cheaper alternative!

    • Hey there! Watch for sales because you know THD has awesome sales. Anytime I get my heart set on something pricey I always wait for one of the big annual sales. Thanks for the kind words! XX

  • Haha your microwave debate sounds like something me and my sisters would argue about. I think they look ugly too but they are really useful!

  • i like to use a microwave, but don’t really like it sitting out… in our home, its located inside the pantry cabinet! It sits pretty much eye-height for me (I am 5’6″) which I really like, but not sure how my toddler will do when he gets to the age of wanting to use it on his own. May need to revisit its location down the road.

  • This is stunning! I also am not a microwave person, but do have a toaster oven for things that I want to heat up quickly. I feel like with an Airbnb you’ll have people who would be weirded out if you didn’t have a microwave because every time my parents come over they always ask “well then how do you reheat your coffee?!” So I think a pretty one is a great compromise especially for this space! Bravo! Looking forward to seeing the rest of the space.

  • How cute. The microwave looks perfect where it is. And since is going to be an AIR BNB, I think it’s wise to have one. 🙂

  • Beautiful kitchen! Stylish and functional for families on the go. Our vacation rental home is in Florida near the beach – it’s pet-friendly and usually sandy so definitely no open shelves for us! Question – where do you store dishes? Are the cabinets soft-close? It’s one thing I wish we had done when remodeling. Can’t wait for more reveals.

    • We plan to store dishes on the open shelves so they are easy to find. We’ll store pots, pans, and baking dishes/sheets in the lower cabinets.

      We did not get soft-close. Should we have? I honestly didn’t think about that.

  • This is an amazing transformation!! I am obsessed!!!


  • I love this kitchen, it’s bright and dreamy congratulations, Emma!

  • Gosh, what a beautiful kitchen! It would make cooking 100% more enjoyable! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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