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HGTV is Not Reality TV

Let's be real. HGTV is not reality TV. Not everybody has cathedral ceilings, panoramic views or floor to ceiling windows. How to makeover a kitchen with dated finishes, low ceilings and tight space? Now, that's reality.

HGTV is not reality TV. Not everybody has cathedral ceilings, panoramic views or a life that allows for a pristine white couch. Let's talk about decorating for real people with real homes and real budgets.

These before photos show a kitchen that presented real design challenges - dated finishes, limited light, low ceilings and a tight space. The cabinets were a pink, flesh toned beige with matching granite. The corner sink had a great view, but was awkwardly placed and small. The closet to the left of the stove took up tons of important floor space and - gasp - blocked a window!

Even if we don't cook all that much, the kitchen really is the heart of the home. It's where we start our day, gather with friends and cook comforting cookies (packaged dough or from scratch, I'm an equal opportunity cookie eater), prepare refreshing smoothies and mounds of pasta. You deserve to enter a kitchen that makes you smile.

This kitchen serves as the connecting space of the open floor plan. Since it is the center piece between several living areas, it needed to be a bright focal point without being too busy. We decided to go with a classic, super bright, white kitchen, with an updated twist.

Simple shaker cabinetry paired with chunky, brushed chrome hardware provided a fresh take on the traditional. Incorporating a stainless steel farmhouse sink gave the space just enough edge. The pops of orange make everything feel sunny even on a gloomy day.

Because the island faces a high traffic area, it was important to create a usable walkway. We designed the island to have an extra long overhang with hidden, under counter supports. This allows seating for four, with backless stools that can be tucked away beneath the counter when not in use. The same stools are available on several retail sites, but surprisingly, has the best price! The stools have a super thick, leather cushion making them the perfect place to perch for morning coffee, afternoon homework or weekend cocktails.

Even with a limited budget, we completed a full kitchen gut that transformed the entire first floor. Working with a local cabinet supplier, we scored good quality cabinets on sale. My favorite granite supplier is also a fabricator. Because there is no middle man, the counters were about 30% less than what you'd find anywhere else. At such a great price, we were able to splurge for the extra thick edge which makes a huge impact.

After a budget renovation with careful spending of every dollar, this kitchen that was stuck in the early 80's is now light, bright and feels double the size!

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