A Beautiful Kitchen Makeover

Mom of two Krista Salmon turned her generic kitchen into a streamlined family space that really cooks.

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Dull to Dazzling


When Krista and Michael Salmon bought their Virginia colonial in 2004, they were sold on everything but the kitchen. The bland cupboards and purple-specked granite had to go, but a total redo was out of the question. To stay well within a $20,000 budget, Krista calculated that if she scored rock-bottom deals on fixtures, she could splurge on hiring a contractor to help with cabinetwork, install marble countertops and enlarge the existing island—now the perfect spot for daughters Elizabeth, 7, and Anna, 4, to perch while she makes dinner. "Before, the kitchen was nothing special," says Krista. "But now it's modern, a reflection of me and a favorite place for the family to gather."


To camouflage the awkward gap between the cabinets and the ceiling, Krista had carpenters build a bulkhead topped with crown molding. Glossy beadboard paneling up above adds character and the illusion of height.

Color Palette

Krista went with a black-and-white palette and apple-green accents. Washable satin paint on the cabinetry shows off the wood grain while masking fingerprints. Krista pinched pennies further by not replacing existing appliances—microwave, refrigerator and dishwasher—that were working just fine.

Kitchen Island

A new gas Thermador cooktop, tucked into the corner to maximize counter space, turns the island into a prep center. Stock molding gives the end panels a custom-made furniture feel, while clear acrylic stools lighten the look.

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Kitchen Before Renovation


Krista's Budget:
Cabinet Paint and Labor: $2,100
Marble Countertops: $5,000
Carpentry Materials and Labor: $4,000
Apron Sink: $971
Faucet: $300
Thermador Cooktop: $2,600
Cabinet Hardware: $400
New Sink Cabinet: $400
Subway Tile: $300

Total: $16,071

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Krista chose a single-basin farmhouse sink to accommodate large pans and platters and a high-arch bridge faucet that makes pot-filling a cinch. Sink edges fit in seamlessly with the Carrara marble countertops for easy cleanup.

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Get the Look: Sink


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Shelves & Floors


New shelves put Krista's cookbook collection within arm's reach. Since the wood flooring was in good shape, she needed only a striped rug for a touch of pattern underfoot.

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Krista added an extra 2 feet onto the lower cabinets to accommodate a nook with a shelf for baskets. A glazed subway tile backsplash and chrome knobs and bin pulls lend a polished note. The narrow ledge provides a perch for items like condiments and dipping bowls.

Get the Look: Cabinet Paint Color: Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo Alkyd Paint (235) in Black

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Best New Kitchen Appliances


Take a peek at what's hot in the year's newest appliances and accessories.


(Left) The faucet gets a sophisticated rethink with spot-resistant stainless and a motion sensor for hands-free control. Arbor with MotionSense, moen.com for stores, $660

(Right) This pull-down model available in three colors is sculpture for the kitchen. Fuse Single Handle, deltafaucet.com, $412

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Best New Kitchen Appliances: Refrigerators


(Left) Talk about chill—colored LED lights let you know precise settings for cheese, meat and produce in the temperature-controlled drawer. GE Profile French Door Refrigerator, geappliances.com for stores, from $1,699

(Right) Put recipes, today's weather forecast and your family's Google calendar at your fingertips with a Wi-Fi enabled LCD screen. Samsung Side by Side Refrigerator, samsung.com for stores, $2,699

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Best New Kitchen Appliances: Dishwashers


(Left) It may be just a foot and a half wide, but this little unit packs big cleaning power and saves up to 2 gallons of water per load. Bosch 18-inch Dishwasher, bosch-home.com/US, $899-$999

(Right) Get every cookie sheet and oversize stockpot spotless with an adjustable upper rack, fold-down tines and a multi-angled spray arm. Kenmore Elite Built-In Dishwasher with 360-Degree PowerWash Technology, kenmore.com, $1,300

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Best New Kitchen Appliances: Ranges


(Left) With 6.3 cubic feet of capacity—the industry's largest electric single range—and the ability to reach broil temperature sans preheating, you'll never sweat big family meals again. LG Infrared Grill Largest Capacity Electric Range, lg.com for stores, $1,400

(Right) Clean the oven without lifting a finger: This cooker's exclusive inner coating uses water and low heat to zap baked-on spills. KitchenAid Freestanding Electric Range with Even-Heat True Convection, kitchenaid.com for stores, $1,349

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Best New Kitchen Appliances: Double Oven & Cooktop


(Left) A rear fan and a third heating element cut roasting time while a rapid preheat option saves energy—all in a new museum-worthy design. Whirlpool Gold 5.0 cubic foot Double Wall Oven with True Convection Cooking in Black, whirlpool.com for stores, from $2,249

(Right) An intuitive touchscreen interface recognizes pan size, shape and position so you can cook anywhere on the surface. Thermador Freedom Induction Cooktop, thermador.com for stores, $5,499

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Best New Kitchen Appliances: Sink


Brighten up with a sunny cast-iron style featuring an off-center drain that stays clear while large pots and pans are soaking. Kohler Colors Featuring Jonathan Adler Riverby Sink in Piccadilly Yellow, kohler.com for stores, $1,395

Originally published in the November 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine.

This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings and styles are subject to change.