An outdated 80s kitchen gets a stunning makeover, swapping dark granite and travertine for a light, bright, and airy look with warm white tones and brass accents. Now, it’s not only stylish but also functional for cooking and hanging out with friends.

It’s finally time!! It only took one year…(which is about 9 months too long)

My friend made a comment to me the other day that made me stop in my tracks. She mentioned that I’d never done a kitchen reveal on the site. Whoops!

She’s right, of course. I’ve posted about storage ideas, kitchen must-haves, hardware placement, quartzite care, and details of my floor, but I’ve never shown full pictures of the space and shared all of the details.

So let me fix that today with a full kitchen reveal!

The Before

Our standard California tract home was built in 1989. This is the original kitchen layout with the original kitchen cabinets. It’s a large kitchen and as a new homeowner, I was beyond thrilled!

1980s tuscan kitchen with brown granite countertop and travertine backsplash

In the early 2000’s during the Tuscan decorating craze, we updated the floors to larger, warm-beige tiles, added travertine on the backsplash, and removed the tile countertop in favor of granite. Within about 10 years, it started to look outdated, but more than that, I was tired of the difficult layout and lack of functionality.

I took some not-so-pretty pics after we’d cleaned everything out in preparation for the remodel…

The Issues

The refrigerator was directly next to a pocket door which never allowed us to open the refrigerator door all the way. This was mostly a problem when I wanted to clean the refrigerator and couldn’t because the drawers and shelves couldn’t be removed.

original kitchen before with brown granite and tuscan backsplash

Also, the peninsula really blocked the flow of traffic. The previous owners had converted a window into a sliding door and added a covered porch off the kitchen. But this meant that to get out the door, people had to squeeze between the table and the peninsula.

dark brown kitchen with table next to peninsula and sliding glass door

Additionally, the window was on the small side. Normally, it would be fine, but with the covered porch this room doesn’t get any direct light. I’ve actually brightened these pictures just to make them easier to see!

1980s brown kitchen with long peninsula next to kitchen table

The Design

Right from the beginning of this project, I knew I was going to change the peninsula into an island going in the other direction. I also knew I wanted to move the refrigerator.

Before going in to design the cabinets, I created my own design for the kitchen using Photoshop. I realize not everyone can do this, but I’m a visual person and this really helped me compare various designs before committing to one.

Here was my final design:

warm white kitchen remodel mockup for designer

The Finishes

Overall, I wanted to create a classictimeless warm white kitchen with a touch of rustic European. My style definitely leans toward Traditional and I love an elegant look juxtaposed with rustic touches.

kitchen moodboard with wood and white cabinets and brass hardware


I chose semi-custom cabinets from Schrock in white for the perimeter to help bring some light into our dark space. But for the island, I went with a warm brown with hints of gray. This combination, along with the gold accents and floor are what adds some depth and makes it a warm white kitchen instead of stark white.

kitchen cabinet doors in brown and white


I pretty much knew I wanted quartzite long before I started this project. I wanted something light and bright and that just isn’t available in granite, so granite was out for me. That left me with marble, quartz, or quartzite. I decided that marble was more maintenance than I wanted even though truthfully, the look of marble is by far my favorite.

So, I was down to Quartz vs Quartzite.

In the end, I chose these Le Blanc slabs of quartzite! They have an off-white background with black and brown veining that runs mostly horizontally.

le blanc quartzite slab for kitchen remodel with cabinet color selections below


I wanted a combination of Howell pulls and Massey knobs because I don’t like the cabinetry to look perfectly uniform. I used pulls on drawers and knobs on cabinets, with the exception of the pantry which has large pulls.

unlacquered brass howell drawer pull on a gray wood kitchen cabinet door

My bi-fold cabinets have beautiful cremone bolts on them from House of Antique Hardare. I modified them so that they don’t actually function because the bolt would hit the countertop. Instead, these are stationary and can be used like a knob.

unlacquered brass cremone bolts on a white cabinet

Warm White Kitchen – After

To me, it doesn’t even seem like it’s the same house it’s so different. My daughter was looking over my shoulder just now as I was typing and said, “Wait! Was that really our old kitchen? It’s so different!” So true…

warm white kitchen with quartzite countertops and herringbone floor - Beautiful Kitchen Design Ideas
Sources: Runner Rug – Salt Grinder – Pepper Mill – Topiaries – Drawer Pulls – Drawer Knobs – Cremone Bolts – Barstools – Small Black Vase – Faux Stems – Pendant Lights – Faucet – Pot Rail
white kitchen cabinets with wood island and runner rug - Beautiful Kitchen Design Ideas

The Window Wall

With a covered porch off the back and low ceilings, I wanted this window to be as large as possible. I couldn’t have it go closer to the ceiling because of the header required to frame the window. Instead, I brought the window all the way down to the countertop and eliminated the backsplash behind the sink.

I can tell you that several people were concerned with my decision because of the proximity to the sink. So far, though, no issues! I just make sure to wipe away and puddles from around the faucet and I clean the window about once a week to remove any spots, which is about the same as when the window was higher.

white kitchen cabinets with large window that extends down to the countertop and herringbone floors
Sources: Runner Rug – Drawer Pulls – Drawer Knobs – Cremone Bolts – Faux Stems – Pendant Lights – Sink –  Faucet – Soap DispensersBrush SetWall Tile

If you were to look back at my original Photoshop design, you’d see that the window was supposed to be trimmed out with wood and crown molding. Sadly, the fabricator cut my countertop wrong and left a gap, requiring me to change my plans. I’ll admit I was pretty upset but in the end, I think the tile turned out to be a better design choice!

Modern European Kitchen Idea - White cabinets with wood herringbone floors and large window above sink
Sources: Runner Rug – Drawer Pulls – Drawer Knobs – Cremone Bolts – Faux Stems – Pendant Lights – Sink –  Faucet – Soap DispensersBrush SetWall Tile

I chose Bedrosian’s Celine tile in 2″x6″ in Glossy White set in a staggered pattern (technically a running bond with 1/2 offset).

celine subway tile backsplash in kitchen between window and dish cabinet

You might have caught a glimpse of my dish cabinet on this wall. I’m obsessed with it. This is not a decorative cabinet…it’s a functional cabinet that is decorated! Lol!

When I ordered the cabinet, the interior was white because the semi-custom cabinetry I chose did not have contrasting interior available as an option. Instead, I ordered what’s called a “skin” or the Morel color from the island, and the skin was glued to the interior. The shelves I ordered separately in Morel.

white cabinet with brown interior holding a assorting of white dishes and glasses - Great Kitchen Storage Idea

These are our actual drinking glasses, salad plates, and dipping bowls that we regularly use. The antique ironstone on the top is decorative, as are the small framed prints.

The Farmhouse Sink

My old kitchen had a double basin sink. I will NEVER go back to one of those after having one large basin! Now I can actually fit my baking sheets in the sink to soak! #teamonebasin

I debated long and hard about fireclay vs cast iron and ultimately chose the Shaws Lancaster sink only because of the angle from which I see it most ofter (you can read about that HERE).

white farmhouse kitchen sink in warm white kitchen with brass fixtures
Sources: Runner Rug – Drawer Pulls – Drawer Knobs – Cremone Bolts – Faux Stems – Pendant Lights – Sink –  Faucet – Soap DispensersBrush SetWall Tile

My faucet isn’t super practical if you like the idea of a touch faucet, a pullout sprayer, or even a single handle. But my faucet works perfectly and sure is pretty! I love how it stands out against the window!

unlacquered brass vintage bridge faucet with patina on quartzite countertop with farmhouse sink

Does it look dirty to you? Well, it’s not. Lol!

It’s the Perrin & Rowe Georgian faucet in unlacquered brass and it’s starting to patina already. It will turn from a bright yellow, polished brass to a duller brownish/yellow. And at any time, I can just polish it back if I want. I have a friend who likes everything clean and tidy and we joke that she’ll need to take meds before she comes over and sees my spotty faucet.

Unlacquered brass is NOT for everyone, but I LOVE IT!

I also added a drip ledge underneath the sink. I added this ledge only to break up the bank of white cabinets, but it’s functional and has saved my lower cabinets from some spills!

farmhouse sink with quartzite drip ledge underneath in front of large window - Kitchen Details

The Island

Should we move over to the island? The color is called Morel and it’s a warm brown with some gray in it. I have a bank of cabinets on one side, and seating on the other. I do most of my prepping here.

warm white kitchen with wood island and quartzite countertops

I’ve received a lot of questions about the wicker basket holding my bread boards so here’s a closer look.

wicker WWII ammo basket holding vintage bread boards at the end of a kitchen island

It’s an antique WWII artillery basket. It has a wooden bottom on the inside with space to hold four artillery shells. Believe it or not, but I was actually looking for this basket because I had seen one at the antique fair and remembered that the shape was perfect for the end of my island! And as luck would have it, I stumbled across it on Facebook Marketplace and snatched it up for just $40!!

On the seating side, I currently have these crossback barstools at my island, but they’re completely wrong for the space. I found these on Facebook Marketplace for a steal and scooped them up because the style matches my kitchen table chairs and I knew they’d look amazing in the kitchen!

wood kitchen island with two crossback stools with linen seats

While I love these counter stools but they really aren’t practical in my kitchen. The space between the island and the refrigerator just isn’t enough for a stool with a back and backless would fit the space better. But until they really bother me, I’ll keep them here.

closeup of crossback counter stools with linen seats in kitchen with herringbone floors

The Range Wall

Should we discuss the showstopper on this wall?

This is the 48″ ILVE with a gas cooktop and electric double ovens. You can have this made in ANY color and originally I was thinking a gray/blue. And then I wanted white. And then I wanted matte black. But as you can see, I chose glossy black and I’m thrilled with it. I thought that it might show a lot of fingerprints and smudge, but honestly I’ve had no issues!

glossy black ilve kitchen range with pot rail hanging above

Above the range is the Hoodsly wood sloped hood with classic trim. Given my short ceiling, I ordered the shortest hood possible and still had to cut it down 2″! Inside is the Tradewinds vent that I purchased with the hood.

I debated a lot about whether to install the pot rail above the range. My husband bought these antique French copper pots for me last Christmas and I really had no other place to display them, but the permanence of drilling into my quartzite backspace for mouth a pot rail scared me.

Instead, I purchase two curtain rod support brackets and spray painted them gold. I then purchased the rail and hooks off of Etsy and mounted the pot rail to my cabinets instead of my backsplash. This way, if I ever want to remove it, I can fill and paint the cabinets, which you can’t do if you’ve drilled into your backsplash!

antique french copper pots on pot rail above black stone with quartzite backsplash

If you’re wondering where my microwave, coffee maker, etc art, they’re staring you right in the face! For details, read THIS POST.

white kitchen with brass hardware and cremone bolt cabinet next to large window - warm white kitchen

The Pantry Wall

This is the least exciting wall, but it’s super functional. We have a 42″ KitchenAid built-in refrigerator with bottom freezer. I love it! It is available with custom panels, but we just couldn’t justify the expense and so went with stainless steel.

Next to the refrigerator we have three pantry cabinets. The double pantry holds more ready-to-eat food like crackers, chips, dried fruits, etc. The single pantry I use for cooking supplies like oil, bread crumbs, etc.

kitchen pantry and refrigerator wall with pullout shelves in pantry and herringbone floors

Do you see our beverage fridge? This is probably the most used thing in our kitchen next to the microwave! Most people would have a wine fridge but we don’t drink wine so we opted for a solid-door beverage fridge that holds soda, water, juice, etc. The same tile from around the window is found here as well.

Here’s a pretty pic that I took but didn’t use above, so I’ll end the tour with this. My son learned the hard way that those limes aren’t real…lol!

kitchen vignette with topiary vase and bowl of limes in white kitchen with large window

What did I miss? Anything? Comment, email or DM me with your questions and I’ll do my best to answer.

More About This Kitchen

side by side 1980s kitchen with brown granite and warm white kitchen

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  1. Every single detail is gorgeous! I love it

  2. Shannon Gordon says:

    The kitchen is so beautiful, wow, what a transformation! I love your design tips!

  3. Kim,
    Your new kitchen is stunning. I love all of the thoughts and plans you’ve shared. It’s magazine worthy!
    Great job.
    Karen B.

  4. Joanie McLaughlin says:

    Your kitchen is beautiful. I love the new layout. Much more open. Enjoy!

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