Happy Transformation Thursday Everyone! Moving forward, I’m going to be using Thursday’s as a day to discuss a specific (and some of my favorite) transformations, highlighting some of the changes and the design decisions that were made. The BEFORE and AFTER example used will also correspond to my instagram and twitter accounts where you can follow me @flippingdiaries!

The transformation below is actually the first design project I worked on after graduating from the University of Minnesota School of Design. It wasn’t technically a flip, but it was the project that helped me learn the Phoenix area and where to find good deals… Deals that I couldn’t flip without today. Looking back, it was definitely nerve racking but also very exciting and as of today, it still remains one of my favorities because of how much I was able to work with the exsisting elements and enhance the space. 

In the kitchen photo below, you can see that we kept all of the same cabinets. They were in great condition and nice quality, but their configuration was so boring! Therefore, we moved the microwave and it’s mounting cabinet to the far left of the kitchen. This created an opening for us to install an exhaust hood into the kitchen which ads so much drama and style to the space. Doing this left us with one extra cabinet which we were able to reuse in the laundry room for additional storage. However, due to loosing some kitchen storage, we then took the upper cabinets on each side of the stove and bumped them out for depth and raised them all the way up to the ceiling so that two additional cabinets could be added on the bottoms of them. This brought so much height to the space and made the entire kitchen feel larger. The addition of under cabinet molding made such an impact and really richened up the feeling of the kitchen (Yes. I know richened is not a word – But it should be!)

We kept most of the same cabinet hardware, but switched out the drawers for handles rather then pulls. The new handles look a lot more substantial and are also more comfortable to use. We kept the same countertops, but obviously changed out the backsplash… Mirrors in a kitchen – What were they thinking? I love mirrors, but as a kitchen backsplash it seems like a nightmare to keep clean and maintain… So they were removed and instead individual 2×6 marble tiles were done in a vertical subway pattern. This brought so much depth to the space, while complmenting the counters and creating a great contrast with the cabinets. The stainless steel appliances also helped to create a nice contrast against all the white, but my favorite change was the enlargement of the island. Previously the island was an awkward size with an overhang that was too small, so you couldn’t sit there comfortably. We expanded the Corian top, added a leg and cabinet on each side, and put wine storage in the middle… Plus, as you can see, we made it brown instead of white. Now this island is functional, has a great work space, is comfortable to sit at, and feels more like a grand piece of furniture!


Still focusing on the same space, but changing directions so that if you were standing in the kitchen above, you’d see this…


Previously, the space had an odd opening within the wall that had no purpose, so we changed that by adding a vertical built-in cabinet on each side for decorative storage. I had the openings facing each other so that it avoids looking cluttered and because it creates a sense of mystery that makes people want to walk over and look closer at the items. We arched the top of the opening to add visual interest and to connect with other arches that were added throughout the home for a unified appearance. At the base of the opening, a bench was added for media components to be stored within and for additional seating on top. This area really completed the living room and helped create a great seating arrangement for conversation. To the far right of the room, there were three small square windows that didn’t really seem to fit the space. Therefore, we mounted three mirrors below them (much better placement then a kitchen backsplash) and then added sconces between them. This helped to enlarge the scale and give the space a more finished look!

MY FLIP TIP: Don’t be boring! Look at a space and think about what changes could be made to make it more exciting. It’s often these changes that will excite your buyers into writing an offer!


2 thoughts on “TRANSFORMATION THURSDAY – My First Design Project

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