Written by Victoria Van Vlear
Moving into a 60-year-old home can be a challenge—but one this couple was willing to take. When blogger Yelena Larson and her husband Tim bought this 1963 home in Connecticut, they had their work cut out for them. “This home had not been remodeled since the day it was first built, so we are remodeling each room one step a time,” Yelena says. Here’s a peek at their finished DIY kitchen remodel, and how they did it.
American Farmhouse Style: What was your vision for the kitchen?
Yelena: My vision for this kitchen was to transform it from dark to light, to create an open layout and to be “magazine worthy.” Those were my three wishes! I wanted to incorporate my love for modern farmhouse style in this kitchen. I also wanted something different and unique, something that you don’t see too often. I wanted every part of this kitchen to have a function with no wasted space.
AFS: The changes you made to the kitchen are pretty dramatic! What exactly did you replace or change?
Yelena: What didn’t we change? We started by taking down a wall to create an open floor plan. We changed the kitchen layout to accommodate all of our appliances and their functions. We changed the windows and added a bigger picture window over our new farm sink to give more light to the kitchen. We changed all the cabinets, the floor, countertops, added more light, added a kitchen island, coffee bar and eating station for our dogs. The only one thing that remained the same was the door. We kept the original door and just painted it black.
AFS: Did you do the work yourself, or hire it out?
Yelena: We did all the work ourselves. I designed it, my husband built it. My husband has an extensive knowledge in remodeling and woodworking. Besides doing all the work, my husband had also custom-built the wooden bar that comes out of the island. He built the coffee bar countertop and shelves, the window sill, the beams, all the wooden signs and he handmade the hood over the stove. We definitely saved a lot of money this way!
AFS: How long did the remodel take?
Yelena: The remodel took a few months. Since we both work full time, our DIY kitchen remodel was only happening in the evenings and the weekends.
AFS: What’s your favorite part about the DIY kitchen remodel, now that it’s done?
Yelena: I love everything about it. I love how open it is, I love how functional it is. I honestly still have to pinch myself to see if I am dreaming. I never in a million years thought that I could have a kitchen like this. But if I had to choose one thing I would probably say our dogs’ eating station with the running water. I mean we got a new kitchen—it’s only fair that our dogs get a new kitchen too!
Victoria is a brand advisor, marketing strategist, writer and editor. She was the editorial director of American Farmhouse Style for almost 10 years, and now enjoys writing occasional articles for the magazine and receiving the beautiful copies in the mail. Victoria is also a wife and mom to three little ones: two on earth and one in heaven. With any (not so spare) time, she devours books, dabbles in fiction writing and works on her house. As a home décor enthusiast and DIYer herself, she knows what a little paint and patience can do for a room!