Before and After: A Kitchen and Dining Room Swap Places in This Home Renovation

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By Michele Koh Morollo
An Oregon couple taps a local firm to convert their kitchen into the "modern, simple, Scandinavian-inspired" space of their dreams.

When Portland–based Suraya and Jason Barbee were ready to give their kitchen a fresh makeover, they hired His Builders—a small, family-run firm headed by brothers Owen and Nathan Burkholder—to help them carry out the remodel.

Before:

A peek at the kitchen before the renovation.

A peek at the kitchen before the renovation.

"She wanted things to feel open, but not empty," says Owen, who worked on the project with his brother, Nathan, and the help of their father, Leon. 

Here is the dining room before the renovation.

Here is the dining room before the renovation.

After Suraya shared her vision for the kitchen with His Builders, Leon and Owen decided the best way to achieve her goals was to move the kitchen to the original dining space, which had a higher ceiling. 

To solve the problem of a cramped kitchen, the team came up with plans for a very functional kitchen built to the style that Suraya had provided in pictures.

To solve the problem of a cramped kitchen, the team came up with plans for a very functional kitchen built to the style that Suraya had provided in pictures.

By moving the kitchen, the team was able to remove a wall, which created the desired open, airy feel the couple longed for. Yet, this turned out to be one of the biggest challenges with the project, as the removal of the wall meant the team would also need to install a new beam for support.

After:

Along with a simple, clean look, the couple also wanted  a space that would withstand frequent usage by their kids and puppy. 

Along with a simple, clean look, the couple also wanted a space that would withstand frequent usage by their kids and puppy. 

"To maintain the ‘open’ feeling Suraya wanted, we reframed the wall behind the refrigerator so the front would sit flush with the 12-inch pantry cabinets surrounding it," says Nathan.

Suraya provided His Builders with reference images for the look and feel she wanted for the new kitchen. One of her requirements was for a versatile island.   

Suraya provided His Builders with reference images for the look and feel she wanted for the new kitchen. One of her requirements was for a versatile island.   

"We also custom built floating shelves in the corner rather than typical wall cabinets that might feel too large." 

"The swap allowed the house to feel less cramped; it removed bottle-necks, and provided a larger, and brighter atmosphere," notes Nathan. 

"The swap allowed the house to feel less cramped; it removed bottle-necks, and provided a larger, and brighter atmosphere," notes Nathan. 

The team welded the brackets for the shelves and secured them to the framing of the structure prior to putting the drywall up. 

The team replaced all the cabinetry and fixtures, and located the kitchen sink directly in front of a large window. 

The team replaced all the cabinetry and fixtures, and located the kitchen sink directly in front of a large window. 

Shop the Look
Hasami Porcelain Mug - Natural
Hasami Porcelain Mug - Natural
Formed from porcelain made from natural Amakusa pottery stones and mixed with potter's clay, the appeal of the Hasami Mug lies in its tactile feel on your lips and in your hands.
Rejuvenation Striped Dhurrie Flatweave Rug
Rejuvenation Striped Dhurrie Flatweave Rug
A classic striped design makes this dhurrie rug a simple addition to any room. Layer it over an existing area rug or use it as the main piece to ground your space. Made in India.
MGS Faucets Two Hole Single Lever Sink Faucet With Pop-Up Drain
MGS Faucets Two Hole Single Lever Sink Faucet With Pop-Up Drain
A part of the Minimal Beauty Collection. The MGS Two Hole Single Lever Sink Faucet R90 With Pop-Up Drain MB260 combines simplistic design with unprecedented functionality.
These modern and durable shelves create a sense of openness in the kitcen.

These modern and durable shelves create a sense of openness in the kitcen.

New cabinets were also custom made with lightly stained beech wood, and the team installed engineered hardwood floors that were stained to compliment the color of the cabinetry. 

Stained hardwood floors complement the stained beech wood cabinets.

Stained hardwood floors complement the stained beech wood cabinets.

His Builders also used subway tiles for a light and bright backsplash, and the range ventilation was cased in drywall to create the Scandinavian-inspired vibe that is clean, warm, and simple. 

Plants in patterned pots add a little character to this cool, Scandinavian-inspired space.

Plants in patterned pots add a little character to this cool, Scandinavian-inspired space.