Before and After: A Victorian Kitchen Gets a Fresh Look With a Smart IKEA Hack
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Before and After: A Victorian Kitchen Gets a Fresh Look With a Smart IKEA Hack

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By Lauren Jones
The couple behind Mix Design Collective open up a cramped kitchen that was so last century—literally.

When Bryan and Catherine Williamson, the husband-and-wife duo behind popular home blog Beginning in the Middle, purchased a home over a century old, they knew they were in for quite the exhaustive renovation. The residence, which is located in the historic King Lincoln District of Columbus, Ohio, was built in 1900 and comprises 3,000 square feet. While the now four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom house had bones, it would require a full gut and remodel "from the roof to the basement," says Catherine.

The transformation is especially dramatic in the kitchen, which has been brought into the 21st century with classic elements and clever, budget-friendly choices.

Before

Before: The home, lovingly named The Blonde Victorian by the Williamsons, was in dire need of some design help when they purchased it back in 2017. 

Before: The home, lovingly named The Blonde Victorian by the Williamsons, was in dire need of some design help when they purchased it back in 2017. 

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 "The home had its original character, but it was in terrible shape," says Catherine. "Our approach was to work with the bones of the house and to accent those with our design, while adding in some more modern touches throughout. It was really important for us to keep character of the home the star." 

Before: The closed-off kitchen is located in the back of the house on the first floor near the main staircase. 

Before: The closed-off kitchen is located in the back of the house on the first floor near the main staircase. 

The first priority was opening up the kitchen, which was a meager, 12-foot by 12-foot square.

 "We started by taking down two of the adjoining walls that previously closed it off," she says. 

Before: The kitchen lacked natural light and a functional layout. 

Before: The kitchen lacked natural light and a functional layout. 

After

The Williamsons looked at layouts that gave them the most storage and functionality without having to alter the existing footprint of the home.

The waterfall-edge kitchen island was a non-negotiable for Catherine Williamson, but the piece of marble she found would only cover three-quarters of the length. So, the duo finished off the island with a piece of walnut that was hand-cut for them by a local carpenter. The island also features a Sinkology sink, and the front is finished with DIY wooden dowels that mimic fluted wood.

The waterfall-edge kitchen island was a non-negotiable for Catherine Williamson, but the piece of marble she found would only cover three-quarters of the length. So, the duo finished off the island with a piece of walnut that was hand-cut for them by a local carpenter. The island also features a Sinkology sink, and the front is finished with DIY wooden dowels that mimic fluted wood.

They began by laying new hardwood flooring and adding crown molding to complement the existing style of the home. And when it came to creating a kitchen that felt custom—but without the price tag—they turned to Semihandmade, a line of doors designed for IKEA cabinetry often utilized by other design professionals like Emily Henderson and Sarah Sherman Samuel

One of Catherine Williamson's favorite Semihandmade cabinets includes this appliance cabinet, which keeps things out of sight. The piece of art to the right is a vintage portrait from her grandparents. 

One of Catherine Williamson's favorite Semihandmade cabinets includes this appliance cabinet, which keeps things out of sight. The piece of art to the right is a vintage portrait from her grandparents. 

"By using the IKEA and Semihandmade combo, we were able to customize our cabinet configuration in a way that we wouldn't have with another cabinet brand," says Catherine. 

The couple was even able to get customized refrigerator panels, cabinets to conceal the range hood, and custom-size doors as well. 

The custom refrigerator, dishwasher, and range hood panels make the kitchen feel more polished.

The custom refrigerator, dishwasher, and range hood panels make the kitchen feel more polished.

Throughout the kitchen, Behr’s Black Sable paint accents the cabinetry, a sophisticated choice that plays against the neutral color palette of the rest of the kitchen and living areas. A walnut-and-marble waterfall-edge island acts as the focal point. 

There's a noticeable four-inch gap in between the last two tiers of cabinets where the couple mounted a sliding library ladder in order to easily access every cabinet. 

There's a noticeable four-inch gap in between the last two tiers of cabinets where the couple mounted a sliding library ladder in order to easily access every cabinet. 

More Before & After:

A 1966 Airstream Gets Road-Ready For a Single Mom and Her Son

A Glass Bridge Links an Alabama Midcentury to a Strategic Expansion

An Italianate-Style Brownstone in Brooklyn Rises Above Years of Ad-Hoc Remodels

Project Credits:

Builder: Mix Design Collective / @beginninginthemiddle

Structural Engineer: Ravinder Gupta, PE, BG Engineering

Interior Design: Mix Design Collective

Cabinetry Design: Mix Design Collective