Kitchen reveal: Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

I have humongous reveal for you.   Wait.  That sounded a bit dirty.  Ha ha!  I can’t spill all the deets but it rhymes with kitchen schmenovation.  Holy batman! Brace yo’ self for awesomeness.  Shimmery gold ahhhhhmazingness….

Remember when I mentioned the kitchen renovation all casual like, as if it wasn’t a big deal?  And it wasn’t. Until it was.

Have you ever felt such overwhelm during a renovation that you think…


It happened.  I ended up at the corner of overwhelm and erhhhmergerd.  It was a tough five months annnnnnnd I may or may not have been watching too much Dexter.

It was a shitastrophy shit storm.

Want to know what happens when your contractor abandons you when you are waist deep in a kitchen renovation?   I lived with a vodka filled hip flask and a constant stream of popcorn for dinner.  Kidding.  Not kidding. The struggle was real.

You may remember this blog post when we started planning our kitchen reno.  I wrote it way back when I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (what exactly does that mean??! ) Right after that, the kitchen went to hell in a hand basket.

It’ll take 48783057435345436534 posts to share the entire renovation.  The good, the bad and the messy middle.  PS. the middle was super-duper-fragilistic messy.

Before and after photos of an ahhhmazing kitchen renovation via @lynneknowlton | DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. Enter the contest for a chance to win a champagne bronze faucet from @DeltaFaucetCan https://lynneknowlton.com/giveaways/faucet/


The new kitchen is WHITE. Obvs.  Hello, have you met me?  I know I’ve mentioned about four thousand trillion billion times before, but I’m super into white .

I love white and the staggering simplicity it brings to a space.

Let’s be clear on this right now: If you invite me into your home and try to convince me that brown is where it’s at, I’m not falling for it.  You can drug me, and I still won’t have it.

The new kitchen has a walk-in-pantry.  We even hid the refrigerator behind panels in the pantry. Didja see how I slipped that in there?  Yup.  Hid. The. Refrigerator.

Boom chick-a-wow-wa… it’s hiding around the corner in this photo…

Before and after photos of an ahhhmazing kitchen renovation via @lynneknowlton | DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. Enter the contest for a chance to win a champagne bronze faucet from @DeltaFaucetCan https://lynneknowlton.com/giveaways/faucet/
Before and after photos of an ahhhmazing kitchen renovation via @lynneknowlton | DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. Enter the contest for a chance to win a champagne bronze faucet from @DeltaFaucetCan https://lynneknowlton.com/giveaways/faucet/
Before and after photos of an ahhhmazing kitchen renovation via @lynneknowlton | DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. Enter the contest for a chance to win a champagne bronze faucet from @DeltaFaucetCan https://lynneknowlton.com/giveaways/faucet/

Here’s the pantry before//after.  Need a barf bucket?  Technically, the refrigerator is also hidden in these photos, but I promise it’s in there. Why did I just confuse you like that?  Sip.

Before and after photos of an ahhhmazing kitchen renovation via @lynneknowlton | DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. Enter the contest for a chance to win a champagne bronze faucet from @DeltaFaucetCan https://lynneknowlton.com/giveaways/faucet/
Before and after photos of an ahhhmazing kitchen renovation via @lynneknowlton | DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. Enter the contest for a chance to win a champagne bronze faucet from @DeltaFaucetCan https://lynneknowlton.com/giveaways/faucet/

Wanna see that again?  Before & aftaaaa…

Get great ideas for a kitchen renovation with these before and after photos of an ahhhmazing kitchen renovation via @lynneknowlton | DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. Enter the contest for a chance to win a champagne bronze faucet from @DeltaFaucetCan https://lynneknowlton.com/giveaways/faucet/
Get great ideas for a kitchen renovation with these before and after photos of an ahhhmazing kitchen renovation via @lynneknowlton | DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. Enter the contest for a chance to win a champagne bronze faucet from @DeltaFaucetCan https://lynneknowlton.com/giveaways/faucet/

You can see a pinch of the refrigerator, up there ^^^ on the right.  The pantry isn’t complete yet. It should be completed by 2096, right after I see pigs fly.

Dang, things got crap-tastic.

I have to tell you something.  All the photos are a sparkling rendition of what really happened.

The kitchen was the worst renovation experience in the history of ever.

Normally, home renovation is one of my very favourite things on earth. I thrive on it.  T.H.R.I.V.E.  Weirdo, right? Not this time.  This time, I had to find joy in the little things because the big things weren’t happening.

I worked for a YEAR towards the ahhhhmazing opportunity to have our kitchen featured in Chatelaine Magazine.  That was the hardest work and the best work, all at once. A year of planning and then ….

Our contractor put it all together with bubblegum & hot glue.

On the day of a photo shoot, the kitchen LOOKED somewhat photo worthy, but we didn’t have running water, parts were hot glued in place, things were unfinished & mismatched, countertops weren’t sealed, cabinet doors were falling off, drawer handles were missing and the dishwasher panel literally fell off.  Nothing truly functioned, compliments of our super unreliable contractor.

Cue stress.

This is what our kitchen looked like, the day before the shoot…

The day before.  <— I screamed that.

Get great ideas for a kitchen renovation with these before and after photos of an ahhhmazing kitchen renovation via @lynneknowlton | DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE. Enter the contest for a chance to win a champagne bronze faucet from @DeltaFaucetCan https://lynneknowlton.com/giveaways/faucet/

Are you making a face that slightly resembles this—> ?!?!?!?!!!!!.  Yeah, me too.  Sip.  

During the same time, my hubby Michael was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  Quite honestly, I didn’t think life could get worse.  We had been living with a sink in the basement and eating meals off our laps for 5 months.  I’m sure my family was prepping a straight jacket for me and a nice little rubber room (hopefully with white walls)

Depressing much?  Plans this weekend?  Besides deleting me from your blog reader?

Getting swung by the tail

Pretty much everything that involved our contractor was chaos.  I’d rather move to another country and change my phone number than have a really scary, honest conversation with somebody that wasn’t doing their job.  I want everybody to be friends and I want everybody to be kind.

For 5 months, he basically went AWOL.   He went everywhere and anywhere, except our kitchen.  When he was occasionally present, his presence and workmanship sucked all of the fun out of the room.

Not cool. Not cool. Not cool. Not cool.

We lived with a demolished, non-existent kitchen for what felt like f.o.r.e.v.e.r.    It was an eternity, in kitchen years.  The whole nightmarish experience would best be described as a Stephen King novel.  A horror show.  It took a long while to feng shui that evil out.

And you peeps wonder why I drink.  Haha.

Beautifully whitewashed kitchen renovation ideas via DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE || Lynne Knowlton


Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

The five month experience was so bad, I cried.  A lot. Annnnnnnnd I’m a professional.  Go figure.

It burned me out to a crispy crisp.  Charred.  Frayed at the edges.  Gonzo.

The kitchen was quite possibly the most trashed up thing you’d see this side of the border, but somehow it managed to get from here….to here….

BEFORE photos (and great AFTER PICS too) on DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE || Lynne Knowlton
Beautifully whitewashed kitchen renovation ideas via DESIGN THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE || Lynne Knowlton

Well that’s it. That’s all.  Nope.  I have soooooo many great kitchen DIY’s and ideas to share with you, but I’m trying to control myself and not blurt it out all at once.   Okay.  One more sneak peek …




Shop the entire kitchen here … it’s full of Wayfair goodness and a kitchen Q & A too! |  Champagne gold Faucet, towel barvanity tray c/o Delta Faucet Canada  |  Reclaimed barn board flooring:  Antique Wood Flooring  |  Pillows & roman blinds c/o Tonic Living  |   Linen Curtains  Not Perfect Linen (AMAZING!!) |  Concrete counter top DIY with Buddy Rhodes Concrete !

If you want to back up the bus and see where it all started, you can see the original kitchen in this blog post here. You can also see the progress here on Instagram {where I not-so-secretly stalk a bunch of people that I want to be my friends.}

This is your moment of glory. Tell me your kitchen story.   What are your biggest kitchen challenges? (besides drinking vodka from a hip flask?)  I would never evah everrrr do that.

PS. I love you. That is all.


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Izidora Cirjak

Hello Lynne!
Love, love, love your Blog and your style. You really really are gifted. And thank you for sharing all you know with us! I know your favourite white is Simply White by Benjamin Moore. Is that also the color of your kitchen cabinets and walls? Or do you use other white colors as well?

Thank you in advance,

Sue S.

HI Lynne! We haven’t talked before (I’m a noob) but I love you SO much, for so many reasons but tonight’s (yes, I’m doing this in bed – ha!) is your wonderful gift of: YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A REAL KITCHEN WHEN … 3. Dirty strangers bring filthy dishes into the kitchen in the middle of the night and leave them everywhere. The gruby little turds leave a disheveled mess. Dirty bastards. I lol’d. A lot (well, it may have been hysteria, but who can tell?) because that happens to me ALL the time. Luckily, IF I let someone else… Read more »


Excellent Blog


Dear Lynne,
I love the results of your kitchen renovation. I’d like to know what the countertops are made of? They’re just beautiful.
Just said a prayer for your husband too.


Holy crap it’s Feb 3 and I’m just seeing this blog post and contest TODAY!! So, I’m entering anyway, because I love, love love the white, the photos and the blog! Sip (coffee now, sip sip wine later.
Can’t wait to read more about photography-thx for breaking it down!

Michelle C

Hey! There’s nothing like using the toaster oven in the dining room and washing dishes in the powder room sink. Or calling local appliance stores asking for a 36″ induction cooktop that can be picked up today, because that’s all the notice given by the contractor.
Been there. Several times. Vodka is your friend.


You don’t know this, but you’re my new best friend! I hope that makes you as happy as it makes me! Okay, that’s sounds like I’m a stalker, I promise I’m not, but I am following you! I came across your site after seeing your beautiful knitted throw and after reading some of your blog, I was hooked! Love your site, blog, and your stories. I could tell you about my kitchen remodel, but I don’t have a barf bag in range. I’m so sorry that the B%$@#h (Cancer) is affecting your family and I send my prayers to all… Read more »


OH goodness I can relate to the shitstorm and the hop flask of vodka or tequila! We are just starting our whole home gut..of my folks smallish 60s split ranch. I could write a novel..everything needs done..people say we should knock it down..but, I have to many memories of my family home to dominant. Both of my folks got cancer and the house took a back seat..naturally..so things were happening..bad things. Two weeks f the worst were leaks behind the wall between the kitchen and bathroom, Falling tiles..fallen floors, cabinets..rot..that went undetected for a couple years due to a leak.… Read more »

Kristi Olio

SOOOO….I love what you did with your kitchen. Seeing success stories like yours is seriously the fuel we rookie-what did we get ourselves into-home renovators need to keep us going. AND WINE. LOTS OF WINE. Now for my sob story, we purchased this fun, mid century, XL house for our growing family (while I was pregnant) and got to work right away, painting and painting and painting. Carnival blue walls and purple baseboards (gasp) were transformed into a heaven of BM Simply White. OC-117, yes, I now know the color code by heart. Things were fine until I was sitting… Read more »

Kristi Olio
Reply to  Kristi Olio

BTW, how did you get the countertops so white?!? Did you use Z Counterforms or Quikcrete? Or some other mythical gravel???


I absolutely love your floor!!


Well, the last kitchen reno I did involved exposing an old brick chimney, but unknowingly also exposing an entrance for approximately a bazillion ants to enter my kitchen every spring. Oh, and my husband/contractor/amazing guy also found panties in the wall. Like, behind the drywall. That was interesting! Now I’ve got my eye on my current 80’s golden oak kitchen. Should be fun!

Janice Cournoyer

My kitchen challenge is basically getting started. A 70’s island kitchen with light oak cupboards. It will be a huge undertaking, so all these ideas here are inspiring.


My kitchen is likely the smallest ever! It has so many issues including cupboards unreachable and fridge door opening into things. We really need to capitalize some space from somewhere else and get creative and add some beautiful touches here and there to make our lives better, that would include this faucet. My sister has it – it’s beautiful – jaw dropping, mouth on the floor kind of beautiful…and well I’m completely jealous!

Michelle Alberdi

I have the second ugliest kitchen in Hawaii. Next to my ohana kitchen (which is a cottage behind our house on our property). Not kidding. And I am declaring this the Year of the Kitchen remodel. Because I can’t stand it any longer. Oh, and I also love white. And brass. So I’d love to win the most beautiful faucet ever. Mahalo, Michelle

Michelle Alberdi
Reply to  Lynne Knowlton

Haha Yes!! Whether or not I win the faucet you should come to Maui. Ugly kitchens aside, it truly is the bomb-diggity. I have a cute little room in my ohana with your name on it and I promise I’ll only pick your brain about kitchen design a little bit. 😉

Carissa B

We had just bought our dream fixer upper home and tackled the kitchen it was a rough Reno but we got it done! Less than a month later we had a major flood and had to rip out our just finished kitchen! It was an absolute nightmare. Almost a year later it still isn’t complete as we just got completely exhausted from it all!

lisa gilmore

Love love LOVE you! That reno mighta been rough but boy oh boy is it beautiful now!

Nadia Petrungaro

Love, love, love this kitchen! We are going to start a complete kitchen Reno in the spring and have gotten great inspiration from this blog! Thank you!


It took us 25 years to renovate/build our kitchen in our old schoolhouse. Now it’s almost time to redo and rethink the whole thing. It’s a neverending cycle!!! But I love the white, scandinavian look. How do you keep everything so clean?!!!!


I love your kitchen. We are planning to renovate our 1970s kitchen soon and you are giving me some good ideas. Kind of scaring me too, I will try to be super careful about choosing a contractor!

Carmen N

Once upon a time …. we built a house. That was almost 13 years ago. It was the best, and most challenging thing we’ve ever done together. I remember working full days, coming home to our 5th-wheel camper, changing clothes, working on the house until 9-10pm, grabbing a sandwich (usually pbj – no cooking required), collapsing in bed, and then starting all over again the next day.
Part of me would love to do it again, but we’re *ahem* older now and have a 6-yo that probably wouldn’t appreciate the chaos. 🙂


Absolutely love your white!! I recently got married and moved into my husband’s very brown house. We have since painted the walls and changed some lights and hardware to make it brighter and much lovelier! That gold faucet is amazing and it would look fabulous in my newish kitchen!

Hi Lynne,

Your Blog is fantastic! Keep going!
After all of the crud and crap, you have a beautiful, calming, and relaxing space! 🙂
Love and Hugs!


Donna C.

I love the kitchen…..mine is dark (reminiscent of the 1990’s) but I need light just not sure how to get it….Thanks for sharing.



Kathy scott

Absolutely gorgeous!!


absolutely stunning kitchen love love love………………….

Cathy Schroder

It is simply stunning!

PL Packer

I listened to my Mom, for over 50 years, point out the things never quite completed after every renovation. My daughter is now in the same house, complete gutting and renovation (much like yours) and the stuff that isn’t completed even drives ME nuts! ME…..well I am buying another brand new manufactured home that will be set up and completed ready to move in to in 90 days! did it 6 years ago, I’m selling it and doing it again! Easy Peasy Lemon Breezy!! The worst thing about my kitchen……I have acres of counter top and I am one of… Read more »

Oh god we are about to start our reno and now i am more terrified than ever
It looks amazing
But hell girl

My kitchen horror story is that I have been living with my “before” kitchen for far too long and it’s about dang time I do something about it. That faucet might just be the thing to start me heading toward my “after” kitchen.

We are about to embark into kitchen renovation land. The unknown awaits!!! And so does wine.


Loving the faucet ?

Joanne Hefford

Hi Lynne,
I love your kitchen and I’m also quite fond of white walls. I don’t have a kitchen Reno story YET, but we are about to demo our fixer-upper cottage and I’m sure it will get interesting. Of course a delta faucet would be lovely!
Thanks for the inspiration, Joanne

Love it!!! Your kitchen Reno and the gruesome stories that go with it!
My fiancé and I spent 5 years living in and renovating out first home all on our own- and it was a total gut job. So I know and feel your pain. We got very used to living with a layer of dust on everrrryyyytthing. Plus glamourous plastic drop sheets hanging everywhere. We are currently working on doing the same at our second home and would love this gorgeous faucet!!. I have documented some of our adventures at @saraashleyhome & @saraashley3
Fun times in that #renolife !!!

Heather Oberg

Hi Lynn, We just purchased our retirement home and are going to be remodeling the kitchen, for 25 years have have had oak cabinets and this time I am doing white cabinets and I am so excited! I love your kitchen, your treehouse, your whole home and your humor. I would be over the moon to win this beautiful faucet!

Lois R

The definition of Awesome according to Webster is: Lynne. Ok, not Webster but she is in my book!

OK, so this is one heck of an awesome giveaway! Why? Because you have made it a joy to enter, the faucet is super duper great (am coveting) and……….I get to vent! By vent, I mean whine a little. I’m 70 this year! What??? Boy, to say that out loud is unreal. I don’t feel it, well, my bones do, but I am really happy. Married to my best friend for absolutely ever and we are still going strong. So, life is good. Mmmmmmmmm, cept my kitchen sink. I HATE my kitchen faucet. Seriously, not making this up. This opportunity… Read more »

Dianna Davis

OMG!!! I love all the White– I am working on my kitchen and Bathroom in the whites, and having brushed nickle and blacks are the back up pop colors; Yours is so beautiful –thanks for sharing gives me more ideas

Heather W

I’m so sorry about your reno trouble, and more so about your husband. My heart goes out to you all. As you know when you live in the country field mice can be a problem in the winter, so at our previous home this was true for us. We were woke up in the middle of the night to water gushing everywhere because a mouse had chewed through out water inlet hose to our dishwasher. Kitchen floor ruined, basement was raining. The basement was an old dirt floor basement so it dried out with the dehumidifier, but when they ripped… Read more »


wonderful post – thanks for showing the real side of renovation…and it all turned out beautifully!


My kitchen story is that my kitchen is SO small for our big family. I have a very difficult time decorating our kitchen and making it more modern. I would love to add this faucet to our kitchen! It would be the perfect touch!


Love your kitchen Lynne, just love the white. I don’t think you can beat it!

sylvia waters

I have many kitchen challenges, first of which is it is 100 years old this year! Nice if it would have been kept up, but it wasn’t. My second challenge is that while I am 5 ft tall, the cabinets were built for very tall people – All the way to the 12 foot ceilings (true story). Third thru 29th challenge is slanted floors, old ugly linoleum, mismatched appliances, etc., I would love to have something pretty to give me inspiration and winning this faucet might do it! Oh, and I love love love cooking thank you!

Karen K

Love your home.
Love the faucet!
Love YOU!!!

Karen Propes

We set up to do our kitchen ourselves, but it just seemed so overwhelming. I just drew out where I wanted the cabinets and Island. In the end, our Island was too large, well the top was. We can barely get into our pantry. When you open the pantry door, it hits the bar when it’s opened too far back. We are going to replace the top of the bar with a smaller top later, For now, we are just trying to get everything set up the way we want it. I’m disappointed because I wanted the kitchen to be… Read more »

Love. Love. LOVE!!!! your remodel. Simply put – it’s gorgeous!

Cathy W

The only kitchen reno going on right now involves seriously removing the crumbs that fall out of our toaster onto the counter below! Saving up for new kitchen someday. Thanks for the chance, if We won I could just squint and see only the sparkly new faucet and nothing else!


So sorry about the contractor. However the kitchen sings now. Hopefully the doors don’t fall off anymore. I would love the faucet. Thanks

jeff rothrock

getting my grime build up removed ,and your pics,,, wow !


Your kitchen is so gorgeous! I would love the faucet for my avion trailer reno. We could be twinsies!

Sonya Morris

Beautiful pictures! We are in the middle of updating our kitchen with a new sink, countertops, and adding a few more cabinets. It sounds simple enough, but since we are doing this ourselves it has been over a month since we started! I will be so glad to see it finished!

Your space is glorious, and your blog is such an inspiration. I used to love darker colours, but have been converted! Currently living in a renovated church where everything is painted white. The floors are natural maple and the furnishings are light birch or white. Red is the accent colour in small amounts. Have the tiniest kitchen area in the world, so there is room for improvement… a dishwasher would be like heaven… but a good kitchen faucet would be a grand start. Ours is prone to leaking and plumbers are scarce in these parts. Namaste

Bre Douglas

Contractors can be buttheads.. (My ex-husband is one). I hired one once, ex-husband couldn’t be bothered with his own house, and from that experience have since learned to do everything myself. Not only does it save some serious $$ but I don’t need to deal with the buttheads (except for ex, unfortunately).
I am planning out my spring kitchen remodel and think I may be in love with that faucet.. and your stove too (gorgeous!).

Karen Zerilli

We just renovated and I love my kitchen EXCEPT the faucet! I love the rose gold!! I shared the link for the contest but did not get extra entries but I don’t mind because I love your blog!

Julia Blythe

My husband and I flip houses. We finally got smart and decided to not hire contractors any more and be our own GC. Smartest move EVER! We like to put out an excellent product and this way, we can do our own quality control. Believe it or not, life is now so much easier!


OMG!!! I love your kitchen and that faucet is to die for! I love everything about it. So fresh and airy! Can I move in with you?

Well your patience paid off! Your finished kitchen reflects careful and creative planning, despite personal hardship that I can’t begin to grasp.
Magazine and life worthy!

Thanks for the pick me up today! Your Friday emails always bring me a smile.

Gillian Delledonne

Love your new kitchen! I love the size of my kitchen but I’d love to love all of it…..all in good time.


We are in kitchen limbo right now too! Luckily the house we moved into last year was a duplex and we are converting it back into a single family home. So we have been able to use the “second kitchen” while we demo and start work on our new one.
Very excited to finally get moving on such a big project, and I’m totally with you on the all white kitchen! It looks gorgeous with all the brass hardware and fixtures!
I have been obsessed with the Delta Trinsic faucets for a while now and love the champagne finish!

Ann Rooyakkers-Thomson

My husband and I have always been big on DIY projects and in our previous house we pretty much redid everything and were quite happy with how things turned out. It is getting a little dated now, but we have since moved into a larger home and are presently renting the other out. Our renovations in our new home have been a very slow process. I am thrilled with our new bathroom as long as I can keep my kids out of it, but other than that we have only really renovated our basement into a rec room. My kitchen… Read more »


Love love love the way your kitchen reno turned out. We have an outdated kitchen where the previous owners put zero thought into the utilization of space. It’s a relatively large space, and we have a huge weirdly shaped island and NO storage…WHAT??? It becomes a dumping ground of all mail, flyers and school papers. UGH. Can’t wait to tear it all out.


We’re getting ready to build a new house! Yeah! Yikes! What am I thinking!! Your love of white has rubbed off on me and I want an all white house too!!


that sounds like a nightmare but your kitchen is beautiful!

Blake Owen

I love the floor and keep your chin up. I love your energy and passion.