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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

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Ahhhhhh…I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Well, kinda. Our kitchen renovation that I’ve chronicled here, here, here and here, is done….for now! You may remember that it all started like this:

Ugh. That’s a sad picture, people. It’s not sad anymore, though, just look at it now in all it’s *almost* finished glory!

Seriously, that is one big difference! I am absolutely crazy about our open shelves, new kitchen layout and big opening to the dining room. (Although I REALLY wishΒ I made some sort of effort to clean up our dining room before snapping pics! Bad blogger!) I’ve been decorating and undecorating the shelves for weeks now, and I’m pretty happy with them, so I figured it was about time I shared. This is how they look right now, but I can absolutely guarantee you that they won’t stay this way forever, since I crave change after about 4 days of anything staying the same.
The blue and green add just the right pop to my otherwise serene color scheme. I really do love theΒ  contrast of the fancy stencil with the trendy aqua blue accents. So fun! Those two round pie plates were wedding gifts, but they’re only hanging out there until I can find a tray or something that I love- the blues just aren’t perfectly spot on.
Up close and personal:
You’ve already seen the printable I made, but the plate right next to it is from the Pottery Barn Outlet. Can’t get enough of that thing. That and the bird (from Joann’s) are the only new things I bought for the shelves. Everything else was gathered from around the house- you got to work with what you have sometimes, right? Ok, I lied. I forgot that I bought this blue vase at a flea market this weekend for $4, and the mugs came from Ikea.
I have been scouring the stores to find dish towels that I liked and that matched the kitchen, and couldn’t find anything that wasn’t chevron (no offense to all you chevron-lovers out there, but I’m just not on that bandwagon!), but I found this one at Kmart! Yes, I was shocked too. πŸ™‚ Cute, cute, cute!
I’m showing you this picture of all our mail for two reasons: 1) I just got this mail sorter from Kmart and it’s a lifesaver. Really. All that stuff used to just lay on my counter making my already frazzled brain even more frazzled (if that’s possible), and 2) See that uncovered outlet? I didn’t even realize it didn’t have a cover on it until I looked at this picture. It’s so ridiculous what you get used to living with, and then start to ignore. *Fingers crossed that that baby EVER gets a cover.*
Here’s a view of the other side of the kitchen:

We finally cut and hung two more open shelves to house our microwave. I gotta tell you, I so enjoy the extra space on the counters now that thing is off of it. So roomy! And if you’re wondering about that crack in the counter, it’s there because we moved a cabinet and it’s counter from it’s original spot on the other side of the fridge. It’ll stay like that until we upgrade our countertops, and then it’ll be seamless. Technically, I could hide the seam using a painting method a friend told me about, but, honestly, there are so many other things I’d rather be doing with my time. πŸ˜‰

I’m thrilled that, after 8 years of marriage, I can finally easily access my china. What a nice surprise to see that it actually works really well with my damask stencil and the colors in the kitchen. Woohoo for happy accidents!
Oh yes! I almost forgot that we installed this new light fixture above the window, and it’s stinkin’ awesome. Forget about all the additional light it gives off, it’s adorable!
***Update: Several people have asked where I got this light. It’s Allen + Roth from Lowes.
And finally, a view from the hall. I’m contemplating adding simple, wooden blinds to the window because it seems a bit bare. Anyone have thoughts about that? Should I or shouldn’t I?
So now I’ve promised my husband that I’ll tackle only really easy projects that don’t involve him for a while. πŸ™‚ I think this room has come a long way, and it just feels so much more like me. After a few annoying touchups on paint, fixing some broken tile and installing one more light switch, this pretty baby will be complete. Phew! Next week I’ll show you what I finally decided about the curtain situation on the other side of the room.
Next on my agenda? A dining room redesign! I can’t wait to show you what I have up my sleeve.
So, what’s your favorite part about my new kitchen?
Color scheme, open shelving, white cabinets,
something else entirely?


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The comments +

  1. ZozoRetro says:

    Wow – everything looks so good! I love that you are actually using your good china now.

    I haven’t read all your other posts, so sorry if I’m asking questions you’ve already answered. I was curious as to your reason for swapping the stove and the fridge? Was it hard to reroute the electric? And also, where did you get the light fixture above the sink – the light fixture in my kids’ bathroom shorted out the other day and I need a new one. The one you have would be perfect in there!

    Thanks and nice job!!!!

    • The reason we switched the fridge is because I wanted to open up that wall, and the fridge would have blocked the “view” into the dining room. Also, if the fridge had stayed in that place, I couldn’t have had those long open shelves! As for the wiring, my husband did all that, but I’m pretty sure nothing had to be rerouted because they both plug into a regular outlet. If it was a gas stove, then we would have run into a tricky situation. Finally, I just updated the post with the lighting info.

      Hope that helps! Thanks for reading,


  2. Your kitchen is absolutely beautiful. So bright and cheerful! My favorite part is the stenciled wall. And the shelves are decorated so pretty. What a focal point! Thanks for sharing! ~Linda

  3. The kitchen looks great and I love the wall removed. The shelving is my favorite πŸ™‚

  4. WOW~! This look amazing! I love the open shelves and the pattern behind it! Incredible job!

  5. LOVE it! Right up my alley! {We are missing a bajillion outlet covers too, sigh.} Great job…for now. πŸ™‚ (Totally get that…as soon as something is finished, I’m ready to tweak it…) πŸ˜‰

  6. Love it…i’m a white cabinet fan. But your entire kitchen looks great. If you want to keep with your serene, light and airy feeling I would do a white roman shade over your window. It would add a little something without being too heavy =)

  7. I LOVE the light above the window…and how much bigger it looks with the open half wall to the dining room. So clean and fresh and bright! Great upgrades all around. πŸ™‚

  8. BeingBrook says:

    Oh I love it! The open shelves are awesome and it’s so much brighter! Love that your microwave is off the counter now (I wish I could move mine!). Keeping your china out is great, mine is in a box under my house waiting for a hutch.

  9. It looks so good! That is a huge difference, and I bet it makes you so happy to spend time in there now! So bright and cheerful!

    Hmmm, I like the clean look of the window. What if you added white moulding/trim to frame it out, or cafe curtains for a softer look?

  10. Thanks, Melissa! I LOVE the idea for adding moulding to the window. Great thought!

    This is why I love the blog community- so helpful! πŸ™‚ Have a great day!


  11. Oh my gosh this looks awesome!!!! What a huge difference. I love the open shelves and the stenciled walls and the colors are beautiful. The kitchen is on my list for this year and this just gave me some huge inspiration.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I love it all, but my favorites are the open shelves and that fantastic light fixture!

  13. Looks great Jess. I love that shade of blue and white together. Perfect combination.

  14. Christina says:

    Drool…the open shelving and extra visibility to the next room really make the most of the space. I wish I had that much continuous countertop for prep and cooking. Love, love, love anything damask, too!

    It’s refreshing to see the things that are still in progress and to see a beautiful kitchen that isn’t 500 square feet.

  15. Pam Robinson says:

    Jess, the kitchen looks awesome. I have an idea for the window that my hubby did for me. He put a shelf (cream with ORB accents) across the middle of my window (just about an inch below the window lock) which I use for fresh herbs in little pots. Yours could be the same as your white open shelving, but just about 6-8″ deep. This would keep continuity with the colors and open-ness, but add a pop of green with fresh herbs for cooking. Thanks for your updates!!!

  16. CAC says:

    Stenciled wall or blue and white? Can’t decide, I love them both. Looks great!

  17. sophia blue says:

    My preference for kitchen countertops go for the medium to darker colors since they tend to hide stains from spills better when they end up penetrating your sealant, but as long since you’re happy with the results and you stick towards maintenance directions you will be ok.

  18. Jess, your kitchen looks fantastic! I love the open shelving and the colors in here. Beautiful job!! πŸ™‚

  19. Anonymous says:

    I mainly like the spacious counter tops. But I think I would prefer to use the open shelves for stuff I would need to use most often for cooking. It is just so much natural for me to reach for shelves right next to me. May be the space on shelves in the middle right above the stovetop can be used for decorating the space.

  20. Jeanine says:

    I love how light & airy the kitchen is now, really beautiful. The wall color looks like a gray, what’s the name of the color & company?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Love your kitchen, I’m a new lurker. I have a question, where is the cord to the micorwave? Is it hardwired now?

  22. Beth AM says:

    Hate to rain on your parade and get all architect-y on you, but the shelves above the stove look like they are not up to code and are a fire hazard. Generally ranges should have a vertical clearance above the cooktop of not less than 30″ to unprotected combustible material. Reduced clearances are allowed in accordance with the listing and labeling of the appliances. Larger and more powerful cooktops may require more clearance, per the manufacturer’s recommendations. The required clearance is spelled out in the installation manual and specifications for each cooktop. Microwaves/venthoods have specific clearances in their manuals as well. I would check your state/city code for your area – I work in new york state, but both our states use the ICC codes so I assume it would be similar.

  23. Good job! Seen on your previous project, I really love seeing the wallpaper you made. Colors are lighter and more pleasing.

  24. OregonGril says:

    Clean simple color scheme. Nice pop of color in kitchen linens and floor mat. Nice positioning of appliances, especially the dishwasher a little distance AWAY from the sink. [I hate standing in front of the sink and next to the dishwasher; no one else can dive in and help!] Question: where is the exhaust system for the stove?

  25. Jasmin says:

    East coast creative, I need my kitchen renovate. I have a very small kitchen and window falling apart. Can you help me? Tis kitchen you updated looks great. Thank you

  26. Laurie Colpetzer says:

    I realize this post of your kitchen makeover is 1 1/2 years old, but, I just had to tell you that I looove it! So bright & airy! It also looks so much more spacious then the before picture. I love that you are a Scentsy fan! I couldn’t help but notice the warmer sitting on the counter in the picture with the “uncovered outlet” lol. I’ve been selling Scentsy for over 3 1/2 years now, so, my eye always catches anything that’s “Scentsified”! lol Thanks for sharing your beautiful new kitchen with us!

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