Our Kitchen Renovation

Hello! Welcome to Djalali Cooks. Today, I am sharing the images and details of our 2020 Kitchen renovation. The kitchen was only part of the house renovation, but it is by far the most dramatic transformation of the entire project. I have been looking forward to sharing this with you for a while now, so I hope you enjoy this inside look at Our Kitchen Renovation.


In the view from the dining area, looking toward the kitchen, you can see there is a huge amount of space surrounding the kitchen island. This view doesn’t include the formal dining room, which is located through the doorway to the left. All the space surrounding the island doesn’t really have a clear purpose, while the kitchen is constrained to a tiny space by the island.

In the kitchen, looking toward the garage, we can see the original location of the refrigerator is basically in a narrow, main hallway leading to the laundry room and the garage. My main goals were to utilize all the dead space and expand the kitchen; and in doing so reorient the focal point so that the kitchen and living room could become an open, flowing space.

In this original layout, it seems there could be two breakfast nooks: one in the space by the double doors into the living room; and one just beyond the island, by the large picture window, adjacent to the screen porch. My idea from the beginning was to take over the formal dining room as my office, so we would have to create a dining room in the space between the kitchen and the living room. With my open floor plan we would have the kitchen flowing into the dining room, flowing into the living room. The kitchen being the heart and hub of the entire space.

Demo and Reconstruction

Working with Webber Development and Construction, with the amazing Jessica Webber at the helm of our project, demo and reconstruction began in December 2019. First orders of business for the kitchen: rip out the entire kitchen to the studs and tear down the wall separating the living room from the kitchen. During the demo, Jessica’s crew realized that we could vault the ceilings in the kitchen. Outside of the original scope, but that one recommendation from the Webber crew is THE biggest transformation. Vaulted ceilings make an incredible difference. It’s the best out-of-scope decision we made during the renovation.

The project included replacing the tile flooring throughout the house with new tile. So all of the beige tile was replaced with large, square slate-like ceramic tiles. To further open up the new dining area, we removed the wall that created a hallway between the new dining space and the old formal dining room. So the view to the kitchen is visible and open from the foyer.


It was amazing to see the progress. Each day we stopped by after the crew had gone and we would just walk around, marveling at the difference. Instead of a curved island that carved out a kitchen space, the new island is a 10.5 foot-long rectangle that faces outward, to the dining area and living room. We moved the fridge location to where the old wall oven was, and exchanged the little desk next to the wall oven for a coffee nook, with extra storage drawers below and a cabinet above.

The old fridge location was repurposed with a custom pantry cabinet: double doors with wide, open drawers inside. We maximized every space we could for storage. The island is outfitted with drawers on the cooking side, and reach-in cabinets on the sitting side.

Before and After

My favorite part of before and after; the side-by-side views.

I took over the formal dining room as my office, so our dining area is open and integrated into the kitchen and living room. We wanted a long, low-profile dining table, so we have benches instead of chairs. The benches slide under the table to create more space when not in use. The table can accommodate six comfortably on the benches, and up to eight with the addition of chairs at either end.

In this view you can see a glimpse of how we transformed the formal dining room into my office. We removed the door to make a cased opening. I use a dining table as a desk, and you can see I have a chaise in the bay window, which is mostly used by the dogs for their security duty and daily naps. It did not take much to completely transform that wall-oven and desk space into the fridge and coffee nook space.

An Open Floor Plan

The difference between these two images is dramatic. In the before image, the area where the stack of cardboard boxes is, is where the tall hutch currently sits. The hallway wall is gone, which extends the dining area and there is a clear view of the foyer from the kitchen. Now I can watch my favorite cooking shows while I am in the kitchen!

We left the sink in its original location. Straightening out and extending the counter toward the the large picture window gave us enough room to place the double oven range where the old dishwasher was. All of my most-used cookware and utensils are in drawers under the island. And we have a little microwave nook, where I also keep my cutting boards.

A funny aside: in the before picture; the upper cabinet above the dishwasher was impossible to reach unless you were six feet tall because the angled area of the island was so wide. A design flaw so odd that I can’t imagine how the previous owner ever used that cabinet!

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into Our Kitchen Renovation! Do you love to see before and after pictures of renovation projects? Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see our other renovation projects. If you want an in-depth look at how I organized my renovated pantry, check out How to Organize a Pantry. Take care and be well, everyone! xo Kelly

Our open kitchen today.

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  • Kathy
    July 15, 2021 at 9:18 am


    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 9:27 am

      Thank you so much, Kathy! xo Kelly

  • Anne S
    July 15, 2021 at 9:21 am

    Beautiful! I love the new orientation and the open space. So much more functional.

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 9:28 am

      Hi Anne, So much more functional! Writing today’s post was a fun reminder as to how much it has changed. Thanks so much! xo Kelly

  • Angela Grafe
    July 15, 2021 at 9:26 am

    Liebe Kelly!
    Thank you for sharing fotos! Your kitchen ls a dream! Und by the way : your recipes are always with”love”, like your ideas!! Returned from Denmark, had several poelser!
    All the best to you! Angela

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 9:32 am

      Hello Angela! I am so happy you enjoy the blog! I have never had a traditional Danish Dog, but I can tell you for certain that I would love them! Thank you so much for stopping by today, it’s always great to hear from you! Take care, xo Kelly

  • Est
    July 15, 2021 at 9:29 am

    Wowza! This is absolutely stunning! What a fantastic kitchen and great use of space. Really beautiful,

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 9:34 am

      Hi Est, Thank you so much! It’s hard to remember it the way it was, Lol! xo Kelly

  • Susan Kelley
    July 15, 2021 at 9:39 am

    WOW!What a difference a good kitchen makes! Have enjoyed all your good recipes. Looking forward to more now that you have this great kitchen to work from!When will your first book be out? ave told so many friends about you and your recipes. Bon appetite!

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 9:45 am

      Hello Susan, It’s true, a functional kitchen make a gigantic difference! I don’t have a book in the works yet, but it’s on my mind…Thank you so much for spreading the word about Djalali Cooks – I really appreciate the support and endorsement! Thank you again, xo Kelly

  • Pat Roth
    July 15, 2021 at 9:40 am

    Love, love, love ❤️. The copper is beautiful. Cabinets, gorgeous. What is the wood? Wonder why it took so long to figure out drawers instead of reach in.!? They are the bomb. Goodness, that range (red knobs ?) a dream. Floors, wide open space, really nice. Continue to share renovations. So happy to have found your blog.

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 9:49 am

      Thank you Pat! The drawers…I know! Total game-changing design – so simple, yet so genius. I am happy to know you’d like to see more home renovations. I have quite a bit to share! Thank you so much for your continued support, take care! xo Kelly

  • Sangita Madan
    July 15, 2021 at 9:41 am

    Love the renovation! Enjoy your new kitchen!

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 9:49 am

      Thanks so much, Sangita! xo Kelly

  • Paula
    July 15, 2021 at 10:02 am

    Beautiful! Now it looks more open!! Probably more functional as well.

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 10:10 am

      Hi Paula, it’s SO much more functional. We spend so much time in the kitchen, even when we’re not cooking. So we wanted a space that allowed for cooking, entertaining, working and just hanging out. Mission accomplished! Thank you so much for stopping by today, xo Kelly

  • Sylvia Espinoza
    July 15, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Stunning! Love everything! So gorgeous. Very happy for you and Alex. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Hugs! ~

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 10:11 am

      Thank you, Sylvia! It’s definitely a dream kitchen come true! Good to hear from you today, xo Kelly

  • Mari
    July 15, 2021 at 10:08 am

    Absolutely gorgeous! I am so sick of all the renovation shows on TV where everything is white, white, and more white. The wood cabinets, the island, and everything in your kitchen is perfectly lovely. This kitchen. Is timeless, and will look just as beautiful twenty years from now. Our house is much smaller, but it is dated and sad! We have been living in our current house almost four years, and we know what does and doesn’t work, and what we want to change. So far we have done one bathroom, and have plans to do the second, and then on to the kitchen. You have given me some great ideas. I love love love that island. Also wanted you to know how much I enjoyed Beth’s post yesterday. It was so much fun seeing the pictures of two of my favorite online friends. My husband and son love to see what you have got for pizza and a movie every week. Of course they are more interested in what pizza they will eat that week. As for me, I love everything. You have made cooking fun again. Thank you.

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 10:19 am

      Hello Mari, Firstly, thank you so much! I love that your family enjoys Pizza and a Movie, and that you get so much from the blog – that means a lot to me. It helps so much to live in the space for a bit before renovating to learn what works and what doesn’t. The island was the most important element of the kitchen for me. It is so helpful to have such a large surface; not just for cooking, but for all kinds of tasks and projects. I am so glad you enjoyed Beth’s post yesterday, she and I had so much fun! It was a great little getaway, and a little shopping never hurts! Good luck with your future renovations! Thanks again, xo Kelly

  • J
    July 15, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Beautiful renovation! Love the openness.

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 10:19 am

      Hello J, Thank you so much! xo Kelly

  • Bobbe
    July 15, 2021 at 10:21 am

    Beautiful design. I would love to see more of the renovation and the outdoors too.

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 10:33 am

      Hi Bobbe, Thank you! Yes, the outdoor renovation was quite extensive…that would be fun to share! xo Kelly

  • Cathy
    July 15, 2021 at 10:23 am

    Wow, what a transformation! Dull and dated to fabulous! I would like to see more of your home renovation.

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 10:34 am

      Hello Cathy, Great! I am happy to share more of the renovation on the blog. Stay tuned for more this summer! Thank you so much! xo Kelly

  • Cheryl
    July 15, 2021 at 10:51 am

    I always love to see before and after pictures. I get great ideas for projects of my own. The whole project is amazing.

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 12:21 pm

      Me too, Cheryl! Thanks so much, this was really a great experience – a lot of work, but it was wonderful. xo Kelly

  • Mari
    July 15, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    I just wanted to add something amusing to the island love we are all sharing. I showed the pictures to my son, a d he said, “Wow! That’s not an island, that’s a continent!”

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 12:22 pm

      Lol! That’s great – it’s true too! It is pretty massive. It comes in handy when I have to fold the bed sheets 🙂

  • Priscilla C Herrera
    July 15, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Looks beautiful. Enjoy seeing the before & after! Would enjoy seeing before/after of the rest of your renovation.

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 12:23 pm

      Thank you Priscilla! I will post more renovation projects throughout the summer, so be sure to stay tuned! xo Kelly

  • Connie
    July 15, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Wonderful, Kelly! Please do show more of your renovation. It’s inspiring. Just as beautiful as your recipes…

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 1:17 pm

      Thank you, Connie! I will post the other projects over the course of the summer, so stay tuned! Take care, xo Kelly

  • Suzanne
    July 15, 2021 at 1:41 pm

    Looks amazing, Kelly! I love what you all have done. It’s beautiful. I’m a sucker for a good reno project–share away! Must be a pleasure cooking there, and I love the open floorplan.

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 3:09 pm

      Hi Suzanne, thanks so much! I do enjoy having so much counter space and having everything close at hand, tucked away in the drawers. So convenient! Good to hear from you today, take care! xo Kelly

  • Deanna
    July 15, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    What a great post! Love how you remodeled your kitchen/dining/living room spaces to be more functional, timeless, and beautiful for you, Alex and the dogs, and I think I see a cat wandering by?? The vaulted ceiling is just perfect! I can just see you cooking and creating in the kitchen and dining-office.
    Would love to see more pictures of the rest of your home and what you have done to make it so unique and Architectural Digest worthy.

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 15, 2021 at 3:40 pm

      Hello Deanna! Well, thanks so much! That butt and tail you saw was one of our dogs, Dante. He photobombed the shot. Lol! I will definitely share more of the renovation project through the summer. Thanks so much! xo Kelly

  • Deanna
    July 15, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Lol. Love photobombers. However, don’t tell Dante I thought he was a cat 🙂

    • Kelly Djalali
      July 16, 2021 at 8:49 am

      Lol! Your secret is safe 🙂