Jennifer Gizzi grew up with a contractor father who instilled in her a passion for DIY projects, so it’s no surprise that she decided to tackle her Green Bay, Wisconsin home remodel on her own.

The renovation blogger and Making Pretty Spaces founder immediately recognized the issues with her galley kitchen upon moving in. It was cramped, dysfunctional, and the refrigerator blocked traffic when it was open. Above all, however, the segmented layout kept her young family from utilizing their living room.

But since complete overhauls cost money, Gizzi initially just gave the space a quick cosmetic makeover while she and her husband were saving up for a full transformation. Once they had the funds, she knocked down a wall to create the open floor plan of her dreams. “The flow of the house literally changed overnight,” she declares.

In addition to the structural updates, Gizzi worked her aesthetic magic and replaced all the dated finishes with curated materials. The result is a chic, modern traditional kitchen that functions flawlessly.

Before view of a white kitchen with granite counters

Gray green kitchen with leather bar stools and white appliances

Nailing the Layout

After demolishing the divider that once separated the cooking and living areas, Gizzi didn’t actually change the kitchen configuration very much. “I tried to make this very budget-friendly, so I kept the footprint of the oven and the sink the same,” she explains. “I knew that I could run the dishwasher a bit further and I knew that I had some wiggle room with some of the smaller appliances, but I really tried to keep the major items in place.”

Gizzi did add an island, though, which she designed specifically to accommodate all her children at once. Since she didn’t have room for four chairs in a row, she devised a clever T-shaped base and two corner columns in order to fit enough stools for her brood. “I wanted it to seat all the kids and then some,” she says.

Gray green kitchen cabinets corner view

Living in Color

The island, as well as the rest of the Semihandmade DIY Shaker cabinet doors and the crown moulding that Gizzi installed, are painted in a dazzling green-gray. She found the striking-yet-soothing hue, Quarry Rock by Benjamin Moore, while flipping through a print issue of Better Homes & Gardens and instantly fell in love with it. “I tried to pick other things and I just kept going back to it,” she remembers.

Gray green kitchen corner cabinets

Kitchen corner view with oven

Acting Natural

For the perimeter countertops, Gizzi poured white concrete herself as a cost-saving measure and a DIY challenge. “I had never done it before, but I watched a lot of tutorials and the company I worked with, Z Counterform, had great customer service,” she raves. “I talked to them on the phone a dozen times throughout the process.”

To continue the organic feel, Gizzi chose soapstone for the center surface, ceramic tile with plenty of variation for the backsplash, and matte engineered hardwood for the floors. All the elements complement each other seamlessly for a harmonious natural look.

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