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before and after kitchen renovation

Any renovation is quite the task. For new designer Carli Kessler, a traditional white-and-grey kitchen was a lesson in planning and the importance of functionality for her first paying clients. 

“My first ever project was a condo that my boyfriend, now fiance, owned at the time. I was in advertising and knew I wanted to get into interior design,” she says. For this dated IKEA kitchen, she used Semihandmade, quickly gaining attention on social media as she documented the process. 

“My clients asked if I would work on their kitchen,” she says. “They weren’t sure about a renovation due to the time and money, but it was clear they loved their home and neighborhood and wanted to stay.” The kitchen just wasn’t working for them, but once she mentioned the ease and budget-friendly options of Semihandmade, they were on board. 


Dream Big

“They had big dreams,” Kessler says. Beautiful, functional, and accessible were just a few of their main asks. They wanted a large walk-in pantry and clutter-free counters

Their small, dark kitchen lacked storage and featured cabinets from the early 90s. There was also a wall separating the kitchen and dining room. 


Go Open-Concept

Knocking down the dividing wall was one of the largest improvements to the kitchen’s footprint. Then, Kessler added a range alcove which perfectly complements the new pantry. 

To make the kitchen feel even larger, she recommended going for Semihandmade’s DIY Shaker fronts. “I felt their style was more traditional,” she says. “I love the look of it too.” 


Sample, Sample, Sample

When it came to the look, door style and paint color were key. She knew she wanted to go for a creamy white, as well as a green-grey for the pantry, traditional hues that will be classic for years to come

She showed the couple many Benjamin Moore samples, but they ultimately chose the first two they saw: Natural Cream and Nantucket Gray

In just five weeks, Kessler had the doors delivered, painted, and installed. Riad White Ceramic Wall Tile, Calacatta Miraggio Quartz and Steel Gray Leathered Granite, and Rejuvenation hardware complete the classic aesthetic. 

Pick the Right Contractor

“The biggest lesson this kitchen taught me was how important communication and a good working relationship with your contractor is,” she says. “We talked every day,” she adds. 

Furthermore, this project was a deep dive into just how much prep work there is with kitchen renovations as the drawings have to be highly specific. “It was very beneficial to go through,” she says. 

While she’s had no formal training, she is passionate about the great projects she’s gotten to be a part of and is looking forward to honing her skills in the future. 


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