nnk’s new kitchen.

nnk kitchen title

For those of you who don’t know the story, nnK is my neighbor straight across the street (and also my number one Craigslist spotter).  For a point of reference, you can see her bright blue front door in quite a few of my summertime outdoor furniture shoots …

In a Pickle farmhouse table

I call her nnK because when she moved in I already had a neighbor next door named Karen, so to tell them apart nnK became ‘new neighbor Karen’, then shortened to nnK.  Even though the other Karen passed away over five years ago, nnK is still nnK.

nnK’s house is your basic 50’s ranch.  It’s perfect for her because she loves mid-century modern.  When she moved in the kitchen was pretty outdated and drab though.  She made some cosmetic changes to tide her over until she could really remodel it.  A couple of years ago she asked me to take some photos of the kitchen that she could submit to one of those kitchen make-over shows.  She had her fingers crossed, but she was not chosen for the show.  But luckily I hung onto the photos, so now I can share some good ‘before’ shots with you.

nnk kitchen before 1

It was a classic 50’s kitchen.  You gotta love those cabinets with the big chrome knobs.  nnK added the black & white vinyl floor and the orange walls.  She also painted the cabinets white, they were originally that medium toned maple colored stain that you see on the window trim.  The window in the photo below looks out onto the breezeway that connects the house to the garage.

nnk kitchen before 2

That fridge was super tiny, but she couldn’t swap it out for a larger one without ripping out cabinets, so it stayed.

The dishwasher that is sitting next to the stove had to be wheeled over to the sink and connected up to the faucet to run.

nnk kitchen before 3

Now some people (like me) could get along just fine with an itty bitty kitchen like this.  My kitchen is just a glorified spot for storing dishes, keeping my lean cuisines frozen and making coffee.  But nnK actually likes to cook.  And when she cooks, she makes enough food for an army so she likes to share.  I gained 20 lbs in the first year after she moved in!

Honestly, I can’t believe that she lived with that kitchen as long as she did.  But finally last fall she bit the bullet and remodeled.  And this wasn’t any simple little remodel, this was a bump out the wall 6′ sort of remodel.

Basically everything from that wall this side of the fridge in this next photo is new space.

nnk kitchen 2

It’s truly amazing what 6′ can get you, isn’t it?

The oven is actually still in approximately the same spot where the old oven was … only now there are two ovens and a bank of cabinets.  One more thing about this next photo, see that round thing that looks like an over sized canned light fixture in the ceiling (just in front of the ovens)?   Yeah, that’s not a light fixture.  It’s a sky light that somehow magically amplifies the natural light coming in (I think it’s done with mirrors and a little pixie dust).    She has two of them, so even though this room faces north it is flooded with light during the day.  There are no ‘lights’ turned on in any of these photos.

nnk kitchen oven wall

The window into the breezeway has been replaced by two under-cabinet windows (only one pictured).

nnk kitchen breezeway window

Just beyond this row of cabinets is a new door out to the deck, which will be super handy for grilling.

nnk kitchen door

Gone is the dinky fridge, and just check out the wall mounted TV …

nnk kitchen fridge wall

No makeover in our ‘hood would be complete without something from Ken!  In this case, it’s that cabinet under the TV.  nnK wanted something that would just fit into that narrow spot so she and Ken came up with plans for a wine rack.  It wasn’t deep enough for the wine to face forward, so it goes in from the side.

nnk kitchen kens cabinet

Clever, right?  Ken was very proud of this plan!

My sister is positively drooling over this kitchen.  She would love to have one this size.

nnk kitchen 10

I’m still waiting for my next invite to dinner.  nnK seems to have just enough space at the counter to include me and Mr. Q now.

nnk kitchen 11

nnk kitchen 12

So what do you think?  Are you the kind of cook who would love to have this much space?  Do you have enough pots and pans to fill up all of those cupboards?

Or are you more like me?  You just need a microwave and a decent sized freezer?

15 thoughts on “nnk’s new kitchen.

  1. Lucky you – nnK will probably be cooking way more and sharing! Fabulous makeover and great photos of the before and after. I love the skylight idea and the under the counter windows. Great way to bring in light without using up available walls.


  2. Fabulous job planning this out…and God Bless Ken. He is the ultimate neighbor! NNK must be thrilled with her makeover! Beautiful!


  3. Having been through a few kitchen remodels, they can really improve your quality of life (after they’re done!). My last house had the exact same cabinets with the same pulls! nnK must be in heaven now! I love the exposed chimney and the solar tubes are fantastic. Without natural light, even a new kitchen can feel heavy, way to plan Karen! It’s very bright and fun and says a lot about her personality 🙂 That Ken…what an angel to have next door!


  4. I would love a new kitchen, I’m like nnk, mine is in use everyday. Want cupboards with feet that look like cabinets and mismatched finishes so that they look like they had been gathered over time.


    1. I love that look Diane! I even think using actual vintage hutches or cupboards of some kind in place of build in cabinets would be awesome. I’m trying to sell my mother-in-law on this idea, but so far she’s not buying it 😉 She doesn’t quite see my vision.


  5. Beautiful kitchen! Ken is amazing, loved the piece he made! Very clever with the wine storage area!


    1. Totally. The great thing about Ken’s piece is that it was made to fit into that spot. It would have been really difficult to find just the right thing, so it worked perfectly to have something custom.


  6. Yep, I totally want that kitchen. I can never have enough room for all my kitchen things. I think maybe even I couldn’t fill up all those cabinets though. Just would mean more shopping and garage sales.


  7. I love the new kitchen! She must be singing a happy tune while cooking. Ken;s wine rack was a great idea!


    1. So funny you should say that Joyce. nnK was in show choir in school, so she has been known to belt out a show tune or two on the spur of the moment 😉


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