Before & After: This Virginia home's kitchen was dated and clunky, now it's a timelessly modern space

This designer transformed this home's awkward, old-fashioned kitchen into the picture of classic modern design

A before and after pic of a kitchen
(Image credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg. Studio credit Unique Kitchens and Baths)

The owners of this 4800 sq ft home in Great Falls, Virginia decided to change up the style of their existing 800 sq ft kitchen, which had seen better days. A dated cabinetry style and clunky layout meant the space was more than due an upgrade. 

'The homeowners are a family of four with small kids (a boy and a girl),' says Tanya Smith-Shiflett of Unique Kitchens and Baths, who designed the cabinetry for the space. 'They wanted a space that accommodated all their needs, within a British modern aesthetic. While originally this space was galley-style, it was a challenge for us to fit all of their appliances in while creating enough space for the counters.' 

That apart, the entire room was rehauled in terms of colors, counters, and flooring, with a metamorphosis one can only dream of. Take a look at this modern home's kitchen renovation, and gather ideas for yours!


A before image of a kitchen

(Image credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg. Studio credit Unique Kitchens and Baths)

With a bulky island, and a large range hood, all drenched in a muted tones, the original kitchen needed a pick-me-up. 

'This kitchen was truly designed to show how the homeowners live with their kids,' says Tanya. 'They wanted an island that would provide seating for them and their kids, as the original layout didn't allow them to add extra seats. Also, as the space leads out to the pool area, the floors needed to be waterproof.'

After: Storage and seating

A kitchen island with storage and seating

(Image credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg. Studio credit Unique Kitchens and Baths)

To accommodate a kitchen breakfast bar and to add more seating to the room, Tanya elongated the island and added a table to sit at. 'Making a place where the family could have breakfast together in the kitchen, vs. in the more formal dining area, was a priority,' says Tanya. 'The family loves using the seating area for snacks in the afternoon or for a place to eat during a pool break (the pool is directly outside of the kitchen).'

'It was really important to this busy young family to have a place for everything and keep all of the tools and appliances organized,' says Tanya. 'The way we achieved this was by asking the clients to give us a list of daily things they used and we designed the storage around those items. For this family, we created moments for a coffee station, an air fryer station, double trash, a spice drawer, and lots of pantry storage.'

After: Colors

A kitchen in green tone

(Image credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg. Studio credit Unique Kitchens and Baths)

The entire palette was changed and the space was transformed into a colorful kitchen. To get a calm, relaxing yet elegant shade, the designer used a custom blend of light green and light tan to achieve the tone they wanted. 

'To add a glittering effect, we chose knobs from Top Knobs for a touch of elegance,' says Tanya. 'For a punch of color, we added a rug for some warmth and visual interest. For the countertops, we chose white marble, as we adore working with natural stone and the owners were on board as well.'

After: Flooring

A kitchen with slate flooring

(Image credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg. Studio credit Unique Kitchens and Baths)

The owners have a pool so the floors needed to be waterproof. So, Tanya installed slate kitchen flooring, which is inherently non-skid and water-resistant.

With fresh tones and new materials, the whole room was given a new identity. 'Working with a galley kitchen is never easy, as the space is limited,' says Tanya. 'So when designing, we made sure to create a designated spot for everything in the kitchen so everyday use would be seamless and easy when living with a family of four.'

More projects by Tanya Smith-Shiflett of Unique Kitchens and Baths.

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast).  Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.