The Ensley House: Kitchen Before Photos and Plans


We are flipping a house in Kansas City, MO. This post is a part of a series documenting the renovation and what we learn along the way. You can follow our progress here and on instagram.

Let’s talk about the kitchen. It has great bones but some awkward features that make the space confusing. Our plan with this room is to enhance the great bones it already has and eliminate the less-than-ideal parts (mostly walls) so the space makes more sense for a modern family. The kitchen will be a focal point of this house so we are coming in with guns a blazin’.

The kitchen is in the back corner of the house with entrances from the garage (at the top near the range), formal dining room (to the left), and the den (below). We are keeping the basic layout but moving the entrance from the garage to the dining room (more on that later), knocking down the wall that separates the kitchen from the den, and relocating a set of base cabinets.

We have two main priorities in this space: update the overall feel of the kitchen while keeping its integrity, and make the breakfast nook more functional. The breakfast nook has potential but it is really cramped right now. It can seat two people uncomfortably and the chairs stick out in the already tight walkway. Taking the wall down and adding the right furniture will make this space usable and accessible. I’ve got my eye out for the right table and chairs for the space.

The majority of changes to this space are cosmetic. It will be a classic white kitchen with white cabinets,  light gray granite/quartz, and subway tile. We will add reclaimed wood open shelving to replace one upper cabinet. Luckily, this kitchen has a ton of cabinet space which is rare for an older home.

We’re working on a full house floor plan, but below is a side-by-side of the original layout vs. what it will look like when we are finished:



Lack of natural light Unfortunately, the lack of natural light in the kitchen is not an isolated incident–this house is dark. We have to think about this is every room and the kitchen is no exception. Solution: Remove low box and cabinet to the right of the window. Replace with canned lighting and open shelving. This will allow the light to travel farther and not get absorbed by the cabinets.

Closed off from the rest of the house Like many older homes, the Ensley house does not have an open concept. The kitchen is separated from the other rooms in the house.  Solution: We will knock down the wall that separates the den from the kitchen and refinish the hardwood floors hiding under (two!) layers of linoleum, creating one large living space.

The door debacle Where the formal dining room meets the kitchen is a cluster of doors (you can see this in the left corner of the floor plan). There are three all facing each other and when one door is open, it blocks the entrance to another room. Solution: To solve this (and many other problems), we will move the garage entrance door to the formal dining room. This will eventually become a mudroom/utility room.

Here are the before photos of the space:



Taking down the wall and brightening up the space will go a long way for this space. We were inspired by light, airy, and cape cod-esque kitchens and we’re excited to show you the progress!

After hours and hours on Pinterest and late night brainstorming sessions, this is where we started:



Our end goal is a bright, airy kitchen with warm textures and tones. We want it to be a calm space a family wants to be in. This is where flips get tricky–do we save as much money as possible and do it on the cheap? Or do we spend a little more, but make it a kitchen we would love? We could just slap some paint and cheap countertops on in here, but that’s not why we are doing this. We want to design not a just a house, but a home. We have a vision of the family that will make memories in this space, and we want to give them a beautiful, functional, reliable home. A home with soul and depth.

Aaaaaanyway. Everyone loves a white kitchen, but they can feel stark and cold if not done well. We need warm elements to soften it and add some personality. This is guiding our inspiration right now:



Picture sources from top to bottom: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12 (top image here)

Up next for the kitchen….demolition! Stay tuned.


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