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A Couple Cooks Kitchen

If you’ve been following our blog this summer, you probably caught the first couple hints about our new house around mid-May. We weren’t necessarily house shopping, just keeping half an eye on any new listings in the neighborhood — when a house popped up just a few blocks away from our (old) house that we just couldn’t resist. Tons of charm, plenty of space, and a kitchen just begging to be remodeled.

Living in a beautiful 1920’s neighborhood in Indianapolis has plenty of perks, but large kitchens (and decent-sized closets) come few and far between. It didn’t take us long to decide that the possibility of remodeling a kitchen, while staying in a location within walking distance of our favorite locales, was too good of a opportunity to pass on.

We had 6 weeks before closing to design our perfect kitchen. Of course, perfect meant stylish, functional, and most importantly, within our budget. This was a tough 6 weeks. Sonja would pin items to our Pinterest boards feverishly every single night. Meanwhile, I would try to find the cost of the “in real life” items that she was pinning. It was a LOT harder than we would have ever expected. Designing a kitchen without being in the space, without seeing many of the items before purchasing them (like cabinets), and staying within our budget was tough! I can’t even count how many decisions were required for us to make. We had more than a few “what have we gotten ourselves into” and “NEVER doing this again” ‘s, but we survived. And we love the final result.

We are having so much fun with a big island, two sinks, lots of windows, and a wide open room. It’s pretty much a home cook’s dream! Here are a few before-and-after pictures, and a gallery of the finished kitchen. Thanks for cheering us on during the process — we can’t to develop new recipes for you from our new space!

A few detailed notes about the project for those of you that like this sort of thing:

  • We sealed off a door just to the left of the two windows in the kitchen. This allowed us to put in a ton more counter space.
  • We widened the door from the kitchen to the dining room.
  • We refinished the painted floor in the dining room to the original 90-year old maple floor.

Floor Plan


The Finished Product (see below for Before + After shots)

Wondering about our inspirations while designing the kitchen? Check out our Pinterest board. After gathering enough images, we realized that the butcher block / white shaker cabinet / subway tile style is what we are drawn towards. In particular, we were strongly inspired by the cabin renovation that Sarah from Smitten Studio has been sharing on her blog.

A Couple Cooks Kitchen

A Couple Cooks Kitchen

A Couple Cooks Kitchen

A Couple Cooks Kitchen

A Couple Cooks Kitchen

A Couple Cooks Kitchen

A Couple Cooks Kitchen

A Couple Cooks Kitchen


A Couple Cooks Kitchen

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A Couple Cooks Kitchen Before

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A Couple Cooks Kitchen Before

A Couple Cooks Kitchen

In Our New Space

A Couple Cooks

Let us know if you have any questions, or kitchen design stories to share – we love hearing them, especially now that we’re on the other side. We’d like to thank our the contractor, Matt Troyer and Emergent Investments, for all of their hard work making it happen. And, thanks again for all your support through this process!

Here’s a list of the main components we ended up deciding on. We wouldn’t have been able to design our kitchen without all the bloggers who’ve shared their renovations before us!

Cabinets — Aristokraft Benton in a White Finish
Floors — Stark Tortora from The Tile Shop
Island Countertop — Caeserstone London Grey
Outside Countertops — IKEA Beech Numerar Butcher Block
Open Shelves — IKEA Ekby Mossby
Pendant Lights — Pottery Barn Classic Pendant
Stools — Tabouret Stools from Overstock

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Great Post! Thank you for providing some great information and ideas to your readers. Please keep sharing.

  2. I love the kitchen it turned out to be after renovation. I looks so good and plus a whole lots more spacious.

  3. How do you like the wood counters? We are considering replacing our current counters with IKEA wood butcher block counters, but i’m worried about stains and water damage and how durable they will actually be (versus a stone). I’d love to hear you opinion. Thanks!

  4. Your kitchen is GOALS. Haha. We have a trip to IKEA planned this weekend and we’ll be setting up a meeting with Reese soon as well- thanks for all the inspiration!

  5. Hi! Thanks so much for sharing your story. I just signed the kitchen reno contract tonight!
    I received a great quote on the upgraded Aristocraft Benton cabinets. So, how are they working for you after a few years? Any problems or changes that you wish you had made?

    1. Oh wonderful! We actually love our cabinets — they have held up wonderfully for the 3.5 (almost 4) years we’ve been in our kitchen! Best of luck on your reno…if you have any further questions, shoot me a note at! Good luck!

  6. Hi! I loved finding your blog and seeing your amazing kitchen transformation. I’m about to embark on one as well and was considering using the same floor tile (Stark Tortora). I just wanted to see how you like it now that you’ve lived with it for a while? What color/type of grout did you use?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi! We still love the tiles — I would definitely recommend. I’m not sure what grout color we used. Our contractor showed us a palette to choose from and we picked a gray/beige that was closest to the color of the tile. Hope that helps!

  7. SO gorgeous and love the contrasting with all the neutrals. Can you share what the paint color is for the black shaker cabinets in the center island? I love those.

  8. Absolutely love your kitchen! My husband and I just bought a home which we will be doing some renovating/modernizing to. I love your dining room table and wonder where you found it?

  9. wow!! Such a drastic transformation, well done guys! You built a dream kitchen! Would you mind to share you paint color? Which white is it?

  10. Where are your farmhouse sink and your faucet from?! We are getting ready to redo some of our kitchen and yours is exactly what we’ve been looking for! Also: I love your site and am always inspired by your recipes :)

  11. Ah what a great idea for a blog post. This is so helpful. We are renovating our kitchen in a couple of months and this has given me some great ideas. Thanks for sharing guys!

    Anna x

  12. Love your new kitchen!! It’s gorgeous!! Can I ask where you got the sink that’s underneath the window (not in the island)??

  13. Where did you find the print of the Julia Child quote? I’d love something similar for my own kitchen.


  14. Incredible you guys! What a pat on the back to you for planning this BEFORE moving in?! Sounds like brilliant insanity. What a refreshing place to prepare your amazing meals each day. Our kitchen too was boxed in + cavelike before we took a wall out (…a week into living there) and made our own island and floating shelves! Open kitchen space is phenomenal. Your lighting is inspiring me to bump our own up on the priority list. Beautiful pendants. And the ikea metal shelves are just perfect with the butcher block counters. Feeling so inspired. Cheers!

    1. Karisa, thank you so much! And yes, it absolutely was insanity! It’s a time period I’m glad is over, but all the work was definitely worth having a space we love. Would love to see your kitchen!

  15. OMG!!Sonja I am in love with your kitchen!! So much work space and all those cookbooks!! Big time drooling!!

  16. I’m curious to know how your Aristocraft cabinets are holding up. My designer recommended the same ones, Benton with the white paint. I’ve read some not-so-good reviews of the Aristocraft brand and I would like to know what your opinion is after a year +. I’m signing the contract on Monday and a little nervous!

    Your kitchen is lovely! I’m going for the white/pale blue/light gray look with brushed nickle hardware.


  17. Oh I love this so much! I’m planning on repainting some of our units this year and you’ve inspired my white kitchen love even further. Thanks!

  18. Beautiful!!
    We are thinking of buying the Numerar Beech butcher block countertops, as well! I feel even more motivated now seeing your kitchen. :) Did you stain the wood? How did you finish it? (ie. the debate of Mineral Oil vs. Waterlox is everywhere – trying to decide what is best is tough!) Thank you! :)

    1. Hi! We decided to keep the natural look and use the mineral oil type finish. About once a month or so, we use this butcher block conditioner. So far we really love having the wood counters. Even though they require maintenance they’re holding up quite nicely. We do most of our dishwashing in the island, so the counters don’t get too wet. That would be my only concern — if you did have your main sink on the wood, you’d really want to stay on top of keep the counters oiled up. Hope that helps!

      1. Thank you so much!We’re convinced now – and we’re going to do the same thing. I love the look of what you’ve done! I’ll have to share photos of my copycat (much smaller, sadly!) kitchen when I’m done! Thanks for sharing all of your beautiful photos! :)

  19. I just discovered your blog today and had to check out your kitchen reno to see what you did. It looks nice, although the idea of keeping those open shelves clean is crazy making for me. I have a question for you: in the dining room photos, do I see some Bauer depression pottery bowls on the shelf? I used to have some of them and loved them (my sister still uses Bauer dishes exclusively).

    1. The trick is that you don’t think about cleaning the shelves! We have picked up a lot if old plates at antique stores, I think you are right that it is Bauer!

  20. we just built our house so i totally understand how crazy it is making decisions on a deadline. you did awesome! love the kitchen! (and love the blog) :)

  21. I absolutely love the renovations you did! I can’t even imagine making all of those decisions, you did an amazing job! Do you mind sharing where you bought your floating shelves (the ones that surround your oven)?

  22. Can you tell me the brand of your new stove? We are getting ready to redo a kitchen and I really like your stove.

    Maria Ladwig

  23. How are you liking the butcher block counters? I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews about using them in the kitchen and was weary when I read “not suitable for use in wet rooms” on the IKEA site. Did you seal them to prevent water damage?

    1. We’re loving them so far! Our main dish washing sink is in the island, so the butcher block doesn’t get exposed to too much water. We seal them about once a month with a butcher block wax. They are so affordable, we figured it couldn’t hurt to use them. :)

  24. We are restoring our second old home and are considering doing something similar in our kitchen renovation — taking an eat-in area full of windows and incorporating it into the main kitchen. This involves putting counters in front of windows that are currently dipping lower than counter-depth. It looks like you had to shorten yours; did you replace the windows and have to do siding work on the exterior of your home as well? This seems like the only option for us; just wondered how you handled it.

    1. Hi! That’s exactly what we had to do. We ordered windows that were the same width and about a foot shorter. The outside of our house is stucco, so the contractor was able to patch and repaint that area. Good luck with yours!

  25. so gorgegous! I am beyond jealous. If we could afford to get a house around here, a kitchen remodel is a ways off, but I am dying to do it. Cheers to you both, your work certainly paid off.

  26. Wow, the new space looks great! Its amazing how much just opening up the space does – its so much brighter! Love all of the finishing touches too :)

    1. Thanks Kasey! We’d love for you to move in as soon as possible :) {Can’t wait to meet in person sometime soon!}

  27. Absolutely gorgeous! I love it so much. We’re house-hunting and I’m pretty confident a kitchen reno is in our future regardless, so I love seeing beautifully done kitchens and getting some ideas.

    1. Thank you, Elly! Good luck on your future kitchen reno. It’s incredibly tough (!), but rewarding too! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    1. Thanks, Gary! At this point the stresses seem worth it (though at the time it had us wondering) :) Thanks for featuring us on your blog!

    1. Aww, thanks Dana! I think there’s space in the cupboard, haha :) And yes, love the Sprouted Kitchen cookbook too!

  28. I love the way your kitchen turned out! It’s fantastic and must be a joy to spend time in your new home!

  29. It’s gorgeous, guys! That last picture of you two is more adorable than words. I hope it goes on the wall somewhere in the new house. Also, can I go ahead and ask for a tour next time I’m in Indy visiting Annie?

    1. Oh, you are sweet – thank you! Yes, please come visit — we’d absolutely love to see you! Let us know when you’ll be in town next :)

  30. Brilliant!! I love the bright white and subway tiling! Amazing what a difference opening up the doorway and closing the other door made! Love it and congrats!!

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, we were pleasantly surprised that closing off a door actually made the room seem larger!

  31. Congratulation!!! Renovations are really challenging but also rewording! You have done amazing job. I love, love the white kitchen. Very bright, speciousness and great looking!!!

  32. Love all the before and afters! It looks like the old kitchen was pretty okay (I’ve seen some doozies so this one seems fine in comparison!) and had some new-ish appliances – did you keep those, and did you use the old cabinets for anything? (like putting them in a basement or garage?)

    1. Yeah — the old kitchen wasn’t bad at all, just an awkward layout without much counter space. We sold all the old appliances and fixtures on craigslist and I’m planning a sweet work room in the garage with all of the old cabinets.

  33. Love it so much! It makes so much more sense now. Cheers to the new kitchen and all the cooking adventures it will see!

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