February 17, 2016

Client Project Reveal: Kitchen Dining Upgrade

I love when I get to go from room to room in a client’s home, making the whole house feel cohesive and updated.  My dear clients (who have become dear friends) brought me back recently to do a kitchen dining upgrade.  You may remember their family room and living room we completed last year.  They wanted to continue the flow into their adjacent dining room and kitchen, but didn’t want to completely tear out their existing space and start fresh.

Remember their gorgeous living room and family room designs?  Still some of my favorites!

So many people do/did what they did.  They bought their house and quickly made design decisions using builder options, and went with a kitchen cabinet choice that’s a bit outdated now– knotty alder.  I suggested painting them (it can be done and done well.  I’ve done it for clients in the past), but this isn’t their forever home, the cabinets are quality built, and so I devised a design plan around them.

Here are some before photos for reference…..

 IMG_2121 IMG_2124

It felt so dark compared to the light and airy rooms we had already completed.  And I had a challenge– update this space and give it the same feel, without painting the cabinets or breaking the bank.  Here’s what I came up with: 2015-11-27 14.33.36 2015-11-27 14.34.192015-11-27 14.35.01 2015-11-27 14.35.24 2015-11-27 14.36.00 2015-11-27 14.37.35 2015-11-27 14.37.59 2015-11-27 14.39.33 2015-11-27 14.40.05

Here are a couple sources from the space:  Dining Table | Dining Bench | Chandelier | Candlesticks | Woven Tray | Star Figurine | Barstools

We replaced the countertop with a quartz, added a fresh white subway tile backsplash, switched out the lighting, added a built-in mud area, and freshened up the decor– with a new dining table and chairs, rug, and accent pieces.  I looooove how it turned out!  As my client said, it almost makes me like the wood cabinets!  We wouldn’t have picked them if we were installing a new kitchen, but I feel like it just works now that everything has been lightened up.

I believe in curating each piece that goes into your home.  If you don’t love it, don’t bring it in.  I think that’s what makes the biggest difference in this home and packs the biggest punch when it comes to giving this kitchen a facelift.

On another note, I’ve been writing some articles for Better Homes and Gardens as of late.  You can check them out here:

Art Deco Decorating Ideas

How to Blend Masculine and Feminine Styles

Pretty Printable Storage Labels We Love

5-Minute Bathroom Updates

I’ve been working behind the scenes on some really exciting projects and can’t wait to spill the beans soon.  When things are quiet around these parts, it usually means things are NOT quiet everywhere else.  If anyone figures out how to clone me, I’d be eternally grateful.



  1. Jillian

    February 18th, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Hey Jen! Love this room! Can you share where you got the table runner as well as those two blue abstract prints? Also, the items on and the art piece above the white mirrored piece? We have the same cabinet and I can’t find anything I love and I love the look of this! Thanks so much!

  2. Jillian

    February 18th, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Needing email follow up notification! 🙂

  3. Jen

    February 21st, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Hi Jillian, most of those items are to the trade, but the two prints are from Homegoods.

  4. Jen

    February 18th, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    Wow! Just wow. I never would have believed those cabinets would work until I saw the afters. Fantastic job. Beautiful outcome.

  5. Jen

    February 21st, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Thank you so much!

  6. Karin

    February 18th, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Wow. I cannot believe the difference! I actually love the cabinets now – not so much with black countertops before, though. I just recently saw that light wood is making a comeback. I was going to repaint my light maple cabinets, but looking at what you did here almost has me convinced to leave them as is and just get lighter quartz countertops and refresh my backsplash! Thanks for the inspiration:)

  7. Jen

    February 21st, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    What a kind comment– thank you!

  8. Julia@Cuckoo4Design

    February 19th, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Wow it’s so so good my friend! Way to make those cabinets look gorgeous!

  9. Jen

    February 21st, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Thank you, sweet Julia!

  10. Laurie @ Laurie Jones Home

    February 20th, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Just beautiful!!! What a difference and crazy that I love the cabinets now!

  11. Jen

    February 21st, 2016 at 10:25 pm

    Thank you so much!

  12. Mariella

    February 20th, 2016 at 2:01 pm


    Could you share where you bought the rug please?


  13. Jen

    February 21st, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Hi Mariella, the rug under the table is Rugsusa

  14. Holly

    February 20th, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    I love this space! I would love to know where those abstract paintings in the dining room are from as well.

  15. Jen

    February 21st, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    Hi Holly, they are from Homegoods

  16. Cynthia

    February 21st, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Wow, what a difference! Great job!

  17. Jen

    February 21st, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you so much!

  18. Around the Web - Year of Serendipity

    February 24th, 2016 at 5:58 am

    […] White kitchens are EVERYWHERE these days.  I’m guilty of a few myself, but there are so many more options than just replacing or painting cabinets when it comes to modernizing and freshening up a dark, dated kitchen.  Jen Stagg took her client’s space from dark and gloomy to bright and airy.  Check out the befores and more juicy afters on her blog, With Heart. […]

  19. Anna

    February 25th, 2016 at 5:25 am

    Wow! It looks like a new kitchen! I never knew what a difference light countertops can make. I really love your blog, I learn something new every time =)

  20. Sheena Sreekeessoon

    March 21st, 2016 at 6:44 am

    This is gorgeous! Such an inspiration!

    Sheena Sreekeessoon

  21. Shweta

    April 8th, 2016 at 3:39 am

    Perfect dining table design for less spacious dining room! Nothing says classic than a white furnished kitchen. If i want to set up the same kitchen dining room then, How much does this cost?

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She’s Jen. He’s Jon. We’re believers in the power of home, fearless DIYers, and eternal optimists who know with a can-do spirit, elbow grease and some guidance, you can create a home you love. We love a good project—or 20. Stick around and we’ll have you pulling out the paint brushes and fluffing throw pillows in no time.

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