Before & After Kitchen: Making Every Inch Count


Budget-slashing, adding on–big projects like these can be costly. It was a given that Rachel and Chad Alcorn would not be increasing square footage or moving walls when they renovated their 1928 Tudor-style kitchen in Glen Ellyn.

Rachel says, “We wanted storage, prep surfaces and light to give the space a more open feel but we didn’t have unlimited money.” It is important to preserve treasured original details such as three casement-style sink window and an arched dining nook.

Rachel, an interior designer, knew how to maximize 200 square feet. She traded in dated finishes for a character-rich appearance that included a pine-paneled ceiling and blue base cabinets. Counters made from pale marble are also featured.

Rachel first removed the upper portion on the range wall, which is shared with the dining area. This allowed light to flow in through a bank tall windows.

A raised walnut breakfast bar on the dining room’s side adds casual seating. She built an antique pine cabinet in the foyer to double as a pantry. This warm wood accent gives the kitchen an aged feel.

The space feels larger, more functional, and still feels cozy. Rachel comments, “We love the kitchen’s eclectic and warm feel. It has a better flow, more counter space and is in keeping with our home’s architecture.” It’s a perfect match for everyone.

The homeowners list includes keeping the original wood casement windows above and creating a lighter overall look. The windows were painted white to match the cabinets. Marble counters were installed on the backsplash and to the ceiling. A soffit was replaced with three black library-style sconces. Both goals were achieved.

Get This Look

For an eclectic, easygoing look, mix period-style pieces from different eras with timeless finishes.

1. Space-age lighting

Rachel says that a sixties-style chandelier is a great addition to a kitchen, especially when other lighting options are not available. Sputnik Chandelier, $599;

2. Iron-look Pulls

The contrast to the glowing brass accents is made more striking by matte black hardware. Hadey Iron Cabinet Pull, $14, and Cast Iron Round Knob, $10;

3. Blue cabinet paint

Rachel states that deep blue is a great choice for base cabinets. It’s both grounding and personal. You can also try Duration Home Interior Acrylic latex in Loyal Blue starting at $73 per gallon.

4. High-shine faucet

The classic look of a gooseneck spout, with lever handles and side spray in glossy brass, is suited to many vintage homes. Popular Kitchen Faucet in Polished Brass. $370.

Floor Plans

The 1928 house’s scale was preserved by not altering its footprint. Maximizing every inch of storage and prep space was key; removing a wall allowed for more light and air.

  1. To serve as a pantry, built in the cupboard next to the basement door. The microwave was then stored in the cabinet.
  2. To open up the kitchen and the dining room, we removed approximately 14 feet of wall. We also added base cabinets and counters to either side of the range. A breakfast bar was added for additional prep space.
  3. Move the range approximately 2 1/2 feet from the passageway to dining room. Add landing space and drawer storage.
  4. Three task lights were installed: Removed the ceiling soffit, valance and over-the-sink valance.
  5. The fridge was moved to the right side of the sink.
  6. Hidden storage is provided by hinged-top benches that are built into the walls of the dining area.


Dia is the Editorial Assistant at, covering Exterior, Kitchen, home Yard, Poolhouse, and more.

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