We Need a New Kitchen! Historic Home Remodeled with a Splash of Blue

This Nebraskan family of four enjoys much of their time together cooking, baking and entertaining. Although their 1920s Classic Colonial home is located in a prestigious country club neighborhood that’s both historic and charming, their kitchen was neither. They had grown frustrated not only with the look but with the day to day function of their kitchen. It was time to remodel, so they called on the expertise of designer Kristin Donnelly of Reynolds Design Remodeling.

Post-it Note on a Cabinet Door of an old kitchen stating "We need a NEW KITCHEN!".

When designer Kristin came on the scene she could immediately see why the family wanted to remodel. The kitchen was confined, dark, and not the most welcoming to guests. It was remodeled once by a previous owner in the 1980's. “I remember the first time I walked into their home, through the front door, and I thought to myself: ‘Wow, this house is truly amazing!’ I couldn't stop staring at the original moldings, the narrow plank wood floors, the bookcase built-ins in the living room, etc.” explained designer Kristin. “However, as soon as I walked into the kitchen, I felt like I was in a different house. It was clearly a basic 80's styled kitchen in a classic colonial 1920s home." She knew it was important for the kitchen design to complement the unique 1920s character and charm found throughout the entire home.

Before Photos of the 1920s kitchen before it was remodeled.

"One of the first things I noticed, after walking through their home, was their collection of framed and canvas art from local artists and artists around the world," stated Kristin. "The family enjoys traveling and they have several unique pieces from the Czech Republic, one of their favorite travel destinations. The design concept for this entire project was inspired by a unique handcrafted piece they collected from their travels. The family owned several similar unique, handcrafted Czech pieces scattered all throughout their home”. She made it her goal to capture their appriciateion of art and handcrafted goods into the design.

A close up of one of the Czech Republic plates that inspired the color palette for the new kitchen design.

The largest task at hand though was the layout. The kitchen needed to be expanded to work with this family’s lifestyle. Kristin knew this would not be an easy task, the remodel needed to stay within the existing structure of the home. An addition was not an option.

Existing Floor Plan, not to scale.


A secondary back staircase separating the mudroom and kitchen, which is common in homes of this age, was rarely used and somewhat dangerous due to the steep incline of the risers and the narrow treads. Removing it would give them just the right amount of space to expand and open up the kitchen.

Before photo of the kitchen looking toward where the stairs leaned into the kitchen layout.

Before photo of the kitchen looking showing the staircase entry and the opposite side where the stairs leaned into the kitchen design creating awkward storage space.

The existing floor plan compared to the new proposed floor plan removing the staircase and kitchen window.

Where they decided to remove the secondary staircase and move the interior kitchen wall, they also decided to move kitchen entrance to the other side on this wall to improve the traffic flow to both the mudroom, carport, and dining room. The old kitchen peninsula, 2 kitchen windows, and what was once a ‘catch-all’ under the existing stairs were to be eliminated as well.

(Left) Pictures the kitchen during renovation before the wall with the secondary staircase and the window were removed. (Right) Shows the back side of the secondary back staircase before it was removed.

The before photo showing where the entrance to the secondary staircase. The after photo, showing where the mudroom kitchen entrance was moved to improve the traffic flow in the house.

Kristin and her team worked hard to salvage the original 100-year-old wood floor. New flooring was very carefully pieced in and replaced as needed. To help cover the gap where the staircase wall was removed, the new framed wall dividing the mudroom and kitchen was built along the same path ultimately creating less flooring to patch in.

The new framed wall dividing the mudroom and kitchen.

The large garden window that was housing pots and pans was removed along with a small window in the path to the patio to add additional space for cabinet storage. “With the opened up floor plan and the addition of new lighting throughout, it seemed brighter than it ever was before!” explained Kristin. The exterior of the house consisted of the original brick from the 1920s, something that could not be found from any supplier. They were able to re-purpose bricks from a sidewalk pathway in their garden to seamlessly touchup the exterior where the windows were removed.

The before photo showing the kitchen window "catch-all". The after photo showing how they removed one window and updated the kitchen sink window to create more functional kitchen design.

The smaller window was removed and the pathway to the patio was opened up.

The bricks that were re-purposed to fill in the exterior where the 2 kitchen windows were removed.

The final transformation is ASTOUNDING! It’s no surprise this kitchen won this year’s Pro Remodeler Design Awards’ Gold award for the Kitchen.

The unique blue color of the kitchen island was selected with the inspiration of the family's treasured dishware from the Czech Republic.

Nebraska Kitchen Remodel in a Colonial Styled home.White and Blue Color theme.

Remodeled 1920s home with traditional yet modern kitchen design.

White and Blue kitchen design with a traditional style and a beautiful kitchen window view.

A beautiful wet bar area in a kitchen design with a blue and white color palette.

 altered and framed to create a unified appearance, which then formed a niche for the cabinets and appliances on this wall.

Kitchen Sink with a kitchen window view next door to the dishwasher.

One of the homeowner’s request was for a baking station. The lowered countertop provides the perfect height for easily rolling dough. With their mixer easy to access in the appliance lift cabinet next door this space is every baker's dream!

A new kitchen remodeled with a baking center station next to the oven.

A kitchen baking center next to the oven with a lowered countertop and appliance lift cabinet with a mixer for baking.

Baking Center space next to the oven.

A similar yet different tile backsplash was used for the bar area to offset the area from the rest of the kitchen.

The new wet bar area where the secondary staircase once stood.

The mudroom had a complete transformation with the remodel. By altering the floorplan and adding boot benches, lockers, and shelving, the space now has dedicated and organized storage for each family member.

White painted mudroom cabinetry and lockers.

The doorway into the dining room was framed with built-in cabinetry and shelving to add a space for the homeowners to display decor while providing additional storage.

The bold splash of vibrant blue on the kitchen island is my personal favorite touch in this beautifully renovated kitchen!

The kitchen island shown in a custom blue artisan finish by Dura Supreme Cabinetry.

A vibrant blue kitchen island design with a custom artisain finish by Dura Supreme Cabinetry.

This project started with a very frustrated family who’d grown unhappy with the design and function of their kitchen. Thanks to designer Kristin, and the team at Reynolds Design Remodeling, they now have the kitchen of their dreams which not only suits their lifestyle, but also gives a nod to their art collection and personality!


Design by: Kristin Donnelly of Reynolds Design Remodeling

Photography by: Jessica Norton of J Norton Photo Design

Cabinetry by: Dura Supreme Cabinetry shown in the Kendall in Zinc with a Shadow Glaze Finish (Perimeter) and Kendall in a Custom finish (Sherwin-Williams "Frank Blue" SW 6967 with distrssing and rub-thru finish".

Countertops: Vicostone (Perimeter) and Brooks Custom Handcrafted Wood Countertop - Walnut (Kitchen Island)

Tile: Roca Tile & Schluter

Mandi Juskiewicz's picture

Sign Up For Cabinet Tips, Trends, & More!