Desperate Kitchen Makeover: Rustic Chef's Kitchen

Kitchen Cousins John and Anthony travel to Buford, Georgia where they completely dismantle one sensationally bad kitchen and a dismal dining room, then create an open, modern, chef-worthy space custom designed for an actual restaurant chef and his wife.

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Photo By: Emilee Ramsier

Rustic Chef's Kitchen

This is the kitchen of Christina and Capers Ogletree — newly remodeled by Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri and bearing practically no resemblance to its former self. Christina is a flight attendant and Capers is an executive chef at a restaurant. Their kitchen wish-list included an open and efficient floor plan, plenty of storage and a roomy, versatile prep space where Capers could practice his culinary skills.

"Design-wise, I love this space because we've mixed every element. We have industrial, we have contemporary and we have rustic. And I know this is something that [the homeowners] are gonna love." 
—John Colaneri, Kitchen Cousin

BEFORE

Prior to the renovation this desperate kitchen wasn't just bad; it was exceptionally bad. So bad, in fact, that homeowners Christina and Capers had avoided entertaining, fearing that guests would see the kitchen. The cabinets were in such bad shape that the worn and stained doors were simply removed. The refrigerator was positioned such that it actually blocked a substantial portion of the cabinetry and counter space.

BEFORE

A low pass-through offered essentially no functional or visual connection with the adjacent dining room. The ceiling was covered with wood-panel tiles. The refrigerator and range were antiquated and awkwardly placed. The vent hood and oven were both non-functional.

AFTER

Anthony and John removed the peninsula and hanging cabinets that had separated the kitchen and dining room, creating this single enlarged space that ties together both functionally and visually.

BEFORE

If possible, the dining room was even less appealing than the kitchen. The paneling was dated, ceiling and floor joists were exposed and the space essentially served as storage for cookware and other household items.

AFTER

Removal of the wall and hanging cabinets, and incorporating the former dining room into the enlarged kitchen space, allowed for creation of a proper breakfast nook. The inviting new addition features a table custom build by Anthony and John as well as wraparound bench seating with additional storage.

BEFORE

The redesign also called for closing up an existing window on the short wall adjacent to an exterior door. Closing off the window and relocating the range would create additional space for cabinetry and countertops and would help facilitate a completely reconfigured kitchen layout. The wood ceiling tiles and exposed electrical cords would need to go as well. 

AFTER

In the new layout, the new stainless refrigerator is positioned at the end of the kitchen where the window had been and is integrated with oak cabinetry in a dark, natural finish. Recessed lighting and decorative wall sconces replace bare fluorescent tube lighting and dated ceiling-fan.

AFTER

The reconfigured space allowed for the creation of a feature wall with a pro-grade range, expansive tile backsplash and a long run of cabinets topped with white quartz countertops. The sink remains in its former location but is replaced here with a modern under-mount model with some special features. 

"In losing the window, we were able to [move] the refrigerator off to the end and hug the entire outside perimeter of the room with cabinetry, countertops and storage." — Anthony Carrino, Kitchen Cousin

BEFORE

The view from the dining room, looking toward the kitchen, prior to the remodel

AFTER

The professional grade six-burner range with hood and wall-mounted pot racks becomes a focal point in this chef's kitchen designed for function and efficiency.

Kitchen Detail

Homeowner Christina asked that the kitchen design include a variety of textures – wood, metal and stone. Here John and Anthony used century-old reclaimed barn wood to frame kitchen windows. The stylish black under-mount sink is made from a composite of granite other natural stone and has a finish that makes it resistant to staining and safe for heated pots.

Kitchen Detail

Modern and rustic elements are combined in a kitchen designed to both be visually appealing and suit the needs of a chef.

Kitchen Detail

Vintage-look schoolhouse sconces provide task lighting above the sink and prep surfaces.

Kitchen Detail

Cerused wood finish (also called a "limed finish") is used for the oak cabinetry in both the kitchen and dining area. It ties in visually with the finish of the engineered hardwood flooring used in throughout the space.

Kitchen Detail

Upper cabinets feature wire mesh fronts and hammered nickel hardware.

Rustic Chef's Kitchen

Lower cabinets are painted in a muted teal and the ceiling-height backsplash is done in white tile in a straight-line stacked pattern. Engineered hardwood in a silver-gray pickled finish floors are installed throughout the space and blend visually with the finish used on the oak cabinets.

Rustic Chef's Kitchen

On the wall that separates the kitchen from the living room, John and Anthony added shiplap and used long, uncut lumber to accentuate the length of the space. They used 1/8" spacers between the boards to create a linear pattern and texture rather than a simple, flat wall.

Rustic Chef's Kitchen

Crate style wooden containers along this wall provide additional storage for herbs and vegetables. The wood baskets, like the door casings and window surrounds, were made from reclaimed barn wood.

Rustic Chef's Kitchen

John and Anthony added a kitchen island on casters with bar seating. The island features a cold rolled steel counter surface for a professional kitchen look.

A Kitchen Tip from John: Protect rolled steel countertops from staining and rust using a beeswax sealer.

Rustic Chef's Kitchen

As a special custom feature, Anthony and John built this rustic table for the dining nook. The top is made from reclaimed framing studs from an Atlanta home built in the 1920s. It was assembled using biscuit joinery and protected with a polyurethane finish.

A Woodworking Tip from Anthony: For filling in holes and imperfections in a wood surface, there's an easy option to trying to find a commercial wood filler that's an exact match. Simply save some of the sawdust from the wood piece you're working on and mix it with a small amount wood glue for to create your own filler. In that way you're using wood particles from the actual piece you're working on.

Rustic Chef's Kitchen

A geometric chandelier with vintage-look Edison bulbs add an industrial touch to the breakfast nook.

Rustic Chef's Kitchen

See More Desperate Kitchens Transformed

If you liked this Desperate Kitchen makeover, we think you might also enjoy this one: Northern California Wine-Enthusiasts' Kitchen. And check out the America's Most Desperate Kitchens show page for lots more makeovers from season 1 and season 2.