From Desperate Kitchens to Kitchens of Distinction

John and Anthony bring the special sauce to another fine batch of kitchen makeovers in HGTV's inspirational-transformational kitchen show, America's Most Desperate Kitchens.

Related To:

The final two episodes of HGTV's hot kitchen-design show, America's Most Desperate Kitchens, make their network premiere tonight, putting the capper on another arc of episodes featuring some truly innovative and eye-catching kitchen makeovers.

Exposed Brick and Glass Paneled Cabinets Highlight Farmhouse Design in Kitchen

Exposed Brick and Glass Paneled Cabinets Highlight Farmhouse Design in Kitchen

This newly updated kitchen is in a New Jersey farmhouse that's more than a century old.

From: America's Most Desperate Kitchens

Photo by: Chris Amaral

Chris Amaral

This newly updated kitchen is in a New Jersey farmhouse that's more than a century old.

As always, Kitchen Cousins John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino come to the rescue of homeowners eager to make the case that their kitchens are worthy of the dubious distinction of "Most Desperate." And, as always, the duo manages not only to breathe new life into some formerly drab, dank and supremely dysfunctional spaces, they find a way to incorporate at least one razzle-dazzle, rock-star feature that both wows the homeowners and makes the revealed end-result buzzworthy and share-worthy among design aficionados. And they do it all on-camera with their trademark endearing — and occasionally hilarious — panache.

HAMDK205H

HAMDK205H

John and Anthony with homeowners Bobby (center left) Hyatt (center right) in their newly remodeled kitchen.

John and Anthony with homeowners Bobby (center left) Hyatt (center right) in their newly remodeled kitchen.

So let's take a moment to review some highlight spaces and features from the show's second season, starting with the project from the season premiere. 

Retro-Modern Kitchen and Bar

For their first new project, John and Anthony update a tiny galley kitchen in Sacramento, Calif., transforming it into a large entertaining space with a custom bar and a midcentury feel.

HAMDK 205

HAMDK 205

As seen on America’s Most Desperate Kitchens, this renovated Sacramento, California kitchen features matching octogonal wall and floor tiles, stainless appliances and an eat in counter with upholstered stools. (After)

Photo by: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Midcentury is an appropriate touchstone for this project since the home was built in the 1950s, and originally belonged to the grandfather of one of the current owners. Like many homes from that era, the kitchen was a tiny galley, was isolated from the rest of the house and — far from being a classically endearing time capsule from the Don Draper era — had through later updates picked up vestiges of the '70s, '80s and '90s. Among the key offenses in the visual hodge-podge were contractor-basic wood cabinets, avocado green appliances, dingy yellow tile countertops and a section of laminate flooring that one of the homeowners described as looking like "a clown explosion."

BEFORE

HAMDK 205

AFTER

HAMDK 205
Martin Klimek/Getty Images

HAMDK 205

HAMDK 205

As seen on America’s Most Desperate Kitchens, this renovated Sacramento, California kitchen features matching octogonal wall and floor tiles, stainless appliances and an eat in counter with upholstered stools. (After)

Photo By: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

If you're a regular follower of John and Anthony, it will probably come as no surprise that this project got underway by taking out a wall to enlarge the kitchen and merge it both visually and functionally with the adjacent living room. They added a massive island – actually, at 12 feet by 4 feet, the largest one the cousins had yet installed — along with bar seating, thus eliminating the need for the tiny dining room that was hardly being used anyway. Presto! The dreary dining space is transformed into a stylish wet bar at one end of the kitchen's expanded footprint.

BEFORE

HAMDK 205

AFTER

Large Island Provides Generous Storage for Open Kitchen
Martin Klimek/Getty Images

HAMDK 205

Large Island Provides Generous Storage for Open Kitchen

As seen on HGTV's America's Most Desperate Kitchens, designers were able to open up the floor plan to create a larger kitchen space and to add a large island with integrated range and a generous amount of storage space. A pass through window was closed off to convert the old dining room into a bar area with additional storage.

Other highlights in the overall transformation included ceiling height cabinetry, floating shelves, a wine fridge and custom metal doors mounted on rolling sliders. The metal doors, with an abstract design that evokes '60s era modern art, were handmade by John and Anthony with help and guidance from metal artist Terrence Martin of Jagged Edge — a custom metalwork shop in West Sacramento.

Contemporary Bar Area Adjacent to Renovated, Retro Kitchen

Contemporary Bar Area Adjacent to Renovated, Retro Kitchen

As seen on America's Most Desperate Kitchens, designers Anthony and John created a separate bar area just off the kitchen. To delineate the two spaces, designers used bold, blue cabinets and a gray countertop, creating visual separation from the adjoining kitchen space. Then, they added a three dimensional backsplash and two long shelves for storage. A final bit of decorative flair is added with the sliding barn door that matches the one concealing the pantry.

From: America's Most Desperate Kitchens

Photo by: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Martin Klimek/Getty Images

And as is often the case, the Cousins didn't stop their renovation at the boundaries of the kitchen, but expanded the improvements into the living area that the kitchen now opened onto. They updated the original period fireplace with neutral gray paint and removed scalloped trim, replacing it with flat trim for cleaner lines. They then furnished the room with a complement of contemporary pieces that also evokes the early '60s.

HAMDK 205

HAMDK 205

The Living Room, AFTER

The Living Room, AFTER

What's more, to bridge the two spaces, John and Anthony integrated the black-white-and-gray hex tile floor of the kitchen with the hardwood of the living room by means of hex cutouts in the periphery of the wood floor – so that tile and wood were joined together like jigsaw-puzzle pieces. "This is what is making this kitchen," John said, "We really want to make sure that it looks perfect and that we blur the lines between the kitchen and living room."

As seen on America’s Most Desperate Kitchens, this renovated Sacramento, California kitchen features matching octogonal wall and floor tiles. (After)

Photo by: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Martin Klimek/Getty Images

See the Full Gallery

See All Photos

Shop This Look

Jersey Farmhouse Kitchen

In a very different kind of kitchen, and a different sort of makeover, John and Anthony headed to Lafayatte, New Jersey to update a 100-year-old farmhouse kitchen, creating a distinctive design that combines both modern and rustic elements. For this project, and according to the wishes of the homeowners, preserving (or, in the case of the kitchen, reviving) the home's original farmhouse feel was paramount. Indeed, if the kitchen had once possessed a quaint turn-of-the-(last)-century country charm, it had largely been lost, and judging from the evidence on hand, it likely happened sometime in the 1970s.

Bright Objects Keeps Corners Light

Bright Objects Keeps Corners Light

As seen on America's Most Desperate Kitchens, designers brightened a dark corner space by adding colored plants, fruits and colorful, vintage glass bottles. To help keep the small space feeling open and bright, glass paneled upper cabinets were installed helping to create an authentic, vintage feel to the space.

From: America's Most Desperate Kitchens

Photo by: Chris Amaral

Chris Amaral

"This kitchen is making us blue" … was how homeowner Katie summed up the home's dated, barely functional kitchen. Prior to the renovation it had blue laminate flooring, sky-blue countertops and backsplash, a blue patterned wallpaper border and dated cabinets. It also had no dishwasher, and the oven/range combo had seen better days.

Jersey Farmhouse Kitchen, BEFORE

America's Most Desperate Kitchens

Jersey Farmhouse Kitchen, AFTER

Mint Green Details Connect Spaces and Maintain an Authentic Design
Chris Amaral

America's Most Desperate Kitchens

Before shot of the New Jersey kitchen chosen by cousins Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri to be renovated on America's Most Desperate Kitchens.

Mint Green Details Connect Spaces and Maintain an Authentic Design

To add color to the updated, yet still authentic feeling kitchen and dining room spaces, designers on America's Most Desperate Kitchens continued the mint green color from the kitchen into the dining room. The mint green of the refrigerator and the KitchenAid reflect flecks of mint green in the custom, large print tile floor. The same accent color enters the dining room with the vintage, mint green pendant light.

John and Anthony began by removing hanging cabinets to open up the sightline to the adjacent dining room. They also reworked the kitchen peninsula, wrapping it in reclaimed wood, and integrated a new range. And they unwrapped an original brick column that had previously been covered with drywall, bringing the warmth of exposed brick back into the space.

Vintage Features in an Updated, Farmhouse Kitchen
Chris Amaral
America's Most Desperate Kitchens
Chris Amaral

Vintage Features in an Updated, Farmhouse Kitchen

As seen on America's Most Desperate Kitchens, the aim of this kitchen remodel was an updated farmhouse design, so designers left vintage elements, such as the glass paneled cabinets and exposed brick, in the space. Then, they added a reclaimed wood door to cover the entrance to the pantry. Updates in the space include a durable, quartz countertop, a white subway tile backsplash, and modern, stainless steel appliances.

America's Most Desperate Kitchens

The old antique wood breakfast bar, sits on top of an engineered wood patterned floor that is from the cafe line of floors from Mirth Studios. The floor pattern is meant to have a classic farm house feel and of a cafe as well. As seen on America's Most Desperate Kitchens.

Photo By: Chris Amaral

The star attraction in this project had to be the creative use of wood. In addition to the reclaimed wood on the base of the peninsula, the cousins wrapped a new LVL support beam in wood taken from an old hand-hewn beam, giving it a rough and rustic look. They also fashioned a new pantry door using aged wood from a barn in Ohio, complete with moon-and-star cutouts, and they replaced old laminate flooring with engineered wood tiles in a classic and elegant pattern and soft gray tones.

Combine all that with a classic apron-front farmhouse sink, black quartz countertops, glass-front cabinets and a new-but-vintage-look Smeg refrigerator in pastel green, and you've got one decidedly smart-looking kitchen that's still aesthetically in keeping with the home's age and history.

America's Most Desperate Kitchens
Chris Amaral
Vintage Inspired Refrigerator and Tile Give Kitchen an Authentic Look
Chris Amaral

America's Most Desperate Kitchens

A classic farm house kitchen sink was used to keep the antique farm house feel of the home. As seen on America's Most Desperate Kitchens.

Photo By: Chris Amaral

Vintage Inspired Refrigerator and Tile Give Kitchen an Authentic Look

To create the perfect vintage, farmhouse look, designers at America's Most Desperate Kitchens added a new, pastel green Smeg refrigerator. Despite its retro design, it has all the modern gadgets of a stainless steel fridge in a cute, kitschy package. To complete the design, custom large pattern tile flooring and an exposed beam gives the space an authentic farmhouse feel.

Of course, not satisfied with only the kitchen, John and Anthony furnished the adjoining dining room following a suitably rustic and antiquated motif and creating a cohesive look for the two spaces. "The important thing for us here is that this is a very historic home," said Anthony, "It's very clear that [the homeowners] bought this home wanting to respect history, and we wanted to work within that."

See the Full Gallery

See All Photos

Shop This Look

Northern California Wine-Lovers' Kitchen

And in the new episode airing tonight, John and Anthony head back California to help a young couple turn a dingy, poorly lit, unfinished kitchen into a bright and open space with sleek lines, modern design elements, a custom two-tiered kitchen island and custom glass-enclosed wine rack. Check out the complete makeover, below.

Island Seating for Six in Renovated State of the Art Kitchen

Island Seating for Six in Renovated State of the Art Kitchen

As seen on America's Most Desperate Kitchens, this renovated kitchen space in Carmichael, California has been transformed into a state of the art space. The new design features an eat in kitchen with island seating for six, comfortable, leather chairs, updated, stainless steel appliances and a custom, easily accessible wine rack.

From: America's Most Desperate Kitchens

Photo by: Martin Klimek/Getty Images

Martin Klimek/Getty Images

See the Full Gallery

See All Photos

Shop This Look

Keep Reading

Next Up

Historic Kitchen Renovation

Designer Bryan Reiss created a stunning and functional kitchen space during this renovation, while also preserving many of its original historic elements.

Starting a Kitchen Renovation

Get tips for choosing professionals and hiring contractors for your project

Compact Doesn't Mean Confined Kitchen

Homeowner and designers team up to create an open kitchen floor plan using color and materials.

10 Incredible Kitchen Makeovers From Fixer Upper

Missing Chip and JoJo? We've got your Fixer Upper fix.

My Very Own, First-Ever Kitchen Reno

Sara Peterson, HGTV Magazine's Editor in chief, opens up about her complete kitchen overhaul.

Sara Peterson's Kitchen Redo: What Goes on the Floor?

Sara Peterson, HGTV Magazine's Editor in chief, opens up about choosing the tile for her complete kitchen overhaul.

Welcoming, Earthy Kitchen

Cheryl Balintfy designs a kitchen with an open floor plan and colors inspired by nature.

Family-Friendly Kitchen

Designer Maria Toczylowski creates a multifunctional, contemporary kitchen that's truly the heart of the home.

Warm, Inviting Kitchen

Designer Orren Pickell designs an efficient, user-friendly kitchen perfect for everyday living and family gatherings.

Professional Chef's Style Kitchen

At the famous swank Kips Bay Showhouse in Manhattan, Bilotta Kitchens shows how to up the ante to five stars. Here's a recipe for creating a highly functional kitchen without the super serious look.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts