How One Designer Gave a Charming Bungalow’s Dated Kitchen a Much Needed Update

rustic kitchen with neutral tones

Design: Jaclyn Genovese; Photo: Janelle Gokule Images; Graphic: MyDomaine

If there’s something we never get tired of seeing, it’s a great makeover. Whether it’s transforming a retro bathroom into a modern oasis or giving a lackluster bedroom a fresh look, pros perform these design miracles all the time.

To give designers a chance to showcase their favorite makeovers—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the best before and afters we’ve seen in our series, Makeover of the Week. Take notes for your next renovation.

“My clients searched for the perfect house for years before purchasing this enchanting Toronto-based bungalow that features extensive exterior stonework and perennial gardens,” interior designer Jaclyn Genovese says. “But the interior was in need of a refresh, with the homeowners yearning for a warm and romantic kitchen that had a bit of French flair.” 

Meet the Expert

Jaclyn Genovese, Founder of Spaces by Jacflash in Toronto, Canada, loves to add organic touches to modern spaces while designing rooms that are lush yet livable.


old charming bungalow kitchen

Courtesy of Jaclyn Genovese

“The dated gray cabinetry, black and pink granite countertops and unflattering lighting made gave the space a dreary feel,” Genovese notes. “Yet the biggest pain point was the room’s low 8-foot ceilings which made things feel cramped.”


rustic kitchen with neutral tones

Design: Jaclyn Genovese; Photo: Janelle Gokule Images

“We opened up the ceiling to add four feet of height to the room, giving it more breathing space,” Genovese shares. “To create a calm and cozy feel, I took my cues from nature, incorporating rustic beams, an organic and soothing color palette and a backsplash made out of a natural limestone with a fieldstone veneer. Modern shaker cabinetry, grey veined quartz countertops, cove lighting and luxe gold fixtures all add to the charm.”

What Changed:

  • Color Theme: Neutral + organic hues result in a bright and sunny palette. 
  • Cabinets: Shaker-style cabinets are painted in a soft gray (Benjamin Moore Grey Mist) and feature antique brass pulls.
  • Countertops: Straight edged grey polished quartz countertops are easy to maintain and compliment the other grays in the room. 
  • Backsplash: A mix of tan, grey, brown and white stones feature a wide white grout to channel a European vibe.
  • Dining table: A large 96” gray-stained white oak farm table is paired with a matching bench and folding chairs. 
  • Chairs: White oak chairs have a woven rattan seat and work in both modern and vintage spaces. 
  • Built-in: A vegan leather cushion and tan linen pillows play up the banquette. 
  • Stools: Honey-colored counter stools have a mahogany wood base and woven seagrass seats.
  • Pendant: The delicate brass 6-arm chandelier creates an artistic focal point over the dining table.
  • Beams: The ceiling joists were capped off with reclaimed wood beams to create an antique look.
  • Hood: A simple boxed-out white hood features the same reclaimed beam on the ceiling. 
  • Center island: The center island features an undermount sink with an apron panel, luxe gold fixtures, a dishwasher, storage cabinets and recycling and garbage pull-out drawers.  
  • Sconces: Library sconces add extra lighting and a design element to the backsplash.
  • Appliances: A panel ready refrigerator and dishwasher create a seamless look.
  • Floor: The original dark walnut floors work with the room’s new farmhouse design. 
  • Trees: Olive trees from a local plant shop add greenery to the space. 
  • Accessories: Wood cutting boards and serving bowls add to the room’s rustic styling. 

Shop the Look:

rustic dining area with wood and neutral tones

Design: Jaclyn Genovese; Photo: Janelle Gokule Images

Lucca Chandelier, Brass
Pottery Barn Lucca Chandelier $1,057.00

“The brass chandelier’s sweeping arms imitate a piece of art,” Genovese notes.

Austin Horn Throw Pillow
Marshalls Austin Horn Linen Pillow $29.99

“Earth-toned linen throw pillows add visual warmth to any space,” Genovese shares.

Malibu Woven Backless Bar & Counter Stools
Pottery Barn Malibu Woven Backless Bar & Counter Stools $251,329.00

“The natural seagrass cord on these backless stools add a casual touch to any kitchen,” Genovese says.