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How a Food Blogger Traded Her Dated Kitchen for an English Country Retreat

Moody dark green kitchen with white pendant light.

Design: Tracy Cimba; Photo: Brandi Schutt; 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 client is a food blogger who needed a proper chef’s kitchen that could double as a photography studio,” interior designer Tracy Cimba explains. “Besides requiring it to be more modern and photogenic, the space had to be able to withstand near-constant cooking and recipe development.”

Meet the Expert

Interior designer Tracy Cimba is the owner of Bespoke Redesign in Chicago, Illinois. She and her stylist partner, Erica Ashe, specialize in curating cost-saving kitchen designs, often working in partnership with Semihandmade, a company that makes custom doors for IKEA cabinets.


Boring oak kitchen with single ceiling light.

Courtesy of Tracy Cimba

“The old kitchen was straight out of the 1980s with honey oak cabinets, tired tile floors, poor lighting, and laminate countertops,” Cimba says. “A U-shaped peninsula separated the kitchen from the eating space, making the room feel small and dated.”


Dark green kitchen with black and gold appliances.

Design: Tracy Cimba; Photo: Brandi Schutt

“To modernize the floor plan and make room for the 9-foot center island, we removed a wall between the family room and the kitchen, which allowed us to reconfigure the layout to an L-shape,” Cimba explains. “Next, we closed off the opening to the dining room, which provided the perfect spot for the pantry, double oven, and fridge. Behind the island, we played up the backdrop with a custom hood, ILVE range, and a decorative quartz backsplash. To add even more drama, we painted the cabinets a rich, dark green, and we included an on-counter curio cabinet with glass fronts and vintage-inspired latches to display cookbooks and bowls.”

What Changed:

  • Color theme: Moody dark green with pops of black and brass give off a modern yet traditional vibe.  
  • Cabinets: Shaker and slab cabinet fronts by Semihandmade are painted in Black Forest by Benjamin Moore and feature brass hardware. 
  • Stools: The classically-designed saddle seat stools add to the English country aesthetic. 
  • Pendants: Three white cone-shaped ceramic pendants keep things simple over the center island, while a glass and brass domed pendant provides light over the sink.
  • Countertops:  Durable marble-like quartz has subtle brown veining, adding warmth to the space. 
  • Center island:  An extra-large 9-foot island has storage on both sides. 
  • Floor: Hickory 3-inch hardwood floors are stained in a rich, rustic brown to reflect an old-world feel. 
  • Rug: A vintage-inspired runner protects the hardwoods while also adding texture to the room. 
  • Appliances: A black Italian range with brass hardware is the cornerstone of the kitchen along with a custom range hood that blends into the walls and ceiling.
  • Sink: A single basin stainless steel sink is paired with a matte black and brass touch faucet for contrast. 
  • Window: Curtain-free windows provide tons of natural light.  
  • Accessories: A mix of modern and vintage elements includes a ceramic terracotta lamp, round wood cutting board, an oil painting, brass candlesticks, and a woven basket filled with a mix of dried hydrangeas.

Shop the Look:

Green cabinet filled with bowls and plates.

Design: Tracy Cimba; Photo: Brandi Schutt

Antique Brass Ceramic Pendant
Justice Design Antique Brass Ceramic Pendant $135.00

“I love these trapezoid-shaped pendants because they’re timeless yet their shape gives them a little edge.” Cimba notes.

Olivewood Round Cutting Board
TJMaxx Olivewood Round Cutting Board $30.00

“This multi-purpose board can be dressed up as a charcuterie for guests or used for the basic task of cutting vegetables,” Cimba notes.

Oval Table Lamp with Pleated Shade
Target Oval Table Lamp with Pleated Shade $65.00

“A ceramic lamp with a pleated shade will add a homey feel to any countertop,” Cimba notes.