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Our Joyous Kitchen Makeover

This post is all about our kitchen makeover and how we turned a drab kitchen into a joyous one!
Apr 9, 2021 | Joy McCarthy

As you might have seen on Instagram, we recently moved from our sweet condo where we lived for 6 years to a beautiful house. We loved our two-bedroom condo but we had outgrown the space. 

We've been passively looking at homes for the last few years and everything we loved always seemed just a little bit out of our budget as we were looking in High Park proper. So we decided to look just a little west. My hubby was searching online and came across a beautiful townhome just about 10-15 mins west of High Park in an area that was very familiar to me because my Grandma McCarthy and Uncle John lived in the area when I was a child. We had a tour of it on my birthday and the rest is history. Everything fell into place!

McJordan Family Photo

We knew from the moment we saw it that it felt right because it had really good energy and it was a gut feeling. I swear that's a huge part of it.

That being said, we didn't love the kitchen because it was pretty outdated even though it was of excellent quality (cameo kitchen). It definitely needed a good refresh. We got thinking, how can we give this kitchen a makeover without breaking the bank?

Here's what the kitchen looked like before. 

In this post, I'm going to share everything we changed in the kitchen with links to each item from the lights, to the faucets, counters, and more. We are so happy with how it turned out! There are a few odds and ends we still have left to do but that will happen in time.

Everything is itemized below in case you're looking at doing a kitchen update. We did a LOT of research to find the best brands and quality and price that worked for us. 

Kitchen

We got new countertops

The countertops needed an update and we wanted to change the shape of the island to make it bigger since we spend so much time in the kitchen! We went with "Organic White" from Caesarstone that we bought from Stone Lab who also installed it. Stone Lab was excellent to deal with and no installation issues. The countertops are gorgeous!! This made an immediate difference before the cabinets were even sprayed!! 

We replaced the backsplash

The backsplash before was a taupe colour that didn't feel bright and fresh. We chose to do a herringbone design to elevate the space and I'm so glad we did! Even though herringbone is more expensive to install and takes a little longer, it was totally worth it. That backsplash took 5 days to complete but I LOVE IT! We bought all our tile from Centura Tile. Shoutout to Linda who was the amazing sales rep who helped us find everything and gave us amazing advice. She also helped us with our bathroom renos. 

We had our kitchen painted white and the island painted navy blue

The original kitchen was outdated as you saw and just too much brown especially with the hardwood floors. So we had it sprayed "Chantilly White" by Paint Core (the same company that does the Property Brothers show!) and the island painted Hale Navy. We had quite a bit of back and forth deciding whether to do the island white or navy - Walker really wanted to do it navy and I wanted it white. We went with navy and I am so happy we did because I LOVE it!! Our dear friend who is an interior designer, Emilia suggested those colors to us and even though I was hesitant on the blue, I'm so glad we did it because it turned out gorgeous!

My hubby got about 6 or 7 quotes and he did a ton of research on companies and people who paint kitchens. While Paint Core was not the cheapest, they were by far the most professional and we felt confident they knew what they were doing. 

Please note if you're sensitive to smelly stuff you don't want to be home when they spray cause the primer doesn't smell good. It took about 3-4 days to air out. We had the windows open, the central heat off and the Dyson filter blasting. We were not living here the day it was sprayed. We moved in after it was all done. They do not spray the doors while they are attached, they take them away and spray them at the warehouse which can take up to two weeks but it's all good because this helped us get to know where everything is found in the kitchen without cabinet doors! 

We replaced all the hardware

We wanted a more warm and cozy vibe for our kitchen which is why we chose brass for the door handles and knobs. Omg, I love!! I got overly obsessed with this look spending far too much time looking at kitchens on Pinterest!! It looks so elegant and beautiful. We ordered "satin brass" pulls and these knobs for the cabinet doors. The brand is Emtek and you can buy them at various stores and online shops. 

We removed the glass cabinet doors

We wanted a more cozy vibe so we didn't put the doors back on these two upper cabinets. 

We got a new sink and stovetop

The old sink was two separate sinks that felt small. We wanted a spacious bucket sink since we do so much cooking (which also means washing) so we bought a sink from Teco Canada - nothing fancy, just functional. We also have the grill on the bottom of the sink so it doesn't get all scratched. Stone Lab installed our sink when they installed the countertop. As for the stovetop, we replaced that as well and bought a JennAir.

We replaced the kitchen faucet and added a filtered water faucet 

Staying with the satin brass theme of our pulls and knobs, we bought this gorgeous faucet from Delta in "champagne bronze". This is the same faucet we had in our condo (but in chrome) and it was still in great shape after 6 years. We bought a matching water filtration faucet cause the ones that come with water filters ain't pretty! 

We installed a water filtration system under the sink

After many hours of research from structured water to RO, we decided on a water filtration system from Watermart in Toronto. We have a 4 stage filter that removes 99% of the contaminants including fluoride and arsenic but not the minerals. We decided against an RO filter since that removes everything (including the minerals) and I don't like the taste of RO water - we had that in our condo. Walker did the installation himself, it was pretty easy. 

We replaced all the lighting

We had 3 pot lights installed by an electrician around the island and Walker installed four new pendant lights we bought from Crate and Barrel. What a difference good lighting makes! The kitchen was very dark before and the lights were very outdated as you probably saw in the "before" photo. We bought the lights in brass to match the kitchen faucets and all the cabinetry hardware. 

At the same time, we replaced the lighting in the dining room too. We also removed a gas fireplace that was a monstrosity in the middle of our living area. We took it out because we wanted to put our dining table there and the fireplace was too large for the space. 

Here's the BEFORE photo.

And AFTER.

That gorgeous chandelier is from West Elm - swoon!

I also want to mention that we had an amazing contractor demo the kitchen (remove the backsplash and counters) in a few hours. If you're in Toronto and want their contact info, just email [email protected] They are also in the process of redoing Vienna's bathroom which I will share pics once it's all done! 

What's left to do

  • Install cabinet organizers. Right now we have baskets from the Dollar Store to organize everything. Once we get the proper organizers we will use those baskets for Vienna's toys. 
  • Replace the glass open shelving with wood.
  • Add a shelf to the cookbook area where the microwave used to be

When you're standing in the kitchen looking out - you either look into our backyard and see fir trees or this (photo below) is opposite the kitchen - a yellow second-hand couch with our McJordan gallery wall. We also have a family room on the other side of this wall - to the left and that's a work in progress. I'm doing a few more decorating touches to this area of our home so stay tuned for that! I ordered a rug from Baba Souk that I can't wait to receive! 

There you have it! Our kitchen makeover without gutting the whole kitchen. What a difference it makes to really brighten up the space. 

I just want to say a special thanks to my hubby Walker. He did so much organizing for this all to happen weeks before we moved in so everything went smoothly. We made all the big decisions for the kitchen about 6 weeks before so that all the changes could happen as soon as we got possession from the kitchen demo to the counter installation to the painting of the whole kitchen. 

Also special thanks to our dear friend Emilia who we bugged with our barrage of text messages asking her what she thought of this and that, haha! It helps when you're friends with a designer! She helped us fine-tune things in the early stages. 

In a couple of weeks, I will share our joyous bathroom renos with you!

Have a great rest of your day!

Joy xo

101 Comments
Swin   •   April 9, 2021

Lovely kitchen reno. Yes, please for contractor info!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   April 9, 2021

Leslie   •   April 9, 2021

I love it Joy!! Congratulations!!

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 9, 2021

Ivayla Tzvetkova   •   April 9, 2021

Hi Joy, definitely share the contractor info for the kitchen demo please! Huge thanks!

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 9, 2021

Nancy M   •   April 9, 2021

So beautiful - great choices and thanks so much for sharing.

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 10, 2021

Fatima Min   •   April 9, 2021

Love this Reno, looks amazing, so you and Walker 😊 Congratulations on your beautiful home. Love the last pic ☺️🥰 so sweet

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 10, 2021

Monika   •   April 9, 2021

Congratulations Joy to all of you. Your kitchen is beautifully done. I love the colors you have chosen. 🙂

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 10, 2021

Pam   •   April 10, 2021

What a stunning transformation. Personally, I like the openness of the glass shelves, but maybe sure wooden shelves will look nice too 😊

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 10, 2021

Marisa Snider   •   April 10, 2021

Gorgeous! Thanks for all the great details.

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 10, 2021

Danielle   •   April 10, 2021

Hey Joy! Looks gorgeous, you have an eye for style. Curious if the backsplash is glass tile? Love the herringbone pattern too! Thanks!

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 10, 2021

Courtney Skinner   •   April 10, 2021

I’m so curious about no VOC paint recommendations, what do you use on your walls??

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 11, 2021

Joanne   •   April 10, 2021

So beautiful! Thanks for sharing Joy! 🤗

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 11, 2021

Angela   •   April 11, 2021

Contractor name please

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Elena   •   April 11, 2021

So happy for your family’s new home...congratulations! It looks beautiful 😍☺️

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 11, 2021

Marla S.   •   April 12, 2021

Thank-you for sharing such an interesting and informative post( which was also fun to read). Your kitchen renovation is stunning and I look forward to seeing all the videos you will create from there. I also love the dining nook and photo collage. Congrats on your new home and wishing you years of happiness, love and joy there:)))

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 12, 2021

Janet Hamilton   •   April 13, 2021

Beautiful! Enjoy! Your home like you and your family are simply lovely 😊 Janet

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Lynda Basian   •   April 13, 2021

Enjoy your beautiful new home making new memories!

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Doris   •   April 13, 2021

I love what you did to the kitchen Would you be able to give an estimate cost of everything you got done?

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Doris   •   April 13, 2021

So beautiful. Whereabouts are you living? Just wondering if this a house or semi detached? Love, love love your products and books. Thank you so much for being genuine!

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Anna   •   April 13, 2021

I love everything about it. I have lived in that location as well and have been looking for a new home. Wondering if you would narrow down the area. Thank you

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Elizabeth Vlug   •   April 13, 2021

Wow, a fabulous transformation! Thanks for sharing and all the links. Congrats on your new home too.

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Joanne Cadiot   •   April 13, 2021

Gorgeous, Joy! A totally new kitchen, it is so light, bright, and lovely. And I absolutely agree it’s a “feeling” when buying a new house. My husband and I are looking now and it always comes down to that for me. Thanks for sharing! 😊

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Brenda   •   April 13, 2021

Joyously Beautiful, warm

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Mandy   •   April 13, 2021

Congratulations on your new home! I love all your details- it painted a great picture. 😁 You have absolute exquisite style

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Helen   •   April 13, 2021

Congrats on your new home! It’s always great to make a space your own. You did a great job. Love the windows throughout! Many years of happiness, Helen

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Karen   •   April 13, 2021

What a gorgeous transformation! I love it and know you are thrilled with it too. Can't wait to see the bathroom renos.

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Libby   •   April 13, 2021

Hi Joy. We recently renovated too. So joyous that we also picked a beeswax yellow and blue accents too. Happy baking!

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Deb   •   April 13, 2021

Thanks for sharing. Love what you have done. I am sharing with my daughter so she can get ideas for her kitchen.

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Melanie   •   April 13, 2021

It looks gorgeous - congratulations on your move!

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Rachel   •   April 13, 2021

IT LOOKS AMAZINGGGGGG! Can't wait for some joyous fam dinners together :)

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Shirley   •   April 13, 2021

Joy and Walker, your kitchen is stunning and well thought out. I want to start cooking just looking at it! I just love your openness in sharing your life and, of course, your wonderful cookbooks, newsletters and teaching pods. You are a blessing to many and I am delighted to share in your joy.

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Anna B.   •   April 13, 2021

It looks beautiful! I think I might be borrowing some ideas for tile and countertops!

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Ioana   •   April 13, 2021

Congratulations! Looks gorgeous and quite a dramatic change. Could you please share the colour paint on the walls? Thank you. Ioana

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021
Ioana   •   April 13, 2021

Debbie Barter   •   April 13, 2021

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the kitchen. Looks brand new and so nice and bright!!! What a difference.

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Carol Mair   •   April 13, 2021

Love the new kitchen. It is soooo bright and happy looking.

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 13, 2021

Chris R.   •   April 13, 2021

First of all congratulations on your new home. The kitchen looks amazing. Your colour combinations are great. The Hale Navy and the brushed brass hardware looks good together. I like what you did in keeping the glass doors off and opting for some open shelving. Just the right amount to add interest. Looks so amazing and I'm betting it feels great to be in!

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 14, 2021

RITA DESROCHES   •   April 13, 2021

Congratulation on your new home. Paint is such a great solution when you don't want to replace the existing cupboards . Your kitchen looks so fresh and bright. 👍

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 14, 2021

Susan   •   April 13, 2021

Lovely transformation! I'm hoping you will share more details (ie. brand, model name/number, etc) of the water treatment system you chose. I have limited space in my condo and I don't want RO. Your option sounds great (especially since it also removes fluoride). However, I don't live in Toronto or within the service area noted on your supplier's website.

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 14, 2021

Ann- Marie Yarde   •   April 13, 2021

Joy you and Walker did an amazing job! Can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 14, 2021

Barbara Tronzo   •   April 14, 2021

Absolutely stunning and so welcoming. I love the brightness of the new look. Enjoy and May you make great memories in your new home 🤗❤️

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 14, 2021

Elaine Brescia   •   April 14, 2021

Beautiful kitchen! Nice work and colours!

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 14, 2021

Karen   •   April 14, 2021

Just a question, the watermart home filtration system vs the Berkey water filtration. Your thoughts?

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 14, 2021

Karen   •   April 14, 2021

Do they both do exactly the same?

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 16, 2021

Peggy Turner   •   April 14, 2021

Beautiful! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 16, 2021

Kelly Ramirez   •   April 14, 2021

Lovely home Joy! Congratulations to you and your family. You guys have done an amazing job

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 16, 2021

Candise   •   April 17, 2021

Hi Joy, kudos for a lovely Reno. Would appreciate name of your contractor for my kitchen and guest bathroom Reno. BTW how did this all happen during Covid eg people in and out of your home Much thanks Candise Toronto

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 18, 2021

Midhat   •   April 22, 2021

OMG What a stunning kitchen!!! Can you please share which jennair model did you end up going with? Thankyou

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 23, 2021

France Gingras   •   April 24, 2021

It’s so beautiful, great job ,thank you for sharing your information, our kitchen is also outdated so this really help

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 25, 2021

Shawna   •   April 24, 2021

where did you get those lovely stools? that's the kind we want when move into our new home in a few weeks!

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 25, 2021

EJ   •   May 7, 2021

Hello! Can Walker share the brand of his espresso maker? :)

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Joy McCarthy   •   May 8, 2021
Joy McCarthy   •   May 8, 2021

EJ   •   May 8, 2021

Amazing! Thank you. I’ve been looking for one to invest in. ☕️

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Joy McCarthy   •   May 9, 2021

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