Category Archives: #HelloProKitchenReno

#HelloProKitchenReno: One Year Later (with Updates)!

Thanks to Facebook’s on this day feature, I was reminded that one year ago today, I began renovating my kitchen.

The before photo in the GIF above was taken just after Habitat for Humanity left after taking apart my kitchen and hauling it off to be sold. It marked the beginning of a series of headaches, smiles, satisfying wins, and some loses, all of which I documented on Leon’s blog, Hello Yellow, in partnership with Frigidaire Professional®.

I thought it would be fun to share updated photos of what my kitchen looks like today, and my thoughts on what I’d do differently, what I’ve fallen for even more, and my review of IKEA’s SEKTION kitchen system, various products, and my appliances.

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In The Kitchen with Nonna


It’s been just over one week that my kitchen renovation has been complete, and I’ve finally been able to enjoy the fruits — err, cookies — of my labour. This weekend, my Nonna came over to give her Italian seal of approval on my kitchen and my Frigidaire Professional® appliances, and, together, we prepared some celebratory crostoli! And as anyone who knows my Nonna can guess, it was a day not without plenty of laughs and Nonna’s infamous hilarious commentary (enjoy a snippet of it below).

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#HelloProKItchenReno: The Big Reveal of My Kitchen Renovation

The Big Reveal of My DIY Kitchen Renovation

What a year… 2015 came with a lot of change, the biggest of which came in the form of my home transformation!

If you followed along with my journey with the hashtag #HelloProKitchenReno, you’ll know the journey has ended! I shared an essay on Design*Sponge on this renovation and everything it entailed (which also includes some seemingly irrelevant nuggets of life insight), so check that out and enjoy the photos and nuggets of insight below.





When it came to the decor of my kitchen, my love for modern, eclectic and bohemian styles could really shine. I love mixing things like glass, steel and stone with warm textures, rich wood and plenty of trinkets and plants. The off-white shaker-style cabinets, counter-to-ceiling white subway tile (which, yes, I did by all by myself in 24 hours in a panic), and stainless steel appliances paired with wood bowls, open shelving, and wicker, cork and brass accessories help warm the space up.

I honestly can’t believe just four short weeks ago, this hadn’t even begun. It’s like my mood-board has come to life before my eyes in just one month.

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#HelloProKitchenReno: Happy Dance

My DIY Kitchen Reno

One of the most fulfilling feelings is seeing something you imagined, created and worked hard for come to fruition. This week, my Frigidaire Professional® appliances arrived and were installed, and it wasn’t until they were put in place and installed that I began to see the big picture coming together! Up until now, it’s been hard to visualize and determine how my final space would look and function, but I’ve been forcing myself to trust my gut and stick to my plan — and boy am I glad I did. The appliances are not only gorgeous, but their placement has proven to be super functional and their layout feels natural and intuitive, so I am thrilled.


I have yet to cook a large Italian meal, but the few things I’ve already prepared (such as fried eggs and roasted chicken) have been scrumptious. I can really tell the difference between the power and durability of my old set of appliances and my new ones. In doing this whole renovation, my end goal has been to not only have a more functional kitchen overall, but to finally get some grown-up, durable, high-performing and reliable appliances. Though it’s only been a few days living with my new appliances, it’s safe to say that they exceed my expectations and needs.

Let’s be honest: most refrigerators can often stand out like sore thumbs and can be a necessary evil in the kitchen, but my Frigidaire Professional® french-door refrigerator blends seamlessly into my cabinets. There’s no unnecessary knobs or handles (thank goodness, I terribly dislike gadgets and gimmicks) — even the controls that are necessary are hidden on the inside of the door. The aesthetic of the fridge, inside and out, is sleek and minimal.


Because it’s counter-depth, it sits back and takes up less room, while still offering plenty of customizable storage inside with SpacePro Adjustable Crisper Bins and Slide-Under, Flip-Up Shelves. One of the many features it offers is a PureAir® Filtration System to remove odors and keep food tasting like it should, but if you asked Piper what her favorite aspect it, it would be the automatic ice-cube maker.


Next up, my Front-Control Freestanding Gas Range with powerful burners for maximum flexibility and performance. It has a PowerPlus Convection oven, and preheats in minutes. It also comes with a handy temperature probe and warns you when a certain temperature is achieved when cooking meat or fish — which will come ion handy as I’m hosting Christmas at my house for the first time ever. Eek!



Directly above my gas stove is an over-the-range microwave unlike any microwave I’ve ever seen. It doubles as a Convection Oven which you can actually bake in — I’m talking everything from cookies to an entire chicken! It also has PowerSense™ Cooking Technology which automatically senses the ideal time and power level to cook at, and an adjustable timer so you can add or remove time rather than having to cancel a cycle and restart (like I’m usually guilty of doing).



And last, but certainly not least, my Dishwasher (!!!), which I’m admittedly the most excited for as I never had one before. I love that the control are hidden inside so you don’t have to see them, and so you don’t accidentally start or cancel a cycle, but one of the most impressive features is the PowerPlus® 30-Minute Wash cycle, so if you only have on set of plates or dishes and you have guests over, you can wash everything and have it ready to use again in a half hour.


My plumber just installed the drain line yesterday and I’ve already used it twice, and I must say my dishes have never looked cleaner. This baby is not only fast, but powerful as heck! It even has special jets, AKA PrecisionPro Wash Zones™, to target those hard-to-reach areas of things like water bottles and delicate stemware.


Powerful performance and intuitive function of my appliances aside, I am most impressed by their overall design and aesthetic. All of the handles and knobs are consistent across the series, the control panels are hidden and discreet for a de-cluttered, seamless look, the stainless steel is Smudge-Proof (even with Piper poking her nose around them) and even the font used reflects the professional, sleekness of the pieces. As a visual designer and illustrator, I’m pleasantly surprised! It’s obvious that plenty of thought went into each piece, both individually and as a cohesive family.


But as I’ve come to expect in a renovation, for every bit of good news and progress, there’s an equal amount of issues you run into. I did run into some hiccups this week which came in the form of my back-splash. In last week’s post, I gabbed about my existing white subway tile back-splash and adding to it, but after visiting the store I purchased it from merely 6 months ago, I was burned to learn that the dye lot had changed and the colour and size was different, albeit ever so subtly. In the end, I made the tough choice to rip out my old back-splash (which was glued down so well by me months ago that the drywall came with it)! This meant re-dry walling, plastering, and sanding – which meant more dust, just when I thought the mess was over! But sometimes, blessings are disguised as curses, because though it was upsetting, it gave me the opportunity to choose the perfect tile for the new space and be able to line it up better than it previously was. And I must admit, it looks fantastic!

I cannot wait to show you guys how this has all come together! Next week is the big reveal and I’ll be sharing oodles of photos and a video of my finished kitchen and dining space! Heading into this weekend, it’ll be the first day in a month that I can sleep in and take the day off. Yippee!

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON LEON’S NEW BLOG, HELLO YELLOW. Have a look around for plenty of DIY, recipe, home decor goodness.