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From Dated to Luxurious: Melanie’s Oakland Hills Home Renovation


Are you following along with my home renovation journey in Oakland Hills? If not, you’re missing out. This month, I’m showcasing some exciting updates including final selections, renderings, and where things currently stand.

Before: Our Dated & Cramped Kitchen

Ever since we purchased this fixer-upper in 2013, it’s been one never-ending construction ride that seems to morph alongside my wife’s and my 9-year-old son. But we’re not just tearing down walls for the fun of it — we have a vision. Before we get to the good part, let’s take a moment to remember where we started…

Photography Credit: Lauren Edith Anderson

Between you and me, I hate the kitchen I designed 10 years ago. Linoleum floors, missing countertops, dated appliances, and a layout that practically suffocates. No, thanks. Let’s just say the decisions we made in 2013 are no longer serving us. We need a space that effortlessly supports our entertaining needs and allows my wife, Maggie, to revel in the joy of delicious meal prep. (She’s an amazing cook.)

Kitchen Design Inspiration

You already know how I feel about timeless design. It’s simply not realistic. But this time, I yearned for an elegant, warm, and classic backdrop — a detour from our original colorful space.


Every great design begins with an inspiration board. Ours boasts brass light fixtures, sleek and expertly crafted millwork for all our storage needs, and some delightful novelties like appliance garages. When we finally decided to redo our kitchen, we knew we were going to go all out.


Next comes the floor plan — the cornerstone of any renovation project. This crucial puzzle piece guided our kitchen transformation, ensuring the perfect placement of appliances, countertops, and ample circulation with clear lines of sight. When Maggie asked to have room “for company,” she meant having us stare her down while she works her culinary magic, right? Wish granted.


After countless conversations with Maggie (ever the voice of reason) about our practical needs, we finally moved on to the finishing touches. These details take your eyes on a journey from the floor, up the walls, all the way to the ceiling, creating a sensory experience that makes us smile.

For flexibility, we chose neutral paints from Benjamin Moore, with hues like White Dove for the walls and Edgecomb Gray for our custom cabinetry. And of course, we couldn’t resist the beauty of brass plumbing hardware to complement the stunning brass light fixtures.

Ready to see what we came up with?

From Blueprint to Kitchen Renderings


I wasn’t kidding when I said we were going for all the “bells and whistles.” To say we’re excited to see these renderings come to life would be an understatement.

As the cook, Maggie’s culinary wishes were a top priority. I’m talking about integrated spice shelving, a convenient pot-filler, a six-range stove, and a sleek microwave oven strategically placed by the back counter. It’s all about making her kitchen dreams a reality.


There’s nothing worse than doing “the shuffle” in the kitchen while trying to brew your morning coffee. After almost a decade in our previous kitchen, we knew we were seriously lacking in counter and circulation space. Soon, we won’t have that issue.

As a designer, I believe in the perfect balance of functional and display storage for curated decor, so we opted for both. Appreciating and creating beautiful spaces is literally my job. How could I do otherwise?


So, what am I most excited about? Our kitchen peninsula with seating for all of us. (This is where we’ll get to sit and stare at Maggie.) For years, we’ve been carrying breakfast into the dining room or hastily eating on our feet. Now, we can finally sit as a family, socialize while Maggie works her magic, and even help our son tackle his homework. Who says efficiency can’t be beautiful?

Hosting family and friends will also be a breeze, without any space constraints or feeling disconnected from our guests. Our new kitchen will have plenty of room to flow seamlessly into the dining area. Speaking of…

Edgy Furnishings & What’s to Come

Our kitchen may have a classic and neutral appeal, but we took a modern and edgy approach when selecting furnishings for the dining room.


Comfortable, but make it chic. Soft arches, a statement-worthy chandelier, and an oval dining table with one-of-a-kind marble detail. What more could I ask for? I can’t wait to see each detail come to life in a few short (maybe long) months.

Oh, and instead of losing our minds during the renovation process, we opted for the smart solution and decided to escape to temporary lodging during the bulk of the renovation. Trust me, it’s worth it. 

P.S. To stay up-to-date as our renovation journey evolves, join our newsletter. Spoiler: We like to have fun.

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