Kitchen
Apr 6, 2016

A DIY approach pays off in this modern-meets-country kitchen renovation

By: Jennifer Hughes
A DIY modern-meets-country kitchen renovation

A bright, fresh space for cooking Author: Monic Richard

Kitchen
Apr 6, 2016

A DIY approach pays off in this modern-meets-country kitchen renovation

By: Jennifer Hughes

A couple of DIY novices give the pros a run for their money with this Montreal kitchen makeover.


For a couple that had never embarked on a renovation, Julie Arcand and Frédérick Lebeau certainly got ambitious with their first foray into the DIY world. They envisioned an open and bright modern-meets-country kitchen in their 2,450-square-foot 1960s Montreal home. After a lot of searching for inspiration, Julie discovered the work of local designer Jean Stéphane Beauchamp. He came on board to help the couple develop a plan to create the look they wanted. However, as walls came down and plumbing and electrical changes snowballed, the budget was blown on unexpected major expenses. “They were met with one bad surprise after another,” says Jean Stéphane.

To keep costs down, Julie and Frédérick tackled much of the work themselves, including tear down, tiling and flooring installation, while holding down full-time jobs (Julie owns a small business and Frédérick is a construction project manager). The reno took about a year and a half to complete, as they did projects mostly on weekends, but the finished product 

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A DIY approach pays off in this modern-meets-country kitchen renovation

Before: A choatic kitchen

THEN: The kitchen had dated dark oak cabinetry, cheap laminate counters and a mishmash of appliances.

By: Jennifer Hughes Source: Monic Richard; styling by Nicola Marc Credits: Style at Home

A DIY approach pays off in this modern-meets-country kitchen renovation

After: A bright, fresh space for cooking

NOW: To offset escalating renovation costs, homeowners Julie Arcand and Frédérick Lebeau, together with designer Jean Stéphane Beauchamp, decided to go with affordable IKEA cabinets, allowing the couple to splurge in other areas. The two-tone cabinetry gives the room a custom feel. A quartzite countertop with heavy veining looks like marble but is more durable. Coordinating stainless steel appliances, including a sleek induction cooktop, complete the look.

By: Jennifer Hughes Source: Monic Richard; styling by Nicola Marc Credits: Style at Home

A DIY approach pays off in this modern-meets-country kitchen renovation

Creating a farmhouse style

A horizontal window allows the cabinetry to wrap around this end of the kitchen and offers the preferred sink-under-window placement. Julie got her wish of an apron-front sink, which complements the kitchen’s farmhouse style. The penny round-tiled backsplash, which the couple installed themselves, stops short on this wall, leaving space for a hit of bright blue. Lighting in the work area is modern but low key. Jean Stéphane likens these fixtures to “bridesmaids,” while the pendant light over the eat-in area’s dining table is the stunning “bride.”

By: Jennifer Hughes Source: Monic Richard; styling by Nicola Marc Credits: Style at Home

A DIY approach pays off in this modern-meets-country kitchen renovation

Risks worth taking

The kitchen opened up significantly when the wall separating the eat-in area came down. In a bold move, the ceiling was torn out to reveal original beams, which extend the room’s height and emphasize the home’s vintage character. New wide-plank pine floors with a grey-painted finish are more in keeping with the flooring in the rest of the house and will wear into a desirable distressed look.

By: Jennifer Hughes Source: Monic Richard; styling by Nicola Marc Credits: Style at Home

A DIY approach pays off in this modern-meets-country kitchen renovation

Practical displays

Keeping the green, natural accents throughout the space, the homeowners chose to use produce as their counter display. This way, it's always fresh and always delicious.

By: Jennifer Hughes Source: Monic Richard; styling by Nicola Marc Credits: Style at Home

A DIY approach pays off in this modern-meets-country kitchen renovation

Cozy space to eat

A complete facelift in this area includes both functional and cosmetic changes. Cellular shades offer privacy and light control, and the statement pendant light was one of Julie’s first purchases. Since they couldn’t open up the ceiling here as they did in the rest of the kitchen, the couple installed pressed tin tiles, which give architectural distinction and a touch of character. The bright yellow-painted dining table and built-in banquette with plenty of comfortable toss cushions make this eat-in nook cozy and inviting.

By: Jennifer Hughes Source: Monic Richard; styling by Nicola Marc Credits: Style at Home

A DIY approach pays off in this modern-meets-country kitchen renovation

Functional pieces

A small cabinet placed in a transitional area offers storage and display space.

By: Jennifer Hughes Source: Monic Richard; styling by Nicola Marc Credits: Style at Home

A DIY approach pays off in this modern-meets-country kitchen renovation

Shake it up

A small bar area made from the same cabinetry as the rest of the space offers a spot to mix drinks out of the way of the main cooking zone. Tiny grey enamelled glass backsplash tiles help the bar stand apart, and the addition of corbels underneath the upper cabinets give it the appearance of a stand-alone piece of furniture.

By: Jennifer Hughes Source: Monic Richard; styling by Nicola Marc Credits: Style at Home
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A DIY approach pays off in this modern-meets-country kitchen renovation