One of our first big projects after buying our new home was remodeling the kitchen. It had good bones, but we wanted to open it up to the rest of the house. I’m so happy to finally share our Spanish style kitchen remodel before and after photos. It has the warmth and charm of a Spanish style that I love so much. It couldn’t have turned out more beautiful, but it was a lot of work getting here.
Let’s get to the details of what work was done and how we transformed it into the Spanish style kitchen we have today! If you are remodeling and want to introduce some Spanish design elements to your home, hopefully this will give you some ideas.
What is a Spanish Style Kitchen?
First off, what is a Spanish style kitchen exactly? In Spain, the kitchen is a central location of the home where family and friends gather. It’s full of life with decorative tiles in pretty colors, colorful rugs, warm toned wood, and stone. Oftentimes you’ll see architectural details such as arched details that add to the charm and beauty.
The Kitchen Before
When we bought the house and moved in, the layout was a little closed off from the rest of the house which is one of the big issues I wanted to change. It had the space to open it up so it flowed with the connecting rooms better if we took down a couple walls. The back sun room leads to the backyard and we use it constantly with our dog, Bria, so it would be nice to have a sight line into the sun room from the kitchen.
These “before” photos were taken after we started taking down cabinet doors and sanding them down getting them ready to stain. You can see we never settled into the space after moving in because it just didn’t work well for us, so it was pretty empty for a couple months until we began demo.
The large room as you approach the kitchen was an unused space because it didn’t function well for anything. It was perhaps meant to be either a formal dining area or a dropzone as you come up the stairs, but the way it was laid out didn’t make sense for us. If we could open up the kitchen by removing the wall separating it from this unused space, we could expand the size of our kitchen and make room for an island.
While the red terracotta floor tiles definitely played up the Spanish style, I wanted to continue the wood flooring in the front of the home into the kitchen. Deciding between tile and wood flooring in your kitchen is a personal preference and both are great options. Tile is more durable and water-resistant than solid wood flooring. However, wood flooring has warmth and is usually more comfortable to stand on because it’s not as hard and it doesn’t get cold like tile. Anyone else have cold feet and hate walking on cold tiles?!
The kitchen cabinets are solid knotty alder wood custom cabinets and were in great condition. They were beautifully made and if you’ve ever remodeled a kitchen before, you know cabinets are usually one of your most expensive parts of a remodel project. It didn’t make sense to rip out cabinets when they were such nice cabinets to begin with, they just needed a little love to bring them up to date. Over the years, the sealer on the cabinetry yellowed. This is not a look I was going for, but the great thing about wood is you can sand them down and start over! Keeping the cabinets would save us thousands and thousands of dollars so that’s exactly what we did.
The other materials that needed updating were the countertops and backsplash. Again, they incorporated the red terracotta tile in the backsplash, but I lean towards lighter and brighter on the more neutral side. The countertops were Formica material but they were old and showing some wear.
Since this was our second kitchen remodel (click here to check out our first small kitchen remodel) we were comfortable doing the majority of the work ourselves. Between my husband and I, we are capable of tackling just about any project. There’s nothing you can’t learn with a little Googling and YouTube videos! Labor costs are expensive if you hire it out because it’s hard work and takes time, so anything you can do yourself will save you money.
Every remodel begins with demo day! The first step was tearing off the drywall and seeing what electrical would need to get moved before cutting down studs to open up the kitchen. It’s so exciting seeing the drywall gone because it gives a visual of the open concept we wanted, but it’s also scary because there is no turning back!
Since we removed two walls, we needed to add a header beam above the ceiling in the attic to hold the weight. We did have a friend help install the header beam because it’s heavy and long and he has the expertise to make sure we’re doing it right. Once that beam was in, we had our open concept kitchen!
The tile floor was a big undertaking to remove because it was cemented in so well. We rented an electric tool to pry up all the tiles and it made the job go MUCH faster than if we pried up each by hand. Once the tiles popped up, there was a layer of subfloor that also had to get removed along with hundreds of staples.
Living through a kitchen remodel isn’t the most fun because appliances and the sink have to be removed for the most part so you are without a working kitchen for weeks. This is definitely the hardest part of it all along with the constant dust and mess from demo.
We sanded all of the cabinets down to remove the sealer so we could stain and reseal the cabinets. It’s easier to remove all doors and do those outside. Of everything in the entire kitchen remodel, this sanding job took the longest and was the most work! It’s not a job for the faint of heart but it’s so worth it when you’re talking about saving $25,000 for not buying new cabinets.
I wrote an entire separate blog post on our process of staining cabinets because there are lots of steps and the post goes into all the details including the best stain colors. The staining process was extremely time-consuming, but we figured out a system and the stained cabinets are one of my favorite things about the kitchen remodel! I wanted a stain that was darker than the floors with a hint of grey, but still had the warmth. About 10 stain samples later we finally figured out the right combination of two different stains. The knotty alder wood gives it some character and it fits the earthy tones of the Spanish style perfectly.
We went with white quartz countertops that have dramatic veining. Marble is beautiful but I didn’t want the maintenance. There are so many great options for quartz that look like marble now! If you want more details on countertops, read this blog post Everything You Need to Know Before Choosing White Quartz Countertops.
Kitchen sinks are another important decision in your kitchen remodel because they are constantly used, you don’t want anything that will chip or stain. We went with the Blanco Silgranit single basin sink and it’s been amazing! I highly recommend it to everyone getting a new sink because it looks great, but it also doesn’t chip and it won’t stain. It comes in a few different styles if you do like a divider in your sink rather than a single basin. We have ours in the Truffle color which hides so much better than white! I’ll never go back to a white sink again.
This is the very sink we suggest to all design clients as well who are redoing their kitchen. Click here to see what other colors the sink comes in.
I mentioned earlier that we wanted wood floors in our kitchen. The rest of the main floor had natural hickory wood flooring when we moved in and we decided to bring that into the kitchen so it all flows together. Natural hickory has quite a bit of variance from board to board, but it adds to the character and the wood tones that’s prevalent in Spanish style kitchens.
Kitchen remodels are expensive but doing the work yourself saves tremendously, then you’re just paying for the materials. Kitchens and bathrooms are where you get the money back when selling the house, but you want to make wise decisions. We saved for our kitchen remodel until we were ready. When you know you’re going to have large purchases like appliances, if you use your credit card you can maximize points earned and you end up getting a pretty good reward for something you were buying anyway. I’m not a financial advisor but we only use our credit card for points and pay it off every month. Only use it if you are smart about it. We researched the best credit card rewards before our remodel since we knew there were several large purchases and we wanted to take advantage of the benefits. The best card for points we found from our research was the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
We signed up for it at the beginning of the remodel because you get bonus points within the first 3 months of signing up. The points are used for travel and they are by far the best point for dollar ratio for a credit card, even after the yearly fee. I’m not going to turn down free flights! If you have car insurance or big purchases coming up, sign up for the card and then you’ll get the extra bonus points that added up to be about 2 free flights. Definitely worth it!
Overall I absolutely love how our Spanish style kitchen turned out! It’s even better than I had hoped and we are enjoying it so much more now that it functions for our family and everyday life. Bria’s favorite spot is laying in the sun watching for birds out the patio door. I hope this inspires you for your next remodel project.