East-West Fusion: Kitchen Before & After


Welcome to Part 1 of our interview with Kim Johnson, co-author of the blog Desire to Inspire. In Fall 2008 Kim remodeled her kitchen using Greentea Mizuya Cabinets, and covered the entire process on her blog.

This first part covers the initial stages of the project, starting with the rough plans drawn up by Kim and continuing on to the 3D Sketchup and design issues before the remodel got underway. Part 2 covers the installation and demolition process, while Part 3 features the finished kitchen.


Before: An 80’s Style Kitchen

Kim from Desire to Inspire's kitchen before renovation

Kim's Kitchen before the remodel. "There was not one thing in the kitchen I wanted to keep. The cabinets, island, the floor, the appliances, door and window all had to go."


After: The Asian Bistro

GTD east-west-fusion-after

The final remodel. View photos of the final kitchen as well as a cost breakdown of the entire remodel.

Price of cabinetry: $10,590.




Greentea Design Kim Johnson's old kitchen layout

Above is Kim’s old kitchen’s layout.

"The cabinets are so beautiful, I thought an L-Shape would make them more visible."

“The cabinets are so beautiful, I thought an L-Shape would make them more visible.”


The Interview: Before

Greentea Design: What were your initial goals with your kitchen remodel and what were the main issues you considered first?

Kim: My initial goals for the kitchen were to have adequate storage and plenty of counter space. I also wanted to have the kitchen open to the living room, and have a dining space that could seat six, where I could work at the dining table and watch the living room TV at the same time.

The main issues I considered first were whether or not I could remove the wall between the kitchen and the living room. An architect friend came by to inspect it and said the wall could come down. That was a big relief because that meant opening up the main floor and having a great view of the entire kitchen.

Another issue was a door that was in the old kitchen that was previously my main entrance. I knew this door had to go to allow the cabinets to run L-shaped as opposed to galley style. The cabinets are so beautiful I thought L-shape would allow them to be more visible. The window in the kitchen was another issue for L-shaped cabinet layout because it was set far too low to allow cabinets to run across the wall. I knew that would have to be replaced with a smaller window placed higher on the wall.

GT: What appealed to you about Greentea Design’s cabinets? What choices did you make in the rest of your design to work around the cabinets?

Kim: I loved the natural wood of Greentea’s cabinets. The stains they offered could give a variety of different looks. I also thought they had a great range of cabinet styles to choose from. I particularly loved the sliding doors – that is a touch that is unusual to traditional cabinets. I was also intrigued by the other cabinet unit options they carry such as pantries.

When I knew my cabinets were going to come from Greentea, I knew my initial idea for galley style would not do the cabinets justice. I wanted to be able to see all of the cabinets from any angle in the space.

I am drawn to modern kitchens, and knew straight away that I could mix modern elements with the cabinets, particularly stainless steel, and have this play off the Asian vibe of the cabinets.

GT: What parts of the process of ordering the cabinets from Greentea Design did you find most helpful?

Kim: This being my first kitchen renovation (or renovation of any kind), I was really concerned that the ideas I had in my head and had drawn on paper would not be able to be executed as I had hoped.

When Greentea was able to model the cabinets for me via Sketchup, I was ecstatic. It was amazing to see all my ideas come to life in 3D. It even included the style of appliances I had selected and the countertops and flooring I wanted. This proved to be extremely useful to my contractor as well,


Greentea Design close up of wood grain and light fruitwood stain on Kim Johnson's kitchen pantry

“I loved the natural wood of Greentea’s cabinets. The stains they offered could give a variety of different looks.”

"When Greentea was able to model the cabinets for me via Sketchup, I was ecstatic."

“When Greentea was able to model the cabinets for me via Sketchup, I was ecstatic.”



Greentea Design east-west fusion custom kitchen for Kim Johnson, close up of sink

“I wanted all of the other kitchen elements to be modern and sleek.”


GT: What did you look for when choosing your other kitchen elements?

Kim: I wanted all of the other kitchen elements to be modern and sleek, and in the case of the countertop, as light as possible. I wanted stainless steel appliances because I think black would have been too dark and white would have stood out too much against the cabinet colour.

I wanted the countertop in a man-made stone for durability, and in a shade as white as I could get. The walls would be painted in a very pale grey that I had used for the rest of the main floor, and a bright white counter would work well with it, while keeping the kitchen bright. I wanted modern lighting and looked for steel to blend with the appliances.