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I'm Bri Garbani, a designer + photographer living in San Diego, California. It's here that I express my passion for dogs, design + DIY through writing + photography. If you like what you see, you'll want to check back often as I have a constant need to create + Native Blonde is my prime creative outlet.

Guest House Kitchen Renovation

Guest House Kitchen Renovation

At my home, which I lovingly refer to as The Mixed Metal Mission, the hubby and I are fortunate enough to have a space dedicated strictly to guests. It is quite literally a house with an open studio for living and sleeping, a kitchenette with all of the bare necessities, and a full bath adding up to about 200 square feet. The fact that it's detached from our main house lends extra comfort and privacy for both homeowners and house guests alike, which I adore. 

When I spend time in our little guest house I often think of the tiny house movement and what it would be like to pair down my belongings to live as minimally as possible. I am also inspired to provide a stylish, hospitable space for friends and family to enjoy while they come visit us in San Diego.

The space wasn't very welcoming to begin with, unfortunately but fortunately, since we tend to like building our sweat equity one project at a time. Unsightly cabinets, a cheap countertop, dirty vinyl floors, a leaky ceiling, aluminum blinds past their prime and dated apartment sized appliances filled the space that was definitely hard on the eyes.

There couldn't be a more perfect opportunity for us to test out our renovation skills!


Before renovating the guest house kitchen, the hubby and I assessed what actually needed to go in it for it to be functional for part-time company. We aren't renting it out, therefore we opted to maximize the square footage. So out went the oven/stove combination as well as the fridge/freezer that were entirely too large for the space so we could create an eat-in kitchen. We also removed some additional upper cabinets but kept the cabinet bases and updated them with simple shaker style doors that we custom ordered and hand painted white. The flooring was ripped up, rotted areas were filled in and leveled out and a new butcher block countertop really brought the look together.

Next we installed a dark greige glass subway tile running up the wall to add a little drama to the space. And on the floor we opted for a charcoal grey hexagon penny tile. The floor tile grout was hand painted yours truly due to a little renovation mishap of it drying much lighter than expected, but by looking at the end result you would never know it.

Appliances consist of an under-counter freezer/fridge combination that was sized much more appropriately for the space. And cooking isn't a problem either since we've added a portable cooktop with a few pots and pans as well as a slow cooker for guests to use during longer stays. A new sink in white and a brushed nickel faucet fixture finished off the bulk of the install.

To finish off the cabinets I added some leather drawer pulls and handles. Every time someone sees them I receive compliments, and they were oh-so-easy to make, not to mention quite inexpensive too!

Final touches included patching the ceiling and walls, painting, adding trim work, new lighting, my favorite brass switch plates, installing a drop leaf wall mounted table top and I put in my homemade copper curtain rods to hang my home-sewn cafe style curtains on too. The final step was building two floating wood shelves for displaying all of those pretty kitchen accessories.

For never had installed tile, cabinet doors or a countertop before, I'd say we did a pretty good job! Not to mention, nothing in the kitchen was square or level. It was a slow project, regardless of the space being tiny to begin with, but because the guest house isn't utilized very often, we took our time with the renovation and worked on it over weekends when we could. Isn't is beautiful? I know I'm pleased with it, and I'm certain that the hubby is too. Now I'm on the hunt for the perfect leather bar stools and a cute rug to finish it off.  Just look at the transformation!



Nightstand Makeover

Nightstand Makeover