Behind The Scenes: Bargain Mansions Episode - Kitchen Remodel with J Thomas Home

kitchen remodel with j thomas home

One of the most dramatic changes that took place on our episode of Magnolia's Network's "Bargain Mansions" was in the Kitchen!

It was a very large area, and had wonderful natural light.

Looking at the images below, it really doesn't seem that bad. Sure, it's a little dated and... again.. a lot of brown.

But after living in the kitchen for only a few weeks, Josh and I added a few other things to the remodel "wish list."


One was the island. It definitely had great space! But the best part was taken up by the cooktop, which made the "drawers" directly beside and below the cooktop non-functional, which meant nowhere for cooking utensils, or spices, hot pads, etc. close at hand.

That left your prep space on the left or right of the cooktop. But there was really only 2-3 feet between the island and the fridge and ovens. So no one else could work in that space without blocking the fridge or the ovens access.

Additionally, the position of the fridge was so that you could not open the right fridge door all the way. You could open it straight out, but not past, or the built-in cabinetry it was set in would dent the front of the fridge door.

Another was that the microwave was located inside the pantry. Not the worst, really, but at the time, I had a one-year-old and often warmed up meals in the microwave for him, and I didn't like having to run back and forth in there. As parents know, even just a couple of seconds out of Mom's sight is all kids need...

It was a tight space, so if you were carrying a hot item out of the pantry, you had to carefully squeeze through the doors without sloshing or spilling on yourself or anyone else. Again, tricky with a toddler running around underfoot...

The cabinetry was also overwhelming, and dated, and also hung about 2" too low for any appliances like our mixer, blender, or espresso machine to be placed underneath.

Local Kansas City designer Tamara Day of Tamara Day Designs and Bargain Mansions host walked in and knew this could be a great kitchen, if we updated the layout to create a more functional flow.

kitchen pre-renovation bargain mansions
oven and refrigerator in kitchen
table in kitchen


Tamara suggested we turn the island and make it a full rectangular shape, with seating on one side, but tons of storage all around, removing the cooktop for extra countertop space, and moving that to the south wall to create a whole hood moment.

The fridge was then placed near the back door.

The most troublesome part was the ovens. Tamara really wanted to put them inside of the pantry, but it just was not working out in the design.

So, we actually have the ovens just outside of the kitchen, in the mudroom space, as a quasi-butler's pantry as you enter the house from the garage.

This is actually great because we really don't use the ovens all that often, and when we do, especially if we are hosting, it keeps the added heat out of the central locations where folks are hanging out together!

Because we made room for an extra large dining table where the old family room was, we converted the eat-in dining space by the windows to a coffee bar / smoothies bar / beverages bar station!

And of course, removing most of those upper cabinets left us with plenty of space to display our favorite hardwired LED White Oak Floating Shelves that our skilled artisans handcrafted at our woodshop J Thomas Home in Olathe.

The design elements were inspired by more contemporary elements, mixed with a little bit of industrial feel (for Josh!).

kitchen redesign plan bargain mansions


Here are some photos of Demo Day! 
The island was removed, but we reused the cooktop and repurposed the lower cabinetry for the cooktop and hood wall!
The upper cabinetry was taken out, and we repurposed a media / entertainment cabinet from the former family room over into the beverage bar!
demo day in kitchen bargain mansions
kitchen renovation


We lightened up the space with an incredible gold and gray veined porcelain backsplash with built-in sliding doors that reveal hidden spice racks under our beautifully handcrafted custom made wooden vent hood.
kitchen renovation porcelain backsplash
woodworking in shop
bronze pendants hanging over quartz island
Three bronze pendants hang over the over 9ft quartz island atop a savory sage green cabinetry base, which houses many features like a mixer lift, blender lift, our microwave, pull-out cutting board over the waste bin, tons of deep drawer storage, plus additional storage hidden by the four bar stools we kept from the show for dishes we use less often for hosting or holidays.
hidden storage drawer
The other base cabinets were painted a dark charcoal color, but the doors were burned using a Japanese technique called Shou Sugi Ban -- which creates a crackled appearance that we sealed with clear coat to lock in the look. It's very unique and gives the space depth that flat black paint would be missing.
working on doors Shou Sugi Ban
Shou Sugi Ban technique
Finally, we hung our J Thomas Home hardwired LED White Oak floating shelves on the left and right sides of the large kitchen window above the sink to display our daily dishware and decor.
And after the show, we refinished the floors, taking them back to the natural white oak wood color with a clear coat, which really brightened up the entire space, too!
dishes on floating shelves
kitchen post remodel bargain mansions tv show
We are thrilled with how it turned out! And can't wait to show you all MORE of the rooms from the show! 
Check out our recent blog post about our personal experience what it was like to be on Bargain Mansions!
And be sure to follow us on Instagram to see more behind-the-scenes footage like this funny reel of kitchen life after the show! A Lesson I've Learned In My Thirties (Emily's Version)
Send us your comments about the kitchen below, or message us now if you have questions about ordering custom shelving for kitchen, bathroom, or other rooms in your home!

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