A Builder-Grade Massachusetts Kitchen Gets a Soulful Update

When a young family hit a breaking point with their dysfunctional, haphazardly flipped kitchen, they had to make a decision: Should they renovate the cooking space or sell their Brookline, Massachusetts, condo altogether? With a second baby on the way, they decided that a complete remodel would be less disruptive than finding a new home and called Shannon Tate-Giordano to spearhead the project.

The Shannon Tate Interiors founder was given a tight budget to achieve lofty goals. The clients wanted a sensible layout, in-kitchen dining, and a colorful yet resale-friendly aesthetic for under $55,000—an unfeasible request. But by carefully selecting reasonably priced finishes and reusing existing cabinet boxes and appliances, Shannon managed to come close to the target number, exceeding it only for decorative details that made all the difference.

Kitchen location: Set in the affluent Boston suburb of Brookline, the condo has access to great public schools and a convenient T stop.

BEFORE: Builder-grade finishes did not spark any joy.

The before: “Their whole house had been redone by a flipper, so on a surface level it looked fine, but none of it was very well thought out,” Shannon explains. “It was all just plonked into place, and the flow in the kitchen was pretty bad. A peninsula cut off half the room. It didn’t allow them to have a dining space in the kitchen, so their dining table was in the living room on a floor up from the kitchen, which was totally weird.”

The inspiration: On top of striking a balance between colorful character and a universally attractive style for potential resale, Shannon also aimed to create the peaceful, relaxed vibe the clients were seeking. She chose a neutral palette sprinkled with muted sage, apricot, and teal hues.

Square footage: About 200 square feet

Budget: “They wanted to be all-in at $55,000 with labor and materials, which is almost impossible to do,” Shannon admits. “Usually, a kitchen renovation is easy peasy $100,000 and that’s being very conservative with your choices. But they already had an existing IKEA kitchen, so they asked me to reuse as many of the boxes as we could and only buy what we needed to fill out the rest of the space.”

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