Is it possible to take a small 1950s kitchen with odd angles, dated wood paneling and a tight layout and turn it into a bright, modern space that’s perfect for cooking and entertaining? If you’re Stephanie of the blog Olive & Tate, the answer is yes!

“I could see the potential,” Stephanie says of the kitchen in her Greenville, South Carolina, ranch home, which she shares with her husband, Justin, and baby son, Gray. “The house had beautiful light, but you couldn’t see it in the dark kitchen.”

Bathroom Makeover: Sleek Shades of Gray">her guest bath), the kitchen project was key. “If the kitchen wasn’t inviting, the rest of the house wasn’t going to work,” says Stephanie, who wanted her house to be the one everyone hung out in.

To create an open-concept floor plan, where the kitchen, living room and dining room would flow into one another to promote togetherness when friends were over, the walls in all three rooms were knocked down, opening up the space and extending the square footage of the kitchen from a scrawny 12 feet by 9 feet to a robust 15 feet by 17 feet. Next, the dark green laminate countertops and the outmoded wood cabinets were ripped out, along with the obsolete appliances.

After a four-month reno, Stephanie had her dream kitchen, which is light and airy and centered between the open-style dining room and living room. Features that turned the space from dismal to dazzling include gray-and-white Mont Blanc granite countertops (which have a similar appearance to her wish-list Carrara marble but were more affordable and are stain resistant), white subway-tile walls, shiny stainless steel appliances and white Home Depot cabinets. (One glitch: Two cabinets were missing when the order arrived. But rather than wait weeks for the reorder to come in, they hired a local craftsman to quickly build two replicas.)

The oversized L-shape island seats seven (“It makes my heart flutter!”) and houses a dishwasher and a microwave. It’s also the location of the sink, which is equipped with a single, deep stainless steel basin that Stephanie wanted because “it hides a lot of dirty dishes!” and contains her husband’s favorite kitchen feature: a chrome Delta Trinsic faucet with Touch20 technology. “He’s an engineer and loves a gadget that’s cool and new!” she says. For that same reason, the sink deck also features a push-button start for the garbage disposal.

Other highlights: a shallow drawer that holds spice jars for her—and a dedicated candy drawer for him!

Photos by Christa Rene Photography