The Honey Oak Kitchen is Toast

Eagan remodel brings lightness and brightness to kitchen & bath

At 30 years of age honey oak trim and cabinetry easily goes from dated to unsightly. Such was the case with these homeowners who had wanted to chuck the traditional look of oak for more years than they care to think about.

“It wasn’t just about the honey oak,” explains Murphy Bros. design/build consultant Courtney Cartee, “Although that was a big part of it. The overall end goal was a lighter, brighter ambiance, better workflow and a complete rethink on dining space.”

Most kitchens of that 90’s era featured inadequate lighting and small islands or peninsulas. In this particular case the homeowners even wanted to eliminate the traditional family breakfast table.

Design/Build Consultant — Courtney Cartee


Project Manager — Andy Kollmann

Lead Carpenter — Matt Edblom

Draftsman — Mike Johnson

Field Painters — Molly Stowe, Charley McCloskey, Carey Smith


Photography — Alyssa Lee


BEFORE: Clutter—the result of not enough handy places to put things.


Note: refrigerator and cook top trade places for improved workflow. Microwave cabinet inset saves even more countertop space.


“They really got excited when I showed them the comma shaped island with room enough to seat the entire family and still have plenty of space for additional culinary pursuits,” explained Cartee.

The project was complicated by the use of mixed flooring materials, with tile in the kitchen and adjoining hardwood flooring and carpet. We removed the tile & carpet and extended the hardwood flooring from the living room and entryway into the kitchen. Since it was originally a lighter oak stain, we refinished it in a darker shade to make sure no honey oak remained!

At some point, perhaps during a previous remodel years before, the house shifted and settled, taking the ceiling and floor out of level by an inch or so. "It happens from time to time,” says Cartee, who has worked on homes much older, “but our carpenters did a masterful job of compensating for the drop with the careful application of flat crown trim, especially over the vent hood where complications from a previous bath remodel were encountered.”


BEFORE: view of peninsula from kitchen entry. Note small breakfast table which was replaced by comma shaped island.


Note concealed easy lift mixer is up in a flash and gone in an instant. Perfect for people who love to bake. Tomatoes and cucumbers are from their garden.


Before and after plan comparison.


3-D concept sketch of new kitchen design.


  • Kitchen Countertops — Cambria - Perimeter: Fieldstone / Island: Ella Marble - Luxury Series, Edge Profile: Ridgeline with 1/2" radius on corners
  • Kitchen Island cabinets — Oak
  • Kitchen Perimeter Cabinets — Custom hardwood, full overlay, soft-close hidden hinges, Maple interiors
  • Kitchen tile — Cosa Marble CO Intarsia - color Pearl white
  • Kitchen Flooring — 2 ¼" X ¾" Red Oak Select, sand & stain to match Benjamin Moore 'Special Walnut'
  • Ceilings — Scraped flat and painted
  • Paint kitchen walls — HF-0525 Marseilles kitchen walls
  • Bathroom Flooring — Gravity
  • Paint Bathroom walls — Magnolia 116 “Blue Skies” (50% formula)
  • Cook Top — Kitchenaid 36" Gas Cooktop
  • Wall Ovens — Kitchenaid 30" Built-in Double Electric Ovens, KODE500ESS


Comma shaped island countertop is "Ella Marble" Cambria.


Note how the maple interior and dovetail drawer joints adds an elegant touch to this kitchen remodel. It's all in the details.


Convenient spice rack placed next to cook top.


Whether you are buying new or just repositioning existing appliances, it can dramatically improve workflow while adding a fresh appeal.


BEFORE & AFTER: Note additional recessed lighting in ceiling, new wood floor, under cabinet lighting, soffit removal allowing cabinets height to ceiling.


The homeowner also wanted the bath vanity to match kitchen cabinets. So, what started as a simple update, soon turned into a fairly extensive bathroom redo.

The vanity was color matched with the kitchen island. Note that some oak trim was left per the personal taste of the homeowner.


Family photo of Homeowner's father taped to window during construction.


“While performing the demolition of the kitchen," recalls Cartee, "One of our carpenters discovered an old family photo behind a cabinet. It was a photo of the homeowners father who was also in construction. We taped it up on the window so he could watch over the remodel. I think that was pretty cool.”






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