My Bella Cucina

After years of cooking in our unsightly and disorganized 80sq. ft. kitchen, we’ve created a space that has everything I need to efficiently make nourishing meals and decadent treats for my family.

My Bella Cucina is the second major remodel in our Toronto bungalow (the first was our flamingo bathroom), and we made it happen for under 5k, with no sacrifice of style and function. 

I thought it might be helpful to offer a list of some key elements to consider if you’re renovating your own little kitchen.

Or, if you’re here just for the eye candy, scroll on through for the full reveal of the pinkest little old European inspired tiny kitchen I ever did see!

6 ways we created our tiny dream kitchen for under 5k.

1 – The design is inspired by things I love, not trends.

Our kitchen transformation was designed and re-redesigned in my imagination dozens of times through this process.

Since we bought our home 3 years ago we have taken renovation breaks to have a baby, get married, and experience travel and adventure. I am learning to allow our life story infiltrate my creativity, and encourage more personal design choices.

When we traveled to Italy for our wedding I fell in love with unfinished walls, old tiles, and linens hanging between window shutters to dry in the sun.

 I decided to tint plaster (very cost effective AND pretty = double win) with shades of neutral pink and white paints and apply a subtly textured surface which is reminiscent of the walls in Italia.

I love the dramatic energy of old and new, dark and light, which is evident in the choice to use modern black cabinets and appliances with vintage accents.

These are unconventional ideas that genuinely make my heart flutter.

2 – Thrift stores, garage sales, and old things collecting dust in my grandma’s basement are essential.

Through my travels across the world and through this big old city I live in, I am constantly searching for the perfect little something that needs new life. 

We kept the renovation cost down by choosing second-hand details, such as $2 Habitat for Humanity drawer pulls, shelves TJ made from recycled wood, and our affordable countertop made from a reclaimed bowling lane. 

One of my favorite details is a $40 glass and brass light from HomeSense I covered with a vintage fringe lampshade gifted to me years ago.

3 – I’m displaying my most frequently used items in clever ways.

There are things hiding in every corner of my kitchen. 

Dog treats in ziplock bags in the thrifted brass vase on the shelf, spatula’s living in a ceramic swan, oils, and vinegar in a $7 Value Village fruit bowl, and wooden spoons on the wall in a 1980’s Fitz and Floyd wall sconce just to name a few.

I personally am more likely to put something away in its proper location if it is visible and part of the overall aesthetic of a space. 

Get creative and use your limited counters with intention. 

4 – We splurged on one thing, not everything.

Our champagne bronze Single Handle Pull-Down Delta Faucet brings the space together with a splash of luxury. It’s such a lovely upgrade from my last faucet that doing dishes is almost not a chore. I said almost.

Chose one element, and increase the budget percentage you’re willing to spend on it, then create ways to get thrifty in other areas.

Remember, you can always upgrade later *she said dreaming of her future stove.*

5 – We did all the labor (except plumbing and electrical) oursevles.

Pick a project to do yourself.

TJ had never tiled before so he watched tutorials and went for it. My dreamy terracotta and blush tiles were a smart choice for a first-time installer because they are meant to look imperfect, as each tile is slightly different in size.

If you’re working on a budget I would suggest choosing beautiful DIY friendly elements such as wood counters, backsplash with a basic pattern, and open shelving. 

6 – Purge. 

Do you really need 4 of the same spatula? 

I paid close attention to what was simply taking up space in my kitchen and donated all non-essentials.

I also put a few things I rarely use in our basement storage with clear labels.

It’s a simple step, but crucial in maintaining a clean kitchen if you’re in close quarters like us.

In my next life, I’d like to travel to Italy and devote myself to the art of Italian cooking and baking.

 For now, I’ll be here in what feels like own little sanctuary of creative culinary magic. 

With love and excitement,


This post is sponsored by my friends at Delta Faucet Canada.

All opinions are my own.

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An Open Letter To My Daughter