The most intriguing moment of my first meeting with this young couple came when they referred to one of my favorite movies, “It’s Complicated,” and mentioned how that kitchen is what they’d like to use as their remodeled kitchen’s inspiration.
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Mmmm . . . LOVE that kitchen! It’s so homey, warm and deserving of a happy family.
My initial impression
When first I looked at my client's kitchen, I immediately saw the possibilities...
Can you see it?
I sure can.
We had to mind the budget with this project. There will be no full gut remodel here. Saving money by keeping the layout the same and some of the cabinets intact will help stretch remodeling dollars. I felt those tiny cabinets above the frig weren’t worth keeping and painting, so this was the place we were going to splurge. I proposed that we do new uppers, build a new cabinet around the appliances, and take those cabinets to the ceiling!
The problematic wall
The other problem with their kitchen: It’s closed off from the adjacent family room.
On the opposite side of the kitchen were these two openings. The homeowners really wanted to take that wall down but, of course, it is structural. The contractor they talked to told them he could remove it and leave a column there, right n the middle of the opening.
But wouldn’t that just kind of scream “there was a wall here before?"
So, I decided it would be best to create one singular opening here. We brought the side-walls in to provide the structure and support we need with an appropriately sized header. This helped us stay true to our Hollywood kitchen inspiration, as well as marry these two rooms together for an open living space.
My proposed design
Here’s the plan showing how the spaces would open up to each other.
One more look at the existing kitchen.
And here’s the quick sketch of the proposed design...
We’re saving the lower cabinets and island, doing a few modifications, and then painting them. I wanted to keep the kitchen light, bright and open feeling, so I went with a light paint to match the walls on the new uppers, ultimately blending everything with the subway tile color, and creating a more seamless visual backdrop.
I love painting that French door in the dark color too, it balances things out visually and repeats the dark grid from the windows.
There are a couple things I am partial to in design: 1. Cabinets to the ceiling and 2. Walls of tile. They create the clean aesthetic I love and rid the space of a lot of visual clutter. I’ve done that here to help with their storage needs, and to add something a little custom/unique in the space.
Tiling around that window and adding those cool wall sconces above makes the black mullioned window stand out. I love the touch of industrial “gutsiness” they bring, just as the pendants do for the “It’s Complicated” kitchen.
Are you starting to recognize hints of the inspiration in our design plan?
I went with a beautiful slate floor -- Lavendar Harvest, from Thorntree -- and laid it in a Versailles pattern. Overall, it has a lovely greige color, as well as some black and shots of purple/red. By running it into the adjacent family room, the space becomes more open and unified.
Believe me, no matter how many toy trucks or spills land on that floor, the natural variation of the stone and the random pattern will hide just about any imperfections. We now benefit from the upgraded look of a natural stone product, instead of the plain boringness porcelain tile would bring!
The dark paint color used for the lower cabinets and doors was pulled from the tile. The walls, cabinets and mouldings will receive the same light color to blend them all together. That variation of the slate on the floor needs a simple envelope to show it off properly.
By unifying the two rooms with one large singular opening and continuous flooring, we’ve opened the space up to the family room with this fireplace so it can be seen from the kitchen.
All it needs is some paint, window treatments in a tone-on-tone patterned fabric, and a rustic sunburst mirror to contrast with the shape of all the boxy mouldings.
Visually, we now have something interesting for both ends of the space, and everything is related with our two-tone paint scheme. The darker paint color from the base cabinets in the kitchen is repeated on the fireplace from top to bottom. The light, natural wood mirror will stand out beautifully on the dark color.
Customized, NOT Copied
This is a custom look, created specifically to meet their unique desires. We didn’t copy the inspiration we gained from the movie’s design, yet we still managed to retain a hint of it.
I can’t wait to see it built out!