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Design ideas
Kitchen Makeover: Luxe Looks with Old World Charm
A light palette and textured elements transform this kitchen from dark and closed in to friendly and elegant.
Written by Kristin Dowding
Photography by Courtesy of Old Seagrove Homes
Styled by Cynthia Rice

Kitchens are quickly becoming one of the more popular spaces in the home to gather family and friends for quality time. For the owners of this Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, kitchen, it was necessary to have a bigger and brighter space. “This family loves to be in the kitchen, so Alex and I came up with a new layout that combined functionality with a bright, airy and relaxed style,” says Cynthia Rice, interior designer for Old Seagrove Homes. Her husband Alex worked alongside her as the builder for this project.

Though it resembles wallpaper, Cynthia chose tile from Tile Bar to grace the walls of the kitchen, adding a sheen that emulates shells. Open shelves give the homeowners plenty of space to store kitchen items or display décor pieces.

From Dark to Light

“Originally, the kitchen had dark red wood cabinetry and black countertops,” says Cynthia. “The design had a poor flow and felt very dark and closed off.” To fix this, they gutted the entire kitchen and redesigned the layout with a coastal Moroccan style. “We moved windows, redesigned electrical and kept the space open and airy with large countertops to provide a great workspace for multiple cooks,” she says. They also constructed a new island with two sinks and a cypress table for family seating.

Custom built cabinets by Old Seagrove Homes and a Carrara mosaic backsplash in a chevron pattern create a bar on one side of the kitchen for mixing refreshments. They used painted Pecky Cypress as the material for a coastal feel that adds great texture to the space.

Wooden Wonder

They built a bar on one side of the kitchen with custom built cabinetry and a Carrara mosaic backsplash for an out-of-the-way refreshment corner. “We built a Moroccan arch to create a unique bar area and put backlighting behind the arch to illuminate it in the evening,” Cynthia says. The cabinets are Pecky Cypress wood for a textured look and coastal feel.

They were able to save money by reusing the owner’s original light fixtures and cabinet hardware. They splurged on the Carrara backsplash and Quartzite countertops. Old Seagrove Homes custom designed and built the stove hood, using Pecky Cypress on the top and a stained Cypress band on the bottom.

Comfort in Style

The simple elegance of the design comes from the quality of elements and softness of the colors. “The palette is soft white, complemented by the beautiful natural wood tones of cypress cabinetry,” says Cynthia. “We used accents of blue and gold throughout for added detail and color.” With tiled wall, a stained Pecky Cypress ceiling and Dominican coral stone flooring, the entire kitchen exudes a relaxed elegance that’s perfect for their family.

The new open layout is better for function and the aesthetic. A simple color palette of white and blue is accented through the many textures of the materials in the room. Dominican coral stone covers the floor, while stained Pecky Cypress covers the ceiling that keeps the room feeling cozy. They custom built the table and banquette setting, purchasing chairs from Serena and Lily and using upholstered chairs from the homeowner.

4 Tips for a Simple and Elegant Kitchen

1. Keep your palette simple and clean. Try picking one color in varying shades and mix it with dark and light neutrals.
2. Layer different textures with the same color range, such as wood, tile and fabrics.
3. Add a few elements with a darker contrast for interest. White wouldn’t seem as bright without contrasting elements, so whether it’s black, brown or even a dark shade of your chosen color, incorporate darker elements for balance.
4. Finish with an interesting mix of pillows and accessories. Open shelves and benches are great for décor.