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Design ideas
Creating the Cook’s Kitchen
Big style and big goals come together in this warm and welcoming kitchen.
Written by Jickie Torres
Photography provided by Jackson Design and Remodeling

It’s no secret: remodeling your kitchen is usually all about improving function. But you may not always realize that when done well, redesigning your kitchen is also about bringing people together. In this Southern California kitchen, the homeowner’s goals were just that. “The wife loves to cook and for years made do with a small kitchen that presented significant challenges for storage, counter space and navigation. She wanted a design that was completely fresh, welcoming for guests and highly functional,” says Alison Greene, senior interior designer at Jackson Design and Remodeling, the firm that took on the build.

Modern appliances, white cabinets, and the farm sink really come together through the light brown countertop and hexagon tile. By expanding the kitchen, the homeowners were able to have a large island that had larger fixtures. The cabinetry on the island creates a nice contrast to the mostly-white kitchen as it flows into the neutral colored living room.

Keeping it Unified

“The first significant design decision was to move the kitchen from its existing place in the floor plan to the front of the home, replacing a formal living room the clients rarely used. This allowed for an expansive open layout for the kitchen, dining and living space,” Alison says.

White beadboard sets the tone in the surrounding rooms, so the design team decided to keep the farmhouse style going in the new kitchen. “We also wanted to integrate rustic elements inspired by the home’s knotty-alder front door with a decorative wrought-iron design.”

The brick walls give the living room added character while the built ins provide the room with a put-together, modern feel. The entertainment center also complements the cabinetry in the kitchen. With a small space like this, the homeowners were able to get creative with the tile choice, as well.

Foremost Function

The old kitchen was disconnected from the living room. The new kitchen needed to be open and conducive to entertaining. “More countertop space for cooking/baking prep was a necessity, as the client had been using a picnic table for extra prep space. One of the wife’s top priorities was a spacious island for prepping meals and for people to gather around for entertaining,” Alison says.

The classic barn door is a reminder of the farmhouse style incorporated in this modern kitchen. It adds a lot of dimension to the room as it seamlessly blends form and function.

Bold Style 

The original kitchen was all white and stylistically utilitarian. The new kitchen packs a big punch with eye-catching materials. “The floors were the first element we selected. We decided to create the flooring from three neutral colors (gray, white and beige) in a random pattern. Two colors would’ve made it look more like a checkered pattern, which wasn’t what we were aiming for. Three colors helped balance the colors evenly. Once we chose the flooring, it inspired the rest of our selections for textures and materials,” says Alison.

Indigo wallpaper with a geometric fl oral design sets the dining area apart a bit from the kitchen, while similar wood finishes keep it cohesive. “The overall style was inspired by a farmhouse aesthetic and also brought in rustic elements with iron corbels, metal light shades, and a stained barn door [as door to] the walk-in pantry,” Alison says.

Top 3 Tips for Recreating This Look

1. Don’t be afraid to incorporate patterns on your floor. They won’t look busy if you use neutral colors and let the pattern speak for itself.

2. White kitchens don’t need to be white throughout. You can keep white cabinetry on the main perimeter of the kitchen and have a pop of a different color on your island. This brings warmth and interest to your space without overpowering the clean, timeless feeling of a white kitchen.

3. If you have the space to experiment creatively with your pantry door, do it! In this home, there is a long wall next to the pantry entrance. The barn door is an imaginative choice for the pantry door and serves a functional purpose while also helping to visually balance the space. When the door is closed, a decorative bulletin board serves as a placeholder for notes and recipes.