Welcome to part two of my West Hollywood condo makeover: the kitchen. If you missed last week’s post, feel free to bring yourself up to speed here, or you can just smile, nod, and pretend like you know what I’m talking about (just like you did in yesterday’s budget meeting).
When it came to my client’s kitchen, the issues he faced here were similar to those he had with the den: dark cabinets, very little natural light, and another courtyard-facing window.
Similar to the situation in my kitchen when I first moved in, he also was working with this weird backsplash layout:
Since the granite countertop and the cabinets were in perfect condition, we came up with a plan to breathe some light and excitement into this kitchen without breaking the bank!
The first thing that we tackled was having a proper backsplash installed. I wanted to do something a little different here than I had done with my kitchen (standard white subway tile), but that wasn’t going to be weird different. My client wasn’t sure how long he was going to live here, so I also heavily approached this design with resale value in mind. Anything that a potential buyer would walk in and say, “What the hell is going on there?!” was strictly off limits.
Thinking that non-neutral colors or fancy shaped tiles might have a narrower appeal with future buyers, we decided on a grey subway tile. I headed off to one of my favorite tile vendors and came back with these selections:
Believe it or not, those three standard subway tiles at the top are all grey. One looks kind of blue, the other a bit green, and the last one just barely off-white. None of them got me overly excited, and I had envisioned using more of a charcoal grey, so I gravitated towards the bottom two. The colors were perfect, but I wasn’t quite sure about doing such an elongated subway tile (was it weird different?). I stared at those tiles, held them up in all different light, compared them to the countertop about fifty times, and finally, I decided that the second from the bottom was the clear winner. It’s a 2” x 10” subway tile that has this beautiful handmade feel to it. I loved that it felt modern and evolved without feeling stark. It was just different enough.
So the backsplash and trim came down…
And the guys got to work laying the tiles.
That photo was before the grout went in, which by the way, there are a minimum of FIFTY standard grout colors from which one can choose. Who knew?! I think we went with a very light grey, as I thought bright white might be too severe.
Here we are midway through the makeover. Post-backsplash, pre-paint:
Thankfully that whole process went very smoothly, and we were able to get Painter Mike and his guys in right on schedule. I really, really wanted to go with white upper cabinets and grey lower cabinets here (how amazing would that look?!), but I knew that option absolutely would not fly. So I kept that brilliant idea to myself and marched forward with fresh, bright white on both the uppers and lowers.
Once the cabinets were painted, we decided that updating the cabinet hardware was much less of a priority than I had originally thought. A clean, streamlined drawer pull would have looked fabulous, but the existing ones were not looking too shabby against the fresh coat of paint and modern backsplash.
The one thing that I absolutely pushed for here was adding pendant lights along the bar counter. Jumping back to another “Before” pic, you can see that previously there was just recessed lighting (and a couple of burnt out lights) throughout the kitchen.
Wanting to go with something that fit the modern feel of the kitchen but didn’t fight with the bold brass chandelier in the den, I selected these oversized globe pendants from West Elm. They make a huge difference in the room!
I added in a few new functional and decorative pieces and we were dunzo!
My client’s beautiful new kitchen is bright, sleek, and modern and really addressed all of the issues that we sought out to overcome, including the potential issue of resale. I think that the choices that we made here are versatile enough that they could go with virtually any design style. And if that small investment in paint, tile, and lighting didn’t just up the resale value of this place by a few grand, then I’ll be damned!
The final side by side…