The dark kitchen gets a makeover with a light and bright design – Before After
Designer Julia Newman of Julia Adele Design worked with clients in Long Beach, California to transform their previously “cave-like” kitchen and dining room into spaces that would better serve their families on a daily basis. Sure, the hybrid room was large, but the cabinetry was dark and heavy and didn’t reflect the home owners aesthetic at all. The layout, while open, also felt disjointed. So, in addition to improving the look of the rooms, one of Newman’s main goals for the project was to better delineate the kitchen from the dining room.
“The footprint of the existing kitchen was generally good, except it had one side that was completely open,” she explains. “In open floor plans, it’s important to be creative in naming spaces.” The solution? Added a peninsula, which is not always preferred over islands in large kitchens. This strategic move, says Newman, “not only helped distinguish the kitchen from the dining room, but it also added extra storage space and convenient seating for kids on the go.”
When selecting materials for the space, sustainability was the name of the game, but finding fixtures and finishes to brighten up the space and attract natural light was another consideration. This had to be done without altering the windows in any way, which Newman said was a challenge. She first started with the floor covering. “The kitchen tiles looked outdated and the wooden floors were so dark that they took in a lot of natural light,” she says. “Ultimately, we chose vinyl for its durability and cleanability in a lighter variegated shade to brighten up the home and give a natural feel.”
With the flooring in place, Newman and his customers could focus on the fun stuff: cabinets and countertops. Falling in love with one specific countertop material – Gabana quartzite – shaped many other design decisions to follow in the hybrid piece. “The white felt like too much maintenance for a home with young children,” Newman says, explaining why this particular stone was so appealing. “This material can withstand a lot and still look like new.” She also adds, “The colors were light enough and the polished finish helped reflect the natural light streaming through the windows. »
Newman chose a putty-like color for the Shaker-style cabinets to complement the countertop choice. “White cabinets can be difficult to maintain, and with such a large kitchen, it can seem stark,” she comments. “I wanted to bring some warmth. Meanwhile, though, an off-white backsplash and farmhouse sink, both picked in a high gloss, help brighten the space, Newman says. Brass faucets further warm the room. To finish, Newman opted for pops of black for the counter stools, dining chairs, and cabinet hardware. These black background shots all shades lighter and add a bit of edge.
Now Newman couldn’t be happier with the finished kitchen and dining room combo. “For us, making a family home means creating a space that can grow with the family and evolve with their needs,” she says. “For example, the peninsula is now a great place for small children and high chairs. In a few years, this will be the perfect place to do your homework. Even better, the redesign has made it easier to entertain for Newman customers. She adds: “This project has transformed this space into a home and a place where the family can gather. ”