If we were to calculate the rooms where we spend the most time (when we're not sleeping), we'd have to say it's the kitchen. This is where we establish daily rituals, cook food for our loved ones, and make unforgettable memories with friends and family at dinner parties. It's the heart of the home for a reason. So it makes sense that this is also the first place most of us want to renovate when we buy a home.
This is exactly what Lindsey Brook of Lindsey Brooke Design was tasked with when her clients wanted to open up the kitchen in their one-story traditional track home in Agoura Hills, California. Brooke enlisted the help of McMaster and Hill construction to see out her vision for the modern ranch-style renovation and we're absolutely smitten with the end result.
Brooke infused her California casual aesthetic with a pop of color. She set about opening up the space, as per the brief, to turn four small rooms into one main room. The whole renovation including materials, labor and design fees was around $100,000. Read on to hear how she did it along with some challenges along the way.
Brooke wanted to create an open space and keep it very classic but with trendy elements. She also wanted to include more organic and neutral tones. "We started with picking a very glazed looking subway tile that had a lot of movement to it," she tells me. "We knew we wanted to make a statement by having it extend all the way up to the ceiling."
By opening up the room, it doubled the size of the kitchen. This also meant they needed a different plan of action for the cabinets. If they went with upper cabinets, it would have looked like a big kitchen full of cabinets. So, they decided to omit upper cabinets altogether and instead, opted for open shelving to add visual interest and warmth with the natural wood hues.
After installing the massive 12-foot island, Brooke knew the counters needed to be just as special. They opted for a Calcutta gold quartz for aesthetics and durability. "To top it off, we did a waterfall edge so it would be the first thing you see when you walked into the house," she explains.
Since everything was white and light Brooke decided to add trendy elements with brass hardware and "really fun" lighting. "The high black contrast of the pendant lights was the icing on the cake," she says. "The black accents just made the rest of the design pop and that punch it needed."
Figuring out the cabinet layout was one of the biggest challenges in the beginning. Storage for such a large kitchen was crucial along with the functionality of the room. "Since we had a massive island with so much storage in it, it made the decision to lose the upper cabinets much easier," she adds.
It really was important to Brooke and her client that the space be as functional as it was fashionable. "I wanted to optimize the space but create a warm atmosphere for their family and friends when entertaining," she says. "So we took down two walls dividing the house up, raised the ceiling, added a window, bench seating, a massive island, a full-length pantry and upgraded the flooring throughout the whole house."
When she's seeking inspiration, Brooke looks to fellow designers like Park and Oak, Brian Paquette, Black Band Design. "I also turn to other art and the ocean to escape and clear my mind for new inspiration," she says.
When deciding on a color scheme, Brooke really wanted an organic look and feel so she stuck to warm neutrals and bright whites. The wood color of the flooring was a crucial decision as it set the tone for the rest of the kitchen and pulled everything together.
Surprisingly, the biggest challenge of this project was the ceiling, "We really wanted to vault the whole thing but we couldn’t without re-doing the whole roof and that just wasn’t in the budget," she explains. "We decided to vault it a little more in the dining to create a taller look overall."
If Brooke had to call out her favorite thing about the new space it would be how it flows. "The footprint functions so nicely as a working kitchen but it's also nice for people who want to hang around in it while entertaining and then having the workstation right there is an added bonus," she says.
Brooke decided to keep the original sink, faucet and window above the sink which saved money in the budget for other exciting updates.
The open shelving was a key decision for both aesthetic and practical purposes. They add a visual element and extra storage space after forgoing upper cabinets.
Brooke prevented the all-white kitchen from looking bland and boring by mixing in earthy elements. The wooden open shelves and decorative elements in organic materials bring it to life.
If there's one piece of decorating wisdom that Brooke has held onto and continued to stand by it's "design has no rules." A fitting philosophy to approach any project, whether that's interior design or in life.