When it comes to that laid-back Cali-cool look, there's one name that springs to mind every time: Amber Lewis. The Los Angeles–based interior designer and Amber Interiors founder has that quintessential boho vibe on lock, and we can't get enough. Whether it's a bright and airy Venice Beach shack or a crisp and edgy family home (with a touch of rock 'n' roll), Lewis's work has that hip factor on tap. So when the interiors visionary told us she was in the process of renovating her own home, we couldn't wait to see the results.
The 1952 one-story ranch-style home needed some work, but luckily, that's what Lewis does best. "My husband and I had been watching this piece of property for months and struck gold when it hit the market," she told MyDomaine. "We broke ground in the main part of the house the second we received the keys. It's now a big open floor plan for entertaining with exposed ceilings which completely transformed the space."
While the rest of the house is still under construction, the kitchen was the first room to get the royal renovation treatment. Lewis collaborated with Signature Kitchen Suite to custom-design a cooking space that went beyond mere aesthetics. Because for Lewis, pretty should always be practical too. Ahead, the designer shares her process, why she didn't want a white kitchen and the challenges along the way.
The kitchen is the hero of the home. It's where we all come together and enjoy our favorite hobby: eating. So Lewis wanted to make her new space reflect that while also having the functionality she needs to get food prepped for the family, quickly. "My family spends 70% of our time in the kitchen," she said, "so it was important that this room serve the purpose of function as well as aesthetics. This is one of the first times I was able to fully design a kitchen to my specification since it was for me and not a client."
When deciding on a color scheme, Lewis was pretty clear on her direction. "I honestly just didn't want a bright white kitchen anymore," she said. "I wanted to try something different this time around, and I think it worked out perfectly for the space. I still achieved that light and airy look but with different tones and materials."
In keeping the palette true to her style, Lewis stayed fairly neutral while playing with texture to keep it warm. "This space was a bit different for me," she explained. "I just tried sticking to a neutral, calming, fresh palette that won't overwhelm on the daily. It's all about function and comfort. This is my own retreat."
Knowing Lewis's impeccable taste, we were certain her kitchen would be styled with killer vintage pieces and collectibles—and she didn't disappoint. Every corner is carefully considered with sentimental curiosities and, of course, her signature antique Turkish rug running through it. "I have a charming little pottery collection, so I definitely wanted space to display all of it and not just hide behind kitchen cabinets," she said.
The function of the kitchen comes down to the hardworking appliances, which Lewis made sure to keep hidden from view. "The Signature Kitchen Suite appliances are built in, which afforded me the opportunity to create a seamless look with my cabinetry," she explained. "Time is the ultimate luxury, so plotting out how my husband cooks was also a big part of our redesign. Having the range, sink, and fridge in close approximation is all part of that seamlessness in design and efficiency—sleek, smart, and high-performing."
While you'd expect her greatest find to be a unique décor item or a piece of vintage designer furniture, for Lewis it was IKEA. "My greatest find for the kitchen are the custom semi-handmade doors for the IKEA cabinets," she said. "It's great to be able to achieve that bespoke look without spending too much out of pocket."
Renovating a kitchen isn't without its challenges, but the biggest one for Lewis's family was moving into a new home without the room at all. "We didn't have a kitchen for three months," she said, "so it was difficult prepping school lunches and family dinners."
Now that the three-month renovation is over, Lewis can finally put her smart and stylish kitchen to use. "I love to cook, and this oven is not only sleek; it's smart," she said. "It has a ProHeat convection setting that ensures everything is cooked evenly. The ultraheat burners on the stove actually cook your food faster than traditional burners, and the oven is WiFi-enabled using the brand's app. I can preheat from the car on my way home from a client and throw dinner in soon after I walk in the door.
It even allows us to keep an eye on the food (timer, temp) from other rooms, so I can play with my daughter and cook dinner." Genius.