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How One Designer Turned a Kitchen into a Home Chef's Dream

makeover of the week - crystal nagel kitchen makeover

Design: Crystal Nagel, Photo: Cal Mitchener

If there’s something we never get tired of seeing, it’s a great makeover. Whether it’s transforming a retro bathroom into a modern oasis or giving a lackluster bedroom a fresh look, pros perform these design miracles all the time. 

To give designers a chance to showcase their favorite makeovers—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the best before and afters we’ve seen in our series, Makeover of the Week. Take notes for your next renovation.

“The realtor who listed the house noted it was ‘wrecking ball ready,’ but I had a vision that didn’t include knocking it down,” interior designer Crystal Nagel says. “Instead, we completely transformed the house—what was once a dark and completely basic looking kitchen became a bright and open space that has become the family’s hub.” 

Meet the Expert

Crystal Nagel, of Crystal Nagel Design, is a Charlotte, North Carolina-based designer who loves to mix modern and traditional design elements. 


makeover of the week - Crystal Nagel kitchen makeover before photo

Courtesy of Crystal Nagel

“White laminate countertops, white ceramic backsplash tiles, along with white appliances created too much contrast against the brown cabinets,” Nagel says. “And we won’t even talk about the white fluorescent ceiling light!”


makeover of the week - Crystal Nagel kitchen makeover after full kitchen

Design: Crystal Nagel, Photo: Cal Mitchener

Hits of black on the windows, pendants, and center island keep the eye moving around the space while metals add yet another visual layer to the room,” Nagel notes. 

What Changed:

  • Color theme: Gold is mixed in with black and white to create a clean and crisp feel. 
  • Cabinets: The white inset cabinets, with their brushed gold pulls, feature a beaded shaker door and glass fronts on the hutch.
  • Counters: Marble “lookalike” quartz countertops are low maintenance and have a timeless appeal. 
  • Backsplash: A classic beveled-edge subway tile is laid out in a traditional and herringbone pattern.
  • Lighting: The bronze and antique brass pendants play nicely into the black-and-white design. 
  • Windows: Dark sashes on the windows and doors create contrast and highlight the cool design. 
  • Floors: The original 1 ½” red oak planks were sanded and stained a deep brown to ground the space.
  • Island: The island was painted black and houses the microwave, trash pull out, and a large bank of storage drawers.
  • Stools: The flange along the top of the stools adds a unique detail while the faux linen/polyester blend is easy to clean.
  • Table and chairs: A 200-year-old butcher block was paired with vintage cane chairs to add some softness to the modern finishes.
  • Wine fridge: Stainless-steel commercial grade appliances, including a beverage fridge, add to the sleek feel.
  • Accessories: The longhorns above the range add a playful element to the space. 

Shop the Look:

makeover of the week - Crystal Nagel kitchen home tour dining area

Design: Crystal Nagel, Photo: Cal Mitchener

Circa Lighting Hicks Small Pendant
Circa Lighting Hicks Small Pendant $599.00
Pottery Barn Reed Extending Dining Table
Pottery Barn Reed Extending Dining Table $799.00
Arhaus Lunden Counter Stool
Arhaus Lunden Counter Stool $499.00