Makeover of the Week: Designer Amy Elbaum Gives a Dated Breakfast Nook the Seating and Style It Needed

kitchen after

Jessica Alexander

“Most midcentury modern designs feature an open floor plan but not this one,” laughs interior designer Amy Elbaum. “The 60’s kitchen had an intruding peninsula—once eliminated, I needed to figure out how to add back the lost seating.” 

Meet the Expert

Amy Elbaum is an interior designer and the owner of AE Design, a Los Angeles-based design firm which specializes in a contemporary aesthetic that’s always practical. 


breakfast nook before
Courtesy of Amy Elbaum

The family room butted up to the kitchen so there wasn’t room for stools around the new island. “So I created a bench in the window bay that can seat up to two adults or three kids,” says Elbaum.


breakfast nook after
Jessica Alexander

“To update the area, I removed the soffit, added 4” ceiling molding, and swapped out the dark 3” laminate flooring for 7.5” European engineered white oak,” she continues. 

What Changed:

  • Color theme: ​ Neutral tones play off the black and white colors to create a modern feel.
  • Table: ​ The oval 60” white lacquer table fits nicely in the nook.
  • Walls: ​ Bright white paint on the walls and the window mullions create a clean, crisp look.
  • Window treatment: The windows were left bare to maximize the natural light and connect the interior to the exterior.
  • Window seat: ​ A built-in bench creates extra seating without taking up space.
  • Pillows: A mix of prints and colors, including a pop of purple, plays up the solid-gray cushion made of stain-proof vinyl.
  • Chairs: Light ceruse wood adds a natural element to the space while arched backs and a woven base create a comfy seat.
  • Wall art: “HA HA HA” is repeated throughout this playful black and white print.
  • Molding: ​ A beefed up 5” baseboard adds depth and height to the trim.
  • Cabinets: Custom shaker cabinets, including two glass-front display cabinets, were painted a soft gray.
  • Hardware: Brass pulls were used on the cabinet drawers along with matching knobs on the island.
  • Pendants: The cone-shaped black pendants pop against the light cabinetry.
  • Countertops: The perimeter countertops are covered in white quartz, the island is topped with Calcutta quartz. 

Shop the Look:

white kitchen table
Modway Lippa 60" Mid-Century Modern Kitchen and Dining Table $631.00
wishbone chair
Rove Concepts Wishbone Chair $295.00