There’s nothing like a good before and after to get the wheels turning in our heads. Whether you’re considering a total renovation or just a little pick-me-up in your home, seeing the potential in another home may give you just the confidence you need to tackle your own.
To that end, today we’re bringing the dramatic renovation of actress Christina Applegate’s Los Angeles kitchen. Applegate turned to online interior design platform Laurel & Wolf to transform her space, and was eventually paired up with Laurel & Wolf designer Jessica Today.
When the project began, Applegate’s kitchen was cluttered and dark—or as she describes it, “the ugliest kitchen.” Overall, it really needed a cohesive story and aesthetic, and it got one. Now it’s bright, modern, and cheerful—an inspiring space for her family.
We chatted with Applegate and Today to hear how this space came together. Read on for our interview.
MYDOMAINE: How would you describe your home before the makeover?
CHRISTINA APPLEGATE: This house was built in 1985, and the kitchen was the only thing that hadn’t been redone. It was god-awful. The ugliest kitchen. Of anyone that I know. Every time I would come in the kitchen, I just felt angry… but I never wanted to even think about taking on the renovation project because it’s such a huge process to do a kitchen and it’s the heart of your home—it’s where you do all of your cooking, where your family and friends spend so much time, etc. It’s definitely an undertaking.
MD: Jessica, what were your goals for this home makeover?
JESSICA TODAY: When I first walked into Christina’s kitchen, there were things everywhere—shoes, appliances, food, dishes, etc. So, naturally, one of my first thoughts was that she needed more storage. I had the range moved to the island and designed a large pantry space against the available wall. I also remodeled her old pantry space into a mudroom for coats and shoe storage.
Another huge problem with the original kitchen was lighting. It was really, really dark, and the banquette area had a red light above it. So I designed the space with a lot of whites and neutral colors to brighten the space. I also installed recessed lighting as well as a striking pendant above the kitchen table to make the room feel more open.
MD: What were your biggest challenges?
JT: Time was a huge challenge with this project. We had about three-and-a-half months to completely remodel her kitchen, mudroom, laundry room, and powder room. It was an aggressive timeline, but it all came together in the end.
MD: What organizational tricks did you implement to streamline the space?
JT: I categorized each area of Christina's kitchen into its unique workspace. The sink is for cleaning vegetables, so I left space next to the sink for bags of groceries. Across from the sink is the island with a wooden cutting board for prepping, chopping, and cooking. I kept the pantry on its own wall for food and appliance storage. Lastly, I designed custom drawers and cabinets that are convenient and accessible for daily use.
MD: Christina, what do you love most about your new space?
CA: I seriously love everything about my new space. I love cooking here—that’s been the best! Now everything is just so easy. It’s bright and open, and the use of space that Jessica came up with is just amazing to me.
I have a mudroom—and we’re a no-shoes house, so before, you’d come into the foyer and it was just shoes everywhere—it was awful. So now people can go into the mudroom, sit on a beautiful bench to put their shoes on, and I love the fact that I don’t have to look at all of their shoes… I’m just so happy about that; it’s just clean.
The space is now so much nicer and more comfortable so it truly feels like an area in our home now where we can celebrate as opposed to a place that we want to get out of as fast as possible, which is what is was like for me for the last 20 years of living in this house.
MD: What did you enjoy most about the design process?
CA: I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted the kitchen to feel like and look like, but executing that is obviously not my forte. So it was nice to have someone to do the work for me. Working with Laurel & Wolf made the whole process really easy and the communication between everyone was great… The vision happened.
It can also be difficult when you have designers and contractors and a lot of people working on the project; Things can get very confusing. But I felt because of the Laurel & Wolf platform, and because my designer Jessica was able to put together these style boards […] it was really nice to just be like, “Oh, this is what everything is going to look like together.” Everything was really seamless. There was a place where you can make a comment and then you know the designer (Jessica) gets it right away, and then she comes up with something else and sends it back to me right away and she can move things around… It was just incredibly easy and honestly cut out so much time that we really didn’t need to be spending.
Visit Laurel & Wolf to learn more about how the online design platform works.
Are there any changes you'd like to make to your own kitchen? Share with us below.