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How This Designer Swapped Out an Island to Totally Transform a Kitchen Layout

makeover of the week - colonial kitchen makeover

Design: Stephanie Gamble, Photo: Krista Jones, Graphics: Amy Sheehan

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.

“My clients have been living with their two kids in this 1920s Colonial for over a decade," designer Stephanie Gamble, of Stephanie Gamble Interiors, shares. "I had renovated other rooms in their house, and it was finally time to take the plunge and gut remodel the kitchen, which stood out like a sore thumb amongst all the other renovations."

Meet the Expert

Stephanie Gamble is the CEO and Principal Designer of Stephanie Gamble Interiors, in Towson, Maryland. She creates designs that are classic, current, and comfortable, the perfect blend of sophisticated and functional luxury.


makeover of the week - dark and dated kitchen with octagon island

Courtesy of Stephanie Gamble

“Everything was dated, including the red terra cotta floor tiles and the laminate countertops, but the biggest issue with the space was the lousy layout," Gamble notes. "The kitchen had a center island with a somewhat hexagon shape that hindered the room’s flow, and the built-in desk area wasn’t very functional."


makeover of the week- bright white kitchen with breakfast nook

Design: Stephanie Gamble, Photo: Krista Jones

“My goal was to make the 12’ x 13’ space more purposeful, spacious, and light-filled," Gamble says. "I installed a space-saving 5’ x 3’ rectangular island and created an eating nook where the desk once stood. Open shelving, glossy white subway tile, and a farmhouse sink offer a fresh appeal, but the star feature in the room is the La Cornue range, the epitome of luxurious French cooking."

What Changed:

  • Color theme: White, blue, beige, and gray all contribute to the room’s airy vibe. 
  • Cabinets: Brushed gold pulls and knobs pop on the simple white shaker cabinets.
  • Backsplash: Handmade 3” x 6” subway tiles run to the ceiling to eliminate tile breaks, which can make a room feel smaller.
  • Countertops: Honed crystalized marble countertops have a discreet yet visible white veining.
  • Center Island: The island was painted a taupe-gray (Sherwin Williams Alpaca) to create a subtle contrast with the white cabinets.
  • Stools: The faux leather seats make it easy to keep the stools clean.
  • Shelving: White wood shelves are suspended on gold brackets and keep the walls feeling airy and spacious. 
  • Pendants: Both the island pendant (which was powder coated in a grayish blue hue) and the beaded and brass fixture over the table, give off a formal yet fun vibe.
  •  Sink: The white fireclay apron sink was paired with brushed brass fixtures for a hint of modern.
  • Table: The small dinette table has a hand-forged iron base and is surrounded by two vintage velvet chairs and an upholstered banquette.
  • Wall paint: Painting the walls and molding the same bright white (Benjamin Moore Alabaster) created a seamless consistency.
  • Floor: The neutral-colored porcelain floor tile works well with the white and beige in the room.
  • Accessories: To add to the nook’s comfy feel, landscape art was framed in gold while greens are displayed in a white urn. 

Shop the Look

makeover of the week - bright white kitchen with open shelvings and brass accents

Design: Stephanie Gamble, Photo: Krista Jones


Stools (similar):

clinch counter stool
Layla Grace Clinch Counter Stool $333.00

“I love that these stools are generously sized for maximum comfort and because they don’t have a back, they can be pushed all the way under an island so as not to impede flow,” Gamble says.

Darlana Pendant Light
Circa Lighting Darlana Medium Lantern $659.00

“This lantern is my favorite item in the room because it mixes traditional with modern,” Gamble shares.

Quincy Side Table
Burke Decor Quincy Side Table $987.00

“This small sized table is perfect for that little nook in your home you never thought was usable,” says Gamble.