How a Design Duo Brightened a Dark and Dated Kitchen in This Vintage California Home

makeover of the week - dated kitchen after photo

Design: Mansfield + O'Neil, Photo: Isabel Eubanks

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.

“This charming 1930s Georgian Revival house is located in a historic neighborhood in San Mateo, California," explains designer Tiffany Mansfield, one half of the design duo behind Mansfield + O'Neil. "The challenge was to modernize the kitchen without compromising the historical underpinnings of the home. It was filled with period details like original crown molding and doors, but the kitchen space consisted of multiple, separate rooms—including a butler’s pantry and breakfast nook—thanks to an earlier remodel. Everything was walled off, and the client wanted a more open kitchen-living space to entertain friends.” 

Meet the Expert

Tiffany Mansfield and Lisa O’Neil, owners of San Francisco-based interior design firm Mansfield + O’Neil, are known for their dynamic designs and juxtaposition of modern and traditional styles. 


makeover of the week before photo - dark and dated kitchen

Photo courtesy of John Lum Architecture

“The kitchen’s brown walls, distressed white cabinetry, and grey and white marble countertops were outdated and didn’t match up to the beach-y, contemporary vibe the homeowners desired,” Mansfield notes. 


makeover of the week - mansfield + o'neil kitchen makeover after with blue subway tile

Design: Mansfield + O'Neil, Photo: Isabel Eubanks

The team worked with John Lum Architecture to create a more open floor plan for the space.

To create a more unified floor plan, we opened up the kitchen to adjacent living spaces by removing walls and eliminating the butler’s pantry, then turned a former breakfast nook into a light-filled sunroom for reading and relaxing," designer Lisa O’Neil says. "We incorporated both timeless and modern kitchen materials, including wood, steel, concrete, ceramic and stone and used teal blue, soft green, and creamy hues to give the space a lighter feel.”

What Changed:

  • Color theme: Pale apple green, teal blue, soft cream, along with a pop of orange create a palette that’s sophisticated yet playful.
  • Cabinets: Cream-colored shaker-style cabinets are flush set and include open display shelving for books. 
  • Cabinet hardware: Long stainless-steel pulls provide a modern and clean aesthetic against a traditional style cabinet. 
  • Countertops: Durable two-inch engineered stone can withstand stains and requires zero maintenance. 
  • Center island: A bleached walnut base contains drawers for additional storage. 
  • Floor: 24 x 24 grey porcelain tiles in an off-set brick pattern are easy to clean.
  • Backsplash: Blue houndstooth tile is a nod to the home’s English origins, while subway tile in a soft blue was added to the wine and coffee station area.
  • Stools: A modern stainless-steel base adds contrast to the walnut topped swiveling stools.
  • Lights: Pops of orange peek out from under the large-scale spun metal pendants. 
  • Sinks: A stainless-steel farmhouse sink is paired with a restaurant-style sink in the island.
  • Doors: Glass paneled steel doors ground the space and provide light to the outdoors.
  • Accessories: Glass canisters, wooden trays, and a pop of art give the countertops a minimalist look. 

Shop the Look:

makeover of the week - mansfield + o'neil kitchen with blue subway tile

Design: Mansfield + O'Neil, Photo: Isabel Eubanks

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