The One Room Kate Lester Will Never Forget

White kitchen with blue island.

Courtesy of Kate Lester

Interior designers and other experts in the home industry work on an impressive number of spaces throughout their careers. But even if some of the makeovers and redesigns start to blend together after a few years, there are some rooms that are just truly unforgettable. 

So, to give designers a chance to revisit their favorite projects—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the one room these pros will remember forever. For some, there’s a sentimental connection, for others, there was an obstacle they never thought they’d overcome. But no matter what, these rooms are worth remembering.

Designer Kate Lester has three words to describe this sunny California kitchen: classic, comfortable, and curated. The Los Angeles-based designer is used to tackling large-scale construction projects, with over 15 years of experience under her belt. But remodeling this kitchen was particularly memorable, as the client proved that if at first you don’t succeed, try again, but this time with a new vision—and design team.

The client, a longtime shopper at Lester’s retail store in Hermosa Beach, CA, approached the designer to redo her kitchen, despite the fact that it underwent a renovation less than a year prior. Unfortunately, the space was not what the client had hoped for, but Lester was determined to make her vision a reality.

I like the idea that you can tell a little bit about our client just by taking a glance around the space. It is warm, welcoming, and interesting all at the same time.

“It was a unique request, to say the least,” Lester tells MyDomaine. “But I understood that she felt so overwhelmed during the original build process that she just gave up. It was our job to help create a space that felt welcoming, warm, and was reflective of her love for a farmhouse aesthetic, black and white, and vintage finds.” 

Thinking back on designing the room, Lester explains that she feels, “just plain happy,” she was able to execute her client’s new vision in this space.

Keep scrolling to see how Lester created the fresh and timeless farmhouse retreat of her client’s dreams.

Bright kitchen view of island and table.

Courtesy of Kate Lester

For Lester, this was the perfect opportunity to work with a client in which she sees a lot of herself. “The moment I met her, we clicked,” she says. “Her style and what she was looking for was so on par with my personal style that I hit the ground running and never looked back.”

The kitchen renovation soon began, but with a few immediate bumps. Because some aspects of the space were recently redone and costly to replace again, namely the plumbing and countertops, Lester’s team had to design around those features. But the pre-existing countertops now shine thanks to newly installed cabinetry and the addition of color to the kitchen island. Painting the bottom portion of the island a deep navy allowed Lester to add new depth and visual interest to the kitchen. 

The big-ticket items were the first to receive a revamp, and with those came the direction for the rest of the space. “The minute those changes started to happen, I knew we were headed in the right direction,” Lester remembers.

Cue the rustic farmhouse elements. The reclaimed wood hood trim and antique chairs are juxtaposed with more contemporary additions, like the oak wishbone barstools and crisp subway tile backsplash, to keep the space modern and thoughtful. 

Other standout features of the kitchen include pendants from Urban Electric Co. and the farmhouse dining benches. “How can you not love the custom black farmhouse benches we had made for the banquette table?" Lester adds. “They are such a unique take on a traditional farmhouse chair, and the pop of black helps ground the whole room and adds a pop of contrast.” 

Dining area with wooden table and chairs.

Courtesy of Kate Lester

The room is representative of Lester’s current design style, equally as livable as it is luxurious. “It feels comfortable, but also thoughtfully curated,” says Lester. “I like the idea that you can tell a little bit about our client just by taking a glance around the space. It is warm, welcoming, and interesting all at the same time.”

Lester notes that one of the most gratifying moments of the project was the reveal, during which the client burst into tears. “Knowing that the space was now more of a reflection of her and her family made it all worthwhile,” she says. “It’s so rewarding to help people create backdrops where they can share wonderful memories.” 

Looking back on this project, Lester appreciates the collaboration she felt between herself and the client. “I think it’s important to remember that people hire you for your expertise and professional opinion,” she notes.

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