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Check Out What This Stunning Kitchen Looked Like Pre-Remodel

If there is one place in my small apartment that I truly want to tear down and redesign, it's the kitchen. It doesn't have much cupboard or counter space and it's incredibly narrow, so it's hard when more than one person wants to get into the kitchen or cook together, which my husband and I love to do. So you can imagine how my heart skips a beat when I see another kitchen remodel. Case in point, this stunning modern transformation. The home was originally designed by architect William Krisel in 1956 in the midcentury-modern ranch style, so it was clear to Vanessa Matsalla of Studio Matsalla Interiors when she embarked on this project that it was in desperate need of a modern makeover. 

And make it over she did. Matsalla and her team were tasked with a complete redesign and conversion that involved fusing the existing office with the adjoining kitchen to become one big entertainment area. "My clients are both creative professionals, so the pressure was on to design something that would blow them away," she tells me. "Functionally, my goal was to create a space that felt inviting for children's play, day-to-day use, and entertaining."

Read below to discover just how Matsalla did it and see some amazing before-and-after photos that will make your jaw drop to the floor. 


before kitchen remodel
Courtesy of Studio Matsalla Interiors

Much of Matsalla's work nods to midcentury-modern design with a hint of casual California thrown in, but this original kitchen was a little too midcentury and needed some major modern influence.

before kitchen renovation
Courtesy of Studio Matsalla Interiors

Architecturally, the bones of this kitchen were solid and striking. It was the fashion and style elements of the space that needed to be updated.

before kitchen makeover
Courtesy of Studio Matsalla Interiors

The kitchen was also a little narrow and felt cramped, so Matsalla really wanted to create one large open-concept space where everyone could mill around and enjoy it together.


modern kitchen
Amber Thrane ; DESIGN: Studio Matsalla Interiors

The existing kitchen had original Clerestory windows that pitched along with the ceiling. "These details aren't always celebrated and are significant to older homes," explains Matsalla. "It was love at first sight for me." When incorporated into the new design, it elevated the vibe and made it entirely unique. 

modern kitchen remodel
Amber Thrane ; DESIGN: Studio Matsalla Interiors

Matsalla really wanted something a little less standard than the ever-popular all-white kitchen. She took a different approach and sourced materials that would add warmth to the white backdrop of the house but still felt clean, modern, and cozy. "I ended up with textured cabinets with this beautiful shade of blue for the stacked vertical backsplash," she adds.

modern white kitchen
Amber Thrane ; DESIGN: Studio Matsalla Interiors

As with almost every remodel project, interior designers are often faced with challenges, whether in the design or the budget. Matsalla's team had structural components that limited their ability to "wave our wand to make things magically disappear." Their greatest challenge was designing the island around two load-bearing posts that couldn’t be removed. "When I look at the photos now I hardly notice them even though they’re still front and center," she recalls. 

how to renovate a kitchen
Amber Thrane ; DESIGN: Studio Matsalla Interiors

While I personally love the globe pendant lighting, Matsalla tells me her greatest find is the Hati Hati leather barstools. "Their woven texture added the perfect amount of warmth to the clean and modern kitchen backdrop," she says. We couldn't agree more. The modern drawer pulls are also great and really help bring the kitchen into a contemporary context. 

modern kitchen ideas
Amber Thrane ; DESIGN: Studio Matsalla Interiors

There is so much to love about this project, but there's one thing Matsalla is really proud of. "When you walk into the home post-remodel, it has a new synergistic energy to it," she says. "It just feels really good."

kitchen design ideas
Amber Thrane ; DESIGN: Studio Matsalla Interiors

Adding additional counter space was crucial to the kitchen redesign to allow for entertaining and for multiple people to use the kitchen at one time.  

kitchen bar
Amber Thrane ; DESIGN: Studio Matsalla Interiors

The neutral color palette is offset by the striking gray-blue subway tiles along the back wall. We also love how they've been laid vertically over the traditional horizontal position. 

kitchen details
Amber Thrane ; DESIGN: Studio Matsalla Interiors

With extra cupboard space, the counters can be left minimal and clean. Open-shelving also helps to keep things simple and clutter-free.

open shelving
Amber Thrane ; DESIGN: Studio Matsalla Interiors

The open-shelving continues on either side of the oven range hood, which is a thoughtful design.

modern kitchen design
Amber Thrane ; DESIGN: Studio Matsalla Interiors