How One Designer Gave an 80s Kitchen a Taste of Modern Mountain Style

Bench seating in kitchen overlooking the trees with large windows.

Design: Sarah Latham; Photo: Josh Wells

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 client, an avid chef, wanted to shed her kitchen’s 80s aesthetic for a combination of farmhouse and mountain style,” interior designer Sarah Latham says. “Luckily, we were able to meet her goals, taking advantage of the tall ceilings and sweeping views.”

Meet the Expert

Sarah Latham is the founder and principal of Latham Interiors in Ketchum, Idaho. She's known for her chic mountain aesthetic, designing spaces that are simple yet modern.

Before:

Before shot of kitchen with granite countertops.

Courtesy of Sarah Latham

“The old kitchen had dated veneer cabinets, emerald green and black speckled granite countertops, and an awkwardly angled island with a stovetop sitting in the middle of it,” Latham notes.

After:

After shot of sleek modern kitchen with open fireplace.

Design: Sarah Latham; Photo: Josh Wells

“Removing the faux wood casing on the window and door frames along with the wood soffits immediately brightened up the space, as did painting the walls and doors white,” Latham explains. “We added colorful blue cabinetry and sleek stainless steel appliances, along with a rectangular island that transformed the floorplan. The windows and industrial beams, some existing and some new, were painted in a dark grey color to work with the other steel finishes—and then there’s the amazing banquette.”

What Changed:

  • Color theme: Dusty blue, gray, white, and black combine to create a modern synergy.
  • Cabinets: The blue shaker-style cabinets, painted in Van Deusen by Benjamin Moore, add color to the mostly neutral palette.  
  • Countertops: Extra thick 2-inch white quartz countertops are durable yet stylish. 
  • Center island: Cabinetry within the island provides storage for overflow dishes and kitchen gadgets.
  • Backsplash: A handmade 3” x 12” white tile is hung vertically to add interest to the backsplash.  
  • Hood: The custom metal and wood trimmed hood mimics the exposed steel beams.
  • Sconces: The adjustable arms on the sconces shine a spotlight over the open shelving. 
  • Shelving: White oak floating shelves are lined with strip lighting and provide storage for glasses and bowls.
  • Banquet: The seating area includes a custom wood table embedded with river rock, library sconces, a large glass pendant, cushion and pillow fabrics in blue and earth tones, and built-in shelving for books and knickknacks.  
  • Fireplace: A multi-sided gas fireplace contains a quartz hearth and concrete façade, along with a bottom steel shelf for storage. 
  • Bar: The cabinetry is painted in a dark grey hue, Iron Ore by Sherwin-Williams, to keep with the metal theme. 
  • Floor: Wide white oak planks balance out the cool tones in the steel elements and cabinetry. 
  • Pendants: The pendants, made of double glass and black satin metal, add an industrial touch over the island.

Shop the Look:

Blue kitchen island with sleek finishes.

Design: Sarah Latham; Photo: Josh Wells

Bleecker Street Pendant
Sonneman Bleecker Street Pendant $On Request
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“These pendants make a statement without overpowering the room," Latham says.

Space Creator Fireplace
Ortal Space Creator Fireplace $On Request
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“The concrete and steel elements on this three-sided fireplace compliment most modern designs,” Latham says.

Boston Functional Double Arm Library Light
Chapman & Myers Boston Functional Double Arm Library Light $509
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“I love putting library lights in kitchens because they’re playful yet traditional," Latham says.

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