How Designer Lucy Penfield Turned a Rustic Cabin Kitchen Into a Modern Retreat

makeover of the week -lucy penfield cabin kitchen after

Design: Lucy Penfield, Photo: Spacecrafting, Architect: SALA Architects

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.

“The kitchen in this 1970’s Minnesota cabin needed some serious updating, with its dark interior, choppy layout, and small windows that hindered the beautiful lake views,” designer Lucy Penfield says. “The goal was to create an open space that embraced the outdoors and all of its natural light.”

Meet the Expert

Lucy Penfield, owner of Lucy Interior Design in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is known for her playful and visually stimulating multi-layered designs.


Old kitchen with wooden walls.

Courtesy of Lucy Penfield

“The original kitchen had knotty-pine paneling and a wood stove, not in line with the Scandinavian/mid-century modern vibe that the owners were longing for,” notes Penfield. “We knocked down walls to open up the space, but we were able to preserve the original oak floors, Douglas Fir trusses, and the surrounds on the windows.”


Bright kitchen with light wooden cabinets.

Design: Lucy Penfield, Photo: Spacecrafting, Architect: SALA Architects

“We achieved our goal of creating a bright, open, and welcoming space by filling the room with carefully curated, clean-lined furnishings with pops of neutral, moss green, and teal shades,” Penfield says.

What Changed:

  • Color theme: A palette of earthy browns sets the stage for the lake blues and mossy greens hues.
  • Cabinets: A light colored walnut Larch veneer was chosen for its vertical grain and the way it complements the Douglas fir throughout the room, while brushed stainless-steel pulls play off the finishes in the hood and appliances.
  • Countertop: Maintenance-and-stain-free black graphite soapstone on the counters and island has a distinct pencil edge and is reflective of the steel plates on the ceiling beams.
  • Backsplash: Thin, easy-to-clean glass panels were painted the same color as the walls; known as Starfire, the glass is made with a silica that eliminates the greenish-blue tint you see in regular glass.
  • Hood: A dramatic stainless steel hood centers the room and provides LED lighting over the island.
  • Center island: The base of the island was painted charcoal gray to add subtle color to the space.
  • Light fixture: Created in 1958 by architect Poul Henningsen, the upside-down artichoke pendant contains 72 leaves which conceal the bulb and offer up a warm, luminescent glow.
  • Table: A walnut midcentury style table seats four and is paired with wrap-around back chairs upholstered in a turquoise wool fabric.
  • Window: The uniquely shaped sliver window allows natural light to peek in on a wall filled with cabinets.
  • Stool: The black counter stool, with its fully welded frame and baked powder coat finish, provides seating at the island.
  • Swivel chair: Designed by John Mascheroni, the Marshall chair epitomizes mid-century design with its classic straight edges.
  • Floor lamp: The freestanding lamp is topped with a metal drum shade and has an adjustable arm to allow light to be directed where needed.
  • Gas fireplace/shelving: A custom three-sided peninsula gas fireplace, wrapped in black metal, bridges the dining and lounge areas and contains built-in display shelves.
  • Accessories: The homeowners filled the kitchen with local finds and treasures from their travels.

Shop the Look

Dining set with teal chairs.

Design: Lucy Penfield, Photo: Spacecrafting, Architect: SALA Architects

Clare chair
Calligaris Claire Chair $455.00
Brass floor lamp.
Project 62 Cantilever Floor Lamp in Brass $40.00
Accent Table
Mater Accent Dining Table $2,090.00