Villanova Kitchen Renovation: Part 2

Last week I shared the details about a kitchen in Villanova we designed and remodeled last year.  We showed Before Photos, talked about the issues and shared the new floor plan.  If you missed that post and would like to know more about the design you’ll see below, please check it out HERE.

Today you are in for a treat because we are revealing the stunning AFTER shots, photographed by Courtney Apple.  This project was a real treat for me.  From the two tone cabinets, to the reclaimed wood island to the swoonworthy lighting, I think it came together quite nicely.  Kitchens are always a challenge when it comes to personalizing design.  Most of my clients want something stylish, distinctive yet also not so unique that it won’t be appealing to the next homeowner.  I love walking that fine line and coming up with designs that are beautiful, functional, classic and really special.  This kitchen below may go to the top of my growing list.

Picture Time!


before 1- kit from dining room


1-kit window wall from dining


Villanova Kitchen- Charcoal Gray cabinets paired with Light Gray Cabinets White Quartzite counters Reclaimed Wood Island Gold Hardware

{Removed the Aqua room, removed the half wall and raise the opening into the eating area.}

See all of the details after the Jump.


Dream Kitchen- Lauren Liess

I”ve been a fan-girl of Lauren Liess‘ for as long as I”ve been reading blogs (5+ years.)  I admire her style, her personality, her adorable family and the way she has expanded her business from interior design firm to creating a textile line to now having a beautiful studio/store.  She comes across as honest, down to earth yet elegant, effortlessly beautiful and I would say her interiors are the same way.  I’ve learned so much from reading her blog and strive to embed some of her approach into my own designs- simplicity, patina, imperfection, casual elegance and natural beauty.

When her big home renovation was revealed in Domino Magazine this month I was all over that shit.  The entire space is gorgeous (you must pick up a copy to see the whole spread,) but I was particularly smitten with her kitchen.  As a kitchen designer, I often struggle with mixing practicality and beauty in such a utilitarian space.  She created a space that is modern and rustic and blends seamlessly with the rest of her home.  So often kitchens feel like a stark departure from the rest of your house!  Why not incorporate art, softness and style into the heart of the home?

Lauren’s kitchen as seen in Domino Magazine…

lauren liess kitchen 1

My favorite element in the kitchen is the island made of reclaimed lumber and topped with marble.  The matte finish of the wood and the vintage hardware make my heart pitter patter.   New wood just doesn’t have the same soul.

Liess Home

Instead of your typical tile backsplash or wall of cabinetry, she opted for an art wall over her sink.  I’ve tinkered with a gallery wall in my own kitchen and will be looking to this space for great inspiration.

Liess Home

Can we go back and talk about the rusted iron etageres that she used instead of your typical wall cabinets or open shelves?  I die.   It’s so un-kicheny (cause that’s a word) yet functional at the same time.  I love that everything is within easy reach in this kitchen.

A view from the family room shows how the kitchen really ties in perfectly with her aesthetic for the rest of the home.

Liess Home

You can spy the refrigerator on the left wall there.  Just a few steps away from the main work area in the kitchen.

Liess Home

For more information on this kitchen and to hear about the design in her own words, you must check out this post.

All images by Helen Norman for Lauren Liess.

(Except the first which is from Domino Magazine.)

Modern Wood Kitchens

Maybe it’s in reaction to the world being so saturated with all WHITE KITCHENS, but I find myself attracted to EARTHY STAINED CABINETS recently.  When doing stained wood in a kitchen I love it rich: not too dark (espresso) not too light ( bleached)  Those looks, while lovely, seemed more trendy to me, and thus prone to lookin dated down the road.  I’d rather have a natural stained walnut or weathered reclaimed wood.  Something organic and natural.  The stained wood cabinet looks best on a modern door- slab or something with minimal embellishment. Pair it with a light counter, modern fixutres, perhaps an unexpected pattern and you have yourself one chic kitchen.


modern wood kitchen, light counter patterned splashvia Design Files

modern wood kitchen with arched window wall

McAlpine Tankersley

modern wood kitchen mid century tribal rug

modern wood kitchen with white subway patterend floorAbramson Teiger

modern wood kitchen dark counter herringbone floor

wood and metal island mixed open and closed

That island!  I love a mix of wood and metal.

Project Craftsman Kitchen Reveal

I’m so excited to finally share finished shots of Project Craftsman.  This was such a great project to work on because the clients are just the nicest people ever and they were down to try something a little different.  I’ve long wanted to try a “two-tone” kitchen with wood base cabinets and white wall cabinets and I think the results turned out so great.  It’s a great mix of practicality (stained wood base cabinets are more forgiving) and aesthetics (white uppers really help brighten up the space.)  We designed a custom 3 panel door for the wall cabinets.  I love that it dresses up a simple shaker door but is still clean and classic.  The DM team did a great job executing all of the finishing details and turning this once ugly duckling kitchen into the happiest spot into the home.

design manifest kitchen stained wood base white wall cabinets