Before: Outdated Living SpacesTova and Daniel have lived in their suburban home for about four years. There never seemed to be any rush to modernize their dated decor until they suddenly found themselves under pressure to make the space more beautiful and functional. Daniel, a video-game developer, was planning an at-home-party for the impending launch of his company's latest game, and Tova was planning a little launch of her own: the birth of the couple's first child.
The main problem was the couple's outdated kitchen, which opens up onto an equally outmoded living room. Tova and Daniel are young and modern, and they love to entertain, but the two rooms did not reflect or accommodate their lifestyle. So with time at a premium, I geared up to beat the clock and rebuild a dysfunctional kitchen and living area before any births occurred (the baby's or the video game).
After: Ultra-Modern and SpaciousWith little space to work with in each room, I decided to knock down the wall connecting the two, paint all of the walls in a light, unifying color, and create one big, open concept space. The challenge here was to give each area its own flavor, but still provide enough common elements to tie them together.
I started with the small and cramped kitchen area, which had little room for eating or storage, so I ripped everything up and reorganized the space. I designated the entire back wall for storage and added espresso-toned wood cabinets and a buffet counter with oodles of room below for pots and pans. I also installed sleek and modern countertops in hard-wearing shiny black quartz.
To create additional space, I relegated most of the cooking facilities to a custom-built center island, which features even more storage and a glass overhead fume hood.
I replaced all of the mismatched appliances and gave "Tova the chef" new state-of-the-art stainless-steel appliances: a counter-depth fridge, two stacking wall ovens and two (yes, two) dishwashers.
I then moved into the clogged and chaotic living area to try and turn it into a comfortable place for guests. I disposed of the couple's obsolete furnishings and installed new pieces, including a scaled-down couch, two armless slipper chairs and some wall mirrors--all designed to open up the area.
I took Daniel's beloved media equipment to the next level by installing a custom cabinet with a door-mounted flat-screen television that swings out for optimal viewing (and marathon video-game matches) from anywhere in the room.
I then got to work on finishes that would help bring the two rooms together. I chose a color scheme of browns, greens, blues and beiges. I used these tones in the drapes and valance in the kitchen and utilized them in tactile velvets and chenilles for the accents in the living room.
The old flooring was a combo of outdated ceramic tile in the kitchen and unfashionable carpet in the living room. So I spiced things up with river stone-patterned vinyl tile in the kitchen and durable dark wood-vinyl flooring in the living room (which complements the wood in the kitchen).
After some final flourishes, including recessed lighting to brighten things up, the redesign was complete. By giving each room a distinct personality, but also adding collective ingredients to bring them together, I created an ultra-modern kitchen and living area that will serve the couple well when it's time for baby bottles and bonus rounds. How divine!
(Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of Home & Garden Television's Divine Design.)