9 Simple Kitchen Upgrades

HGTV Magazine showcases how a few easy changes transformed one Virginia family’s kitchen into the home they always wanted.

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  • Kitchen Chronicles

    Owner Madelyn Smith knew she'd found \"the one\" the first time she stepped inside the McLean, Va., home where she lives with husband, Dominic. It was almost perfect. The newly built kitchen — with white cabinetry, a walnut-topped island, marble countertops and top-of-the-line appliances — was gorgeous, but it had no pep or personality. Madelyn wanted to keep the room's good bones but add her own flare, so she asked Washington, D.C., interior designer Marika Meyer to help her turn a blank canvas into a stylish spot for a high-energy family of five.

  • Fiery Red Barstools

    Metal stools from the Sundance Catalog got a makeover with a coat of primer and red paint (Salsa by Benjamin Moore). \"The stools are crazy comfortable because of their extra-big square seats,\" says Madelyn.

  • Get This Look

    Add the pop of color to your own kitchen with these Garden backless barstools, $139, homedecorations.com.

  • Easy-Access Faucet

    Dominic, a former restaurant owner and an avid cook, suggested a wall-mounted pot filler at the range. \"It's a great little timesaver,\" says Madelyn. \"I make tea every morning, and I can fill my kettle right at the stove.\"

  • Get This Look

    The art of boiling water just got even easier. Fill a pasta pot, saucepan or anything else easily with this Delta Faucet chrome pot filler, $362, bellcor.com.

  • Sturdy Lighting

    A substantial island calls for substantial lighting, so Madelyn and Marika picked out three hefty pendants. They're big enough to illuminate the space, whether the kids are doing art projects or Mom and Dad are chopping veggies. Make an industrial statement in your kitchen with this Sloane single pendant with metal shade, $525, circalighting.com.

  • Bright Accessories

    Madelyn filled the shelves above the sink with go-to cookbooks and colorful vases and jars. \"I've collected the pottery over the years,\" she says. \"Some pieces were gifts, and now I have the just-right spot to show them off.\"

  • Add Your Own Flare

    Mix these bright vases with your favorite cookbooks, picture frames or anything that adds a colorful personal touch. Imax ceramic vases, $88 for a set of three, wayfair.com

  • A Touch of Paint

    At 9 feet up, glass-front cabinets along the ceiling were too high to be practical for everyday storage. Marika decided to paint the insides dark teal (Blue Danube by Benjamin Moore) and fill the space with antique olive jars.

  • Understated Backsplash

    You don't have to make a real splash with your backsplash. The old design (ceramic and glass tiles with a floral pattern) was too ornate for Madelyn's taste, so subway title was swapped in. To kick up the style behind the stove, she chose slightly smaller tiles in a herringbone pattern. Waterworks Studio Cottage Field Tile in Dover White Glossy Solid, $15 per square foot, waterworks.com

  • Wow Windows

    Bonus: Roman shades require about half the fabric that drapes do, so they're a money-saving option, especially for a large expanse. \"The four shades that span across the windows are like art for the room,\" says Madelyn. Wilmington Multi Roman shade fabric, $27 per yard, calicocorners.com

  • Sizable Matters

    The original dining area had a puny light fixture that made it look empty and drab. An iron chandelier that matches the bronze pendants over the island was swapped in.

  • A Stellar Chandelier

    This large lighting piece is more than 44 inches wide and makes a nice fit above the generously sized oval table. Visual Comfort small Flemish aged iron linear pendant, $483, lightingnewyork.com

  • Unexpected Rugs

    Madelyn put a wool runner between the island and the stove, which is a pleasant departure from typical kitchen mats, and simple small rugs.

  • Area Rugs

    Keeping with the non-kitchen-y rug theme, a wool Soumak rug was put under the table in the dining area. \"It's super durable, and the colors and pattern hide spills, crumbs and Cheerios,\" Madelyn says. Get the look in your home with this Persian hand-knotted red rug from E Carpet Gallery Persian, 4'3\" x 6', $379, rugsusa.com.

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