White Paint, Small-Space Remodel

HGTV Magazine shares how knocking down a wall — and using buckets of white paint — can totally transform a space.

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  • Before: \"Hidden Gem\"

    When designer Amber Lewis and her husband, Mike, purchased a 1960s ranch house in West Hills, Calif., the formal living room and the kitchen were awkwardly separated by a wall that made the whole space feel cave-like and depressing. On top of that, just about every surface was covered in some kind of dingy material, from green shag carpeting to granny-style floral wallpaper. But Amber knew a gem of a great room was hiding in there somewhere.

  • After: Remodel Success

    After knocking through the barricade, she brightened up all the walls with white paint. She brought in new white cabinets and counters, plus fun pops of color and graphic patterns. \"It was six weeks of total chaos, living with a miniature fridge and a microwave in our home office, but it was definitely worth it,\" she says. \"Everyone wants to hang out here. I think it's because our great room turned out so great.\"

  • Bright Space

    A single fixture and uncovered window mean more light. Bright white on all the surfaces makes the room light and happy.

  • Cool Feel

    She chose white quartz countertops with a squared-off edge and white Carrara marble tiles for the backsplash, then offset the cool feel with traditional Shaker-style cabinets.

  • Contemporary Lighting

    Industrial pendants hang above the island (Mercer pendant, schoolhouseelectric.com). \"I wanted the kitchen to look modern but still feel cozy,\" she says. \"The best way to do that is to mix contemporary with classic.\"

  • Adjustable Barstool

    The Dalfred barstool adjusts from 24 3/4\" to 29 1/8\" tall (IKEA stores).

  • Clever Color

    Amber furnished the living room space with a striped rug, a rattan chair, a suzani-covered ottoman and a white slipcovered sofa piled high with bright pillows. \"I stick with neutrals for the stuff that's hard to change, like upholstered pieces and walls,\" she says. (Striped 7'10\" x 5'7\" rug by Stockholm Rand flat-woven from IKEA)

  • Updated Fireplace

    Painting the fireplace white makes it recede without erasing its texture. (Rattan Hennie chair, serenaandlily.com)

  • Perfect Backdrop

    A white sofa is the perfect backdrop for a fun mix of pillows. \"I add color and pattern with rugs, pillows and artwork — things that are easier to swap out.\"

  • Graphic Pattern

    Vintage suzani-upholstered ottoman, from store.sleepingpartners.com

  • Outdoors In

    White double-pane sliding doors replaced the original aluminum ones. The leafy curtain fabric gives a nod to what lies right outside the doors. (Fabric: Fig Leaf by Peter Dunham Textiles, peterdunhamtextiles.com)

  • Book Nook

    Extra space carved out beside the fridge made room for shelves (painted plywood secured to the wall with screws). \"The bottom shelves are filled with kids' books, so my little girl loves to hang out there. It's her space,\" says Amber of her daughter, Gwyneth. The leather folding stool can be pulled into the living room for extra seating.

  • Personalized Art

    A reproduction of a London subway sign makes Amber's British husband feel at home. (Artwork Custom 20 1/2\" x 60\" bus scroll, $299, transitdesign.com)

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