Seattle Home Goes French With a Parisian-Inspired Kitchen Remodel

A galley kitchen in Seattle gets a fresh design makeover with a mix of modern and French touches.
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MR_Seattle-kitchen-breakfast-table_s4x3

By: Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien
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MR_Seattle-kitchen-josh-and-casey_s3x4

Sally shares the new kitchen with her boyfriend Josh and pup, Pirate.

Sally shares the new kitchen with her boyfriend Josh and pup, Pirate.

When Sally Fouts decided to tackle a kitchen remodel in her 100-year-old Seattle home, she didn't let distance get in the way of working with Portland interior designer and friend, Casey Keasler of K.I.D. Collective.

"Casey and I have known each other a long time, and I love her style, so it was really, really easy," says Sally. During the initial conception process of the new kitchen’s design, Casey traveled up to Seattle. "We used Skype to review a few plans that Casey drew up, and we also used Pinterest throughout for inspiration," adds Sally. In fact, the Pinterest board that the pair created to exchange ideas and inspiration now boasts more than a million followers.

Seattle Home Gets a Parisian-Inspired Kitchen Remodel

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Modest Beginnings

Before Sally Fouts’ kitchen remodel, the space featured cheap materials that were not durable. Looking around you’d notice cracked tilework and details like a shallow aluminum sink that was not pretty or functional.

Entertaining Nightmare

The island in the original space divided the kitchen into two areas. You had to walk through a skinny pathway past the island to enter the family room. "The island created a bottleneck when I had people over," says Sally. "No one wanted to sit in the family room area, because it felt separated from the action in the kitchen. So they would stand along the narrow walkway area. It was really clumsy and awkward."

Time for a Change

After spending five months in Paris, Sally came home with new design inspiration and couldn't wait to get started on her French-inspired, modern kitchen remodel. She recruited designer and friend, Casey Keasler of K.I.D. Collective to assist in the $30,000 remodel.

Separate but Open

After the remodel, the breakfast table separates the kitchen from the family room. Sally wanted the space to feel separate but more open. "When I have company over, my friends tend to lounge on the couches while I cook, so it's really nice to have a more open space," says Sally. "It feels like we're still in the same room, but it’s naturally divided by the table." By removing the island, shifting the layout of the space and using a simple mix of bright whites and rustic woods in the kitchen, the gorgeous ceiling beams instantly catch your attention when you walk in the room.

©Lisa Warninger

That's Real Fir

Sally and Casey decided on reclaimed fir flooring that they found on Craigslist. Now the floors in the family room match the rest of the house. There was no space for a breakfast table in the original space.

©Lisa Warninger

Pretty and Practical

Before Sally’s remodel, the floor in the family room had carpeting. When you enter the house from the backyard, this is the first room you walk into. "Carpeting was really impractical, especially here in Seattle where it’s muddy half the year," says Sally. The rest of the house has original fir flooring.

Wall of Tile

Sally loves her kitchen’s new wall of subway tile (and the lack of cupboards or shelves on that wall.) "It's open, simple and clean," she says.

Ditch the Island

By replacing the bulky island with a space-saving breakfast table, Sally was able to build in additional cabinets and drawers to the kitchen design for extra storage. Plus, the old bi-level island didn’t really function like an island, either. The island had a stove built into it, rather than a sink, and the counters were too high to use as a work surface. "The new breakfast table is much more efficient as a workspace," says Sally.

Paint It White

Sally would have loved to replace the kitchen cabinets, but it didn’t work out. "New cabinets definitely weren't in the budget," says Sally. They painted the cabinets, instead, for a fresh makeover. They were able to keep the fir floors with the remodel. Sally had already updated the refrigerator and dishwasher prior to the remodel, so both of those appliances stayed.

©Lisa Warninger

Man of the Kitchen

Josh, Sally's boyfriend, is a musician who has to travel regularly for work. Since he doesn't get to cook on the road, Josh is happy to do the majority of the cooking when he is home. He finds it easy to prep meals with all of their counter space in the remodeled kitchen. "He also loves the new Viking range" says Sally. "The breakfast table is the perfect spot to sit and drink coffee and read the paper or work on my laptop," says Sally. "It's also where I sit and enjoy a glass of wine while my boyfriend makes me dinner. He cooks for me most weeknights — I'm spoiled."

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Sally’s white, under-mounted sink has a simple, sleek style. "Casey found that sink before it was actually available, so we had to wait a little while for it to arrive," says Sally. "But it was a hands-down favorite for both of us." The undermount style makes counter cleanup easier, and the deep sink means Sally can hide dirty dishes inside if she needs. Sally bought the fancy-looking faucet from Amazon.com. "It was incredibly inexpensive — a fraction of the price of the others I was looking at — and is the most functional faucet I’ve ever used. I absolutely love it," she says.

Where to Put Your Fire Power

During the remodel, the placement of the oven shifted from the old island to the wall, which really opened up the space. "The oven was part of the humongous island before, and it created a big barrier between the kitchen and the family room," says Sally. "Plus, it was the first thing you’d see when you walked into the room, and there are much more appealing features to highlight than that old stove."

For the Love of Paris

The subway tile backsplash would fit right in with many spaces in Paris. Sally chose the tilework because it felt French to her.

Free Up a Path

When Sally and her boyfriend host a party, people tend to stand around the kitchen. Sometimes they'll sit at the breakfast table or in the family room. Wherever people congregate, there’s space to mingle now without the bottleneck around the old island.

Out in the Open

The open shelving in the kitchen feels very European. Sally was inspired by her time spent living in Paris. She keeps all her everyday mugs, bowls, and glassware on the open shelves.

©Lisa Warninger

Special Touches That Shine

Sally worked with her designer Casey to source beautiful, unique finds to accent the kitchen, like these sconces that add ambient lighting to the space. The result is a kitchen that feels anything but cookie-cutter in style.

Leave Out What You Need

The white subway tile and open shelving remind Sally of her time spent in Paris. Another reminder: "The wine and cheese eating that takes place at the breakfast table," she laughs. The clean lines of the kitchen and storage solutions to contain kitchen clutter make the space feel inviting and functional. What’s left out in the kitchen: tools that the couple use all the time, including a wall-mounted knife rack.

The Hang-Out Hub

"I like simple, open, airy spaces," says Sally. "And I really like to lounge around drinking coffee in the morning or wine in the evening and listening to music or chatting with friends. The remodeled space is perfect for that."

Behind Closed Doors

Sally’s remodel increased the pantry storage space. She now has a neat place to store pantry staples, small appliances, and spices so they’re accessible yet hidden. The larger pantry is one of Sally’s favorite elements of the remodeled kitchen.

Setting the Mood

Sometimes, you don’t want the brightest light possible, like for a romantic dinner for two. "I am in love with the dimmer switches," says Sally. "Now we can turn the lights up when we’re cooking and turn them down when we’re eating at the breakfast table."

Maximize the Light

The kitchen receives a ton of natural light, which bounces off the white walls in the space.

©Lisa Warninger

The Scope of the Kitchen Remodel

  • Installed an under mount sink and faucet
  • Added butcher block countertops
  • Painted the cabinets white and replaced the hardware
  • Removed the island and replaced it with a marble breakfast table
  • Rebuilt the pantry
  • Replaced and moved the stove from the former island to the wall
  • Added white subway tile as the backsplash
  • Installed open metal shelves
  • Replaced light fixtures with accent lighting
  • Ripped up the carpet in the family room and installed reclaimed fir flooring
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MR_Seattle-kitchen-before_s4x3

BEFORE

BEFORE

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MR_Seattle-white-open-kitchen_s4x3

AFTER

©Lisa Warninger

Lisa Warninger

AFTER

The original kitchen had been remodeled during the ‘90s in a galley style that made the space feel extra long and narrow. The previous owners had installed a tall island in the kitchen that divided up the space awkwardly. There was also an addition added to the back of the kitchen, which became the family room.

Sally’s goal for her remodel was to create a bright, clean kitchen with an open feel. “I knew I wanted a space that fit the era of the home, but with a modern and functional twist,” says Sally. “And we needed to lose all references to the ‘90s!” She started planning the kitchen remodel shortly after spending five months living in Paris. Sally knew she wanted to bring a touch of that French style to her Seattle kitchen. With a budget of $30,000, Sally’s kitchen was remodeled top to bottom in eight weeks in a smooth process that had no (unwanted) surprises. She now shares the space with her boyfriend Josh and her pup Pirate.

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