The True Story Behind That Neon Pink and Green Kitchen

This eye-popping LA kitchen sizzled across social media like design lightning (in both an electrifying and hair-raising sense) — and we had to know what inspired such a bolt from the blue. Fair warning: You might be inspired to take your own walk on the wild side after learning more.

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October 06, 2023
Eclectic Neon Colored Kitchen with Diner Style Stools

Eclectic Neon Pink and Green Kitchen with Diner-Style Stools

Neon green, orange, and pink combine to create a stunning palette in this eclectic kitchen featuring midcentury, diner style stools.

Photo by: Photography by Suki Medencevic

Photography by Suki Medencevic

Like an emissary from another, more unapologetically fabulous world, this vibrant image crested the horizon of HGTV’s TikTok page in the summer of 2021.

@hgtv Use three words to describe this kitchen #HGTV #kitchen #skycomesfalling #kitchenremodel #fyp ♬ Sure Thing (cover version) - Tik Toker

Responses were decidedly mixed (from “absolutely fricken AMAZING!!” to “my eyes hurt”); like the kitchen in question, none expressed neutrality. The crowd on a related Facebook post was similarly feisty and it quickly became one of HGTV's most commented on Facebook posts ever. Love it or hate it, this taste was strong.

We needed to know much more about that fabulous world than a single cameo and paragraph in a colorful kitchens gallery could tell us — and a fact-finding mission began.

Mexico City Magic

Blocky pink midcentury home with blue and marigold accents.

Contemporary California Home With Dazzling Blue, Fuchsia and Marigold Exterior

This is the fantastically vivid Santa Monica residence that Los Angeles designer Karen Frid-Madden and her family call home. A Mexico City native and one-time doctoral candidate in Latin American Studies, Karen collaborated with her father and brother — both architects — to create a spectacular structure that references the work (and exuberant, super-saturated palettes) of Mexican architects Ricardo Legorreta and Luis Barragán. If this blue reminds you of Mexico City's Museo Frida Kahlo (aka "La Casa Azul"), there's good reason for that: Karen painstakingly sourced a paint match in Tijuana (and then custom-blended the pink and marigold that accompany it at the same paint shop). With an exterior like this, how could the kitchen within be anything less than a jaw-dropper?

Photo by: Suki Medencevic

Suki Medencevic

This is the fantastically vivid Santa Monica residence that Los Angeles designer Karen Frid-Madden and her family call home. A Mexico City native and one-time doctoral candidate in Latin American Studies, Karen collaborated with her father and brother — both architects — to create a spectacular structure that references the work (and exuberant, super-saturated palettes) of Mexican architects Ricardo Legorreta and Luis Barragán.

If this blue reminds you of Mexico City's Museo Frida Kahlo (aka "La Casa Azul"), there's good reason for that: Karen painstakingly sourced a paint match in Tijuana (and then custom-blended the pink and marigold that accompany it at the same paint shop). With an exterior like this, how could the kitchen within be anything less than a jaw-dropper?

Dreaming Up a Fairy Garden

Turquoise wall with hamsas in front of orange kitchen.

Neon Orange Kitchen With Turquoise Accents and Contemporary Mexican Decor

This kitchen stands at the heart of the home’s open plan, and homeowner Karen and her husband envisioned it as a “fairy garden” that would function as a gathering place and creative inspiration for their two young daughters, then 4 and 5. To realize that dream, they turned to Los Angeles designer Elina Katsioula-Beall, whose credentials couldn’t have suited them better. With degrees in classical art and theatrical design and experience in art direction for the Academy Awards, Elina is accustomed to creating both kitchens (in Los Angeles, London and Athens) and fully formed worlds.

Photo by: Suki Medencevic

Suki Medencevic

The kitchen stands at the heart of the home’s open plan, and Karen and her husband envisioned it as a “fairy garden” that would function as a gathering place and creative inspiration for their two young daughters, then 4 and 5. To realize that dream, they turned to Los Angeles designer Elina Katsioula-Beall, whose credentials couldn’t have suited them better. With degrees in classical art and theatrical design and experience in art direction for the Academy Awards, Elina is accustomed to creating both kitchens (in Los Angeles, London and Athens) and fully formed worlds.

Going All In

Modern kitchen with white walls, pink countertops and green storage.

Neon Contemporary Kitchen With Green Cabinets and Pink Countertops

Once this kitchen was underway, its atmosphere was infectious, and designer Elina Katsioula-Beall was motivated to incorporate even more color. “My own apprehension was wondering if all this was going to work … then I introduced orange and turquoise on the walls. I watched the construction, but when the kitchen was finished, I was invited to sit and a have a cup of tea. I was enveloped by those colors and was surprised at how happy they made me," she says.

Photo by: Suki Medencevic

Suki Medencevic

That said, the green-and-fuchsia palette Karen requested daunted Elina at first, too. Who would furnish her with electric pink countertops? “Luckily Silestone was still carrying that color (they don’t any more), and there are several green laminates [for the cabinets] to choose from. We knew at once that was it," she recalls.

Once the kitchen was underway, its atmosphere was infectious, and Elina was motivated to incorporate even more color. “My own apprehension was wondering if all this was going to work … then I introduced orange and turquoise on the walls. I watched the construction, but when the kitchen was finished, I was invited to sit and a have a cup of tea. I was enveloped by those colors and was surprised at how happy they made me," she says.

Bright pink and green island with orange walls.

Eclectic Contemporary Kitchen Island With Pink Countertop and Green Cabinets

Designer Elina Katsioula-Beall relates to readers who might be shy about taking a Technicolor plunge — and she encourages them to power right past misgivings. “I was shy, too! My advice is that it is best to dive into it, choose all the colors you absolutely love and decide altogether where you want them to go. My first advice to all my clients is, ‘Bring into your home ONLY what you love!’"

Photo by: Suki Medencevic

Suki Medencevic

She relates to readers who might be shy about taking a Technicolor plunge — and she encourages them to power right past misgivings. “I was shy, too! My advice is that it is best to dive into it, choose all the colors you absolutely love and decide altogether where you want them to go. My first advice to all my clients is, ‘Bring into your home ONLY what you love!’"

Ready for New Hues

It's now been almost a decade since this now-infamous kitchen first entered HGTV's design archives, and the fact that it's getting attention all over again doesn't surprise Elina. After all, bright colors are resonating both with professionals in the design world and homeowners looking to change up their spaces after the literal and figurative confinement of the last few years. "I think that now we live in a rather gloomy era. For the last several years the design trend was 50 shades of gray," she observes. "Homeowners are getting tired of bad news — the climate change, the world events, the worries about the future. They want to bring color in their lives, happy environments in which they can relax and take time away from sadness.

Neon kitchen with pink counters, green storage and orange walls.

Eclectic Contemporary Kitchen With Neon Pink Countertops and Green Cabinets

It's now been almost a decade since this now-infamous kitchen first entered HGTV's design archives, and the fact that it's getting attention all over again doesn't surprise designer Elina Katsioula-Beall. After all, bright colors are resonating both with professionals in the design world and homeowners looking to change up their spaces after the literal and figurative confinement of the last few years. "I think that now we live in a rather gloomy era. For the last several years the design trend was 50 shades of gray," she observes. "Homeowners are getting tired of bad news — the climate change, the world events, the worries about the future. They want to bring color in their lives, happy environments in which they can relax and take time away from sadness.

Photo by: Suki Medencevic

Suki Medencevic

"When I designed that kitchen, there was no Instagram," she continues. "Now, so many images of colorful interior spaces are getting posted daily. The homeowners get encouraged. They start slowly, painting their walls or their white cabinets with bright colors. Then they sense the value of getting a designer to pull it all together!"

Decorate Like No One Is Watching

Colorful kitchen with pink countertops and white barstools.

Eclectic Neon Kitchen With Pink Countertops and Green Cabinets

Is it possible to take mere tidbits of inspiration (like, say, the shapely origami lamp presiding over the island) from homeowner Karen and designer Elina Katsioula-Beall's big swing for the fences? Of course it is; playful shapes and ultra-bright colors make excellent accents. We prefer to think of how absolutely over the moon Karen's little daughters must have been when they saw this space for the first time — and about what creative teenagers they must be now after calling this space home. Perhaps Silestone has a few more of those pink slabs overlooked in a warehouse somewhere? We have a recipe in mind.

Photo by: Suki Medencevic

Suki Medencevic

Is it possible to take mere tidbits of inspiration (like, say, the shapely origami lamp presiding over the island) from Karen and Elina's big swing for the fences? Of course it is; playful shapes and ultra-bright colors make excellent accents. We prefer to think of how absolutely over the moon Karen's little daughters must have been when they saw this space for the first time — and about what creative teenagers they must be now after calling this space home. Perhaps Silestone has a few more of those pink slabs overlooked in a warehouse somewhere? We have a recipe in mind.

More Electrifying Design

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