Bright Breakfast Nook Remodel

A professional photographer turns a dreary breakfast nook into a dual workspace and display area.

Bright and Cheery

Photographer Christina Wedge was inspired by functionality and bright colors in her newly updated breakfast nook. The space was previously in tear-out condition. By bartering services with carpenter Chris McClellan, she was able to outfit the space for three uses: as a breakfast nook, a post-production work space and as a display area for her vintage cameras. Previously colorless, she was also set on bringing in coral and powder blue into the space.

Crumbling and Cluttered

In its previous state, the breakfast nook's plaster walls were starting to crumble, the linoleum floor had almost completely come up on its own, and it had absolutely no storage. Wedge would continuously stack her photography supplies on the floor, keeping the space in a constant state of clutter.

Soft Blue and Coral Jewel

To put her home's architecture to good use, she used the archway as a division point between the breakfast nook and the photo editing station. The walls in the workspace were painted Soft Blue and the walls in the breakfast area were done in Coral Jewel, both from Porter Paints. This would allow each area to have a slightly different feel, almost giving the illusion of two separate rooms coordinated with complimentary color schemes.

No Space for Collectibles

For years she has been collecting vintage cameras from the 1950's and 1960s but lacked a proper way to showcase them. When deciding on the new look for her breakfast nook and studio area, she was determined to come up with a cost-effective display idea to use them as a focal point.

A Sophisticated Showcase for Cameras

In order to showcase her vintage cameras in a sophisticated, architectural manner, Wedge consulted with her carpenter friend. Since he had to remove the old plaster and sheet rock anyway, he suggested they simply incorporate recessed alcoves in between the studs. To create each alcove, 10 inch boxes made from sheetrock were fastened in between studs with screws, framed out using 1X3 MDF, then given a display ledge also made from MDF in a 1X6 size.

Functional with a Mid-Century Feel

When choosing the lighting source for the newly revamped editing space and breakfast nook, Wedge wanted to make sure the new fixtures wouldn't distract from the view of her camera showcase wall. The best solution was a four-globe pendant made of clear glass and chrome. The globe pendants provided more light and introduced a mid-century feel. The rods are adjustable and can be heightened or lowered to sit exactly where the photographer wants lighting.

Eye-Catching Art

Upon entry to the breakfast nook and post production work space, guests are greeted by a 4X4 photography art piece mounted on foam core which she considers some of her best work. "I love this piece mostly for its lighting and contrast," Wedge says.

Bold Patterns for Seating

As far as seating was concerned, she wanted to introduce a graphic pattern through cushion upholstery, one that wouldn't compete with the camera display wall just a few inches away. "By choosing vintage white fiberglass chairs which you can almost see directly through, then simply using a bold pattern on their seat cushions, it allows the pattern and focal wall to exist without competing," Wedge says.

Adjustable Flooring

Powder blue and chalky white colors of FLOR tiles were installed in a style called "Toy Poodle" to soften the overall area and help delineate breakfast nook from post production work space. This cost effective product allows her to change up the look as the years go by. "Right now I've got the colors separated and solid, but later on I can change it to a stripe or checkerboard pattern," Wedge says. "The photographer in me is always thinking about changing up spaces for sets and backdrops." The product is easy to install (all you need is a utility knife and a level), and this project only took Wedge two hours to complete.

Custom Storage

The breakfast nook previously had no storage space whatsoever. With everything stacked in boxes next to and on top of the dining table, it was nearly impossible to find anything quickly. To add custom storage without breaking the bank, Wedge picked up a desk from a flea market then had a friend spray it with lacquer in a coral color.

Leftover Props

The photographer does a lot of her own prop-styling and will often return home after a hard day's work with leftover items from her photo shoots. "One of the best benefits to my job is coming home with pretty flowers that end up in bud vases on my desk or as centerpieces in the breakfast nook,” Wedge says.

Versatile Display

Since her personal collection of framed photography is ever-evolving, it would have been impractical to hang each piece on the wall, then constantly shuffle each one around. For a more versatile display method, she decided to showcase framed images on open kitchen shelving meant for cups and glasses. The depth is perfect for leaning framed images against the wall and layering.

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