A Bright, Light Kitchen Makeover
HGTV Magazine shows you the fastest way to take years off a tired space: tons of cool, white and bright touches.
David A. Land
Erin and Creighton Barrett are one of the hipper couples on the planet—she’s a textile designer, and he’s the drummer for Band of Horses. (Also: They named their kids Bowie, as in David, and Sunny.) So the dated kitchen in the 1979 ranch they bought in Charleston, SC, wasn’t exactly a match.
“The finishes made it look like the set of an old sitcom,” says Erin. It also felt dark and cramped, thanks to a layout that closed it off from the living area. When the two finally worked up the energy and the budget for a redo, they decided to go Scandinavian—an airy white style Erin had admired on Pinterest—with a family-friendly edge.
They broke down a wall and put in a breakfast bar, traded the washed-out salmon shade of the cabinets for contemporary maple, and created a space all their own. “Before, whenever visitors came into the kitchen while I was cooking, it was like, Aah, why are you in here?! ” says Erin. “Now we love showing it off.”
While the rest of the house has light engineered wood, Erin went with distinctive porcelain flooring here. She chose 12-inch-by-24-inch tiles from Melcer Tile in North Charleston in a pretty matte gray. The rug is from Rejuvenation.
“When we had that green-and-pink granite, it always seemed dingy and dirty,” says Erin. She chose white Silestone quartz that’s super sleek and crazy clean. “Now the counters sparkle, even when the kids make a mess!” she says.
A pair of pleated ceramic pendants from Cedar & Moss are retro fab, a nod to the house’s ’70s roots. “The texture makes them special,” says Erin, “but they’re not overpowering anything else.”
Two-inch-thick Iroko wood shelves hold adult dishes; the kids’ stuff is in the cabinets, at kid-friendly height. Erin wanted a modern backsplash to offset any farmhouse vibes. She had large subway tiles (4 inches by 12 inches) stacked instead of doing a brick-lay pattern.
Shiplap painted nearly black on a breakfast bar is both practical (it hides shoe scuffs) and striking (oh, the drama). Maple-toned swivel stools from All Modern online stand out against the paneling, and they match the island and the lower cabinets.
David A. Land
The sliding glass doors that used to be here led to an office space, added by the previous homeowner. The couple turned the wall into a giant open pantry. “The knotty pine plywood was a last-minute decision, to give a little warmth and keep things interesting,” says Erin.
A great recipe for a fave family spot: Take one light-filled area and add a mod table (from IKEA), earthy rattan chairs (from World Market), and a fun rug (from Gus Modern). Sunny and Bowie enjoy drawing portraits of the family’s cat and two dogs on the wall-mounted roll of butcher paper. All those open shelves make meal planning easy. “I can sit at the table and see exactly what we have in our pantry,” Erin says.
David A. Land
The quote the Barretts got for new cabinets was more than half of their reno budget. No thanks! New flat-front maple doors for the existing cabinet boxes worked just as well. “I like how the shine in the brass pulls bounces off the dazzling white tile and ovens,” Erin says.
Before, the stove had barely any prep space nearby. Installing a cooktop in the island left plenty of room for making the vegan donuts the kids are obsessed with. For a bit of quirk, a pro sprayed the range hood with a high-heat enamel paint in soft mint green.