This Bright and Patterned Kitchen Is Always in Bloom

HGTV Magazine takes you on a tour of a cooking space brought to life with vibrant wallpaper.

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July 29, 2021

Damian and Stephanie with, from left, Lucas, 9; Sofia, 8; and Ayanna, 22.

Photo by: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Damian and Stephanie with, from left, Lucas, 9; Sofia, 8; and Ayanna, 22.

Stephanie Watkins loves how lush plants can make an indoor space feel, but she doesn’t have the green thumb to care for that many. So when she and her husband, Damian, renovated their kitchen, they planted a patch of … wallpaper. “It may only be on one wall, but it infuses the whole room with the Caribbean feel I was after,” says Stephanie, who lives in Aberdeen, Maryland, and runs the popular home design blog Casa Watkins Living. A white backsplash and cabinetry, glass-front doors and open shelving create airiness in the space, which had been weighed down by dated cabinets and countertops. Orange accents pollinate the shade in the wallpaper. It’s kind of like living in a garden — without all the watering!

The Reno

Photo by: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Wallpaper

It took a good year for Stephanie to find her dream design, by Milton & King. “I was looking for a very specific feeling and color combo — tropical paradise, in orange and teal,” says Stephanie. “When I saw it, I thought, 'This needs to be on my wall immediately!' It makes the space.”

Tiles

Subway tiles are laid in a basket-weave pattern. “It has wow factor, but it’s still simple enough that it doesn’t take away from the wallpaper,” says Stephanie. Aged brass sconces by Hudson Valley Lighting on either side of the hood and other metal details in the room shed warmth.

Island

At first Stephanie debated mixing white cabinets with stained ones and a stained island. Ultimately, she liked the way the chestnut hue made them look like furniture. Deep orange barstools from Wayfair pick up the wallpaper’s flowers and serve as homework perches. The coordinating runner is by Safavieh.

Open Shelves

Photo by: Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Stacy Zarin Goldberg

They lend a punchy and personal touch. “I like to be surrounded by things that are a part of my family’s history,” says Stephanie. On display: a rotation of keepsakes collected during trips, and pottery picked up at thrift stores and HomeGoods.

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