Give Your Kitchen a Fresh Look

Hard to believe, but this sunny kitchen was once a cramped, dysfunctional space. HGTV Magazine highlights the components of the now-fantastic kitchen.
By: Leilani Marie Labong

Photo By: Roger Davies

Photo By: Courtesy of the Homeowner for HGTV Magazine

Photo By: Roger Davies

Photo By: Roger Davies

Photo By: Roger Davies

Photo By: Roger Davies

Photo By: Roger Davies

Photo By: Roger Davies

Photo By: Roger Davies

Photo By: Roger Davies

Photo By: Roger Davies

Photo By: Roger Davies

Foreign Territory

Before her husband passed away, Bria Weldon didn't spend much time in the kitchen. Her husband, Michael, had always been the chef in the family. Although the couple had often talked about transforming their cramped San Rafael, Calif., kitchen, between work and raising their twins, time was always too tight.

Time for a Change

It was when Bria, an advertising exec, became a single mom to Kai and Graysen, that she knew she had to figure out a way to make the space work for her. "Once the family meals became my responsibility, I realized just how frustrating our old kitchen was."

Functional and Stylish

With the help of her friend, designer Lisa Collins, she made over the old galley kitchen into a happy, open space that makes cooking a much more enjoyable experience. "I know Michael would have loved it too."

Decorative X-Column

A partial wall blocked off the kitchen from the living and dining areas, so Bria had it knocked down. She replaced it with a wooden X-brace that supports the roof, but since it's not solid, she can keep an eye on the twins while she's cooking.

Multipurpose Island

Bria and Michael had always wanted a prep space where the kids could also eat. Lisa created the island by having a durable zinc top mounted on a weathered-oak Restoration Hardware cabinet. Barstools easily scoot underneath the 3 1/2-foot-tall countertop.

Bright Red Seats

Bria was totally on board with Lisa's idea that the space be calming and neutral, but she didn't want it to be plain. So she added red metal stools from Wayfair. Since the twins love to sit and swivel, Lisa added a steel kick plate to protect the bottom of the island.


The Barn Light Electric jumbo fixtures are on dimmers: bright for cooking, soft for dining.

New Cabinets

Custom cabinets could have come into play, but IKEA Akurum cupboards with blackish-brown doors — at a fraction of the cost — were a smarter pick. They look sleek with a stainless steel backsplash, and the savings meant she could put in a white-oak-veneered floor from Tesoro Woods and buy her dream sink.

Paneled Wall

Lisa suggested adding wood siding on the back wall — it goes nicely with the vaulted, beamed ceiling that was already in the kitchen. The wood is painted pale gray with a semigloss finish (Distant Gray by Benjamin Moore) to contrast with the dark matte cabinets.

Wall Organizers

Smart space-savers: The metal mug rack and paper-towel holder are from IKEA.

Farmhouse Sink

The Pegasus Farmer Apron Front sink — from The Home Depot — was at the top of Bria's wish list, and not just for its good looks. Because it's so deep, it does a great job hiding dirty dishes. "I like to at least have the illusion of cleanliness," Bria says.

Easier Cleanup

With dishcloths at the ready in a clear tube vase, and a gooseneck faucet that pulls down, rinsing and drying dishes becomes a less burdensome process.

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