How This Homeowner's Best Friend Designed Her Cozy Kitchen

Two decades of BFF-ing make for one great space. Take a tour with HGTV Magazine, plus find out what paint colors and products they chose to make their kitchen dreams come true.

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August 29, 2019

Photo by: Lisa Romerein

Lisa Romerein

Most people don’t get to buy a house then call a friend at 11:30 p.m. to chat about kitchen tile they just spotted on Pinterest — but when your best friend’s a designer, you do.

That’s what happened after Karrie Kuruzar and her husband, Tim, bought their 1950s Los Angeles bungalow in 2015. Suddenly Karrie’s longtime pal, designer Stephanie Ballard, was on super-speed-dial. “I almost felt more excited about having Stephanie decorate our first house than owning it!” says Karrie, who’s known Stephanie since they were high school cheerleaders back in Muncie, Indiana.

I was extra motivated to have a cozy kitchen because we like to sit here, have a drink, and dish.


Guided by Karrie’s requests for someplace cozy, happy and kid-friendly—for the Kuruzars’ 1-year-old, Landon—Stephanie opened up the cramped, never-updated kitchen, replaced the floors and cabinets, put in an island and a breakfast nook and finished with punches of pattern and color. “Stephanie and I agreed on everything — Tim was the one we had to convince,” says Karrie. But the pair can be pretty persuasive…teamwork all the way.

Reno Details

Island Color (for a similar look): Thundercloud by Dunn-Edwards

Photo by: Lisa Romerein

Lisa Romerein

Island Color (for a similar look): Thundercloud by Dunn-Edwards


Karrie knew she wanted a colorful island—just no idea what color. Stephanie found the winner by accident, on a teal jewelry box at a designer event she attended in Las Vegas. She took a pic and got paint custom-blended to match; the friends dubbed it “Las Vegas Peacock.”

Counter Stools

“Tim and I entertain a lot, so I told Stephanie my stools had to feel good to sit on for two hours at least,” says Karrie. Stephanie got wide ones made and covered them in a geometric-print Carolina Irving linen. “With the island, the set looks like a party!” she says.


The pendants above the island are modeled after ones in the friends’ favorite Mexican restaurant. “I looked up and said, ‘I really, really like these lights,’ ” says Karrie. “Next thing I knew, Stephanie was standing on the bar with a measuring tape getting the dimensions.”


Since the island is the star, Stephanie and Karrie picked out simple Shaker-style cabinets in creamy white (Milk Glass by Dunn-Edwards). Pulls from and knobs from Rejuvenation in an oil-rubbed bronze finish have casual vintage vibes.

Tile and Shelves

Karrie had her heart set on an intricate terra-cotta tile from Tabarka Studio, but it was a tad over budget. Stephanie’s solution: Use it in an inset above the stove, surrounded by textured subway tile. Open shelves of reclaimed oak warm up all the white.

Photo by: Lisa Romerein

Lisa Romerein

Built-in Bench

So what if there’s no dining room? The L-shaped bench seating can accommodate its fair share of guests. The cushion is covered in stain-repellent Thibaut Crypton fabric, and a mix of patterned pillows spunk it up.

Table and Chairs

The trestle oak table was custom-made to fit the space. The vintage midcentury chairs are from a flea market; Stephanie recovered the seats using a Bolivian blanket. “It took her four hours,” says Karrie. “I sat there drinking wine.”


For a cool twist on a classic, Stephanie swapped plain shades for burlap-covered ones on the chandelier by Visual Comfort. Gold-tinged Roman shades on the windows, made with John Robshaw fabric, create subtle sparkle.

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