Worldly Refined Kitchen

Designer Kari Arendsen creates a beautiful white kitchen with touches of rustic charm.


For this San Diego project, designer Kari Arendsen transformed an outdated kitchen into a high-end heart of the home for $120,000. Lightly weathered flooring is paired with brilliant white cabinetry for a casual, elegant look, while a stunning tiled backsplash in a trellis pattern brings an element of worldly glam to the room.

We caught up with Kari to find out how she pulled the sophisticated kitchen design together.

Charming White Kitchen

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Describe the homeowners' wish list.

This family of six was desperate for a kitchen that was functional for baking cookies and spending time together creating culinary masterpieces. The dated wood and lack of family gathering space made it perfect for a remodel and fresh color scheme.

What were the homeowners' design problems?

The large family of six, who entertains often, needed more functional space. They didn't have enough room for a party of 12 to gather and relax around the heart of the home.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

We had to keep the size of the kitchen the same, but visually increasing the space to the eye was a challenge. With a light color scheme and raising the cabinets to the ceiling, we were able to achieve it. The solution was to design built-in cabinets and banquette seating to maximize the space.

How does the end result match up with your original vision?

While planning this kitchen, there were people scurrying around, two dogs and a cat. With the high-end wood flooring, we had to accommodate the animals' water dishes, so that they would be housed and protected from spills. Thus, we added a special built-in area at the end of the island that was functional for animals, but maintained consistency with the style.

What lessons did you learn?

On this project, we were hesitant about using a 60-inch stove in the small space. We were pleasantly surprised that in this space, it actually created a sense of sophisticated grandeur.

What are the "hidden gems"?

In this kitchen, the hidden gem was adding charm with a functional armoire that allows family dishes to be viewed and accessed for parties. Using this piece added an unexpected softness to transition from custom cabinets in the kitchen to the custom banquette seating area.

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Kari Arendsen

Kari Arendsen

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Intimate Living Interiors 143 South Cedros Ave., Suite C203 Solana Beach, CA 92075 858-436-7127