Modern Kitchen With Unexpected Design Ideas

Christina Anstead works with longtime friends to create a kitchen that's as cutting-edge as it is timeless. Contrasting hues of black and white pair with warm woods in this dreamy contemporary space.

Makeover for Friends

Host Christina Anstead and homeowner Pando have known each other for six years and worked together on Flip or Flop. He and his wife, Michelle, recently got married, blending their families together and now working on blending styles in their home.

Before: Falling Apart + Outdated

When Michelle moved into the house, she and Pando worked on making the house feel like "theirs" instead of just "his," and they're ready to tackle the kitchen renovation. The biggest problem is the island lifts completely off the floor, but there's also a ton of cosmetic changes they want to incorporate.

After: Family-Friendly Gathering Spot

The most important update for the kitchen is to create a bigger (and completely attached-to-the-ground) island. To achieve this, the layout of the kitchen has to be reconfigured. The cooktop is moved to the back wall with the refrigerator and a smart mix of cabinets. The kitchen is now eat-in ready with the larger island surrounded by sleek brass stools.

One-and-Only Backsplash

Pando wants a look that's right on the edge of design trends so that it'll stay in style for years to come. Christina attains this with a clever weave of tiles for the kitchen backsplash. Hexagon tile in a warm neutral (Michelle's pick) combines with a classic white picket tile (Pando's pick) for a unique design.

Before: Not-So Cutting Edge

Michelle adores aquariums, scuba diving and even volunteers at the local aquarium, so they'd love to incorporate her love into the new design. Christina has an idea to include a fish tank in an avant-garde, streamlined way.

After: Innovative Flair

To make room for the larger island, this wall is outfitted with a narrower collection of cabinets for storage. However, the real showstopper is the recessed aquarium that not only adds color and vibrancy to the space, but creates a seamless flow between the kitchen and dining room.

Aquatic Artwork

The all-black cabinets allow the aquarium to be the showpiece of the space, highlighting the vivid hues and shapes inside. All the filtration components are hidden in cabinets below so that the focus is on the beauty of the fish and coral.

Before: Plain and Drab

Disjointed in style and with random fish tanks placed throughout the home, the space didn't have the contemporary and functional vibe the couple wanted.

After: Dining With the Fishes

The recessed aquarium adds extra floor space and acts as a piece of artwork in the dining area. The existing dining table and chairs are moved from the kitchen area to their new home — the updated dining room — infusing the space with a contemporary aesthetic. A trio of brass pendant lights bring an airy yet modern aesthetic to the room.

Before: In Need of Lightness

Dark cabinetry plus dated countertops and backsplash all add up to a kitchen in need of a refresh. Since the kitchen opens up to the breakfast area and living room, Pando and Michelle want to update the surrounding areas as well.

After: Contrasting yet Bright

Black lower cabinets, white uppers and the island in a rustic wood deliver a mixture that has a modern feel without all the coldness that modern style can sometimes have. To lend more openness to the space, the breakfast table is moved to the dining room.

Drink Up

Carrying the style changes into the beverage station, the light wood shelves float above the cool tile-fusing backsplash. The same white quartz countertops used in the kitchen top the black lower cabinets and create a chic juxtaposition.

Before: So Long, Stacked Stone

When removing the existing flooring, they discovered it ran under the stacked stone fireplace. To replace all the floors, they would break the stone façade and hearth — so a new fireplace was in order.

After: Trendy but Timeless

A sleek, new-fashioned fireplace façade pairs with floating wood shelves for a totally-of-the-moment look. The whole family can pile on the oversized sectional, and poufs add extra modular seating. A mix of patterns and textiles bring much-needed interest to the neutral palette.

Before: Not-So-Great Impression

This living space is the initial room you see when you walk into the house, so the couple wants to have an area that makes a good first impression. It also needs to be functional since it's where the kids hang out most of the time.

After: A Stunning Greeting

As soon as the family or guests walk in the door, they now have an inviting seating area where they can relax and spend time together. The rounded arch that leads into the dining room is squared off to create more space visually.

Before: Uninspired Living

The family room is where they spend a lot of time, but it's almost completely minimal (and not in a good way).

After: Cozy and Welcoming

A big, comfortable sectional is perfect for the large family to watch TV and hang out. Durable leather is a smart choice since it'll stand up to kids and is easy to clean up after muddy footprints and food spills. The reclaimed wood box not only makes for an eye-catching statement piece behind the TV, but it also hides unsightly media components.

Before: Drab Little Corner

Not to be forgotten, this tiny nook under the stairs needs a revamp.

After: Major Style Upgrade

Making the most of the space under the stairs, Christina brings in a new desk and chair for the kids to finish up homework or their latest craft. An additional cabinet provides plenty of extra storage.

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