Design Reveal: Our Kitchen Reno!

Hi, Friends! As it turns out, I’m a terrible updater - generally speaking, AND especially during a renovation. So to catch you up in one sentence - We renovated our kitchen this past fall and it’s done. Welcome to the reveal of the project! LOL

To be honest, as detail oriented as I am during a design project, I find the thought process of managing so many details to be tiring! I love it but I don’t feel like I have much energy left to talk about it. I know. I really really have no business being on a blog. Good bloggers share step-by-steps and pictures along the way. Mediocre bloggers share Before and Afters. Bad bloggers just share the After. It’s taking everything I’ve got to be mediocre today and scrounge up some Before and Progress shots I got during the reno. Worlds Okayest Blogger, right here, folks! Hah!

So let’s get down to it! The biggest change we made was taking down the ‘L’ shaped wall on the right:



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We have lived in this house for 8 years so we didn’t come to the decision to knock that wall down flippantly. Over time as our babes got older we realized how much happens around the kitchen. And the more life that was happening outside of that ‘L’ shaped wall, (think homework, test studying, recapping the day, dancing, playing), the most closed off the kitchen was starting to feel. I think living here for so long before diving into this project really helped us make big decisions about what would make the most sense for us and our family and most especially, this house.


And by this house, I mean a 1982 generic build. I adore this house but since it’s a basic spec home, (one of 5 different models to choose from in our neighborhood), it just doesn’t have a strong personality. There are no architectural details driving the style of the house - arched openings, thick window casings, stuff like that. As a designer I tend to pick up on these details in my clients homes and play them up in regards to the client’s personal taste. But having a house with no particular personality is a double-edge sword. In one sense, you’re not beholden to any particular style of design. But on the other, adding any strong style elements stands out like a sore thumb. In looking at kitchen ideas I was really drawn to some modern wood kitchens ive seen - no hardware, just a simple lip. This style I was drawn to would have required renovating the entire rest of the home in order to maintain some sort of consistency. As it stands now, we still have work to do around the rest of our home so the kitchen doesn’t look like the ONLY updated area. But we’ll knock things out over time and as we have funds.


We went with Allen + Roth shaker style cabinets from Lowes, and Q Quartz counters from Granite Center, a local counter warehouse in Sterling, VA that we would highly recommend to any locals in the market!


With so much white going on I was particualrly excited for some dramatic contrast! After scouring the great world wide web for the sleekest black pulls I could find within budget, I landed on these pretties I found on Etsy, (they came all the way from Bulgaria)! There are various sizes to choose from and we went with the 5 5/8. For this particular kitchen I wanted to use one consistent pull for every cabinet and drawer, and this size was the most versatile across the board.


The island color is Salamander by Benjamin Moore, and is amaaaaaaazing in person! I wanted a dark teal color and this was the perfect green-blue that I was imagining! Although our kitchen remodel is ‘safe’ and basic white, I always think an island is a great opportunity to add a big ol’ ‘POW’ for just the cost of paint. And I love the color with these rust and marigold mums that some dear friends gifted us.


Lighting was hard for me when designing this space! We were pulling a lot of track lighting out, but trying to fit new lighting in, and all in a shared open space! I wanted the kitchen sink light, island pendants, and dining table fixture to all be different but flow well together. For me that was a challenge! I was constantly comparing sizes and scale and photoshopping lights together so I could see them side by side.


After sending out an SOS on Instagram for some lighting source suggestions, I was introduced to Sazerac Stitches! I absolutely loved their style - it was EXACTLY what I was looking for! This is the Drew 6-Light fixture and it’s the perfect blend between industrial and modern that I was looking for.


The island pendants are from Poly + Bark, and the stools are AllModern.


Designing a kitchen was an absolutely amazing experience, but I am SO grateful my first time could be on our own home! Throughout the process I just kept saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” I asked a ton of questions and really stuck around during the process so I could understand it all. One thing I am beyond grateful for is that our contractor is a trusted neighbor and friend. He talked through every little decision with me and when I asked for his honest opinion he gave it. I honestly learned so much from him as he was willing to teach me as he worked.

The image below is my first attempt at a 3D kitchen rendering. DON’T zoom in, I beg of you. LOL! It’s laughable, but it really helped me visualize the main pieces in the space.


While you’re here why don’t we take a gander at the living room! That is, afterall, one of the main reasons we took down that ‘L’ shaped wall to open things up in the first place! So much life happens in this space and now we can share in it from the kitchen, too. Don’t get too cozy with this set-up. Christmas is just up ahead so things will be shifting here and there to make room for a tree soon!


Nothing much changed in here from our pre-reno layout, but we did incorporated a new rug that pulls from the color of the island! It’s so fun and vibrant and happy - a perfect backdrop for this space. A huge thank you to Loloi rugs for working with us! This piece is from their Loren Collection.


It still feels surreal that this is our home - that we get to live here! We just absolutely love it. There are still small things to wrap up and touch up but for now we are excited to lay down the brushes and nails and just hang out and rest together. Our hearts are spilling over with gratitude for all that we have - each other, our family, friends that are like family, this home…it’s all so much more than we deserve or could have ever hoped for.

We wish you the very happiest Thanksgiving tomorrow! You friends are on my list of things I am incredibly grateful for. Thank you for making StyleMutt Home such a fun place to share this work.


Reader Design: Chrisi's Warm & Welcoming Home

Let's go to Utah, friends! We're off to see a mutt today who is truly one of our home. Chrisi is a wife and mother of five who has crafted a home that's perfectly warm and welcoming but impossible to identify with one particular style. 

Ready? Let's go!

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From Chrisi:

I would definitely say that my “style” isn’t easily defined. I am more of a “mutt” when it comes to zoning in on my preferred style. I am all across the board. I try and use all the elements of all different styles that I love and tie them all together. I dabble in modern, traditional, farmhouse, and boho. If i had to define my style it would be eclectic. I love how an eclectic space doesn’t have to be one thing from room to room but more of a tapestry of different tastes all sewn together.

Despite pulling from various styles, Chrisi keys her eye on the prize: paying homeage to the heritage of this home, reinvigorating it with life and color, and making this place the perfect home for her family. 

One of the rooms that underwent the biggest makeover was the kitchen, but it's also Chrisi's favorite room - and is a place she would decide to splurge on over and over again!

I would say that the kitchen is truly the heart of the home and, more importantly, it has the most wear and tear! It is also one of those things that you will always see return on investment on. We dumped the bulk of our money into the kitchen. We spent quite a bit of money having a 900 lb. 26 foot long steel beam put in to open up the space and no part of me regrets that. We had an IKEA kitchen installed (which I will always love until the day I die) but had custom cabinet faces made from Semi-hand made. Ikea didn’t have any cabinet faces that we loved so of course we spent the extra money to get EXACTLY what we wanted which ended up being a navy island and the rest of the cabinetry is white! I think its more important to put money into the kitchen that you want then just putting together a sub par space for the heart of your home.

All that intention helps to create a space that feels about right and authentic for the people who live in it.

I am a mother of five children and a wife which means that the MOST important overall “feel” for the house that I was trying to accomplish is warmth. I would say that having a unique design and staging a home beautifully will only take you so far but its the overall feeling of “warmth” that really turns a “house” into a home. More than that though, when I designed the home I tried to incorporate space that was defined only by the furniture. I wanted one open floorpan that flowed easily from space to space. This was especially important for us because our home was so small to begin with. We had to try to utilize as much square footage as possible.

Chrisi, thanks for bringing us in to share your space, if only on the internet. Follow Chrisi along on Instagram @hellohammer.

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Reader Design: Heather's Blended Digs

We're edging closer and closer to 2018, and the start of a new year always brings with it both excitement for the future and reflection on the past. How appropriate that today we're headed to a home that expertly blends old and new, keeping with the trends of today while paying homage to timeless design and craftsmanship. 

Let's head off to Heather's home near Minneapolis, Minnesota!

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From Heather:

I would describe my style as transitional with a heavy mid-century modern bent and a bit of boho thrown in. I truly am a style mutt in that I love old mixed with new, colors mixed with neutrals, and fall somewhere in the middle of the minimalist/maximalist spectrum.

I long for my home to be a safe place for all who enter. I want it to be warm and welcoming. My main goal in decorating is making our home a place where people feel comfortable to be themselves, which sometimes means I sacrifice form for function. It’s one thing for your home to look beautiful in photos, but it’s a whole other thing for it to feel beautiful to people. For a space to feel like it’s cozy and for it to function well is equally, if not more, important than how it looks.
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My husband and I spent a couple weekends removing the cabinets on this wall, hanging removable wallpaper, and installing the shelves. To-date, I think it’s my favorite home update we’ve done. It took our kitchen from outdated, dark, and closed off, to open, airy, and modern.

I believe in updating, renovating, and decorating within your means. If you don’t have the time or money to do a project, then don’t stress about it! Do what you can with what you have where you’re at. That means that you may need to do smaller, short-term fixes until you have the budget for a larger renovation (like we did in our kitchen). Or it may mean that you embrace a part of your home that doesn’t feel perfect, but is good enough. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful!

Heather and her husband took their time with this space and made it perfectly their own. It's the ideal spot to cozy up in the Minnesota weather to come. Heather also did this design consciously which can be so hard to do - financially and aesthetically. 

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I tend to be pretty thrifty when purchasing home decor, but one thing that I am willing to splurge on more than others is original art. Pieces that aren’t mass-produced are so special, and getting to support the artists who create them is a gift. But if you don’t have it in your budget to splurge on original artwork, thrift and antique shops can be a great resource for you! I recently found this seascape at our local thrift shop for $4, and I love the character it adds to our bedroom!

Thanks for the tour today, Heather! 

Follow Heather along on Instagram @mysahomestyling for more! All photos shot by Lana Douglas of 1987 Photography. Check out Lana's photography on Instagram at @1987photography.

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