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A Colorful Kitchen Remodel That’s Truly the Hub of the Home

A California couple’s experiment in modernism and minimalism leads to a open-layout kitchen that doubles as a living area.

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Photography by: DANIEL HENNESSY
<b>Cheery & Bright:</b> Wood is treated like color throughout this airy kitchen. Instead of committing to one material, the homeowners opted to use Douglas fir on the open shelves, refrigerator panels, top drawers, and edging around the island as a way to color-block with white cabinetry. The mix of wooden and white cabinet doorknobs (both super-affordable hardware-store finds) continues the palette. Hanging over the island, the large yellow powder-coated-aluminum pendant lights are not only visually arresting but also help separate the kitchen from the rest of the open floor plan.

When Woodwyn Koons and Dmitri Siegel relocated from Philadelphia to Ojai, California, four years ago, they were excited to try on an entirely different design aesthetic, one more befitting their newly adopted state. “The 19th-century houses we lived in on the East Coast have so much ornament, and then you come to a place like California, where minimalism really makes sense,” Koons says. The kitchen of the midcentury ranch home they share with their two young children became the epicenter for their experiment in modernism. With the guidance of Los Angeles– based architect and designer Barbara Bestor, they set about transforming the kitchen into an open living area—a relaxed one-stop room in which to cook, eat, and gather. Four wall knockdowns later, their vision of a colorful, family-friendly home was achieved. “I do a lot of cooking, and I don’t feel isolated in the kitchen anymore,” says Siegel, a creative director. “It just seems like there’s now more of a connection with everybody.” Including their inner child: Instead of restricting bright hues to the kids’ rooms, Koons and Siegel worked them into the color scheme throughout the open living area. (“I don’t like the idea of fragmenting out design,” he says.) This democratic, nonrigid style extended to the materials they considered; they made thoughtful choices, opting for inexpensive and nontraditional where it made sense (a mirror backsplash behind the stove) and high-end and classic where it was called for (a marble backsplash everywhere else). The end result: a beautifully blended kitchen.

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Photography by: DANIEL HENNESSY
<b>The Inside Story:</b> “When the pantry door is closed, it looks glamorous because it’s shiny and black. But then you open it, and it’s fun and childlike inside,” says Koons. The pantry palette reflects the home’s overall color strategy—“color-blocking with white, wood, and a pop of color,” Koons says. Besides cookbooks, servingware, and cooking ingredients, she also keeps her great-great-grandmother’s blue-porcelain tea set and butter dish in there.

Kitchen, by Design

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Photography by: DANIEL HENNESSY
A bold pink front door greets visitors. The high-gloss black on the two barn doors (this one opens up to the master suite) is repeated in various window casements throughout the house.
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Photography by: DANIEL HENNESSY
“I was skeptical about our designer’s suggestion to use a mirror as a backsplash behind the stove, but I ended up loving it,” says Siegel. “Now when I’m cooking, I can see the outside, I can see back into the room, and I don’t feel like I’m just staring at a wall.”
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Photography by: DANIEL HENNESSY
The kitchen-island counters are white laminate. “It’s really indestructible and affordable, but we were concerned about the wood swelling if it were to come up against the sink,” says Koons. Bestor’s practical and pretty solution: adding just a surround of marble to border the sink.
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