An Outdated Kitchen Gets a Glam Farmhouse Makeover
"This was our most challenging project we have had to date, but also the most rewarding," says Andrea West of Andrea West Designs when asked about this kitchen remodel in Oak Point, Utah. A retired couple reached out to her hoping to get some paint color recommendations for the existing cabinets and walls, but as soon as she walked in, she knew that a fresh coat of paint would not suffice. Though the space was large, it had an awkwardly curved island that took up most of it, it was full of recesses and everything was laid out at strange angles that haven't been popular since the 1980s.
"The home was beautiful and in a very nice area, then you walk into the kitchen...," says West. "As soon as I saw it, I was like, 'I know this is not what you were planning on, but I would recommend redoing the kitchen layout." Learning that the couple had a large family and grandchildren who loved to come over, she was even more convinced that they should up the space and turn it into a place more conducive for large gatherings. They were hesitant at first, but after West showed them a digital design proposal, they knew it had to be done, too. "I am so glad they were open to it," says West. "We squared off the island, centered it on the back wall, and tried to doll up the kitchen—it looks 100 percent bigger." And, undoubtedly, one thousand times better.
Ahead, West walks us through the redesign.
Open Things Up
The traditional home is full of elegant vaulted ceilings and windows that look out over the gorgeous mountains of Utah. It's not uncommon to see an elk strolling through the yard, so West wanted to make sure the family could take it all in from the kitchen. "I told them, 'You're going to stay here forever, so let's really invest in your kitchen," says West. "I wanted to make it a space they can grow with the family and turn the viewpoint from looking inwards, to looking outwards so they can really enjoy their view."
The couple wanted a gallery wall with family photos in the space between the kitchen and dining room, but West convinced them to do a twist on what we're used to seeing. They decided to do black and white photos as to not compete with the colors in the kitchen, with metal frames to tie into the metal throughout the kitchen. "We like to [display photo] in unique ways," says West. "This is a really soft and subtle new take on an old-world design."
Raise the Cabinets
West raised the cabinets to the ceiling for practical and aesthetic reasons. First, it provides more storage. "Every kitchen is short of storage—you can never have too much of it," she says. But more importantly, from a design perspective, it continues your line of site up to the ceiling and makes everything feel bigger. "With the size of the home, the scale of everything we were dealing with, it just made sense to match the grandness," says West. "We wanted to carry out that feeling throughout the house."
Nod to Farmhouse
The couple really loves the farmhouse look but felt like it has been a little overdone. "We wanted to find a way to make it feel fresh and a little more updated," says West. "We gave a nod with the wood tones." They chose white oak cabinets, cool warm stains, and polished nickel and silver details. "It's a very sophisticated elegant nod to farmhouse," says West. "[It has] those textures and warmth that wood brings, but it's not rustic. It's quite elegant."
Try for Two-Tone
"It was such a dark space to begin with, and sometimes when you have wood finishes it can be a little dark," says West. "So we decided to do two-tone cabinets with white on bottom and wood on top and a mixture in the island."
The couple thought they would have to rip out the floor, but it was solid wood so all they had to do was sand it down and refinish it and it looks brand new. Since they stained the cabinets first, they choose a warm gray for the floor that was a hint darker. "You don't want all your colors to match, you want to be slightly lighter or darker so it doesn't compete [with the cabinets], but adds dimension."
Always Have a Little Black
"I have this unspoken rule in my approach to design that every space needs a little bit of black," says West. She believes that it adds depth, contrast, and edginess to the room. Because everything was so light in this kitchen, she decided the best way to add her signature black was in a metal finish. They went with a metal hood for the stove and black metal "It's my favorite way to add a little style to each space."
Add Some Glam
West loves to mix styles to keep things fresh. "Everything was going really natural with an understated elegance, but we wanted to bring in a little bit more glam with the pendant lights with the gold." She also used the fixtures to add glamour. The bridge faucet, which West calls the "It faucet" of the moment, is another sophisticated spin on an old farmhouse look. "The bridge faucet is our favorite," she says. "We approach plumbing like it's the jewelry of a space. You get dressed for the day, you pick out your shirt and your bottom, then you put on your jewelry.
Go for Open Shelves
The hard part about kitchens according to West, is bringing in personal elements, especially since you don't have too many textiles or a lot of places to add color. The fix: open shelving. "I would tell everybody, if you have the space and have items to display, do open shelves," says West. "You can display neat meaningful items while still making it functional—it just adds so much personality and character to your kitchen." You can decorate them with art, pictures, cool cookbooks, objects you love to cook with and items you use every day.