A High Contrast Transitional Kitchen Before + After


Finished Project Photos by Public 311



Today's project has been a long time in the making, and we're so excited to finally be able to share the transformation of this quaint little house in Santa Barbara! This home was 1,784 square feet total, with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, and belonged to the client's grandparents. Our clients ended up purchasing the home and moving out to California with their family of four, from their much larger Texas home! We're all pretty sure everything in the house was original, or at least a few decades old, so it was in major need of an update.


Scroll through to see it all change and open up as a floor plan!



What a throwback, right?! The tiled countertop is definitely a staple of a grandparent's home - I bet that brings back memories for a lot of you. As you'll see in the next few photos, the kitchen was really boxed in and visually separate from all of the surrounding spaces. Small doorways attached the kitchen, family room, dining room, and entry, and the clients wanted to open it up a bit more.



They also had recently purchased some new appliances, so we made sure to incorporate those pieces into the new kitchen to save money in the overall budget of the renovation.



Here's a photo taken from the old family room with the swinging door into the kitchen. Not only was that entrance tight with the two sofas flanking both sides of the family room, but there wasn't much light getting into the kitchen either.




We addressed this issue in the plan of the kitchen itself, and presented the two options above in the first meeting. They both enjoy cooking, so a functioning kitchen with plenty of space was very important to them. Option 1 prioritized more wall space to house appliances (and elongate the media wall on the other side in the family room), utilized a small counter for extra seating, and allowed for a freestanding dining table. Option 2 prioritized a large kitchen island with a built in dining table, and more of an open floor plan that combined the family room with the kitchen.


They ultimately went with Option 1, and I know we're all really happy with the result!



The star of the show in this kitchen is that 6' wide pantry! That wall was previously part of the dedicated dining room. They really didn't have much of a pantry before, so it made sense to pull the wall between the dining room and kitchen down, and tuck floor to ceiling cabinets with rollout tray functionality into that corner. I am not typically a fan of removing windows, but the three large windows adjacent to the dining room allowed plenty of natural light, and the need for a large pantry easily won out!


These clients definitely gave us a heads up in their inquiry form - they told us vehemently that they don't agree on anything design related for the house! I'm happy to say that by the end, they felt there were very few things that either of them had to compromise on. Our team is always a little nervous when clients admit they don't agree on things, but they were gracious and had us laughing the whole way through, and it all worked out in the end!


After spending some time to better understand what both the wife + husband liked in a home, we were able to distill down some elements to carry throughout that made both of them happy! One of those elements was the use of contrast, and we used that concept throughout all of the spaces we renovated, as you'll see in the coming weeks! Using stain grade alder cabinets for the pantry was one of the big decisions to run with this idea, and it's a nice point of difference with the rest of the kitchen.



Their existing dining set worked with their high contrast look as well, and I love how much light comes in from the backyard now! Despite losing a window, the natural light still makes the space feel bigger, even with darker flooring, furniture, and some finishes.



We continue the high contrast look with a black quartz that is meant to look like soapstone for the perimeter counter. We then flipped the contrast and painted the lower cabinets along the U-shaped counter a deep navy, and contrasted that with a beautiful white quartz that had some interesting veining on the perimeter counter.


I'm pretty sure we almost doubled the amount of storage they had previously in the kitchen - and in a small house, any extra storage you can get is a welcome addition!



We went through a few different tiled backsplash options because we knew that we were going to have a decent amount of backsplash showing. We were concerned about finding the right scale and giving the kitchen some character without feeling overwhelming, but we finally landed on this marble tile with small blue mosaic tile through the grout lines.


We all love the odd shape and the pop of color that ties in with the lower blue cabinets, and the scale works for the tile to go up to the ceiling on one side and line the opposite walls under the upper cabinets.



The pocket door past the refrigerator open ups to their laundry room and a powder bath, and we also continued the cabinetry into that area to be a seamless transition.



Look at all that counter space! I've heard that the four of them have definitely used all the space they have now and we all love hearing that.



We love a good apron front sink that is extra deep for washing dishes - plenty of space for big pots and platters to get cleaned.



Stay tuned later this month to see the adjoining family room and bathroom we finished for these clients as well!


A big thank you to MCI Construction + Cabinetry for a job well done, and a big thank you to our clients for their unending patience and sense of humor while working in their garage, and living on site in a travel trailer with two kiddos, all while battling through delays and all the ups and downs of construction! You all are the rockstars and we can't wait to work together again!


And of course, thank you to the lovely ladies of Public 311 Design who help translate a year of work into stunning images that capture the space perfectly.


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