See this kitchen go from dreary to delightful

Working in film production, this homeowner was used to having things look camera-ready. That’s why the dark and dated kitchen in her cottage-style bungalow just wouldn’t do. To update the space, which hadn’t been redone in 20 years, she took on structural changes that led to a smarter, more open and airy layout. Meanwhile, bright, fun finishes and a patterned floor ensure that the kitchen is always ready for its close-up.

BEFORE: The existing kitchen had yellow walls, a wood-look linoleum floor and dark upper cabinets that blocked natural light. The awkward layout included a washer and dryer (not shown) between the refrigerator and a small door to the backyard.

AFTER: Designer Caitlin Murray removed the sink wall to create a peninsula that holds a white farmhouse-style sink with a fetching matte black faucet. “I didn’t want the kitchen to be too modern, and the sink helps soften it a bit,” Murray says.

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She also closed up a door and two windows to bring cabinetry all around the room, including lower cabinets and drawers on both sides of the new stainless steel range.

By adding customized elements to off-the-shelf sage-mint green cabinetry, Murray and the homeowner were able to get a designer look at a lower expense so that they could allocate more budget dollars to removing the sink wall and creating a new laundry space.

The black and chalky white cement tile floor with a Moroccan-style pattern and aged patina sets a stylish tone for the space. “It’s a great alternative for an indoor-outdoor space like this kitchen,” Murray says.

The new peninsula and perimeter counters have an engineered quartz top in white with gray veining. “It’s a superdurable, beautiful and nonporous material,” Murray says.

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Modern metal and wood stools offer seating at the peninsula. Two metal pendants with a copper finish and large bulbs provide a warm glow.

Wood and hammered copper upper shelves offer display storage for plates and glasses, as well as decorative accessories. “If we went with cabinets there, it would have felt boxy and less modern,” Murray says.

New French doors with matte black hardware lead to the backyard and create a strong indoor-outdoor feel. “They really open up the space and feel like they’ve been there forever,” Murray says. “They also give the kitchen a nice architectural detail.”

The updated layout includes a desk area, shown in the rear left of this photo, and a concealed laundry space with front-loading washer and dryer, on the right. The countertop above the units can serve as folding space or as a buffet table during parties.

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“I like to design kitchens with established zones with specific purposes to help maximize space,” Murray says.

A collection of brass birds from the 1950s that the homeowner inherited from her grandmother decorates the wall above the desk.