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Midcentury Modern Stunner Kitchen Remodel

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After design development followed by months of construction, we have the reveal for the Pacific Palisades kitchen remodel. When we started my clients were pregnant, now that we are done they have 4 month old baby twin girls. This was not a quickie namely due to issues we had with epoxy floors (never again) but before we get into that, let's appreciate the finished product.

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My clients are a creative duo of fashion photographer and display design director. It was a welcome treat working with two individuals who were not only experienced with the renovation process, could visualize concepts, but also had clear ideas about what they wanted to see: namely a nod to the midcentury architecture, wood paneled walls, grey painted ceiling beams, and retro notes throughout. They came to me armed with a brief of the inspiration images and color story they wanted to tell. That was awesome.

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

The existing conditions weren't terrible for a house of this age but there was a lot of room for improvement. The first most obvious thing to me was to break down the wall secluding the kitchen and open it to the main living area and the light. Taking away that wall required a configuration since we could no longer have the range and refrigerator in their locations. We played with a few layouts and settled on this L shape version.

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We wanted to note the craft moment we are noticing that is specific to Los Angeles. Think organic, earthy, handmade and we did this by way of material selections. We also wanted to be cheeky with a midcentury modern look via Mahogany cabinets, color blocking, and wood paneling. Since the budget was already at the upper limit of what they wanted to spend, we decided on Ikea boxes with Semihandmade fronts. Semihandmade was really good about working with us to get the right look and the finished product looks quite high end and quality to me. 

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Using Semihandmade allowed us to splurge on commissioning the talented ceramicist Heather Rosenman to create original light pendants for the island and sink. To me personally, it was a coup that she wanted to work on this because in my head she is a design celebrity. We went back and forth in devising the body of the light and the end result is simply stunning. 

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Before we could install all these beautiful components, we had some major construction work to get through. Demo existing kitchen and reframe for new walls. 

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Putting plasterboard on the walls. Then painting the ceiling and walls before the flooring and cabinets. Figuring out the exact electrical locations and switching.

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When we the epoxy floor first went in it was supposed to cure in 2 days and be done. Cut to 5 days later it was still sticky, the wrong color, and waaaay too shiny. We wanted a light warm grey with a matte finish. Flooring FAIL. We tried 5 more times to get it right which cost us about 6 weeks. Gaaaaah. It was a immensely frustrating because it delayed everything else and at a certain point we had to forge ahead with the cabinets and countertop and get the epoxy floor right later which was not ideal.

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Once we had the cabinetry in and the epoxy floors figured out, we were able to focus on the rift cut red oak wood paneling in the living room and entry. This is real deal wood. We chose red oak wood to work off the orange tones in the mahogany cabinets without being too loud. Each 6" piece was cut on site to line up with the ceiling panels above. A detailed labor of love. Then sealed naturally. This wood panel wall is absolutely sumptuous to touch in real life.

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This was a very detail oriented build with carefully considered touches like minimal reveals in lieu of floor base, glazed thin brick tile with finished edges to could avoid using bullnose tile, and period appropriate brass hardware. Although Semihandmade could fabricate the beautiful cabinet fronts, we had to match the wood finish for the island front just so and custom build the shelves. 

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Besides getting to see those yummy babies, I love stepping into this home every time I visit and getting to experience the unique inviting/quirky/yet classy energy we created specific to this house and family. 

Natalie MyersComment