A Builder-Grade Kitchen with No Personality Gets a Fresh and Vibrant Upgrade
It’s now colorful and full of personality.
This West Hollywood, California, townhouse had a lot going for it, but it lacked some pizzazz. “My client is a young professional who works for Facebook as an engineer. He recently moved to L.A., and purchased this townhome,” explains Lizzie Green, owner and principal designer of Popix Designs. “The townhome was pretty bland and boring (think builder-grade finishes), and my client wanted something that was more fun, colorful, and vibrant. Something that represented his true personality and felt more age-appropriate.”
In particular, the kitchen was small and since it had dark cabinets and details, it felt even more cramped. The goal was to make the space feel bigger and brighter while still working within the existing footprint of the kitchen since HOA rules prevented them from upping the square footage.
To start, Lizzie got rid of the dark brown lower cabinets and shiny white upper cabinets, replacing them with white oak lower cabinets and open shelving on all three walls. The open shelving really opened up the space, providing enough surface to store essentials and also display art. “The previous kitchen had large handles on all the cabinets, so we eliminated those and added integrated handles into the custom cabinet design,” Lizzie explains. “One might not realize how much space that actually saves! But the cabinets functioned way better without handles that protruded out and hit other cabinets when opened.”
The homeowner loves the color green and one of the inspiration photos he sent Lizzie was of a kitchen with teal fish scale tiles as the backsplash, so she knew he would be up for doing a fun, two-tone backsplash. After looking at many shades of green tiles, they landed on a cheerful mint-green color. “By carrying the green tile up to the second shelf, you get to see a bit more color than if the backsplash only went up to the first shelf, or if there were upper cabinets,” Lizzie says. “One material does not outshine the other in this kitchen. Instead the white tile complements the white quartz countertops and white hood, and the white oak elements add that warm natural feeling that makes the kitchen sing!”
The original bamboo floors were replaced for new engineered white oak floor boards, which give the kitchen a modern look. And since the homeowner doesn’t cook that much, they eliminated the microwave and added one to the townhome’s rooftop kitchenette, so there was more room in the kitchen but he still had the appliance if he needed it. “We ditched the original microwave hood and built a custom box around a new inset hood that we painted white. We were working with an existing soffit that we could not move, so the idea here was that the new hood would just blend into the white soffit and white backsplash,” Lizzie adds.
And as for the lighting choices, it turned out to be a happy accident. The new fixture above the sink was originally one of two sconces that were supposed to go above the homeowner’s bedside table. But after he decided to paint the bedroom green, he didn’t like the peach sconces on the green wall, so Lizzie suggested they use one of them as a flush mount above the kitchen sink to replace the original recessed lighting. “It ended up being the perfect splash of color on the ceiling that we didn’t know we needed!” Lizzie says.
The kitchen is now completely unrecognizable from its former state and looks brighter and fresher. “My client loved the end result!” Lizzie says. “His kitchen and home now feels like a true representation of his cheerful demeanor.”