floor plan

Before & After: Client Retro @Rnchhouse

Hygge & West Justina Blakeney Wallpaper and Floating Shelves in a white kitchen

Oh. My. Gosh. This kitchen. It was right up my alley. Well, I knew it was going to be the minute I walked in their door and saw all of their mid-century modern and boho treasures. SO MUCH YES. I was so excited when Client Retro @Rnchhouse gave me the go ahead to plan away. Here was their initial request:

Describe Your Project: We just bought a 1957 fixer in Central Phoenix. The kitchen got a mini-facelift in 1986. It's been untouched since then. It's a great space but feels cramped due to a peninsula. It's a full gut and will require reconfiguring.

Wish List: Clean lines mixed with boho touches (wood, color, textiles). An industrial-style range. Some open shelving without sacrificing too much storage. I really want a kitchen that reflects my personality while complimenting the character of the home. I'm not afraid to take risks with design but I don't want it to be dated quickly.

Here's what we were working with. I mean it sure was retro but not in a cool way. Also, does anyone else think this feels like a cabinet jail cell?

Before Kitchen Retro
Retro Peninsula

 My client wanted just what I wanted. It was a match made in heaven. A couple after my own heart! They wanted a nice clean, bright kitchen with fun and funky boho, retro and mid-century modern accents. We got right to it. First with the floor plan.

Obviously we were going to remove the cabinets hanging down over the peninsula. That alone would make this kitchen so much more open. We also expanded the footprint of the cabinetry a bit. Below the window (where the arrow is pointing), there was nothing but a few feet of empty space. The walkway to the exterior door was here but it didn't need to be that wide. 

Expand the Peninsula

Expanding toward the door allowed us to move the dishwasher to the right side of the sink to accommodate a lazy susan and cabinet on the left side. We could also add an overhang for seating at the peninsula. Another tweak was rearranging the other appliances to make more sense. I like the tall things to all be together if possible, so we stole a little bit of extra space from the hall to accommodate a new counter depth fridge and pantry cabinet. Removing the pantry and fridge from the current wall allowed us to have a longer more symmetrical cabinet layout that could highlight a range and chimney hood.

REtro kitchen with appliances in all the wrong places

Here's the new floor plan:

Even with removing the cabinets hanging over the peninsula and on the window wall, there is still way more storage in this kitchen than before. Client Retro @Rnchhouse still have empty cabinets they have't filled yet. Goes to show how making an efficiently laid out kitchen is so important.

And of course the new design: 

*Links to these items at the bottom. Some may include affiliate links

I wanted the one empty wall by the exterior door to be an accent wall. My client was obsessed with Justina Blakeney's Cosmic Desert wallpaper from Hygge & West. So that was easy. Done. We balanced the awesomeness of the wallpaper with a more classic style kitchen. Having a more traditional cabinet and simple subway backsplash helped to not compete with the wallpaper, as well as tick that box of having a kitchen that wouldn't date itself too quickly. It would be simple and bright in this kitchen with punches of fun in the wallpaper, lighting and my client's awesome and ever changing collection of vintage items. We allowed for one area to be open shelving for her to place these special pieces.

Floating Shelves, White shaker kitchen with marble and Hygge & West Justina Blakeney Cosmic Desert Wallpaper.jpg
Retro White Shaker Kitchen with Black and Stainless Appliances, floating shelves, mid century modern lighting and long subway tile backsplash

Some things did change during the process, though. In the original design we had the same tile but in gray. This is one of those things that can wait toward the end to really commit to since it's one of the last thing to be installed. In the end we opted for the white version. The tile has a little wonkiness to its edges so that helped in making it a little less formal and a little more boho. I like how it maintains the nice bright atmosphere, but adds a little texture to the walls.

The appliance color also changed. The white Kitchenaid appliances looked super cool and we loved the idea of them, but with no floor samples to look at and Kitchenaid not offering any sample chips, we decided to be safe and get the stainless versions. We weren't sure if the white appliances would clash with the other whites in the room. Unfortunately, the white hood did a little. It came in damaged so when replacing it my client swapped it out for the black version. This really helped tie in the wallpaper on the opposite side of the room.

As you can see by the decor, my @rnchhouse client has great taste and had a lot of input in this design from the get go. My role was to help them decide which items would work and which ones to let go (cement tile). With some very fun picks like the lighting and wallpaper, we needed to make sure we let those things stand out while keeping a more neutral backdrop. This is very common that a big portion of my job is centered around the decision making. My clients often have many ideas great ideas flowing that they need help sorting through them all and be able to visualize the end result. 

Sometimes my role is to "give permission" to use certain things...like marble countertops. We're all told that it wears over time and that it will stain. "We don't recommend it" THEY say. HOGWASH. So long as you know what you're in for, then go for it. I've never met an old stained marble I didn't like. So, I am unafraid to use it in a kitchen. If stains will bother you, then you know what to do. Don't use it. Simple as that. They went for marble. I secretly fist pumped. YESSSSSS.

And here are the all to popular before and after shots. My fave! The now much more open, way less cabinet jail feeling kitchen.

And a punch wallpapered accent wall to turn it up a notch.

And a much more symmetrical cooking area more pleasing to the eye and the chef.  

I had so much fun with this one and I know Client Retro @Rnchhouse is loving their new kitchen. Check out the rest of their house projects on Instagram!

Check out all of the finishes we used (and didn't use) in this kitchen listed below.


Colors:

Door: Dunn Edwards Barrier Reef

Door: Dunn Edwards Barrier Reef

Walls: Behr Ultra Pure White

Walls: Behr Ultra Pure White


Shop This Kitchen:


A Disaster Turned Miracle: The House Nobody Wanted

Things have been a little spicy here in the 'Nati over the last year. No houses. NO HOUSES. Very little inventory means houses are selling for a premium, before list even! Desperation! I had to get my hands on one or some. Your patience wears thin. Until that is, you search one day on your pretty little MLS. You never do that. You leave that for the wholesalers. But, you're desperate. You search the street you've been stalking for far too long and there it is. The most beautiful and crappiest row house you've ever seen. Listed at the rock bottom price of $60-ish,000. 

WHAT IS WRONG WRONG WITH PEOPLE? 

Why was this not pending already? One of Cincinnati's finest Realtors, Aaron Binik-Thomas took me to see it. Isn't she so ugly she's pretty? (The house. Not Aaron)

The only reason I went to see this house was because it was on this street. The houses on the opposite side of the street all have three story views of the City of Cincinnati while the houses on this side are shunned. Forgotten. Kicked to the curb. The other side of the street sells for $200,000-$800,000 (for real tho, it's those views) while this side wishes it had a life. The only reason I continued to think about this house after I left was #rooftopdeck. I get weird when opportunities present themselves that can only mean awesomeness or complete disaster. The house was a hot mess. That's how I like 'em. However, it had somewhere between 3 and 13 floor plan issues. A crapshoot. Literally 3 minutes into the showing I told my agent we were out. 

That night I lay awake thinking about the house and how cool a rooftop deck would've been to build. While we wouldn't fetch $800,000, certainly a rooftop deck would bring the value up drastically. But, how could I make this work!? The kitchen was in the back of the house and separated by the staircase. I'm not moving stairs. I'm just not. (I don't know why.) To access the third bedroom you had to walk through the second. Lame. There was only one tiny bathroom in the house. Two would be better.

But how!?

This house sucked.

First Floor

First Floor

 And then...

my brain turned on.

The next day I texted Aaron and told him, "I've got it!" and let's go see the house again. I know he thought I was nuts. That's ok. I'm used to that sort of reaction to my whims. We had to see it again because I barely glanced at the place the first time around. I hated it that much. I needed to make sure my plan would work. 

Low and behold, the puzzle pieces went into place. The old kitchen would move to the dining room, something I had wanted to do in another house of mine. Glad I stored that idea away in the ole memory bank. The old kitchen would become a bedroom. The walk through bedroom would become a hallway to the master bedroom, the master bath, the master closet, a laundry closet and....

access to the rooftop deck. BOOM.

Subtract two and carry the five and we had ourselves a winner. 

First Floor: 

First Floor

Second Floor:

Second Floor

Second Floor

It was too good to be true. It all worked.

Then construction happened and good became awful, timelines became horrendous, people were fired, spiral stairs ended toward walls and so on. A year went by. Such is the rehabbing life. Fortunately, everything turned out wonderfully in the end and I didn't want to hand over the keys. I just wanted the rooftop all to myself. 

Some advice to anyone wanting to pursue disasters turned miracles like this: study this floor plan well. Walk through houses with broken floor plans and think it through. Draw it out. Practice with the app MagicPlan, which I use for my floor plans. Even if you have no intention of buying the house. Even if the house is your mom's sister's cousin's former roommate's. Practice! Then, bust out these ideas when you find that diamond in the rough that nobody can figure out but you. 

See more photos of this house here.