How an Outdated Kitchen Got a Colorful, Modern Update

This space underwent a much-needed overhaul.

Photos by Eron Rauch

The kitchen often becomes the main hub of a home—it’s a place where people can cook, congregate, and entertain. Ideally, the space should be open and inviting—but both characteristics were lacking in this 1940s Los Angeles house with Spanish architecture. Designer Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design was tasked with updating the kitchen for her client, a 30-something woman in TV production who recently relocated to Los Angeles after spending time traveling abroad. “The room was incredibly outdated and fairly cramped,” Murray says. “Overall, it was a poor use of space and equipped with finishes and materials that weren’t doing the room any favors.”

Murray wanted to create a fresh and inspired place where the homeowner could entertain and cook, with an indoor-outdoor feel. “Everything in the kitchen was ripped out and replaced, but the most major changes were demolishing the sink wall to open up the flow and adding French doors where there was once a window wall to open up the space to the outside,” she says. Removing the sink wall created more of an open floor plan and also allowed for a breakfast bar that offered extra, casual seating.

Mint green cabinets with brass hardware replaced dark ones. The same metallic hue is repeated in the pendant lights overhead. To satisfy her client’s wish for black-and-white floors, Murray replaced the dark hardwood floors with patterned tile. She also added white countertops, a large farmhouse sink, open shelving, brand new appliances, and a small office nook next to the French doors. “The end result is a bright, chic, and updated design that stands the test of time while fitting in seamlessly with the architecture of the house,” Murray says. “The homeowner is now able to enjoy the heart of her home, which was once a source of frustration.”

For those who live in a rental or who might not have the budget for a complete overhaul, Murray recommends painting cabinets and switching out hardware as a budget-friendly makeover. Bright or dramatic cabinetry can help distract from things you might not be able to easily fix like ugly countertops or older appliances. “If the floors are a problem, an oversized rug can help, especially a patterned and durable indoor-outdoor one so that kitchen spills aren’t an issue,” she says. “Also, simply switching out the light fixtures to more modern pieces will change the entire tone of the space.”

Photo by Eron Rauch