Space of the Week: This Breakfast Nook Was Designed to Feel Like an Italian Vacation

Mix-and-match patterns give it sun and fun. 

Dining nook with patterned wallpaper and round table
Photo: Photography by Kristin Elizabeth

As a family of four was busy making the most out of their time—as is the case whenever there are two kids under 10 and a dog perennially ready to play—they realized their home wasn't keeping pace with their full lives. Perhaps that's because it was built about 20 years ago, and the things families needed then aren't exactly the same as what's called for now. "It's in the suburbs of Las Vegas, where there are beautiful, big homes," interior designer Kelly Stone says. "But it was ready for an upgrade."

Dated kitchen with wooden cabinets and big window
The dining nook before the makeover. Courtesy of Kelly Stone Interiors

Stone was hired to oversee the redesign of the entire property, but in the kitchen, she paid particular attention to the breakfast nook. "The couple wanted a comfy place where the girls could sit and do homework, play with arts and crafts, and cuddle their dog, Pony," she says. When renovations started in June 2021, the nook had built-in oak cabinets stained in a honey shade, and they clashed with the worn travertine tiles on the floor. There was a small table but no bench, and Stone thought that if she removed the cabinets, then new banquet seating would be an ideal solution for concealed storage. And when she and the couple discussed shades and styles to draw from, there was one place far from Vegas that seemed to stand out.

"We settled on the Amalfi Coast," she says. "We wanted a space that was modern but featured classic finishes."

They made Gray Malin's "Ciao, Portofino" artwork the inspiration for the space, with the lush colors of the coastal destination backdropping gold balloons spelling that friendly Italian greeting. After demolishing the cabinets and removing the floors, black-and-white checkerboard marble tiles were installed with a fresh coat of white paint, and Stone designed a custom bench to line the wall. "It has just the right white oak stain and hidden cabinets underneath for the girls to store their art supplies," she says. "From there, I knew I needed texture, so I chose a black grasscloth wallpaper to add depth. I think without the grasscloth wallpaper, this space wouldn't be the same. It's a subtle touch that really makes it feel finished."

A marble table and cane chairs were brought in as part of the finishing touches, alongside Malin's artwork overhead. But perhaps the biggest surprises are the orange blossom cushions and the black-and-white window treatments, which were chosen as an unexpected twist to add even more dimension. "I love mixing patterns," Stone says. "I look for patterns and colors that complement each other without competing. The orange blossoms pair so well with the black-and-white stripes and are meant to transport the family to a cafe in Southern Italy!"

The entire home was completed last October, and even though the family has stayed busy, they can now recreate the feeling of a getaway whenever they gather in this dining nook. "This is one of my favorite spaces ever," Stone says. "With this project, I learned to trust in my vision. Mix patterns and go for texture, and if it doesn't turn out just right the first time, then try again until it's perfect!"

Patterned dining nook with cane chairs
Photography by Kristin Elizabeth

Get the Look:

01 of 04

A Sculptural Chandelier

CB2 Meldon Matte Black Chandelier with 6 metal arms

With clean lines and a matte black finish, this modern light fixture won't steal attention from the art and patterned fabrics in the room.

02 of 04

Dear Clementine Fabric

Clementine Patterned Teal Fabric Swatch

The upholstered bench bedecked with sunny citrus makes this dining area feel like a getaway. Spoonflower has plenty of patterned fabric options—start with one you love, then let it guide the other colors in the room.

03 of 04

Cane Dining Chairs

Nadia Cane Dining Chair

The cane back evokes beachside vacations, while the black frame lends a level of modern sophistication. Combined, this chair will transport you straight to a seaside Italian villa.

04 of 04

Portofino Print

CIAO in gold bubble letters in Portofino port
Gray Malin

Photographer Gray Malin may be best known for his aerial shots of beaches taken from a helicopter, but in this series, he used Mylar balloons to spark joy in locations around the world. This view of Portofino will help you channel playful vacation energy, even if you're sipping coffee on Monday morning.

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