Kitchen countertops: they're SO crucial to the way a kitchen functions, but they're also a huge part of the design. No pressure to pick the right material or anything, ha! With hundreds of kitchen...
Season 2 Episode 5: From Beige to Beautiful
Melissa and Sean
Q: What do you get when you mix beige with beige with beige?
A: Sean and Melissa’s house.
When I first met Sean and Melissa, their house did nothing to reflect their tastes or personalities. They have two adorable little kids and a modern design sensibility, neither of which you could tell by looking at their home.
It was time to infuse some personality into this beige, boring home by enlivening a #ScandiMod design aesthetic consistently, warmly, and considerately throughout both the interior and exterior design.
We pulled some #ScandiMod photos for inspiration:
S2 E5 Exterior Inspo
And then came up with a plan for the exterior:
Check out these Before and After shots to see how the original inspiration photos informed our design plan, which combined together to create the final product:
S2 E5 Exterior BA
I hope Melissa and Sean adore the exterior of their house as much as I do. It went from being totally nondescript to a real stand-out in the neighborhood. The clean lines, natural cedar accents, and black windows all come together to present a warm, but uniquely modern design.
S2 E5 Exterior
Special Project | DIY Wooden Dowel Hammock: And did you notice the cute hammock that I built out of wooden dowels? It was so easy, and so surprisingly comfortable, that I featured it as a Summer DIY project on Good Morning America!
S2 E5 Dowel Hammock
S2 E5 Kitchen BA
Choosing the materials for this kitchen was really fun. I wanted to work with the very specific parameters of our #ScandiMod design objectives. And have you ever noticed that working within limited parameters often spurs on the greatest creativity? I especially love the peak-a-boo “ocean view” effect we got with the passthrough looking out onto the custom wall mural in the next room.
Light wood flooring is a defining element of Nordic design. The existing wood floors just happened to already be the perfect shade, so we matched them in the kitchen and throughout the rest of the home.
Cabinets & Hardware
I know, I know, the flat-front cabinets area real departure for me, as I’m usually a die-hard Shaker fan but I have to say…I love these cabinets a lot!! They are just so clean and crisp. They kind of feel like a well-tailored suit to me, and if that’s the case, then the aged brass hardware can be like the proverbial cuff-links, or tie-clips of the cabinet design. And did you notice the cedar plank insert underneath the waterfall island? This was a subtle way to bring in more of those natural wood tones and organic vibes so typical of this design style.
Plumbing & Appliances
Simple, stainless steel appliances and understated, matte black plumbing fixtures, and an under-mount stainless steel sink allowed the surrounding organic materials of the design to stand out.
Countertops & Backsplash
I chose a Vadara Quartz in Calcutta Bellaze Nuovo for the countertops and backsplash. In keeping with the minimal design aesthetic, it was important to avoid any grout lines or tile patterns. Instead, the nature-inspired beauty of the quartz created all the interest and texture that was needed.
Lighting, Furniture, & Accessories
Okay, so, a little insider secret here: if you find lighting that you like, BUY IT NOW! Because lighting is the thing that most often sells out, never to be seen or heard from again. Such is the case with these clean-lined, tired black cage pendants from CB2. I had a little fun, though, and picked out three other pendant choices from CB2 that would also work well in this space.
Add in some leather counter stools and open cedar shelving and you’ve got yourself a hashtag! #ScandiMod
S2 E5 Kitchen
Special Project | Smoothie Station: Did you notice that really simple cutting board that was inset into the island’s quartz countertops? You might easily have missed it because it is a very subtle detail. And what you probably never would have guessed (or maybe you might have guessed if you’ve watched this episode) is that there is an automated smoothie station stashed underneath this sleek, minimalist countertop!! I knew that Sean loved smoothies, but with a modern design, it was really important to keep the countertops as clear as possible. The solution: hide the blender under the counter and incorporate an automated shelf that allows you to raise and lower the smoothie station on demand. Like I said before: working within strict design parameters forces you to think outside the box! (Or inside the island, as the case may be.)
The Living Room
S2 E5 Living BA
With its clean, custom, concrete-look fireplace, this living room embodies Nordic design, and the custom wood rack is both a functional storage element, and an important design element, trying in the natural wood and black accents used throughout the remainder of the home.
S2 E5 Living Room
Special Project | Custom Surfboard: So, if you didn’t catch this on the show, this family has a MOTTO. I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Why don’t I have a motto?” “What should my motto be?” “Should I print that motto on a custom surfboard and have it hung inside my house?” All reasonable questions. This family’s motto happens to be: BE ABOUT IT. So, I made a trip to visit Barry V., local surfboard maker extraordinaire. With his help, we created a custom surfboard emblazoned with this family’s motto to be displayed in their home. I wanted to use it as a subtle pop of color, and a nod to beach city in which they’ve chosen to call home.
S2 E5 Surfboard
The Dining Room
Here, as in the rest of the house, I relied heavily on neutrals with pops of black and tan. The exposed post and beam ceilings are really the crowning glory of this room, and to think, they’d been hiding up there all along!
S2 E5 Dining Room
So, I went slightly rogue in the playroom by adding a pop of subtle color in the form of a hand-painted wall mural, courtesy of Kim Conlin of Ripe Designs. In my defense, however, Scandi design embraces the beauty of nature, and, living by the beach, this ocean-inspired mural is an ode to the natural beauty that surrounds us here everyday in Huntington Beach, CA. Cozy layers of texture make this room the perfect place to curl up and read when those Nordic winters get too long, or, in our case, when the AC is on full blast and your husband refuses to turn it down a couple of notches.