We love this homeowner's great choices, from an aged stucco treatment on the walls to alder wood cabinets and porcelain floors.
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Tuscan Kitchen Makeover
It never fails: Of all the rooms in a house, the kitchen ages the fastest. Maybe because it gets used so much. Maybe because there are constantly cool, new designs and products at the homes stores. If you want new, but not too new, here?s what you can do.
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When Steve and Leslie Lake moved into their 1930s Tudor home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, they got a kitchen that hadn't been remodeled since Hair premiered on Broadway. Dingy and dark, its wood cabinets were equally matched by surrounding brown (brown!) appliances that barely worked and plain-Jane linoleum floors. And then there was the red floral wallpaper. Enough said.
After living in the house for about a year, the Lakes teamed up with architects John and Sherri Duvall and interior designer Lana Nelson, Leslie's mom. "I found out through the remodel just how lucky I was," Leslie says. "My mom was great at pulling together all the design pieces."
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Away went the paper. On the walls, the Lakes went with a finish that resembles aged stucco. For the kitchen's backsplash, tumbled marble and decorative glass tiles provide a sense of bygone craftsmanship. The couple also replaced the old flooring with porcelain, cut jagged to resemble travertine, which is easier to keep clean and doesn't have to be sealed. Diamond-shaped granite cutouts were mixed in to make a subtle pattern.
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Hand Painted Detail
Where the drab cooktop, microwave, and ovens once hogged space, a gleaming stainless steel range now sets the stage for serious cooking. Surrounded by knotty alder wood cabinets, this area is crowned with a French-inspired plaster-and-wood carved hood that conceals the exhaust vent. On the hood: a hand-painted basket overflowing with fruit and flowers. "Because the surface is sloped, any artwork I placed on it looked awkward so I commissioned a local artist, Janet Fadler Davie, to paint the still life," explains Leslie.
photo: A decorative paint job on the plaster-and-wood vent hood and a patterned tile backsplash look so much better than all beige surrounding the cooktop.
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A New Take on Dining
Brace yourself for a radical thought: In this breakfast room, there's no table! Synthetic suede chairs, side tables, and ottomans fill the space instead. "Sitting at a breakfast table to do anything―eating, drinking coffee, reading the newspaper―just felt too stiff," says Leslie. "Our solution gives us enough room to work and entertain in the kitchen at the same time."
photo: The walls of the breakfast room are finished in a stucco treatment. Leslie hung a Tuscan-themed painting between two metal, antique-inspired sconces.
"Rich With Detail" is from the April 2008 issue of Southern Living.