The Classic Kid-Friendly Kitchen
Executive Editor Jessica Thuston transforms her family's lackluster kitchen into a crisp, new space that's big on ideas and easy on the budget.
A Modern Upgrade
We called our kitchen 'the time warp' because it looked like it hadn't been touched since the 1960s," says homeowner and Southern Living Executive Editor Jessica Thuston. "The matching yellow laminate floors, cabinets, and countertops—I have a feeling it was pretty great back in its day." However, fast-forward 50 years and this space was in major need of an update. "We loved the size and basic layout, but everything else had to go," Jessica says. Tour how she gave this relic some modern-day appeal.
Classic PaletteWhite cabinets, white marble backsplash tiles, Lagos blue limestone countertops, and stainless steel appliances create a backdrop that's simple and fresh.
"While I love the look of divided light, it just didn't fit with our home's architecture," Jessica says. "The new casement windows emphasize the view and swing out to capture breezes."
Easy & Accessible
Storage wasn't an issue, so the Thustons opted for open shelves and extended the marble backsplash up to the ceiling.
Open shelves make a kitchen feel more spacious and airy. "They're also cheaper than wall-hung cabinets, especially these white shelves with metal brackets I got from IKEA," Jessica says. "I like using them for cereal bowls, coffee cups, and anything else you might use every day."
"I think a kitchen looks really polished when the utilitarian features are out of sight," Jessica says. She had an outlet added to the back of a cabinet to house the microwave and also chose a cabinet with a pullout waste bin. "No one wants to see your trash can," she says.
"Stock cabinets now have so many of the features you love in custom cabinetry but at a much lower price," Jessica says. She found some in a Shaker style from Shenandoah Cabinetry and topped them with natural limestone counters for a luxe look.
Notice the Details
New hardwood floors added warmth to the mostly white kitchen but still felt empty. Jessica decided to mimic the look of a rug by painting a trellis pattern on the floor using painter's tape and oil-based floor enamel.
Inviting Breakfast Nook
"Make every inch count with an L-shaped bench," says Jessica. "Mine is made of MDF with tongue-and-groove paneling for dimension."
Comfy & Stain-Resistant
"I use outdoor fabrics inside because they're so easy to clean and resist stains and spills," she says. "And I pile on the pillows." (She has 10 here!)
A large piece of art and an industrial light from Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. offer impact in a small space.
Add a flip-top lid to the seats with piano hinges. "We store everything from holiday decor to extra rolls of paper towels in there," says Jessica. "It's so handy."