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Modern Deco Kitchen Intro



Hey there, it’s Ginny here with an intro to a very fun before and after kitchen renovation project for the Lorey family. For those who have read the blog for some time now might be familiar with the Lorey’s – Emily and Orlando worked on several rooms in their house – Family Room, Master bedroom, Office/guest room, Dining Room, Tween Bedroom,  and Boy’s Bedroom. We’re quite fortunate in that all of our clients are pretty wonderful people, but this family are one in a million and I cannot express how amazing they are. It also helps that they have two insanely cute puppies that happen to love me, so I welcomed any excuse for a site visit.

Nicole & Howard contacted us wanting help re-designing their formal Living Room (reveal coming very soon) and kitchen. The house was built in the late 1930’s and remodeled in the 60’s and the kitchen hadn’t been touched since then. Even the built-in oven was original vintage 1960’s. They wanted the kitchen to be modernized but also liked the idea of bringing in some traditional elements that complimented the history and architecture of the house.


This is what it looked like before we started. The layout was a long galley style kitchen with a separate pantry space at the end. Right from the get go I wanted to push for that wall to be removed so we could make the two spaces into one larger room. Another thought was to remove the soffit above the cabinets and allow the new cabinets to run to the underside of the ceiling. This would make the space feel a lot taller and grander and give more storage space which is always a plus.


They didn’t have enough space for dry food storage so used an open rack instead (like you see in the picture) – I wanted to create a full height pantry for them with pull out shelves for easy access. And who doesn’t love the idea of a full floor to ceiling height built-in pantry?


For the most part the main appliances would stay in the same location except for the fridge. They wanted to upgrade their vintage oven and cooktop with a combined 36″ range and I really wanted them to have a farmhouse sink.  I also wanted to extend the lower cabinets to the end of the kitchen to replace the wood buffet since this couldn’t really be used as countertop space.


I started off by drawing up the existing layout of the kitchen (which you see on the left above) and then drew up some proposed options for contractors to price off (which is on the right). We had 5 different contractors bid, some we’d worked with before and others that had been recommended. That way we could have a range of figures to present to the Lorey’s. We ultimately went with a mid-range price contractor Mega Builders that had been recommended by a co-worker of Howard. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical at first, there was something personality-wise that didn’t quite sit well with me. I think I’m also a tough crowd to please with my hard English ways. But it’s always a risk working with new contractors, especially on expensive projects like this and you really want to make sure they’re the right fit. It’s also our responsibility as the designer to have your client’s best interests at heart, so I was being uber cautious on their behalf. But as it turned out they are amazing, they also work with crazy good carpenters that custom made the kitchen (these guys are also doing Emily’s new house).


I started to pull together some moodboards and design inspiration. I took a lot of design styling from those amazing Brits over at Devol. Their style cabinets felt right for the house: modern with traditional craftsmanship. We started this just as the cement tile craze was getting bigger so we liked the idea of bringing a blue version of that in for the floor. I liked the idea of mixing the blue flooring with a grey cabinet with a simple herringbone backsplash and marble countertop. They love brass tones so we knew we wanted to go down the polished brass route. And although it’s super trendy right now, brass still has a timeless feel to it that will be around for years. But it wasn’t until we received a ton of tile samples that we ended up going in a slightly different route which you’ll see further down.


The carpenters got to work on drawing up the layout based on my plans. These were the final signed off drawings since there were a few revisions during the process. We went down the fully custom route with this kitchen (I talked a lot here about the differences between custom vs pre-fab).


We proposed to remove the upper cabinets from either side of the sink and replace with open shelving, we liked the idea of keeping that wall open and light yet still functional. You can see that we opened up the pantry space and moved the fridge (shelves not shown on here). We went with inset panels with a frame for a more traditional custom feel. The only downside to inset is that you do lose some interior cabinet space. Not a ton, but something to think about when you’re doing this kind of cabinetry.


We relocated the fridge so that it was more tucked in the corner and didn’t overpower the entrance into the kitchen from the dining room.


We did a three door full height pantry. One for utility storage and then a double for food storage and a place for them to hide their microwave. We toyed with the idea of putting the microwave in one of the lower cabinets but I didn’t love the idea of having it on show and ruin the aesthetic of the cabinets. Both Howard and I were on the same page even though the carpenters were trying to convince us to buy an all-singing all-dancing microwave drawer. I totally get that they are amazing and have their functions but they can be a bit of an eyesore (in my opinion and Howard agreed).


One thing about the Lorey’s – they aren’t afraid to go bold and love color and pattern. So once we got all the tile samples in we instantly fell in love the Big Al from Cle Tile. That really was the starting off point for the rest of the finishes. We ended up changing the backsplash to beautiful, simple, hand-made tile from Fireclay in Blue Spruce. And since the floor tile had pretty tones of blue we opted for a blue-grey cabinet color – Wolf Gray by Benjamin Moore. I was pretty adamant that the finishes of the faucet and the hardware match – unless the metals are totally different i.e. oil rubbed bronze and brass, I’m not a lover of combining different tones of brass since they can vary so much between companies. I sourced the faucet which is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l from Newport brass and Rejuvenation’s hardware matches super well with it – bin pull & cabinet knob.  The pendants are also from Rejuvenation (Baldwin 6″ polished brass with 12in. Deco Stepped Shade).



As soon as we got the drawings signed off and had received all the finishes, they got to work on doing the demo and removing the existing walls. Luckily the kitchen is accessible from the outside so they could close off the doorways which helped to prevent dust getting into the family and dining room.


Since there was some demo work required the cabinets could be made off site in the workshop which is great because you can go and see the progress in person and make any small tweaks.



We also approved the paint sample for the door and discussed moulding details for the ceiling – which we ended up custom designing since none of the ones they had really sang out to us.


Back at the house after plumbing, electrical, drywall and all the other boring, yet vital things were going on the floor tile could be installed. Our contractor prefers to install everything on top of the finished floor so we installed it throughout. Since the tile has a definitive pattern we laid it out based on the walkways in the room, it’s small details like this that can really throw off the design if it isn’t considered properly.



Once the tile had gone in they installed all the cabinets, then doors, hardware, cabinets, tiles, lighting, appliances… you get the gist.  The last thing to go in was the open shelving and then it came to styling it out for them. Which we did and you can see a sneak peek below. Stay tuned though, we’re doing the full reveal of this bad boy sometime next week, I just gotta get ’round to writing about it first.


Check out some more kitchen designs: The Final Big Kitchen Makeover Post, 7 Affordable Kitchen Designs, Traditional Eclectic Kitchen: The Big Reveal, Brady’s DIY Peel and Stick Kitchen Flooring (For Under $50)

Fin Mark


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This kitchen is stunning, great work!


I love the finished kitchen. Those tiles!


This kitchen is crazy beautiful. I’m not surprised. I do have one question, were you guys at all concerned about the distance between the pantry and the fridge? I know that galley style kitchens are hard to work with when it comes to layout (I have one too). I’m curious if you played around with any other layouts and what helped you come to this final decision?


This looks great! What color did you choose for the cabinets? I am looking at paint samples for a blue island in my otherwise white kitchen.


Hey! A paragraph sort of towards the middle mentions the cabinet color being Wolf Gray by Benjamin Moore.

Love the kitchen, so pretty and interesting!


Oh my goodness…this kitchen is gorgeous! Get writing Ginny, your sneak peek has left me dying to see more!

Lisa H.

WOW. That’s the sneak-peak of the decade. 🙂


This is so nosy, and


This is so nosy, and I would never ask for the exact numbers for one of your clients’ projects, but I would be so interested to know ball-park amounts for renovations like this one and how much decisions like custom cabinets vs pre-fab cabinets make. Since you all do so many renos and see so many quotes I feel like you’d have great reference points!


Same! Especially being in an expensive area (SF Bay Area), I’ve noticed that a lot of estimates I find online are quite a bit less than quotes I’ve gotten around here. It’d be great to hear some numbers from y’all, since I know LA ain’t cheap either!


Love the sneak peek. Looking forward to the full reveal. Do you think that boldly patterned concrete tiles will look dated in 10 years? They make such a dramatic statement but I worry about trends fading… We redid our kitchen 27 years ago and went with hardwood to match the rest of the house (1920s Tudor revival) and I’ve never regretted it.


Ginny, the design and sneak peek are gorgeous, but I have the same question as Patricia. In 10 years, will we all look at these bright cement tiles and go, “Oh, that’s so teens. And I really question running the tiles all the way to the walls, UNDER the cabinets. If in 10 years this family gets tired of their bright cement tiles, they’ll have to pull out all of the lower cabinets and appliances to change out the tile. Guess I’m just too traditional to go out on a design limb like this! Good thing I’m in an apartment… Read more »


Im going to chime in here as someone who is installing cement tiles in my remodel. After traveling to Portugal and seeing how cement tiles are EVERYWHERE in beautiful patterns, similar to this, and have been there for hundreds of years- I fell in love. They age beautifully and are old world enough to stand the test of time. Im sure the popularity will fade, but each hand painted tile is a piece of art. And like investing in art, if you truly love something, you won’t care if its “in style” or “out of style” in 20 years. As… Read more »


I live in an older house in Germany and our neighbours have original cement tile in their home – it still looks great after 150+ years! I think as long as it matches the style of the house, you don’t need to worry about it being trendy. Cement tiles age beautifully (with proper care).

Gorgeous kitchen, Ginny! Love, love, love it!


THIS. IS. AMAZING. A+ work you guys!!!


Wow, this is a beautiful kitchen. Those pendant lights are perfection in there. I really love inset cabinets. Since you’re still drafting the final reveal… I’d love to hear about timelines 🙂

Did you use cement tiles? If so, how did you/contractors deal with the extreme thickness of the tiles v. the wood floor in the dining room?


Where is the brass hardware for the floating shelves from? I would love brass hardware for my shelves, but haven’t been able to find any beautiful hardware. If you could let me know where I can find it I would really appreciate it!

It’s from Rejuvenation! They have such good options in all sorts of finishes. xx


Beautiful. So nice to see a lovely kitchen that isn’t white. Is there enough clearance to open the refrigerator door? I had a major problem finding a refrigerator to fit in my new – galley – kitchen because most models required more clearance than I had available to open the door fully. My kitchen designer and contractor really came through with advice and options to make it work.


Did u consider hardwood floors?



Wow!!! That sneak peek is absolutely stunning. One of the most beautiful kitchens i’ve seen in quite a while!


So beautiful! (I liked the original design elements, too!)

I love the brass!


Sooo pretty! I want to lick that tile floor!


It’s really beautiful. And even with some common design elements, it’s still unique. Totally love it and can’t want to see more.


How long did this take from demo to usable? We need to remodel our kitchen, but I am worried about being out of commission for months and months…

This is amazing!!! Excellent work, Ginny! This makes me appreciate just how much work and attention to detail are required for a project like this. I’m exhausted just reading the post 😛 Can’t wait for the big reveal post…


Please, please tell me that somebody saved those PH5 pendants from the demo pile in the “Before” photos. I literally squealed when I saw them. Love the renovated kitchen and looking forward to the full reveal!

what a transformation!! really lovely. that tile is great and i love those lights! and it’s fun to see cabinets in a color. so much white out there in internetland!




2 things, a statement and a question. First, it’s absolutely gorgeous, well done! Love the choices and finished product, and can’t wait to see more images. Second, why is it titled a ‘Modern Deco Kitchen’? This isn’t meant to be accusatory, I’m actually wondering what makes this deco style, from an experts point of view. I get that the house was built in the 30’s, and the light fixtures, and possibly the faucet are in a deco style, but what other design features do you feel warrant this as a Modern Deco style title? Would love to hear your answer!

I will surely read this completely and also will share to my blog! Informative much! Thanks for it!


Stunning! Any chance we can see pictures of the kitchen from other angles? I like how the cement tiles end at the breakfast nook. I’m curious how the nook is laid out with the adjoining room.


Good lord that is gorgeous.

Rehana Malik

Thanks for Nice and Informative Post. This article is really contains lot more information about This Topic!
Mohabbat ki shadi ke liye Sifli Amal

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