Rejuvenating Work-Arounds Brighten a Magnolia Kitchen

Designer Allison Lind updates a kitchen—new paint, selective cabinetry—without gutting it.

By Stefan Milne May 29, 2019 Published in the June/July 2019 issue of Seattle Met

The kitchen had been redone—green granite countertops, dark wood cabinets—just three years before Cathy and Sean Beaudoin moved into their Magnolia house, originally a midcentury rambler. Yet the space felt dark and cumbersome, “very traditional Pacific Northwest,” Cathy says, a style at odds with the couple’s taste. They’d painted the home, inside and out, when they moved in, but tolerated the kitchen. “I just didn’t have the heart to get rid of all that granite,” she says. After nine years in the house, though, they’d had enough.

They brought in Allison Lind of Allison Lind Interiors, and made a plan: keep the lower cabinets and the appliances—all still reasonably new and some of the major costs in a kitchen remodel—and refresh the rest. The major problem, Lind says, was the upper cabinetry; it was bulky, gloomy, and partly blocked a window. The Beaudoins were “petrified” about losing storage, Lind says, so she went with floating glass shelves: They hold dishes but also let window light in. From there it was a matter of shifting the color palette to fit with the rest of the house—rich dark cabinets, crisp white countertops—and finding ways to mediate austerity. Since the Beaudoins wanted to keep the counter seating, they went with a live-edge wood bar top to contrast the room’s stark angularity. The resulting kitchen, says Cathy, feels “as if it was always there and we decorated around it.”

The Beaudoins kitchen, before and after the renovation.

Steps to Refresh

1. Natural Flourish: Lind echoed the wood bar in the range hood, which she says brings an “organic feel” to the otherwise utilitarian room. 

2. High Tile: The white subway tile backsplash runs all the way to the ceiling on two walls to help define the kitchen from an adjacent living space.

3. A Fresh Coat: Pushing the black tones to the lower half of the kitchen helps create contrast while keeping the room light.

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