Category Archives: Secret Favorite Clients

Secret Favorite Clients|Kitchen Reveal

I covered this kitchen’s before a long time ago and never posted the afters. I figured since it is featured on HGTV’s Fresh Faces of Design and you can vote for this kitchen (you just click on this kitchen scroll though the 8 images and click ready to VOTE) that I should share a little about it’s process. I posted the before’s here and shared this image on Pinterest:

Kitchen Reno


Well let’s get to the after’s shall we?? Sometimes I am amazed how much it looks like the original rendering. In this case it’s pretty EXACT. So we kept most of the original cabinets, all of the cabinets along the wall are the same, as well as the sink cabinet and dishwasher. The layout of the kitchen worked so there was no reason to replace any cabinet that we weren’t changing and that freed up some money.  HGTV Fresh faces Rebecca Zajac

To create the new massive island I designed, I had my cabinet maker fabricate 3 new cabinet boxes. We added a trash pull out per the clients request, and two more large boxes to give the island it’s new square shape. We opted to do the seating area on two sides so it allows for good conversation. When part of the island was drywall, all that space under the seating area was wasted. Now what looks like paneling under the stools is actually storage and makes a great spot to store holiday items you don’t need access to all year long.

HGTV Fresh faces Rebecca Zajac

The butler pantry was enclosed and became a regular pantry. The cabinet that functioned as the pantry before, next to the refrigerator, was fitted with interior pull out drawers to address the lack of drawer issue we had in the previous layout. We didn’t reface the cabinets, we simply re-doored all the old boxes with a simple shaker style door and since they were just partial overlay cabinets we tried to make them look more custom by closing all the gaps between the pairs of doors. In a perfect world we would have done full overlay or inset but since we kept the original boxes we made what was there work. Overall I am very happy with how the doors came out. We also added soft close so it feels like all new cabinets.

HGTV Fresh faces Rebecca Zajac

Some doors got glass and we moved up the cabinet above the range to make room for a professional hood. We relocated the microwave to inside the walk-in pantry. Countertops are Caesarstone Frosty Carrina and I like how they have grey marble like veins with out trying too hard to be faux marble. Marble is beautiful but high maintenance, Caesarstone is a great alternative and isn’t trying to hard to be somethings that it’s not.

HGTV Fresh faces Rebecca Zajac

The backsplash is a custom color Granada Tile and white tiles were added in to break up the over all pattern and give it an organic feel.

HGTV Fresh faces Rebecca Zajac

I think I linked most of the resources in the post. The stools are from Crate and Barrel and the cabinet color was a lacquer color matched to Sherwin Williams Peppercorn.

And I’m not begging, (maybe a little) but please take the time to VOTE on HGTV’s FRESH FACES OF DESIGN for this kitchen. Remember the vote button won’t come up until you scroll though the images or this kitchen and the adjoining dining room that I haven’t revealed on the blog yet.  KitchenRenoDesignbyNumbersPinterest


Secret Favorite Clients | The Fireplace

Let me introduce you to the strangest fireplace ever.


Again, photos from the MLS listing. At first glance the fireplace doesn’t look so bad. However look closer. There’s an odd height step that goes across causing the TV built in to look like it’s FLOATING! It’s so strange. Besides the floating media cabinet the television is also extremely high. The ideal height for a TV is eye level when stilling down, and if you need to mount it a little higher be sure to angle the TV down a little. A high mounted TV like this is like sitting in the front row at the movie theater. It hurts my neck just thinking about it. So the challenge was to save budget by keeping fireplace box in the same location, but re-design the fireplace surround and also design an adjacent media unit that complements the fireplace and balances the wall. I’m not a fan of those build-in media niches but sometimes you gotta just figure out how to work with it.

Secret Favorite Clients| Fireplace

The plan is to use a mid-century inspired brick veneer and go floor to ceiling around the fireplace and that weird step has got to go. The media unit is going to be simple cabinets with pretty knobs, and a simple modern mantle will tie the two together. Wanna see!? Secret Favorite Clients | The Fireplace Boom! Looks so simple but that design had me stumped for a good 5 hours trying to figure out how to make the existing placement work and look intentional and balanced. We could mount the TV but it really didn’t need to be mounted, and call me weird but I think it looks better on it’s stand in this situation. All the media equipment will be hidden behind those pretty white doors and an RF reader allows you to control the equipment without seeing it or having to open the doors. I’m not one to try to hide the TV because I think it’s unrealistic to pretend like we don’t watch it. If your lucky enough to have a separate living room, by all means omit the TV from that room, but in a family room just design around the reality that if you try to hide it behind door those doors will always be open and looking a mess. Rant over. Above the TV lends a perfect spot for some pretty leaning vintage artwork. I was aiming to keep this design simple and pretty, a nod to the mid-century without screaming MID-CENTURY. I really think the world eclectic has been overused about as much as the word epic, so I hate to say this home is “eclectic,” but it really is a modern mix of cozy, relaxed and all things pretty. Want to see the rest of the family room!? It’s coming I promise, along with the living room, dining, bathroom and laundry room.

Secret Favorite Clients | Fireplace Re-Design

Secret Favorite Clients | The Kitchen

Has it really been since Valentines day that I have posted!? Oh man does time fly. Well I’m excited to introduce a new series covering the redesign of my new secret favorite clients home. I call them my secret favorite clients not only because they are awesome, but because their style is so close to mine it’s like designing my dream home. So, I’m going to start the series off with their kitchen. This may be the most exciting kitchen redesign I’ve done to date. Not just because the after is going to be amazing, but because we are working with a lot of the existing kitchen making it a more affordable, realistic kitchen reno as compared to a full gut. So let me introduce you to the before:

Kitchen MLS  Listing Kitchen MLS  Listing Kitchen MLS  Listing These pictures are from the MLS listing on the house and in no way reflects my clients style or taste. The house is currently very beige and bland. The wall color, although looking olive in these pictures, is like a peanut butter beige The floors are white 18″ tile and the cabinets are an orangey cherry wood. It isn’t terrible, it’s just very builder grade feeling and the design is very 90’s. So whats the plan?

kitchendemo This picture is more true to color than the MLS listing, check out those orange beauties. Some major things happening are all new flooring though out the whole home. We are also removing the weird wing wall attached to the island and giving the island a complete overhaul. Since we are keeping the cabinets I plan on just reworking the island once the rounded drywall and dated granite is removed. Plumbing will remain in the same spot. This kitchen functions well and no need to spend budget on rearranging anything. That odd “butler pantry” will get a door and become a regular pantry and the pass though to what is currently the formal dining room will be closed off. We are also moving the microwave into the new walk in pantry and moving that upper cabinet up and installing a hood giving the cabinets a bit of a more custom look. We are not “refacing” the cabinets since we are painting them, we are simply redooring them to a timeless shaker door some with glass inserts and the entire kitchen is getting a coat of medium grey paint. Also a new lighting plan with pendants will be installed. Are you having a hard time picturing it? No worries, check it out!

kitchen rendering It’s like a completely different kitchen, while not really. The biggest difference is the island will be a normal rectangular shape, removing the weird wall opens it up and the pendants add personality. OH and that backsplash!? We did splurge a bit on custom colored cement tile and I mixed in some solid tiles to break up the pattern a little and make it feel a little more organic. It gives the illusion of wallpaper with the durability of tile. I’m obsessed.

Demo starts next week so be sure to follow along. I’ll be covering the great room design, new dining room, and formal dining converted to living room design before this week. There’s also a laundry room, full bath and powder room in the mix.

Kitchen Reno