La maison: Building Character

Coffee House

Making the most of the home’s original picture window, a custom banquette filled with seating and storage is the ultimate multitasker. In addition to a view of the backyard, the nook overlooks the kitchen island, with a line of sight straight into the home’s main living room. A walnut-topped tulip table reproduction from Rove Concepts allows for easy access, and drawers built into the base provide stowaway space within reach. Its versatility allows for a seamless transition from morning coffee to kids’ craft time — mission accomplished.

What do you get when couple of coffee lovers build their dream kitchen? A breezy floor plan with not one, but two, cafe-worthy perches. Leaving the original layout in the (demo) dust, the reconfiguration features an open island with seating for three, as well as a built-in banquette overlooking the backyard. Blueish-gray cabinets pop against crisp white subway tile and Carrara countertops. Marrying clean, midcentury lines with traditional finishes, designer Elizabeth Gerace, worked closely with the homeowners to create a timeless look that simultaneously feels like a breath of fresh air.  (Renovation by Minvielle Davis Construction, Cabinets by Heritage Woodworks, Interior design by Elizabeth Gerace Design,

Don’t be scared off by the ubiquity of subway tile. It’s popular for a reason. The classic 3×6 grid plays like a neutral against bolder design elements. (Daltile subway tile from United Tile). Think balance when it comes to mixing metals like a pro. Here, a stainless appliance suite and polished nickel faucet play well with the aged brass hardware and light fixtures. (Cabinet hardware by Rejuvenation, Kohler Parq faucet from Facets).  The struggle to find the perfect white is real, but it’s hard to go wrong with Benjamin Moore’s “White Dove.” The old-world elegance of honed Bianco Carrara marble brings texture and depth to a contemporary kitchen. (Sourced from Lafayette Marble and Granite). Benjamin Moore’s “Pearl” brings multidimensional color to statement-making Shaker cabinets.

Oui, Chef

The space achieves a collected feel by integrating complementary design elements, rather than trying to make everything match. Think mixed hardware in a similar finish, or how these lantern-style pendants from Teche Electric punctuate handmade butcher block counters by The Wooden Barrel.

A serious cook requires a serious kitchen. The magic of this renovation is its ability to achieve professional-grade status without foregoing any of the charisma of a family home. A power play of contrast — Indian black slate floors and handmade butcher block counters; rich green cabinets and “Mascarpone” walls — give the space an antiquated French vibe, according to designer Elizabeth Gerace. It’s true; the light blue Lacanche range steals the show from the outset, but it’s the harmony of the more subtle details that truly makes this kitchen sing. The addition of a casement window where upper cabinets once loomed creates a natural spotlight to shine on home-chef masterpieces. (John Sims, contractor; Cabinets by Harry Trahan with T & T Custom Cabinets; Interior design by Elizabeth Gerace Design,

Painting the home’s original center match wood, revealed underneath old ceiling tiles, adds more character than standard drywall. Weathered white, square Cle’ Tile creates a show stopping backsplash that feels like it’s been there forever. Easy-to-maintain Indian black slate still makes a statement. (Sourced from United Tile) Carpenters matched the home’s original ‘70s raised-panel cabinets on the upper level to achieve ceiling-height storage on the top. The earthy “Bassett Hall Green” by Benjamin Moore infuses cabinets (and the entire kitchen) with vibrant color. Open shelving gives the kitchen a more informal feel and provides plenty of room to display dishware collections.

Modern Romance

There’s a reason Fantasy Brown Dolomite counters are in high demand. Although it’s technically marble, this wavy natural stone boasts a rich, leathered finish with the durability of a quartz or quartzite. (Sourced from Lafayette Marble and Granite) Think twice before you rip up that linoleum. The endlessly versatile and all-natural flooring is making a comeback, especially in classic patterns, like this black-and-white check.

Inspired by the home’s Dutch Colonial Revival roots, this kitchen update re-creates the warmth of a traditional open hearth. Combined with a healthy dose of modern Southern charm, the space achieves its own fairy tale ending. Custom details reveal a one-of-kind story, from the hand-painted tiles to the checkered bistro floors and vintage chandelier. Not to mention salvaged gems, like the home’s original cast-iron farm sink and an inherited slab of Cypress, which made its way onto the island top. Moody honed marble and tuxedo cabinets give it the kind of drama you’ll be seeing more of in 2020. (Restoration and construction by S & S Renovators, Charlie Sanders, contractor)

Industrial, but still classic, Permo sconces in antique bronze coordinate seamlessly with the modern-meets-vintage look. ( Lightly-weathered Bedford brass cup drawer pulls and matchbox door latches from the Martha Stewart Living collection at Home Depot are a chic budget saver. Mixing in antique lighting, like this vintage chandelier purchased in Washington, Louisiana, adds whimsical charm. A family heirloom of sorts, this piece of salvaged Cypress takes center stage as an island topper. For a foolproof black-and-white paint combination, try Benjamin Moore’s creamy “Muslin” paired with “Soot.”

Going Big

Serving a growing family of seven is a tall order for any kitchen, but doing it with style is a whole new ballgame. This remodel began with two must-have requests from the home owners: antique, wide-plank pine floors and an integrated appliance suite to serve the masses. The result? A sleek finish that pays homage to the past with a nod to the future. Designer Paige Gary reimagined the space, originally built in the mid-60s, with ample storage and high-end features, such as polished quartzite stretching from the backsplash across an ample island and designer light fixtures to add an unmistakably contemporary flair. (Renovation by Shivers Construction; Cabinets by Cajun Wood Products; Interior design by Paige Gary Designs,

Try pairing a bold floor with a neutral cabinet color, like the not-too-cool/not-too-warm white, “Greek Villa” by Sherwin Williams. Antique brass hardware, like these from Distinctive Hardware and Decor, bring warm accents throughout the kitchen. Need to meal prep for a crowd? This stainless, 60-inch, Pro-Grand Thermador range specializes in maximum capacity cooking. To achieve seamless integration, select your appliances first and build the cabinet design around them, rather than the other way around. Custom cabinets by Cajun Wood Products. Appliances sourced from C & C Home Appliances. Polished Sublime quartzite from Massimo Exotic Natural Stones stands up to tough daily use while adding a luxurious streamlined effect to the island and backsplash. Curtains in a bold print can add a pop of personality—without a huge commitment. Custom floral draperies by Paige Gary Designs.