When we first laid eyes on this boldly colored breakfast nook we were impressed with how much design went into one small functional space. It was designed by Jessica McClendon of Glamour Nest, an LA interior design firm that specializes in decorating first, second and historical homes in the new tech age: they’ll help you with anything from a smaller design question to a full scale home design project.
With the growing trend of breakfast nooks (also called “kitchen nooks”) we wanted to ask Jessica a few questions about this space.
This area of the kitchen has so much personality! Tell us a little bit about the homeowners?
The homeowners are a hilarious, busy, and creative couple! Both work in the entertainment industry here in Los Angeles. They have two rambunctious kiddos and two fairly large AND rambunctious dogs, so their home requires pieces that are durable and don’t break the bank, but have personality and add pizazz to their home. The Mrs. loves the color pink, and we were lucky as her husband gave us the green light to include it in the space!
What was the scale of the project, had you worked with them before?
This was my first time working with this couple, but they were referred to me by one of my favorite clients so I knew they would be fun and totally up my alley!
The homeowners purchased the home when it was being finished, so I helped them decide on paint, wallpaper, a few last minute building details such as door styles, living room and den furnishings, décor, and the kitchen nook’s built-in seating.
What did the space look like before you designed it?
It was a blank canvas to start with. The kitchen nook area was just three walls with glorious windows and lots of natural light. The home in general had great bones but was very “spec home,” with an east coast, traditional vibe.
Tell us a little more about that first meeting…What were the homeowner’s concerns?
When I was brought on board the clients confided in me that they were actually a little worried that they had made a mistake in purchasing the home. While they loved the layout and flow, it is a spec home, which is popular right now in Los Angeles, and lacked personality and uniqueness. It’s true. Before we started it looked just like the other spec homes in the area, both on the inside and out.
That’s a tricky challenge! With so many options open to them, what did they absolutely not want or was a must for them?
Their direction was basically, “Help us make this look like it’s not a spec home!” So I started with lighting, color, and wallpaper.
The builder is very traditional in his tastes, and if he was on site while I was working, I’d often find myself explaining our design decisions. Once when we were switching out lights, he asked, “Why don’t you want my light? It’s very nice!” I had to find a way to walk a fine line between changing things while still being kind and respectful.
In the end, through design, we found a multitude of ways to make their home special and unique to the family’s emotional and functional needs, without looking like similar homes in the area.
So let’s talk about breakfast nooks… Why do you think that they are making such a comeback these days?
Kitchen nooks add a coziness factor to an otherwise all-hard surface space. Counters, backsplash, and cabinetry, while beautiful, aren’t what I’d call cozy. A nook allows you to build in texture. What better way to start the day or end the day than cozying up with your loved ones in a little kitchen nook?
I think kitchen nooks are making a comeback because they are a better use of space. If we had chosen a table and chairs there would have been more of a limit for seating. But with built-in bench seating you can squeeze in guests, like the kids’ friends who pile around the table, when needed.
Design can completely change how we interact! What reasons did you decide to do a kitchen nook in this project?
When you enter the home, the kitchen nook is the first thing you see. That means it needs to be impactful, but clean in its appearance. I worried that if we had placed a table and chairs in the area it would be visually displeasing, cluttered, and not create a lasting first impression.
How did you make it a comfortable and functional space?
We had the base of the built-in seating produced in wood so to make for easy clean up and repair. With both kids and dogs, this was a no-brainer decision! Choosing an all upholstered bench would have been a disaster. We then added an inset cushion, a must-do in a kitchen nook so it doesn’t slide around as people slide in and out, and topped it off with throw pillows.
We paired a mixture of options in washable fabrics with budget-friendly picks from Target for the throw pillows. Because this is a high traffic area, they need to withstand lots of use, and we didn’t want to worry about investing in higher end options that would need to be replaced quickly.
For the table we opted for a pedestal base, which allows those seated to get in and out easily. Having legs on a table in a nook isn’t a “no-no” per se, but choosing a pedestal table made it visually cleaner and more functional for this space. Plus it allows for flexibility when you are squeezing in diners.
What are some standout moments of your design?
I love the gold and white chairs. They were such a cool, inexpensive find on Overstock, and really make a visual impact!
Click on the slideshow to see more of this pretty space and to read Jessica’s tips on how to create a well-designed kitchen nook!