When designer Marissa Cramer first met her clients in Mar Vista, Trevor & Grace Levin, they were first-time homeowners. Trevor is a Los Angeles native and an agent at Nourmand & Associates, so he was familiar with the area’s residential real estate and had a discerning eye for design. Marissa says, “Both Trevor and Grace have great taste but when it came to figuring out how to tackle a kitchen and bathroom remodel, they knew early on that they needed help to hone some of their initial ideas and handle to overall vision for both spaces.” 

We’ll be showing off the impressive bathroom makeover next week, but today we wanted to focus on the gorgeous kitchen. The floor plan of the home is fairly open, meaning you can see the kitchen right when you enter. “The old dalmatian granite that covered the counters and backsplash was overpowering and made the space feel heavy, dated and dark,” Marissa recalls. Luckily, the cabinets were in great condition and the layout of the space did not need any adjustment. 

The design process began with the patterned cement tiles that are used above the range. “In our initial design meeting, my clients expressed that they wanted to bring a fun, bold style into the space. They weren’t afraid of pattern and welcomed eclectic choices. In fact, I recall Trevor using the term ‘funky’ a few times,” the designer laughs. Marissa opted to accent just above the range and then use a light grey subway tile for the remaining backsplash. “I scoured my favorite tile resource, Classic Tile & Flooring in Santa Monica, and came across the 2×5 handmade tiles in this stunning light grey variation. Each tile is unique and their coloring was an incomparable partner with the cement so we had a winner,” Marissa explains. “The subway tile is installed in a herringbone pattern which mimics the pattern of the cement tiles so it flows and complements one another. The subway tile also has gorgeous tonal variations which works beautifully with the organic nature of the cement tiles.”

For the countertops, Marissa used Caesarstone Statuario Maximus quartz. “It has a marble inspired design with white background and light grey veins so it was the perfect partner for our selected tiles,” she says. “My clients wanted a durable material that would last for years and quartz doesn’t require initial or continued sealing – it’s easily becoming my preferred choice for kitchen counters.”

They installed a large Kohler apron front sink as well as a small prep sink on the island. The island was given a fresh coat of paint (Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal) and all the cabinet doors and drawers received new polished nickel hardware. They also introduced brass finishes with Delta pull-down faucets and Schoolhouse Electric Princeton sconces above the window.

Finally, the upper cabinets to the left of the window had an awkward placement and blocked some of the natural light. They were removed and replaced with floating shelves. “Floating shelves are also a great way to display beautiful kitchen wares, cookbooks and plants,” Marissa tells us. When pressed, the designer shared her favorite resource for gorgeous plants and pots — LA’s Rolling Greens Nursery. “They’re always getting in new shipments of unique vessels and one-of-a-kinds accent pieces.” For other decor options, she stays on LA’s west side. “Burro on Abbot Kinney is a favorite shop. They always have an eclectic variety of home decor, candles and cookbooks. EXIR Home in Santa Monica is what dreams are made of. They have a wonderful selection of curated items, exceptional serving pieces, textiles and decorative accessories.” She also looks to World Market (for global-inspired decor) and Anthropologie (for an enviable cookbook collection). 

Get a look at the impressive before & after in the slideshow, and be sure to check back next week to see the magic Marissa worked on the bathroom!