Before even pulling inspiration images, designer Kelly Martin starts her creative process by identifying a few descriptive words with her clients so she can really understand the direction. “My initial description for this project was clean, bold and masculine,” she says.

Her clients, a young couple, moved to LA from New York in 2013 and bought their Craftsman-style bungalow in 2018. They held off on any renovations until 2020. “When we began this project, their main goal was to ‘un-IKEA’ the kitchen,” Kelly says, mentioning that the cabinets were starting to fall apart. “They were also adamant about no veined marble, so we introduced a butcher block and stark white combination for the counters.”

The couple also wanted color, but allowed Kelly to incorporate deeper touches throughout, inspired by beautiful Heath Ceramics dishes they’d received as wedding gifts. “I knew they liked that deep, rich earthiness that Heath does so well; I wanted to take it a step further and make sure the entire kitchen had that depth, so I choose a rich cabinet color and a more organic feeling zellige backsplash tile. They were originally envisioning a brighter blue or green, but the richer shade makes the space feel fresh and stylish yet still authentic to them.”

Throughout the kitchen, black accents add a striking contrast. “The black range was one of our first loves at the very beginning of the project timeline,” Kelly recalls. “I’m a sucker for Bertazzoni ranges and this was the first time I had the opportunity to use their black finish. I was very excited! And actually, that was what ultimately influenced the pops of black and iron throughout the space.” There’s a small open shelf above the range which reflects the wood tones of the countertops, drawing your eye upwards. There is also Sun Valley Bronze cabinet hardware, a splurge that the designer says was totally worth it: “It’s the jewelry of the kitchen!”

By combining all of these elements, she was able to make a space the couple loved, despite their different aesthetic tastes. “One of the clients likes things slightly industrial and the other is a little more classic so we worked to find a happy medium. My design process is all about curating a style that still tells the client’s story,” she says. It’s the same approach she takes for her bespoke furniture collection, ATELIERxKM. Mixing the beauty of natural walnuts and oaks with blackened steel accents creates a dark juxtaposition of soft & hard edges, and what she calls high-end fashion pieces for your home. Learn more here.