When Leslie Harris Keane first saw this kitchen, it was closed in and very cramped. The main area lacked both counter space (no room to prep meals!) and storage. Her clients hoped to transform the dated space into a cheerful, child-friendly oasis that would foster their love of cooking and provide plenty of seating for the whole family. As our slideshow highlights, Leslie made all of their hopes come true. We’re chatting with the designer to learn more:

Hi Leslie! We’d love to know a bit more about this kitchen. 
I was brought in pretty early in the project. My client was 90% sure of the layout and overall look she was going for. I was brought in to make sure her vision came through in the final design. She wanted a classic kitchen, but didn’t want it to be too cookie cutter. A light and bright kitchen with cheery, colorful accents that reflected her family’s style. I made sure to infuse unique touches with elements like custom designed lighting and lots of fun prints and texture.

How did you transform the space?
We tackled the overall layout first. The working parts of the kitchen already functioned well so we kept all of the major appliances in roughly the same space. Everything else changed pretty dramatically. To improve the overall flow, the wall between the kitchen and dining room was removed. In its place, a 4ft peninsula for added to increase the amount of counter space. On the other end of the kitchen, the bank of cabinets was extended further down the wall and a similar sized peninsula was added to use as a breakfast bar. The ceiling was raised about 12”, which completely transformed the space. We took advantage of the higher ceilings by extending the cabinets up and adding a substantial piece of crown molding.

Opposite the dining room, there was a small space that we transformed into a fun family gathering spot. Before the remodel, the room was set up as a small seating area but we knew the layout could be improved. A never used fireplace was removed to make space for a small desk and built in banquet. A built in buffet was added to house the TV and extra kitchen wares. Only steps away from the backyard, the buffet was the perfect spot to set up a beverage bar. There’s even a hidden beverage fridge tucked into the buffet…perfect for indoor/outdoor entertaining.

This kitchen had to be comfortable and durable for the family. How did you incorporate those elements while still bringing style to the forefront?
The house is almost 100 years old so we focused on timeless elements with a modern and youthful twist. For the backsplash we used Calcutta gold marble subway tiles. My client loved the subtle mix of grey and gold veining. Other classic elements are the farmhouse sink and white washed oak floors. To keep it family friendly we opted for white quartz countertops. The brass accents throughout the kitchen add a modern and youthful edge to the kitchen.

We worked with master lighting designer, Vanessa Bell from Omega Lighting in Berkeley, to create unique but functional lighting in the kitchen and dining room. We didn’t have a ton of space to work with in the kitchen so we opted for 2 small scale pendants over the breakfast bar with a similar style task light over the sink. We didn’t want anything too big and heavy that would block the view from the kitchen to the seating area. The small scale of the pendant matched with the handblown glass shade was the perfect option. For the dining room, we added a modern dose of sparkle and glam with a custom crystal chandelier. I love incorporating natural elements like raw crystals and mother of pearl, they add life and character to a room.

My client’s collection of blue and white pottery, a gift from her mother, inspired our use of soft blue and navy accents. To up the fun factor, we loaded up the banquet in the sitting room with lots of mixed print pillows. We paired a classic floral print with more graphic prints…the perfect mix of classic and playful.

Finally, would you be willing to share some of your favorite “family-friendly” resources??
Perennials Fabrics – Love all of their outdoor/indoor fabrics for family friendly spaces. They can handle kids and pets while still being cozy and soft. High performance fabrics have come a long way!

Caesarstone – Quartz is the perfect countertop for a family friendly kitchen. It’s low maintenance, stain and scratch resistant.
Caitlin Wilson Kismit Rug – I love Caitlin Wilson’s kismit rug. It’s an antique inspired Persian rug made modern with her fun color-ways. It’s 100% wool so it wears well and is easy to clean. The pattern helps hides dirt in high traffic areas like the kitchen.
Slip covers – White dining chairs can be tough for a family with 3 young kids. The white denim slipcovers can be bleached clean whenever they need a refresh.