Design Master Class Tips and tricks from N&O Design Team pros

Kitchen update aims for timelessness

January 10, 2014 

  • About the Designer

    Kathy-Lynn Gariboldi, lead designer and owner of reInventedSpaces LLC in Raleigh, holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art with a business minor from William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. After more than 20 years as a graphic designer, art director and in various advertising and marketing positions, Gariboldi moved to Raleigh eight years ago and launched her design company. She supervised selection of materials, color and redesign of this Holly Springs kitchen remodeled by Blue Ribbon Residental Construction Inc. of Raleigh.

The challenge

This stately 1995 home featured generously sized rooms and a comfortable floor plan, but the kitchen had become outdated. The challenge was to pay homage to the home’s traditional style, while incorporating a fresh, timeless look that also would add value to the property. Here’s the stunning result.

Super space

We retained the existing 14-by-16 footprint and sanded, stained and refinished the beautiful oak floors, reducing costs. The standard, white builder-grade cabinets were replaced with new ones in antique white with sable glazing, adding dimension and character. Because this homeowner likes to bake, we included a custom-made cabinet for her professional-grade mixer. With a touch, the appliance pops up to the ideal height for work, no heavy lifting needed. Slide-out trays and soft-close doors and drawers are other 21st-century touches.

Ebony cabinets in the island provide a crisp contrast to cabinetry in the rest of the kitchen. Cabinet finishes coordinate with tones in the granite countertop. To hold down costs, we chose a Level 1 granite. (Granite pricing is defined by levels; the lower the number, the more common and available the granite is. This stone has less veining and contrast than higher, more costly levels.) We chose a 1/4-inch bevel edge for the main counters and an ogee edge for the island, two of several options available from our fabricator at no extra cost. Finally, we extended the countertop and secured it with furniture-grade posts so the island can hold serving dishes for entertaining, serve as a breakfast bar and function as a “home office” with ample room to work.

A key to cohesive design is making sure each piece relates to at least one other element in the space. Notice the repetition of the curved shape – reminiscent of nature – in the window treatments and the pendant lighting posts. We applied several layers to the backsplash. Metal accent tiles and raised medallions add dimension and visual interest to the neutral field tiles at a reasonable cost.

Terrific trick

Shades of yellow and gold are echoed on the walls, the stripes in the seating upholstery, the glass globes on the pendant lighting and the embroidered window treatments. Using this accent color sparingly is subtle but packs a punch. (And adding color to semi-permanent items makes future changes easier.) It also helps the kitchen relate to the adjacent family room, where we repeated the gold and black tones. Deep red in accessories, an area rug and throw pillows give the family room its own identity, without interrupting the visual flow.

(Not) by the book

Not everything has to “match.” Aim instead to “coordinate.” Displaying accent pieces, decorative art and family treasures in different shapes and sizes lends personality. Use one characteristic – be it color, texture, size or theme – to tie together an odd-numbered group of unrelated items. For example, group a leather-bound book, a glass vase and a picture frame on a table. Though these items are very different, a common color unites them so the three individual items are seen as a group.

reInventedSpaces LLC

5605 Chapel Hill Road, Suite 108, Raleigh

919-852-1964 or

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