The goal of this home remodel was to open up the kitchen and attached secondary “sun room” to create one large space with a cozy breakfast nook that would let in a significant amount of natural light. Replacing both the 70s-style cabinetry and flooring resulted in a full down-to-the-studs demo and rebuild. The design principles for the space were guided by the goal of returning the home to its 1910 aesthetic roots — developing a practical space for cooking, entertaining and storage, and bringing in as much natural light as possible. To ensure the kitchen had a bright, modern and consistent look, Cassandra LaValle, the founder and creative director of Coco Kelley and The Emerald Studio, favored Silestone Lagoon for the surfacing and bright white paint from Benjamin Moore.
Inspiration for the kitchen remodel was in the realm of “modern farmhouse,” with flourishes of the homeowner’s personality in the finishing touches that make the space unique. This is noticeable with the backsplash tile behind the range and the star-shaped pendant in the breakfast nook that tie together in a way that feels unexpected. Avoiding both anything too industrial or too precious keeps the space elevated without feeling overly decorative. It’s a true family and entertaining room where people feel comfortable sitting anywhere.
In this interview, La Valle explains her thoughts and inspiration behind the design.
How would you describe your style?
My personal style when it comes to interiors is rooted in West Coast aesthetics and materials, but grounded in more classic forms. I think I was drawn to “modern farmhouse” style before it even had a name. Warm oak, natural linen and woven textures are my jam.
What was your personal goal or directive for the kitchen remodel?
I wanted to bring character back into this kitchen, open up the space to allow for more natural light and reconfigure the layout just as much for practicality as for entertaining. From a style perspective, I let the history of the house speak to me. I wanted to create built-ins where there were none, but should have been. I surprised myself by going even more traditional than I had originally planned, but also keeping things casual and welcoming.
As much as I love the look of marble, I am a quartz fan all the way. Since we’ve had it in our office, and it’s been indestructible, I will probably never use another material again. Using Silestone quartz in “Lagoon” for the countertops was a no-brainer.
Did you make any renovations?
Down to the studs. We tore out the entire existing kitchen and a wall between the kitchen and an awkward side room to open the whole space up.
How did you decide on the color scheme?
I grew up with a father in the restaurant industry – when we cook at home, the food is always the star of the show. Colorful kitchens are not for me. I always knew I wanted a light interior, but I intentionally avoided anything high-contrast. Not an ounce of black in this space. That said, I wanted the island to be a bit more grounded, so I liked the idea of going with a mid-tone gray.
What was the biggest challenge of this project?
Budget, timeline and getting all the pieces to come together are always challenges when it comes to a remodel. We did have one hiccup, which was that we hoped we wouldn’t have to put in a support beam when we tore down a wall to open up the room, but we did. It was a big setback to our timeline and a stretch to our budget, neither of which is ever fun to deal with. Other than that, the biggest challenge was simply making decisions on every piece of material from scratch. You hope you know how it’s all going to look when it comes together, but you never know until it’s actually in.
Designer: Coco Kelley and The Emerald Studio, Seattle, WA
Quartz Manufacturer: Silestone by Cosentino