Special Nonexistent Furniture

by Kathleen DiPaolo Designs

Kathleen DiPaolo is a new breed of designer, one who creates interior and exterior spaces that are also innovative property solutions—delivering both luxe living and added value to her clients’ homes. Thanks to her timeless, tasteful design aesthetic, her MBA from the USC Marshall School of Business, and a California real estate brokers license, Kathleen has become a sought-after design professional for discerning clients on the West coast. Kathleen has designed more than 300 homes, and her work has been featured in Coastal Living, Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, and other influential publications. Kathleen resides in Newport Beach, Calif.

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  • We asked the designer of this bright, user-friendly kitchen how she made it all come together. Lucky for us Kathleen DiPaolo of Kathleen DiPaolo Designs didn't stop there. Keep reading to see how she renovated this beach cottage kitchen to be the perfect place to prepare a beautiful summer meal for family and friends.
  • 1. What was the inspiration for the project?

    The source of inspiration was the gorgeous backsplash tile! I wanted a tile that I could run up the wall and that would move your eyes all around the space. It's a classic herringbone pattern with alternating polished and honed surfaces, which adds some bling to the space.
    2. How did you choose the color palette?

    The house is a beach cottage, so I wanted to keep things light and bright. The color palette came from the backsplash tile and the white cabinetry. The space is grounded by light gray countertops which work with the sand-colored hardwood floors.

  • 3. What element did you start with?

    I started with the backsplash tile, and then I found the gorgeous marble slab that I used for the counter. I am totally obsessed with the stone and had never seen this color marble before. Once I found these two elements, I could "see" the finished kitchen in my mind.
    4. How do you begin the design process?

    I begin the design process with the feeling I want to emulate. This kitchen (as with most kitchens!) is the hub of the home. Dinner and homework are equally welcome. So, light, bright, coastal, fun, and a bit of bling was my mantra. I wanted the space to be open so it could function as a homework counter, as well as for cooking of course! To get the space feeling lighter, I opened up the short existing door, tore out the wall, and created a peninsula. Removing a low ceiling over the sink and the cabinets next to the sink opened up the space, too.
  • 5. What is the countertop made out of?

    Carrera azul marble.
    6. What is your favorite part of the project and why?

    My favorite part of the project was removing the wall to open up the house. Once the space was gutted, I had a blank slate.  You can be so creative when you have a blank slate!
    7. What are your tips for someone trying to recreate the look of this project?

    My most favorite tip is "edit!" Removing cabinets, walls, and low soffits will change the entire room. However, before you smash a wall, make sure you have a plan. I ALWAYS have a plan.

    8. What is your best piece of advice for someone taking on a kitchen renovation?

    Plan, plan, plan. You should never start a project without one. You need to know your budget and plan to be under your budget. This way, in case you go over, you have a cushion. A renovation is completely different than a new build in that one never truly knows what's behind the walls. Count on moving electrical, doing some patch work, painting, and perhaps finding dry rot. People often think the appliances and cabinets are it, but there are so many things to consider, so do your research.

  • 9. Finish the sentence: Every room needs _____.

    A bit of fun! 

    10. Do you want to add anything? 

    Before tackling a major remodel or home build, it's wise to know the home values in the neighborhood. With that information, you can make the best budgeting decisions. Even if you're not planning on selling the house now, you never know when you will. Make sure that you can always get your money back when you do sell. I am always conscientious of your ROI. To most that means "Return on Investment", but to me, ROI is "Return on Interiors!"

    Want to see more from Kathleen DiPaolo Designs? Get the 411 on kitchen renos from Kathleen herself!
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