Christina Haack knows a lot can go wrong during a renovation, but she doesn’t expect to have not just one, but two huge design problems with her latest project on “Christina on the Coast.”
In the Season 4 episode “Zen Kitchen Transformation,” Haack meets Michelle and Mark, who love their Long Beach, CA, home but hate their cramped, closed-off kitchen. Michelle, who’s into wellness, lacks the space to make health juices, and husband Mark doesn’t have sightlines to see his favorite teams play on the TV.
Haack aims to give this kitchen a gorgeous boho-industrial design for $100,000—but the renovation hits some hurdles when both the cabinets and backsplash tile arrive in the wrong color. Here’s how Haack still manages to keep this overhaul on track, and reveals a new style you might be inspired to try on your own abode, too.
Go for an earthy cabinet tone
Probably the biggest eyesore in this kitchen are the dated cabinets. Mark even points out that they’re a little bit pink. It’s clear they have to go.
However, when Haack’s new white oak cabinets are delivered, Michelle and Mark don’t like the color of these either. Michelle and Mark want warm wood tones, but these cabinets have a cool blue, even purple, hue.
“Staining cabinets is not an exact science,” Haack explains about this misstep. “Wood has variations in it, and it can absorb color in ways you wouldn’t expect.”
At first, Haack tries to get the cabinets restained, but the color still ends up looking a bit off. Realizing there’s nothing else to be done, Haack’s contractor ends up replacing the cabinets and eating the costs.
In the end, the new cabinets look great. Mark and Michelle have upgraded from pink and purple to a warm, earthy wood tone. These changes were well worth the wait and extra money.
Hide your washer and dryer in an elegant way
Haack knows it’s important to get these cabinets right because Mark and Michelle plan to use them to hide their washer and dryer.
While many homeowners prefer to have their washer and dryer near the bedrooms (or in a dedicated laundry room, space allowing), Michelle and Mark don’t mind keeping them in the kitchen area, especially after learning that moving them would cost about $4,000.
Haack hides the large appliances in the cabinets, disguising the washer and dryer as a pantry. When the kitchen is finished, Mark and Michelle applaud this choice.
“I am so happy that we didn’t move the laundry,” Michelle says. “I think it works where it’s at, and they built beautiful custom cabinets around it that tucks them away. And I love the fact that we didn’t spend four grand to move it.”
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Keep the backsplash light and bright
Once the new cabinets are installed, Haack thinks the worst of her design problems are over. However, when the backsplash tiles come in, Michelle and Mark notice a problem: This tile isn’t the color they were expecting, either.
While Haack originally shows them a simple rectangular tile that matches the white counters, the tile that’s delivered looks much more gray. Haack immediately notices the difference, and switches out the gray tile for the white tile Michelle and Mark love.
While this new white tile still has a little bit of gray in it, Michelle and Mike end up liking the look.
“It has a little bit of the different variation,” Michelle says, “but I think it gives a kind of elegant feel to the kitchen.”
Make a statement with pendant lights in a cool new style
When Haack first tours this home, Michelle and Mark introduce her to “Stubby,” the small, awkward ceiling fan light in the kitchen. “That ceiling fan is the smallest I’ve ever seen,” Haack says.
Of course, Haack decides to remove this fan and replace it with pendant lights that reflect Michelle’s earthy vibe and Mark’s more modern style.
“These pendants add this really cool, almost boho-industrial [look], which is a new style,” Haack says.
Michelle and Mark love the lights and appreciate the way it represents both of their styles. They’re a big upgrade from “Stubby,” proving that simple changes like new lighting can make a huge difference in a home.
Don’t forget to refresh the flooring
To finish this renovation, Haack focuses on the floors. Originally, the kitchen and living room are separated by not only a wall, but also different flooring. Once the wall is taken down, she replaces the mismatched flooring with hardwood floors throughout the space.
They choose a flooring that complements the cabinets and warms up the space.
“It blends in really, really nice with the white oak cabinets,” Mark says.
While flooring and cabinetry don’t necessarily need to match, they should complement each other— matching cool tones with cool tones and warm tones with warm ones.