Old carpet, linoleum tile floors and eight meager closets. The kitchen in Linda Haylett’s clients’ mid-century home has seen better days, but that hasn’t stopped her from dreaming about what it could be. Expanding the 1950s floor plan, taking down a wall between the kitchen and living room, Hayslett added 100 square feet to the room — including a new dining area, new cabinetry and appliances, as well as a bar – and banquette seating. Plus light—so much more light.
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On one wall, she has hung a collection of mismatched bread plates—the customers can pick one off when the craving for cheese and crackers strikes. Deep green cabinets ground the room, while whimsical accent colors add brightness.
The multifunctional banquette is Hayslett’s favorite feature because it can double as a workstation even on quiet evenings without guests.
“The kitchen, banquette and bar areas are clear without being disruptive. The space has a good flow.”
To overcome pandemic challenges of rising prices and scarce supplies, she stocked flooring and cabinetry with great success: Now the kitchen-style space has 27 cabinets, perfect for the homeowner who likes to cook for herself and large crowds. The welcoming new atmosphere is young and lively. The client already has plans to host dinner parties and make lasting memories in the space.
With the kitchen renovation, Hayslett increased the total number of cabinets from eight to 27. A dishwasher by the window and sink create a peaceful place for cleaning.
Since stock cabinets were scarce, Hayslett opted for open shelving above the bottoms in the bar area.
“It’s the perfect place to see what’s going on in the house,” says Hayslett. “It’s a cozy place to relax, yet the customer can also have a nice dinner there. Anyone sitting at the banquette feels like they’re part of the conversation in the living room or in the kitchen.”
“The customer can now have three times more guests and can always be part of the conversation,” says Hayslett. “Now she likes cooking more because it’s easier to navigate the kitchen and have a big dinner.”
HB: What was the house like before?
Linda Hayslett: The house felt small, outdated and dark. There was a lot of dark brown, olive green and beige throughout the house. The flooring was reminiscent of the 1960s and 1980s, with linoleum tile flooring in the kitchen and carpet throughout the home. The wall separating the kitchen from the living area made the space feel particularly cramped and compartmentalized.
HB: What was the inspiration for the makeover and how did you achieve it?
LH: The inspiration was colourful, warm and contemporary with a touch of whimsy. My overall style goal for this project was to create a fun, welcoming atmosphere for my client, who loves to entertain. Her house has not been touched since she bought it in 1999. I wanted to update her space with a contemporary colorful palette that felt big and cozy at the same time. My client wanted a fun color for the kitchen rather than white.
HB: What was the hardest part of the renovation?
LH: Since it was during the height of the pandemic when her project was started, we had a lot of hiccups. We have experienced many delays with materials, such as flooring, shortages of paint ingredients, and out-of-stock cabinet hardware. On some items we had to be patient as we had already ordered and paid for them. But for others, like the hardware and paint, we pivoted by cutting down some of the cabinets and choosing what was in stock. Originally, her bar area was supposed to have more cabinets, but we cut it in half to cut costs and work with the inventory we could find.
HB: How did you budget?
LH: We saved money and got smart with the artwork. Most people don’t realize that artwork doesn’t have to be an actual photo or painted piece. Her kitchen area looked great, but I knew it needed something nice on the walls to make it look complete and inviting.
I thought it would be great to do a wall with different cheese boards that could also function as platters when she has parties. It saved money. I displayed different shapes and stylized cheese boards opposite the bar area because I thought it would have a big impact to contrast the large white wall at the entrance of the space. It also helps with storage as the shelves don’t take up cupboard space and can be used whenever she wants to entertain.
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Nafeesah Allen, Ph.D. is a multilingual writer, independent researcher, editor and contributing writer for several national online publications. She regularly covers personal finance, family, culture, real estate and discrimination. She also directs BlackHistoryBookshelf.com, a book review website highlighting global Black histories organized by language, theme, and country. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @theblaxpat.