Emily Henderson

stylebyemilyhenderson.com · Feb 19, 2015

Spanish California Home – The Kitchen

Before I got involved with this kitchen, it was about to get RHONJ’d. In case you don’t speak ‘Bravo’, that means ‘Real housewives of New Jersey”d where faux Tuscan shiny wood and tumbled tile reign suprem-o. They had just installed the cabinets and in FACT it was even worse than this. I didn’t take photos of the kitchen when the top cabinets were installed, too but trust me that it felt dark, small and dated. As you know (back story here) we were on a massive time and budget crunch so we couldn’t start all over and get new cabinets (especially since they were brand new – chosen by the contractor that was flipping it). This kitchen is in a 1916 Spanish Style home and it needed some old world charm with some modern amenities/technology.

We only had a few days to be able to pick out the finishes – the tile, flooring, etc. So we went to the valley, where all the tile places are, and found some that we both really liked that weren’t out of control expensive. I spoke about the flooring in the dining nook post, but they really weren’t expensive and if you have an old world style house these cement tiles are kinda perfect (just make sure you seal them properly which will add a bit of a sheen but its worth it).

Shana wanted open shelving on top for a few reasons: a. it looks good, b. she had lots of pretty dishes to show off and c. the kitchen was smallish and we didn’t want to open it up and make it open concept because based on the layout of the house it wouldn’t have really worked and we would have lost a lot of the beautiful architecture. I was ALL FOR IT. Open shelving is a bit controversial because yes, you have to keep it neat and nice in order for your kitchen not to look like total chaos daily. She knew the risks and she accepted them. (I was at the house yesterday for a playdate with our kids and I’m happy to report that they still look really pretty).

We chose this black and white handmade tile that was really going to be the focal point, the big splurge. The floating shelves were made just from simple wood and then lacquered the same wall color (BM Swiss Coffee). The brackets were found on overstock I believe for $6 each.Not bad. Same with the farm sink – I think it was around $600 on either Overstock or Wayfair. I’m always surprised at how expensive farm sinks are but this one was not a bad price for it.

One of the things we knew we were going to do was paint the cabinets a dark tealy-blue. We tested out some greens (above in the samples) but they were too bright and it needed to recede a little more than that. You guys are going to KILL me though because we made the decision verbally and there is no record to show what color this is. I should hire a detective to comb through all my emails and paperwork to see if they can find it because I’ve spent what feels like hours looking – it was just 2 years ago, before we moved, I was pregnant, the contractor was constantly rushing us for decisions, so I a lot went undocumented. I’m so sorry.

But what I’m not sorry about is how this kitchen turned out. It’s a modern Spanish kitchen, with an edge, that is so fun to walk into every single time:

I love this color palette – the blues, warm grays, black white and then some color to make it feel more collected and welcoming. A lot of people think that old world color palettes have to be all warm tones – taupes, creams, beiges, browns, burgandies, etc, but as long as the materials ‘feel’ old world the color palette can feel more updated and fresh. And I don’t even mind the detailing on the cabinets. I might not have been our first choice but once painted out, it’s totally works, especially with the addition of the black hardware (which I think was just from Home Depot – it was a great place to not spend too much money).


Here is how Country Living shot/styled it. They replaced all the Heath Ceramics with Vintage Ironstone on the shelves, which I do like, but who doesn’t love Heath Ceramics? Nobody. The color of the tiles are also a bit warmer, the outlets magically disappeared and the rug was replaced with that pretty blue/white kilim (which I believe is from Loloi).

I really love this kitchen, every time I walk in it I feel so happy with how it turned out. So just in case you all want to recreate this look – here is a ‘get the look’ and a ‘look for less’/

Get the Look:

Floor Tile | Faucet | Kilim Rug | Black Canister | Plates | Wood Bowls | Cabinet Paint Color | Hardware | Farmhouse Sink | Cutting Board | Ceramic Mugs

Look for Less:

Floor Tile | Faucet | Kilim Rug | Black Canister | Plates | Wood Bowls | Cabinet Paint Color | Hardware | Farmhouse Sink | Cutting Board | Ceramic Mugs

*All photos EXCEPT the Country Living shot (by Max Kim Bee) ,by Tessa Neustadt.

See the rest of the project here: Living Room, Reading Nook, Guest Bedroom, Master Bedroom, Dining Nook, Nursery (coming soon), Dining Room (coming soon) and Master Bedroom (coming soon).

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