Want to make your home more attractive to buyers? Try creating a look for the masses to enjoy. Go with dark wood, stainless steel and creamy colored quartz

I’ve been writing this column for more than a year now, and many of you have attended my workshops. So I’m pretty sure that my mantra of layering and repeating is imprinted on your brains by now.

The trend lately is all about the modern, but sometimes that can feel too cold. So this week, using another example from the home I just remodeled and decorated for sale, I’ll show you how layering and repetition can create a modern kitchen with eclectic and traditional design elements for added warmth and interest.


As I’ve said before, when you’re decorating a home for resale, you don’t want to design a love-it-or-hate-it space. Put aside your personal preferences and create one that most people will enjoy.

In this kitchen, the easiest place to start with was the stainless steel appliances and the dark walnut cabinets that most everybody loves. So the first real question becomes what material to use for the counters. Beauty and durability have made granite the popular favorite for years. But at this point everybody has granite counter tops, so it feels a tad overdone.

I happen to like quartz, so I decided to combine it with granite. I opted for a creamy beige quartz countertop that came in prefabricated panels from Selective Stone, and a Brown Fantasy granite slab from Marmol Hawaii for the kitchen island and bar area. You’ll find the creamy beige of the quartz carrying over into the granite, while the latter’s deep, rich browns are repeated in the cabinets.

What really makes it all work together is the glass tile backsplash. Its creamy tones are repeated in the countertop, and the reflective quality of the jewelry-like tiles is picked up in the silver foil glass pendant lights I got from Honolulu Lights. The lights add just the right amount of sparkle over the quartz peninsula.

Does this mean I need silver foil glass everywhere? No. I opted for a more subdued light fixture over the island. The warm wrought iron with filament light bulbs creates an old-fashioned juxtaposition with the blingy, cool pendant lights.


It’s the same with the drawer pulls. They’re not what you would typically find on modern cabinetry; these have an old-fashioned feel, Restoration Hardware feel.

Finally, we live in Hawaii, so the window treatments I chose from Personal Touch include darker tones to pick up the rich browns of the cabinets, while the natural fiber weave adds texture and island flavor.

As you can see, all you need to achieve an eclectic contemporary kitchen that won’t look like your neighbors’ is to mix things up a bit. And as always, the key to pulling together your different styles, colors and textures is to layer and repeat. Paying attention to the past and designing for the future proves you can have it all.

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her work in redesigning residential and business spaces has been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. Look for reStyle Hawaii, her new-concept furniture store reopening at 420 Keawe St. in Kakaako this fall. To find out more, go to www.cathyleestyle.com.


Photo by Andy Landgraf