Finally, I get to show you my finished kitchen remodel! In previous columns I’ve described my goals of opening up the space and creating a flow with the living room, and told you about the glass-tile backsplash that was my inspiration point. Now you can see how it’s all come together to create a more open, fresh and inviting kitchen.

Let’s break it down and talk about why it feels so changed. The most obvious step was to move the refrigerator and create a large opening into the living room. Removing the peninsula of cabinets at the far end to allow for a clear view of the window, informal dining area and ocean beyond also created an expansive feel.


So did updating the color palette. The kitchen had an overabundance of rich ochre surfaces. Warm tones bring walls in and make a space feel cozier, while cooler colors like white can open up spaces; one glance at the before and after photos and you can immediately see the difference.


Now, let’s dig a little deeper. The choice of clean waterfall edges on the counter tops and kitchen island make them seem longer and almost without end, so your eye continues to the ocean.

Next, the reflective surfaces. These not only bring in dramatic sparkle and a touch of luxuriousness, they help brighten and enlarge spaces. We’ve talked about the backsplash, but what else is reflective? How about the two long crystal chandeliers suspended over the island?


Finally, notice the drawer and cabinet pulls? These are laid horizontally, like subliminal arrows pointing toward the view. Even the pattern in the floor — creamy marble planks laid in a herringbone pattern, which is difficult to see here — draws your gaze toward the ocean.

So when you want to open up a space, start with the obvious changes. But don’t overlook the subtle details that, no matter how subliminal, complete the picture and give you the beautiful, bigger space of your dreams.

Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. For more info and inspiring photos of design projects, or her photo blog, Homefront.