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When Karin Rutstein Mullaney first toured the Avon, Colorado abode that she would make her weekend getaway, she immediately identified its flaws.

The mid-90s house hadn’t been updated since it was built, so the finishes were outmoded and visibly worn by decades of renters.

But old laminate countertops were no match for Mullaney’s expert real estate instincts as she looked past the layers of decay and recognized the true value of the home. “Just like they say on HGTV, we saw that there were good bones in the property,” she remembers. “We could see through the 1994 decor and the trashed nature of the place.”

Mullaney was most attracted to the airy layout on the main level, where sunlight spills into the combined kitchen, dining, and living areas. “It’s so open and bright and just a place where we want to be with our friends and family,” she describes. “The whole south wall is basically windows, so the light is amazing. We love being able to eat and cook and sit all in one room.”

Even though the floor plan remained the same, the interior still needed to be gutted and refreshed. Mullaney gave the U-shaped kitchen the most dramatic transformation with the help of Inspired Kitchen Design, swapping out orange-tinged wood and Formica for a sleek black-and-white color palette. The result is a mountain modern cookspace that’s chic for hosting guests and fully functional for crafting elaborate post-skiing dinners.

Going Black

After Mullaney installed farmhouse-style gray wood floors, she sought out contemporary cabinetry to balance out the rustic material. White slabs didn’t seem to fit the rugged locale, so she opted for BOXI by Semihandmade Peppercorn Edge fronts instead. “Aesthetically, it was important for it to make a statement,” she explains. “We have so much natural light and the space is open that I really felt like we could pull off black.” During the process, Mullaney was grateful to have an invaluable, built-in design resouce in IKD. “The process was so easy. They outlined the measurements and our goals for the remodel. They were flexible about moving things around as needed to make sure the final design was user-friendly and efficient on space,” she adds. 

To complement the dark matte doors, she chose warm brass TopKnobs handles, stainless steel appliances, and custom walnut Ultra Shelf floating shelves. “I wanted to add in some contrast because the black is fantastic, but I also think you can have too much of a good thing,” Mullaney reasons. “I wanted to break it up a little bit.”

Incorporating White

Though Mullaney rejected the idea of white cabinets, she embraced the milky hue with durable Calacatta Miraggio Gold quartz countertops, which are repeated in the bathroom atop a BOXI by Semihandmade Rye Slab vanity. A clear subway tile backsplash brightens the look, too, intentionally reflecting the Benjamin Moore White Dove walls behind it. “I think we accomplished creating a little bit of depth with that,” she reflects.

Adding Details

The mountain modern vibe is complete with industrial globe pendants that hang above the peninsula and a trio of cowhide counter stools with an unexpected origin. “Living in Colorado, you would’ve thought I could’ve found cowhide bar stools, but interestingly enough, I got them off of Etsy from a vendor in England,” Mullaney reveals. The beautiful seats, just like the rest of the kitchen, evoke America’s Mountain West nonetheless.


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