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Allan Avendaño

Allan Avendaño is used to crafting stunning makeup looks for celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens, Joey King, and Mj Rodriguez, but his creativity extends far beyond cosmetics. Recently, he applied his killer sense of style to the gut renovation of his Monrovia, California home.

When Avendaño and his husband purchased the 1948 San Gabriel Valley home in November 2019, they knew it needed serious updates. Between the segmented layout and dated finishes, there were no original features they wanted to keep. They ripped out the entire interior and started from scratch.

The kitchen, which was once small and closed-off from the rest of the main level, underwent the most dramatic transformation — thanks to the demolition of multiple walls. “Our dream was to have a kitchen that was open to the living room, so that while we’re cooking or eating we can also interact with each other,” Avendaño explains.

Aesthetically, the couple was inspired by both Fixer Upper’s signature modern farmhouse look and Los Angeles’s quintessential mid-century vibes. They combined the two on-trend influences for a chic, black-and-white kitchen that checked all of their boxes. Here’s how they made the daring medley work.

Consulting Experts

Though Avendaño has stellar taste, he didn’t know much about designing a kitchen. So he enlisted the help of South Bay Kitchen Solutions to choose materials, maximize storage, and ensure the whole project went smoothly. “It ended up working out perfectly because we did not know where to start,” Avendaño explains. “An IKEA kitchen is affordable and awesome, but trying to plan it yourself — I was really overwhelmed.”

The professionals at SBKS introduced Avendaño to Semihandmade as a way to upgrade the IKEA bases and he promptly fell in love with the Supermatte White Shaker doors. “It was always a dream of mine to have plain white cabinets,” he shares. “I don’t think I’m going to get sick of them because they’re just so simple and classic.”

Going Bold

The crisp cupboards are paired with Frosty Carrina Caesarstone quartz countertops, matte black hardware, and black hexagonal tiles that feature a graphic Art Deco pattern. “The cabinets were so pretty that we wanted to offset them with a really dark backsplash so that they really popped,” Avendaño reasons.

To reinforce the contrast, Avendaño purchased black stainless steel Samsung appliances during Best Buy’s Black Friday sale. “I just was dead set on getting the black stainless,” he recalls. “We got a refrigerator that has a hub on it, so while we’re sitting at the island, we can actually watch TV on the screen.”

Adding Details

While the palette is primarily black and white, Avendaño incorporated pops of color with his rainbow collection of cookbooks and three turmeric-hued Article counter stools. “We wanted a touch of yellow, but other counter stools were too bright,” he says. “Then, I saw these mustard-colored stools and they were like a hundred dollars each. They were perfect.”

The most obvious nod to Avendaño’s glamorous career is the star-shaped light fixture above the sink. “I think it’s traditionally something you would put on the front porch, above a door or something like that,” he admits. “But I just wanted something to be different.” That mentality is exactly why the space is a total knockout.

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Island Hopping

A lot goes into a kitchen renovation, but it’s usually hard to tell from a beautiful “after” shot. Our monthly series “Island Hopping” is about getting a behind-the-scenes account of what the process is like through honest conversations—you know, the kind that typically take place around a kitchen island. We’ll chat with designers, homeowners, and architects about their projects, hoping to peel back the curtain on picture-perfect spaces.