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Austin-based architect and avid flipper Cesi Kohen looked to Semihandmade for help on a recent renovation. She purchased a home located in Spicewood, Texas, across the street from the Pedernales River, and hoped to reflect the “beige, earthy, natural tones” of the landscape. The plan? To transform the dated 90s kitchen into a flowing space that would connect the indoors with the out. 


Uncessary Angles

“The home is day and night of what it used to be,” says the architect. 

Heavy cabinetry and odd partitions were just some of the things Kohen wanted to change. “When you walk in, there were these angled walls that pushed into the very tiny living space. They had no structural necessity or function,” she adds. To take the home from dim and dated to bright and open-concept, she knocked down the walls and made a 150 square-foot addition.

This allowed for a central 10-foot island, full-height millwork for concealed storage, and open shelves.


Warm Woods

“Design-wise, I tend to lean toward warmer wood tones and not just white kitchens, per say,” she says. Although located near the water, the “landscape is very earthy and not lush green” and she chose to reflect that inside. 

With the custom millwork and additional square feet, she pulled off a statement kitchen with both functionality and style. “Floating shelves are a designer’s dream, but without closed cabinetry you won’t have enough storage space,” she says.

Semihandmade Tahoe fronts pair with custom-stained shelves, which took 10 samples to match the look of Tahoe, and provide continuity with the similar-toned flooring. Bedrosians  tile in Allora White, a Quartz Arctic White countertop, and champagne bronze hardware are welcomed complements. 


Little Luxuries

“I wanted to make the kitchen and bathroom as luxurious as possible,” Kohen says.

She achieved a dreamy master ensuite with a large floating vanity with Semihandmade Tahoe fronts, dual sinks, tall mirror, and a terrazzo-filled shower niche.


Outside In

With the interior refreshed, the architect crafted an outdoor living area with a brand new pergola. “The house is all white, while the pergola was stained to match the Tahoe kitchen. The idea was that when you walk inside, you see the kitchen and the general landscape [merge] like an Italian villa in Texas,” she says.


Renovation Lessons

The four-month renovation went smoothly barring one hiccup. The home had a prior addition which was built poorly and collapsed due to a leaking roofline. “That gave me the opportunity to expand, so might as well rebuild,” she says. While the collapse also meant a minor change to the kitchen’s design, the home was transformed fairly effortlessly into a hub for both entertaining and relaxing.