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.

Taryn Bone, the visionary behind Bone Collective Studio, spoke to SemiStories contributor Kelsey Clark about designing her dream kitchen down to last detail, from a graphic tile backsplash to open floating shelves. Each decision was made in regard to her personal style and well-being, so that she’s comfortable now and ready to regularly host dinner parties later. 

KC:

First of all, this kitchen is so up my alley. Second of all, how did you finish the renovation in just two months?!

TB:

Thank you! Honestly, we got really lucky. I happened to be referred to an awesome contracting company and they were able to complete the project so quickly, even over the holiday season. The owner was like, ‘We can get started December 4 and we’ll have it ready for you by January 4.’ Of course, there were a few hold ups—the contractor assigned to our project quit unexpectedly. I would come to the house and check on things, and no one would be there, which was a bit concerning. I finally had to call the owner and be like, ‘I haven’t heard from our contractor in a week.’

KC:

Ah! Of course. I feel like there’s always something with the contractor.

TB:

Right?! Fortunately he apologized and came by the next day to finish everything up. He’s a great business owner and was able to pull through. But that was kind of scary!

full view of the kitchen with wooden cabinets, open shelving, black countertops and hardware, and a black and white triangle backsplash.

Bone's home used to be a corner store—and her kitchen was once L-shaped. She opened it into a U-shape to maximize the space.

KC:

I can imagine! Were there any other unexpected surprises or challenges?

TB:

Well, the appliances didn’t get delivered until February, so we were living in this home without a dishwasher or fridge for a few weeks. I love entertaining and I cook almost every meal, so that was unfortunate.

KC:

I imagine there was a lot of takeout during that time! 

TB:

Definitely! 

KC:

Speaking of entertaining, I know COVID has limited social gatherings, but how did you want to make people feel when walking into your new kitchen?

TB:

I really just wanted to create a space where my guests could gather. Although we’ve only had a few people over here and there due to the pandemic, people are drawn to this room, which I love. The entire home is really open, and the kitchen adjoins a floating dining table, which is an ideal setup. 

KC:

I love that! You can’t go wrong with an open floor plan. 

TB:

Agreed! It’s a super unique space—it was built in 1920 and actually used to be a corner store. It was converted into a residence in the eighties, and they added on a lofted shed roof. Our bedroom and my office are now in the loft space, which overlooks the kitchen and living room. 

KC:

So cool! I love an old home. What was the original kitchen like? 

TB:

It almost looked like the previous owner just built it themselves. The cabinets were really poorly constructed and were painted this unflattering brown color. It just felt really dark. The countertops were also tile, which was really non-functional for me as an avid home cook. Plus, it was an L-shape, and we expanded it into a U-shape to fully utilize the space. When I walked into the original kitchen for the first time, I was honestly just like, ‘Great, I can start from scratch!’ Aside from keeping the sink, stove, and oven in the same place, we redesigned everything. 

KC:

Ha! It sounds like you had your work cut out for you. What were your design non-negotiables for the new space? 

TB:

I knew I wanted a lot of counter space, because our old place didn’t have a super functional kitchen, which was challenging. I also wanted some floating shelves—I really love my Year and Day dishes and wanted to put them on display! I always make a point to buy really beautiful dishware and it irks me that I’ve had to hide them away in a cabinet. I also had just launched my tile collection, so I knew I wanted to use something I designed for the backsplash. 

KC:

About that backsplash—it’s a focal point of the space. I love how it adds a bold element. 

TB:

I can actually see the kitchen from my office, and I love being able to look at that playful pattern. I aim to design with mental health and well-being in mind, and it’s almost like a piece of art that I can look at when I need a respite from work. It just makes me happy! 

KC:

I’ve read that “home wellness”and designing for comfort and relaxation is going to be such a big trend post-COVID. What else guided your design vision? 

TB:

That makes so much sense! Well, I knew I wanted wood cabinets because I love the warmth it brings into a space. Once I landed on Semihandmade’s Tahoe collection, the design kind of unfolded from there. I initially wanted to go more bright and playful, but I went with black and white. Like I said, it’s very open, and you can see the kitchen from every other room in the house. We also don’t plan on staying here forever—it’s our first home and we’ll probably rent it out eventually. So I wanted to go with something more palatable to a range of renters. 

KC:

That makes sense. I take it we can expect more personal renovation projects from you in the future! As a pro, what advice would you give to novices? 

TB:

Honestly, If you’ve never renovated before, then work with a designer or architect. It’s really important to have someone on your team who knows what they’re doing. My clients always think that kitchens are simple, but there’s like 20 different things that go into it—it’s not as simple as picking a tile. 

straight-on shot of the oven, hood, and open shelving. a blue Dutch oven sits on the range.

She's looking forward to her home being a place to gather, but right now she's content to use her kitchen for freshly-cooked meals. The oven is from KitchenAid.

KC:

For sure. It honestly seems so overwhelming, I wouldn’t know where to begin. 

TB:

Yeah, there are a lot of moving parts. There’s a ton of prep work involved before you can even start demo. You want to have everything planned out as much as possible to save yourself headache, time, and money. 

KC:

Now that the project is completed, what’s your favorite thing about your new kitchen? 

TB:

I love the hood and that entire wall—it’s really tall and accentuates the high ceilings. And I love how the floating shelves tie into the hood. We just love how the space all came together.