When Jessica Jones and her husband purchased their Northern, California home, the kitchen was in desperate need of a refresh. 

The original space was what Jones calls an “‘80s kitchen,” complete with basic white appliances, blue countertops, and parquet flooring that clashed with the orange-toned wood cabinets. 

Everything had to go, according to Jones. So the pair set a demo day and tore everything down, including existing walls, and rearranged the layout to make the space feel much larger and more functional for their family. 

After seven months of renovating amidst the pandemic, the resulting aesthetic is what Jones calls “European modern with traditional mixed in.” The property is on a lake and has a lot of trees and natural elements, she explains. “In effort to bring those elements in, we wanted to keep the kitchen light, bright, and neutral,” says Jones. But instead of opting for your typical stark white kitchen, they chose slightly warm, creamy tones mixed with brass fixtures and neutral woods. 

Creamy white kitchen cabinets

Choose a focal point 

It all started with one must-have for Jones: a big, gorgeous stove and vent hood. “Originally, the fridge was the main focal point of the room, but I really wanted the giant range and the hood to be the focal point,” says Jones. To bring this vision to life, Jones carried the Silestone calacatta gold quartz countertops up as full-height backsplash behind the stove. 

 

Add plenty of storage

The original kitchen was tiny with minimal storage, says Jones. Their growing family needed much more, so they added a deep and expansive island (featuring Semihandmade Chris Loves Julia Cove fronts and legs custom stained to match) that includes garbage and recycling pull-outs, as well as toy storage for their daughter. 

White kitchen cabinet storage in a walk in pantry

Create dedicated areas

They also added open shelving that serves as a coffee station. The shelves house canisters that contain related accessories—coffee pods, sugar, and more—plus coffee mugs to keep everything in one, easy-to-access space.

 

Make the pantry super functional 

The pantry is almost like an extension of the kitchen, says Jones. To access it, you have to walk down a small hallway just beyond the stove. It has food storage, much like your typical pantry, but it also contains the refrigerator, a microwave, a wine fridge, and a large countertop that Jones refers to as the “baking corner.” 

Though this space has all of the same aesthetics as the main part of the kitchen, it’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle, making it a great space for hiding the mess of preparing cocktails or appetizers when entertaining. 

Glass front kitchen cabinets painted white

White kitchen cabinets with glass ready panels

Focus on accessories

To bring the neutral space to life, Jones chose brass hardware that would stand out against the Semihandmade DIY fronts painted in Benjamin Moore Creamy White. The knobs, from RK International, and the poles and vintage notches, from Emtek, also add to that sophisticated European feel. 

 

Don’t be afraid of glass-paneled fronts

The glass-paneled fronts also tie into the overall aesthetic and give the space a vibe that compares to an upscale French cafe, but it’s a look many shy away from for fear that it’ll be hard to maintain order. Jones says there’s any easy solution, though. “Use a lot of neutral-toned dishes that relate to the aesthetic of the space,” says Jones, who uses white and gray-taupe dinnerware and clear glassware.

Woman playing with her child in a white renovated kitchen

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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.
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