Tiny but Mighty

This combined kitchen and living room renovation made the most of a small footprint with loads of texture and an excess of forward-looking designs.


By Michelle Mastro

Photography by Karen Palmer

Interior Design by White Cliff Studio

Remodeler Group 5 Construction

Photography by Karen Palmer


 20 or so years ago, this home’s combined kitchen and living room space was ready for the ultimate refresh. Originally, these areas in the home had been covered in builder-grade (yet vividly bright) orange maple. At the same time, muddy brown paint covered just about everything else. However, this time around designing their home, the homeowners wanted a transitional style that weaved classic design with modern and dynamic touches. 

“The homeowners wanted something light, casual and timeless, but something that would still have a bit of character,” explains owner and principal designer Bailey Todd of White Cliff Studio. “They wanted something a bit more curated that was lighter and fresher than what they had.” 

Upon completion, Bailey helped change about 90 percent of the kitchen and living room, from the backsplash and kitchen island to the living room fireplace and mantelpiece. Only the cabinetry remained the same, even though this too was painted and updated with some flourishes, arches and other custom components on the cabinetry sides and faces to make them feel more custom.

But topping the homeowner’s “fix it” list was the space’s original floor, the feature that had borne the orange maple color the most. “We built our house in the early 2000s, so it was a pretty typical traditional Tuscan style with a brown and orange color scheme. I had fallen in love with a cinnamon maple hardwood floor that I saw on a design show and had to have it,” she explains. “As soon as that floor was laid, I knew it was too much orange, but it was too late. We lived with that design mistake for 18 years.”

Hence the biggest change the homeowner wanted was to get rid of the orange floor and brighten everything up. The orange floor was replaced with brown-toned LVP, while the walls were painted a white and bright shade with warm undertones, handmade tile works as the kitchen’s backsplash, and a chameleon color of green clads the island and lower cabinets. “Depending on the time of day, this color can seem gray, green or blue,” explains Bailey. 

The fireplace was also added. “That had been a plain wood oak box,” says Bailey. “So, we added light brick and the wood mantelpiece,” she says. The brick, evocative of nature because of its stone material, helps adjust the eye to the blending of outside and inside, as this wall’s windows peer out on the back yard. “I like to bring in natural elements wherever I can to make a home feel more welcoming and to blend the outside and inside,” Bailey says.

Adding texture especially helps for merging different styles. A transitional home, the house combines vintage and modern, and one of Bailey’s secrets she reveals, is imposing pops of texture all over. “The number one thing I always tell people is texture, texture, texture,” she says. “Using texture can make smaller spaces combining different looks feel less overwhelming.” Even though the spaces have less furniture in them, it all still feels really full, from the window treatments to the wood tones to the handmade tile in the kitchen to help everything flow together in a breezy, effortless way. “We love how light and airy the space feels now. It just makes us happy,” says the homeowner. 


Photography by Karen Palmer

Interior Design by White Cliff Studio

Remodeler: Group 5 Construction