A Dated Kitchen Goes from Sad to Stunning with Faux Marble and Wood Cabinets

published Apr 20, 2024
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kitchen with white cabinets, brown tile floor, and tile backsplash before makeover
Credit: Courtesy of Carissa Stanton

When content creator and author Carissa Stanton, aka Brocc Your Body, bought her 1950 single-floor home in Los Angeles, she loved its casual, “cozy bungalow vibe.” The finishes and materials, though? Some of these features just didn’t speak to her style — especially in the cook space. “The kitchen has green tile and green tinted floors,” says Stanton. “While I do love a pop of color, I wanted to do something more neutral to leave the fun color for things that could be easily switched out.”

While Stanton liked the L-shaped kitchen in theory, she didn’t love where the appliances were situated or how the space was closed off from the neighboring rooms. Although it had a pass-through interior cut-out window — hello, barstool seating! — the rest of the room felt a little disjointed within the floor plan. “The kitchen was also blocked off from the living room and fireplace, and I wanted a more open feel,” she says. “I love being able to cook while talking to my guests and not feel left out!” After all, making simple but delicious meals and sharing them with friends is at the heart of the Brocc Your Body brand, which started as an Instagram page for sharing Stanton’s girls’ night recipes with her circle and has now spawned a dedicated following and brand-new cookbook, Seriously, So Good: Simple Recipes for a Balanced Life.

Credit: Courtesy of Carissa Stanton
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After living in the house for about a month, Stanton was ready to make some changes. Naturally, as a recipe developer, the kitchen shot to the top of her hit list, and she soon decided to redo the floors, living room fireplace, and even her bathroom while she was at it. In February of 2022, she hired Preferred Home Builders for the entire renovation and essentially served as her own designer, sourcing materials with the help of consultants at her local Pirch showroom. “The goal was to create a home that felt comfortable, clean, and timeless,” says Stanton. “I wanted the kitchen to be beautiful, but I also wanted it to be functional.” In order to achieve that vision, she’d seek out chic but not overly trendy materials, and she’d work with — not against — the bones of the home.

Case in point: When it came down to the construction of the kitchen, she kept the overall layout the same in terms of the footprint and cabinetry setup but swapped the stove and the sink’s placement and opened up the wall with the pass-through interior window into a breezy peninsula. That way, friends perched on barstools hanging out wouldn’t be staring at her back — and a giant stove and vent— as she cooked. “The stove was moved against the back wall, which just made more sense,” says Stanton. “I also lowered the countertops and removed the lip and large wall that separated the kitchen from the living room. Now, it feels like one big open space.” Ultimately, she ended up relocating the dishwasher, too, moving it next to the sink for quick loading. She upgraded all of her large appliances with a stainless steel suite from SMEG.

Credit: Courtesy of Carissa Stanton

Storage and functionality played a big role in the redesign as well — especially the cabinetry. Instead of choosing all cupboards, she incorporated a few drawers in her design plan for ingredients and cookware. “I have a super-small pantry that is very narrow and deep, so we made all of the drawers pull-out for easy access,” she says. “In the corner cabinet, there is a lazy Susan. All the cabinet drawers are super deep, too.” 

With the layout and appliances set, then came the work of picking out fixtures and finishes, which, while fun, definitely took serious bandwidth. “Because it was my first time ever doing something like this and I did it on my own, my biggest challenge was finding the time to go and pick out all of the finishes, the flooring, and making those huge decisions,” says Stanton. “It was a lot for just one person.” 

Credit: Courtesy of Carissa Stanton

What helped her finally arrive on the honey golden natural wood cabinets paired with modern matte black Emtek knobs and pulls, as well as the wide-plank wooden floors? Leaning into the house’s DNA. “I wanted to stay true to the beach bungalow vibe of the home, and I thought a light wood would really embody what I was going for,” says Stanton. “I love wood cabinets and felt that this finish brightened up the space without feeling too washed out. I also think it is timeless and won’t feel dated in five to 10 years.” 

For her sink, faucet, and surfaces, Stanton searched for workhorses with quiet luxury style in spades. The stainless steel sink from Blanco came with a ton of attachments, like an over-the-sink strainer and cutting board, which makes prep work super easy. “It has the Brizo touchless kitchen faucet as well, so I never have to worry about turning on the faucet with dirty hands,” says Stanton. “I saw it at Pirch and knew I had to have it!” 

Credit: Courtesy of Carissa Stanton

Matte porcelain countertops — specifically, the Magnifica Encore in Calacatta Oro from Bedrosians Tile — have the look of marble without the hefty price tag. They’re also far more durable and easier to maintain than natural stone. “I never have to worry about staining or cracking them,” says Stanton. For a high-end touch, she used the same slabs to create a seamless backsplash and dramatic waterfall detailing on the peninsula.  

Although Stanton’s kitchen reno and the rest of the work took about four months, it was well worth the wait and the inconvenience of cooking with only her air fryer and grill during that period. She’s thrilled with the results and spends even more time in the kitchen now than ever. “It’s a cozy beach bungalow, but it also has a lot of luxury touches that make it hard to ever want to leave the house,” says Stanton. “My kitchen is also extremely functional and makes my job so much easier.”