• Samia Verbist

Open Concept Kitchen Takes on Elevated Farmhouse Style

Updated: Sep 14


Orange County modern kitchen remodel with white counter

When I first saw the kitchen in this California home, it was open through a narrow doorway to the formal dining room at one end but closed off from the adjacent family room.


At the end of the kitchen, away from the dining room, a breakfast area with many windows offered views of the backyard. Although the space was compartmentalized and not laid out well, it offered plenty of square footage to play with. We just needed to reorganize it.


Meanwhile, a low tray ceiling significantly limited the possibilities of the existing space and made it feel smaller and cramped despite the white cabinets. Surprisingly, the kitchen ceiling had been put at this height because the family room boasted a beautiful cathedral ceiling and a fireplace.


Although they were side by side, the two spaces did not flow together!


Structural Changes

To create a luxury kitchen, our first task was to remove the wall separating the kitchen from the family room.


We closed in the doorway to the dining room, which gave us more wall to use since we had removed the long one. With a new, wide opening leading from the family room to the dining room access, we just needed to install a support beam.


Next, it was time to take advantage of the cathedral ceiling. We removed what had been above the kitchen and made the ceiling consistent with the now open family room.


Luckily, all that had been above the kitchen was an unusable attic. As such, there were no issues with taking over this empty area and incorporating it into the home.


These structural changes gave us so much more space – both horizontal and vertical – and provided a cohesive look. It was time to lay out the features in a more functional way.


Planning a Working Kitchen

This client loves to cook, so the kitchen was an essential area of the home, and high-end appliances were on the menu. She knew she wanted a 48-in. free-standing range. And we needed one that would be available quickly during a time when supply-chain shortages were common. This gorgeous range from Fisher Paykel ticked all the boxes. We added a matte black pot filler above to make stovetop cooking easy and give a nod to the farmhouse look. But more on that in a minute.

Large stove in luxury Orange County kitchen renovation

For the refrigerator, we selected a 36-in. French-door unit and the size left enough room along that new back wall to include a large, double-door pantry. With plenty of countertop space, the dishwasher next to the sink, microwave drawers in the island, and so much cabinet storage with a mix of drawers, doors, and a spice rack, this kitchen is now oozing with functionality.


And there is one more convenient space to highlight. Once the kitchen and family room had been reworked into an open concept, a nook across from the kitchen begged for a purpose. It was the perfect spot for a home bar. My client had asked for a wine cooler, but there wasn’t an appropriate place to put it in the kitchen. In the nook, we added a lower central cabinet, two upper glass-door cabinets, and not one but two wine coolers. The finishes, countertop, and backsplash are the same used in the kitchen.


Now, onto that backsplash, because it is the standout feature of this kitchen renovation.


Designing a Modern Farmhouse Kitchen

Black and white farmhouse kitchen

From the outset, the client knew she wanted to infuse the kitchen with farmhouse style, and she loves wood. When I saw this wood-look chevron tile, I brought her a sample, and we both loved it.


Although it is not typically used as a kitchen tile backsplash, it brings a unique element to the design. It imparts a farmhouse feel without being rustic.


Because the wall-mount ventilation hood with chimney floats above the range, we were able to raise the backsplash to the height of the cabinets. It’s absolutely striking and could be my favorite modern kitchen backsplash idea for 2022.


I chose a darker shade for the floors in a wide-plank, wood-look LVT. It mimics real wood with long pieces and visible graining, but it’s much more durable. The flooring creates a contrast with the backsplash and the white Shaker cabinetry.


Black cabinet hardware and finishes on the faucet, soap dispenser, pot filler, and outlets add to the farmhouse look. For the countertops, we brought in a modern touch with Calacatta Arno quartz, which features gray and rusty gold veining. The line of the countertop continues beautifully to the undermount sink, which creates a seamless look.


The finishing touch was to choose the lighting to hang above the spacious kitchen island. We had already installed recessed lighting in the high ceiling, and there are many windows in the space.


Firstly, I wanted to ensure the lights did not take attention away from the backsplash or block the view. Secondly, with the high ceilings, I needed something light. The glass-globe pendants on a long cord offered an elegant solution and were not too heavy for the room.


Open Concept Kitchen: The Results

Modern farmhouse kitchen in Orange County

The result is so much more than a modern white kitchen or a farmhouse kitchen. It’s a one-of-a-kind space perfectly suited for homeowners and their families.


Let’s be original. Let’s be bold. And of course, let’s be beautiful.

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