Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Angela Alexander |
Kathryn LeMaster helps a family of four set the tone for their DIY dream kitchen
When Rachel and Parker Woodroof moved from the Pacific Northwest to Arkansas in 2016, they immediately got to work renovating their 1995 ranch-style home. “Moving from Tacoma, Washington, we knew we needed light and we need as much of it as we could get,” Rachel laughs. Other than that, they weren’t sure where to start. “We’d just moved in and we knew the look that we wanted, it was just a really awkward lot,” she says. “We wanted the floor plan to be open and weren’t sure the best way to do that.
The couple employed designer Kathryn LeMaster’s e-design service, a perfect option for DIY-capable homeowners who want to get their hands dirty (and save a little money) but also have peace of mind in knowing their plan is approved by a professional. “I love to empower people to create their own spaces,” Kathryn says. “I helped Rachel and Parker make sense of the best way to encompass some of the surrounding rooms. You don’t want to start knocking out walls and pricing out materials and all that without having a map and a plan that you know will work.”
After an initial meeting to talk project goals and vision, Kathryn prepared several layout options—including variations on the location of the pantry and the breakfast table—while the Woodroofs continued to brainstorm their ultimate wish list. Several details were a given: For example, the black-and-white linoleum flooring had to go, and it was replaced with hardwoods to flow with the rest of the house. They also wanted to take down the wall between the kitchen and living room to give them the light and openness they craved and allow them to keep an eye on their two young daughters, Cate and Evey.
Opening the kitchen to the living area made space for a small table perfect for breakfast and casual family dinners. The curtain rods are an IKEA hack—they were simply spray-painted gold to get the look the Woodroofs wanted.
Besides opening up the kitchen, Rachel’s wish list named a beverage fridge, gas range, an island, and an oversized farm sink. “I’m so glad we went with the large sink,” Rachel says. “It’s 36 inches, which is kind of big for our little kitchen, but I like it because I can have a dinner party where we fill it up and no one knows. You don’t have to see what’s piled up in there.”
Throughout the kitchen are touches of the homeowners’ personalities and histories. For example, the French doors on the pantry, which were sourced by a family friend from an antiques store in New Orleans, once opened to daughter Cate’s nursery, then later the pantry at another of the family’s homes. “They’re maybe 150 years old and made of cypress wood,” Rachel says.
Floating open shelving offers opportunities to display other meaningful yet useful items, like pottery, coffee mugs, and serving ware. Kathryn points out that knowing the Woodroofs’ aesthetic before completing the space plan was imperative: “The kind of farmhouse-style kitchen that they have lends itself more to an open floor plan than closed off,” she explains. “It really is a farmhouse modern style. You’ve got the mixes of the woods and metals with a kind of rustic feel, but you’ve also got the clean lines of the Shaker-style cabinets and open shelves. Those lines give it almost a contemporary flair.”
For many of these details, Rachel took inspiration from one of her favorite interior design books. “I love Lauren Liess’s book Habitat,” Rachel says. “It’s just so easy to read and helpful and simple. It got me to think about spaces, size, and color, and what was going to be timeless and what we would get tired of.”
“A lot of DIYers call me for their second project, and they’re like, ‘We did this ourselves last time and it’s very patchwork,’” Kathryn says. “With the Woodroofs, I could tell from the get-go, ‘Oh, they’ve got this—this is going to be awesome.’”
Home Depot provided installation for the cabinets. “I went to them with Kathryn’s design and all of the dream stuff we’d worked on with her—then worked our way back from there to fit our budget,” Rachel says.
Architect Jeff Hough, AIA, Cromwell Architects Engineers Interior design (floor plan) Kathryn J. LeMaster, Kathryn J. LeMaster Art & Design Paint Behr and Benjamin Moore Tile (backsplash) The Tile Shop