Today’s project reveal is a lesson in working with what you’ve got and, in turn, making it work for you. Let’s set the scene: Marin Country, CA homeowners desperately wanted to update their 190-square-foot galley kitchen on a $75k budget. The existing space was dark, cramped, and dated (think 90s Tuscan), but that’s where Cristina Lehman of C.LehmanHome came in. She led her clients through some incredibly strategic design decisions, making the most of every square foot. Not only is Cristina taking us inside the full reveal, but she’s also sharing her best tips to make a galley kitchen work, no matter the size or budget.
Location: San Anselmo, CA
Year Built: 1951
Architecture Style: Ranch
Project Timeline: 5 months
Project Budget: $75k
Scope of Work: Kitchen renovation + living and dining room furnishings
Tell us more about this project and the scope of work involved.
The homeowners have lived in the Marin County home for the past 20+ years and finally decided to renovate the space now that their children are grown. The kitchen had a 90’s Tuscan feel, everything was very dated, and the space didn’t function well for the homeowners.
Their pain points were the lack of counter space, pantry space and overall storage. The kitchen also felt very dark and small, so they wanted to lighten things up and make the galley kitchen feel bigger. In addition to the kitchen renovation, we helped decorate the other adjoining spaces in the home—the living room and dining room.
Talk to us about the initial inspiration and the process of honing your vision?
This project was designed entirely virtually. We started by advising our clients to move appliances around to make the layout more aesthetically pleasing and, most importantly, more functional. We also added a wall to add more counter space and storage, which allowed us to create a pass-through bartop into the living room, further connecting the two spaces and adding more seating.
The client sent a few inspiration photos that we used to help inform the design and gave us her favorite colors but left it pretty open for us to come up with a design concept. We incorporated blue into the lower cabinets in the bar area and bench seating, which allowed us to add some mood while still keeping the space light and bright.
What were some of the major pain points, and how did you problem-solve with design?
The main challenges of this project were the gallery kitchen’s small footprint (190 square feet, to be exact), the budget ($75K), and the homeowner’s wish for additional workspace in the kitchen.
Solutions included using Home Depot cabinets and tile, adding a counter area with a bar and storage, and adding a proper pantry plus built-in breakfast nook. The client also had a contractor lined up with a very specific window of availability, so it made things a bit trickier to secure all materials quickly. When sourcing materials, we made it a point to pick items that were in stock or didn’t have very long lead times.
Takeaway tips from designer Cristina Lehman
Photography: Madeline Harper
For more design-centric home tours, check out these posts:
IDCO Studio is a boutique creative agency specialized in beautiful and unique marketing solutions for interior designers. Focused on branding, web design and Instagram marketing, IDCO Studio is a woman owned and operated team of creatives based in Austin, Texas. The Identité Collective, which began as a business blog quickly grew into a collaborative community focused on providing business strategy and visual inspiration to the interior design community.
Now you can find our shop of resources, templates and custom branding and web design work over at IDCO Studio—leaving The Identité Collective as a permanent resource for our beloved design community.