Austinite Bri Ussery was ready for a drastic change. The owner of home goods shop East Co. and cofounder of the newly launched interior design firm Dor Design House had a dingy, closed-off 1980s kitchen that left a lot to the imagination. After living in the home for a decade alongside her wife, Dee, and their six-year-old daughter, she wanted to trade in design faux pas like cramped corners, dated cabinetry, a fake laminate backsplash, and fluorescent lighting for a clean, bright, and more open-concept space, one infused with “personality” and “cohesive with the rest” of her home.
Bri’s style is decidedly eclectic, and her North Austin (it’s officially in the suburb of Pflugerville) home is filled with contemporary art, relaxed, textured neutrals, and sculptural accessories. But with a tight budget, she got crafty with Semihandmade cabinet doors, family heirlooms, and a simple palette to create a kitchen she loves. One of her favorite elements? The restored stained-glass window passed down from her mother, who passed six years ago.
Kitchen Location: Pflugerville, Texas
The “before”: “Bad linoleum, which revealed stained, peeling concrete underneath, and lots of wood tones, but not in a good way,” Bri says. “It was not functional, and we removed a hall closet and pantry to open up the space.”
The inspiration: After living with a dark and dreary kitchen for 10 years, she wanted “clean and white.” “If you go too white, though, it can start to feel sterile, so that’s why we added the vintage rug, open shelving, and warm woods.”
Square footage: By removing walls and expanding the cramped space, the kitchen ended up much more livable than before, totaling 228 square feet.
Budget: Around $20,000
Most insane splurge: “The tile flooring and Smeg fridge,” Bri says. “It cost much more than a standard fridge, but we chose that because we did the open shelving. Most refrigerators hide within cabinetry, while this one is beautiful from all three sides.”
Sneakiest save: The IKEA cabinetry is “actually built really well and can make any kitchen look custom” for a fraction of the cost.
The best part: On the oval opening: “It feels like a window into the rest of the house,” Bri says. “When you are in the kitchen doing dishes, cooking or entertaining, you can see the gallery wall of the other side in the living room.”
What I’d never do again: “I would check myself into a hotel or coordinate it with a vacation,” she says. “I would never try to live in a home during a remodel, especially since it took two months, when we originally expected it to take just four weeks.”
Final bill: $28,000
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Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest