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Refresh for a Charlotte Kitchen

Lauren Nicole Designs brings a 1996 kitchen into today—with the staying power of a fresh traditional look

Written by Sally Finder Weepie

This Charlotte family wasn't living in the past—but their kitchen sure was, stuck endlessly in 1996. 

It was time for a refresh—a veritable new kitchen, without the hassle of moving or gutting their home to the studs. To acheive this feat, they reached out to Lauren Clement, principal of Lauren Nicole Designs

“They wanted something light, bright, and fresh with an updated traditional feel, but nothing trendy," she says. "They wanted something that would last.”

Clement's first step was to get rid of the wallpaper that wrapped the room. In its place came a combination of two custom colors designed by Clement through Benjamin Moore.

Cabinets and trim wear "Sugar Cube," a fresh, versatile white, while walls and ceilings are coated in "Makloud," a white with gray-blue undertones. "The undertones bring life to a white kitchen," Clement says. 

She built further interest into the scheme with the wood tones and blue-gray upholstery of new barstools that exude the character and patina of classic Louis XVI pieces. Sunbrella fabric handles life in a home with a college student and his friends—and a couple of golden retreivers.

Dated countertops gave way to light, shimmering—and durable—quartz. A passé backsplash was out, replaced with modern-size white ceramic field tile paired with marble mosaic tile that adds visual impact above the cooktop.

Polished-nickel finishes on new faucets and hardware add to the lovely shimmer, as do a quartet of bubble-glass pendants. "The island is so big, we needed something with visual weight to balance it," Clement says. "These light fixtures do that beautifully."

To accentuate the overall light attitude, Clement installed glass-front doors on some of the upper cabinets. Mullions echo the gentle curve of the island. 

The same glass-front cabinets bring a gracious air to the butler's pantry, a much-used pass-through space that links the kitchen to the home's back entrance and the dining room, which, in turn, opens to a family gathering area that also was in need of a refresh.

Clement came to the rescue with a coat of paint and new furnishings.

Updated window treatments pop in a touch of warm blue-gray but don't distract from serene outdoor views. A round dining table is teamed with comfortable high-back chairs. "They wrap around you and feel so comfortable," Clement says. "They encourage nice, long conversations and lingering after dinner is done."

In the adjoining gathering space, Clement brought in a tailored sectional, new armchair and ottoman, and a new fireplace insert and surround that elevate the room's sophistication while making it even more inviting for family, friends—and Duke.

"So many homes are in this tired 1990s timeframe now," Clement says. "This project shows what a change, what impact you can achieve without changing a home structurally. This is such a big transformation—it's like a completely different house."