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As we’ve seen on “Flip or Flop,” Christina Anstead is never afraid to experiment with daring design choices. And on her new show, “Christina on the Coast,” she continues to up the ante, with big risks.
In the latest episode, “Bold Kitchen for a Brit,” Anstead is tasked with helping a British ex-pat, Simon, and his wife, Jetzabette, renovate their washed-out, all-white kitchen. This couple is the first to admit that this space needs more personality.
Their budget is a healthy $80,000. Even so, this amount is tough for Anstead, since the couple demands luxe, high-end finishes that quickly add up. Here’s how Anstead manages to bring some drama and style to the couple’s kitchen, which might contain some reno do’s—and one huge don’t—that’ll help if you’re upgrading your own kitchen, too.
Don’t buy your appliances first
When Anstead first meets with the couple, she lays out her vision for their kitchen renovation. Then, they drop a bombshell on her: They’ve already purchased all of the appliances!
Anstead is clearly surprised, since this is something you just shouldn’t do if you want your kitchen renovation to come together just right.
“Normally, details like appliance selection happen way down the line in a project,” she says. “First we get the layout and materials figured out, then we usually choose appliances.”
Nonetheless, she has little choice but to roll with it. Although it’s less than ideal, “For this one, I guess I’m going to have to design around their appliances,” she says.
Black cabinets can make a kitchen feel sophisticated
What’s more, the kitchen appliances this couple has purchased are not your usual cup of tea. They have a black matte finish, with bronze-ish, rose gold handles.
What to do? Christina typically sticks with white cabinets to keep a kitchen feeling airy and open. But this time, she decides to pull a 180 and turns to the dark side—choosing matte black cabinets and funky bronze door and drawer pulls that match the oven and refrigerator the couple has chosen.
Although Jetzabette is initially worried that so much black will make the kitchen feel dark and cramped, she lets Anstead run with this unexpected color scheme. When all the elements come together, this bold choice looks sleek and posh—and the kitchen remains bright and inviting.
Countertops can also work as a backsplash
Anstead chooses a gorgeous white quartz with dark-colored veins for the couple’s kitchen countertops.
She decides to run the quartz down both sides of the new kitchen island, to create a waterfall edge. But Anstead doesn’t stop there. She also opts to run the quartz all the way up the wall to the ceiling, as a backsplash.
It’s a big risk, but one that pays off. The white quartz is the perfect contrast to the all-black cabinetry. On top of that, it makes the kitchen look even larger.
“Running the backsplash up the wall the way we did not only draws your eye up, making the room feel bigger, it also showcases the beautiful veining in the slab,” she says.
Wood floors can warm up a neutral palette
With so much black, white, and gray, the kitchen feels a bit cold. So Anstead decides to add some warmth by adding honey-colored wood flooring. Other touches, like a Dutch-style door (which is split horizontally in the middle), help make the elegant space feel cozy and approachable.
A chandelier can make a huge statement
When Anstead’s English husband, Ant Anstead, finds out that his wife is working with a British ex-pat, he immediately wants to help out on the project.
“I have a duty to help out a fellow Brit in California,” he says.
He offers to make the couple a custom chandelier and, without hesitation, they give him carte blanche to design something he thinks will work in the space. And he delivers, creating a big, bold chandelier with reclaimed wood, bronze finishes, and hanging lightbulbs of varying sizes.
The chandelier completely transforms the otherwise boring dining room and complements the dramatic kitchen design perfectly.
Is Christina Anstead’s renovation up to snuff?
This kitchen renovation was far from typical for Anstead. With the appliances picked first—and their stark matte black color—she had to improvise and go way outside her comfort zone to pull this together.
But in the end, it all works out—and her clients are thrilled with the results.
“It looks like a show home,” Jetzabette says.
“Before, [the kitchen] wasn’t functioning. Now it looks like one of those houses that, as much as I dreamed of having, I’d never really thought I would have. … And now that it’s here, it’s better than I could have expected.”
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