Christina Haack knows how to design a home that works for a variety of tastes, yet on the latest “Christina on the Coast,” she’s challenged to combine two very different decor styles.
In the Season 4 episode “Traditional Meets Modern,” Haack helps high school sweethearts Dean and Nicole make over their Yorba Linda, CA, home. Their tastes couldn’t be more opposite: Namely, he wants the house to be light and bright, while she loves the color black.
Despite this vast difference, Haack is able to create a style that makes them both happy, all while sticking to their strict $75,000 budget. Check out how Haack pulls it off, and learn some smart take-home tips, too.
Chevron is Haack’s ‘favorite flooring’ for the whole house
The first thing Haack knows that this house needs is new flooring, so she brings in some stylish options. One is a luxury vinyl flooring, laid in a chevron pattern. While Nicole loves this design, Dean surprises everyone when he says he’s crazy about it, too.
Haack says dark floors will look great with the black lower cabinets and white oak uppers they’ve chosen.
“Darker floors paired with contrasting cabinets can make a space feel bigger and brighter,” Haack says. “Plus, there’s so much natural light in Dean and Nicole’s kitchen, it’s never going to feel too dark in there.”
Once installed, the flooring looks like real hardwood, and the dark color gives the interior a warm coziness.
“The flooring is, I think, my favorite flooring I’ve ever done, and I love that it flows in all the rooms,” Haack says.
Choose a simple backsplash to go with unique floors
When picking out finishes for the kitchen, Nicole chooses black lower cabinets and white oak upper cabinets, but Haack has an idea to help bring some bright whites into the design for Dean.
She suggests a white quartz marble countertop. For the backsplash, she says they could either carry this quartz up the wall or use a white tile in a chevron pattern. At first, they love the chevron option, but in the end, they decide it may be too much pattern when combined with the floor.
When the flooring and backsplash are finished, Nicole and Dean love the look. The white quartz gives the kitchen that bright look Dean likes, while keeping the design simple and elegant.
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“It looks beautiful, clean, modern,” Haack says, adding that she’s relieved they didn’t do a chevron tile backsplash.
“It would’ve been a little too busy,” she concedes.
Make a kitchen peninsula large enough for the whole family
This kitchen already has a peninsula, but Haacks thinks it’s too small to be a functional place where the whole family can eat. So she extends the peninsula to nearly twice its original size.
“By extending the peninsula, it made this space feel bigger and more functional,” Haack explains. Now, this family of four can fit here comfortably for casual dinners.
Sometimes it’s OK to eliminate a window
While Nicole and Dean’s living room is in good shape, Nicole is worried about one strange feature: an octagonal window.
The shape is odd, especially with the other windows in the room being rectangular. Still, Dean and Nicole are worried about closing it off and making the room look uneven.
“Things don’t have to be perfectly symmetrical,” Haack says. “We could still do either built-ins or just floating shelves on this side.”
So they close up the window, which costs just $200—proving that sometimes, it’s OK to take out a feature you don’t like, whether it be a cabinet, shelf, or window.
Save some home improvement projects for later
To finish this project, Haack gives the bar area a makeover. Dean helps her choose an elegant look that both he and Nicole love, with black cabinets, white counters, floating shelves, and a fancy antique mirrored backsplash.
However, Dean and Nicole later realize that this bar might put them over budget, so Haack says they can skip the backsplash. Without it, this bar is still functional, and Dean and Nicole can always add a backsplash later.
“We saved money here,” Haack says. “It’s not quite as fancy, but I think it looks phenomenal.”
It’s a good lesson in not taking on too many renovation projects at once. Some upgrades can be saved for later.