We’ve all had it… that moment when we realize we are sick and tired of a kitchen that just doesn’t work...

And then there are the new routines we make... looking for every excuse under the sun to order takeout so we can avoid having to cook in that gosh darn space. (What? You haven’t heard?! It’s National No Housework Day. Guess we can’t make dinner…) 

Sound familiar? The clients behind our recent kitchen renovation felt the same way. And they were fed up, my friends. Fed. Up.


The Backstory


This on-the-go couple (a police officer and his dispatcher wife) came to us when they simply couldn’t stand living in their outdated, too-small, and downright… well...  dated kitchen. See for yourself...

miami kitchen renovation before progress photos crowded dated darla powell interiors darla powell interior design firm miami kitchen renovation before progress photos dated white

With its current layout, the couple lacked counter space (making meal prep a chore). Plus, those cabinets… that oven? They just scream of decades past! And if you know me, you know I’m just itching to g-g-gut it!

miami kitchen renovation before progress photos crowded dated   miami kitchen renovation before progress photos crowded dated

Plus, a tiny bar table for two shoved in the corner? Not the dining area one usually dreams about, amirite?  And these busy folks are in desperate need of some storage space! (Though let’s be honest, who isn’t?)

Kitchen Renovation: We Got Goals!

Their request was practical and straightforward. Their kitchen was no longer serving their needs (or giving them any gut feelings of glee), and they knew they needed to make a change. They wanted an updated look that would function well for their busy lifestyle. Simple enough.

As two people  working in increasingly stressful careers, we wanted to make sure their kitchen would bring them joy and a sense of relief every time they walked through their door. You know, that aahhh feeling...

So sit back, relax, and let me regale you with a story of jaw-dropping inspiration, thoughtful planning, and ingenious design. Not to toot our own horns or anything… ;)

Kitchen Design Concept & Inspiration: Effortless Drama


So, first, we decided to keep the clients’ tile floors. In their current setting, they don’t look great. But with the right amount of love, they could add so much warm natural character. I mean, look at that beautiful color? Welp, that’s one large item that doesn’t need to be budgeted for...yay!

existing tile floor miami home kitchen renovation variegated brown beige gray

As a couple with a love for the outdoors and a passion for adventuring (not to mention a stone-like tile), there was no doubt that our design ideas for this kitchen needed to come from nature. 

Inspired by the tumultuous landscape of barren mountains and snowy ravines, our team first created our design concept mood board… that was one part natural and two parts dramatic. A touch of foreboding, and a deep breath of fresh air. (This mood board gave us all the feels…) 

darla powell interiors design firm miami mood board sophisticated contemporary kitchen renovation white black

The contrasting textures found in nature, coupled with the unpredictable grains of both wood and stone, would prove to be the perfect elements to speak into this kitchen renovation… lending an organic quality to a contemporary space. Are you totally digging this? I know I am.

Here are some spaces we found that give us all the same good feels...

darla powell interiors kitchen renovation design inspiration black white

darla powell interiors kitchen renovation design inspiration modern hardware thing pulls shaker cabinets

For a clean yet fresh design, we proposed leaning toward minimalist Scandinavian design or a modern Shaker style cabinet panel. Add in sleek, clean-lined hardware, and you have yourself a super awesome starting point for this kitchen.

darla powell interiors kitchen renovation design inspiration white natural stone dramatic lighting

Okay, this island… GORGE!!! Hanging artistic pendant lights amp up the fun, and there’s something about natural stone that just elevates the design to another level, amirite?

Can’t you just see the mood board image reflected here…? Dark, desolate mountains under a crisp blanket of snow...we see it, and we LURVE it!!!

darla powell interiors kitchen renovation design inspiration black faucet white backsplash

Okay, backsplash time, peeps. We proposed a white tile backsplash with a starkly contrasting black faucet to make a statement. Not only functional but effortlessly beautiful. While we ended up opting for a white herringbone pattern in the final design instead (stay tuned for the final reveal!), it was this white backsplash surround that really got our wheels turning.

Plus, there is something so clean and inviting about the blank slate this tile provides. It’s soothing, uncomplicated, yet interesting.

darla powell interiors kitchen renovation design inspiration white subway tile open shelving

We also proposed open shelving to add some groundedness (that’s a word, right?!) to this otherwise modern space. It is both sophisticated and contemporary, but also very organic. Plus the kitchen feels more spacious when it’s not completely lined with cabinets, dontcha think?


Let’s Talk about the Floor Plan


As soon as our inspiration photos had stolen our clients’ hearts, it was time to sit down and set some goals that would inform the project and help us plan for its success. 

Due to the floor plan of the home, we were limited in the number of layout changes we could make. This may seem like something that would make our jobs easier...but the truth is, sometimes needing to function within the confines of the current floor plan turns out to be more challenging.. but you know we found a way to make it work!

Beyond the layout and flooring, our goals for the space were:

  • Incorporate medium-stain wood accents throughout the kitchen in order to tie together the dark/light contrast and the natural stone floors. 

  • Dial up the drama in the kitchen by choosing finishes that contrast in surprising and beautiful ways.


Visualize & Realize


Anyhoo, at long last we had what we needed to develop preliminary 3D renderings and present our ideas to our clients. Any guesses which vibe they jived with the most?!

darla powell interiors kitchen rendering white shaker cabinets black lower

darla powell interiors kitchen rendering white shaker cabinets wood lower white backsplash

darla powell interiors kitchen rendering white shaker cabinets black counters

Can you guess which one they picked? Well… you’re just going to have to wait to find out! Muahahaha. 

As much as I know you want to see how the completed project turned out, we are still putting the finishing touches on it to make it freaking fabulous. Nothing like a real-time project reveal to add some suspense and excitement to our dull lives these days… amirite?! (Insert eye roll…)

So, my friends, please sit tight and trust that we will be back soon with the final project reveal in all its dramatic, daring glory!



P.s. Furnishing a home? Don’t forget to download our guide to budgeting your home furnishings below. It’s a doozy! ;)