Sometimes all it takes is a little imagination (and A LOT of elbow grease) to transform an eyesore into a treasure. Just ask Laurel & Wolf’s own VP of Design Marketplace, Aisling Mittman, who used her design cred to see the potential in an untouched, midcentury-meets-traditional ranch house on a quiet Los Angeles street. In a real estate market as competitive as L.A.’s, finding the beauty in a beastly house can pay off big time. When you see these Before and After photos, you’ll know exactly what we mean!
With just about every room needing some love, Aisling wasn’t afraid to hit the ground running as soon as she got the keys to her fixer-upper. “The location was prime. We have a third of an acre and our backyard is super private and quiet. We wanted to be able to have our windows open and not hear our neighbors, which is difficult to have in Los Angeles. We started the renovation process the day we closed, having the kitchen gutted,” says Aisling.
Aisling and her interior designer Nadia Dillion brought the home into modern times by first replacing the tile floors with slate, concealing the red brick wall, and building a walk-in pantry. Next, the design duo knocked down the dated half-wall that separated the dining room from the kitchen, and installed a large marble peninsula, in its place. Together, they turned a previously non-functional space into the true heart of the home.
“I didn’t want the kitchen to feel trendy. I feel like the all-white kitchen with white subway tile and farm sink is getting tired, and I wanted something that fit with the house. The house is a mid-century traditional ranch, and our kitchen has some traditional elements, but also feels modern. We spent our honeymoon in Scandinavia, and I see some influences from that trip in the space,” says Aisling.
While we could totally see ourselves pinning this kitchen to death, Aisling was more concerned with preserving the style of the home and upholding a high level of quality than being on-trend. So, on her list of design must-haves were materials and finishes that would withstand the test of time, like classic, Shaker-style cabinetry and durable flooring.
“We purchased semi-custom cabinets from CliqStudios, which are solid wood and are great quality. We picked out honed Callica marble for the countertops, and a huge stainless steel sink with an industrial-esque faucet that makes dishwashing a breeze. The layout was equally important. The way the house is designed, we had to keep the kitchen in the same footprint as before, so adding a large peninsula was one of the best decisions we made,” says Aisling.
A breakfast bar now provides a casual place for her son Ryder to enjoy a quick bite, while also acting as a way to both connect and divide the kitchen from the living space. Floating shelves offer easy access to cooking essentials, without the bulkiness of upper cabinets.
“Our previous kitchen was nonfunctional, so having all new appliances and a proper prep space has made cooking more enjoyable. As a housewarming gift, my mom got me a vintage copy of her favorite cookbook and together, we made my favorite family recipe, dolmades!” says Aisling.
And just like the recipe for her family’s favorite Greek dish, Aisling’s kitchen is built to last.