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Beach Inspired Kitchen (INSTALLED IN 1 DAY!) + Get The Look

A couple of months ago I had a rather interesting kitchen design challenge, with a capital C. I was hired by LG to promote their new Black Stainless Steel series at an editors event in New York – that wasn’t the challenging part. The challenging part came later (keep reading). The ask: Design a kitchen on Pinterest then, weeks later, install said kitchen in one day/night in an event space, in New York (with lots of help from a strong design/build team). It was insane, and was full of fixable bumps and exciting problems to solve.

I pinned two different styles of kitchens – Traditional:

Emily Henderson LG Traditional Kitchen Board

And Beachy:

Emily Henderson LG Coastal Board

We decided to implement the “beach” themed kitchen, build it out, and install it in an event space.

The design/build team sent back renderings for approval:

Emily_LG_Kitchen Rendering 1

Originally they had combined both, which wasn’t my intent, so I asked them to change the following and they happily did.

1.) Paint the cabinets a light gray/green, 2.) change the wood to light wood,  3.) change out pendants for woven pendants,  4.) change out generic stools for pretty white stools,  5.) reduce the cobalt blue.

Renderings can be tricky because it’s nice to see it all together but they also look so cold, so technical, and you aren’t really able to relate any soul or anything vintage. So you have to really use your imagination.

The second rendering came back much better after the revisions and suggestions.

Emily_LG_Kitchen Rendering 2

Emily_LG_Kitchen Rendering 3

I liked the color of the cabinets and the shelving, but there was clearly a scale issue with that teeny tiny island. My original intent was to find something vintage – a big pretty table, display case, or butcher that was vintage/antique. Like so:

Emily Henderson Rustic Wooden Table Inspiration

I wasn’t in New York for the prep (I had just had Elliot) so I hired a stylist, the lovely Cat Dash, to help me source any vintage pieces and all the accessories. The piece in the renderings was our backup island (from Ikea), which we thought could work if we were desperate, but once they sent through the renderings I was like “uh oh . . . we need to find a better piece.” 

That was the first piece of bad news. The second was that only 2 of the 4 stools arrived. So we were without an island and were 2 stools short the day before the event, and I was a bit worried to say the least. Also to compound the situation our event space was One World Trade Center, on the 144th floor (the Observatory deck) and security getting in and out was a massive disaster. We had to have 2 days notice to bring anything in. So last minute changes weren’t really welcome.

Around 5pm I came to set to check things out and while I loved what was happening to the kitchen I was pretty stressed about the island/stool situation. Thoughts in my head: “What were we going to do … We needed a bigger island but if we got bigger island then we wouldn’t have enough stools. Maybe we should get a table like an in kitchen dining room, with casual chairs around it? But then the pendants will be too high? Well, that times 25 and add in a heavy dose of panicking.

On our way out we saw one of the catering tables, an old door on top of four turned legs, waist high. I thought to myself … now THAT is what we need.

That night we went shopping from 5pm – 10pm, desperate for anything that would work that was available that we could carry in (not be picked up by a messenger). We found a few options, enough that I could sleep but I went to bed that night super stressed, more than I had been in years. I don’t say that lightly.

The next morning I came to set and was ready to solve problems. Luckily, right when I got there the catering was finished and there was an extra table. I snatched that thing up like it was the last table on earth. While it wasn’t perfect, it was the right scale, height, size, finish and style. I only wish that it had more drawers or heft to it. But, otherwise it was by far the best option with the time that we had. Then we had the two stool situation … so last minute we found 2 extra vintage stools that worked with the other two stools we already had. These were rented from a prop house for i’m sure like $100 each. I wish they were all four white stools but given the situation at hand, I was happy that we found two more that were fine.

There were no editorial photos taken (something that I pushed for intensely) so unfortunately I only have these high flash set photos for you all. So PLEASE look beyond the photo and see the kitchen for what it is:  A modern beach kitchen with vintage casual love.

Emily Henderson LG Kitchen Beach Casual Rustic 8

We used ikea cabinets but painted the bottom half in Farrow and Ball ‘Feathery Blue’ which was a very pretty green/gray. We used Fireclay Tile for the backsplash which was so pretty and gave it a global bent.

Emily Henderson LG Kitchen Beach Casual Rustic 1

I did a combination of open shelving, glass cabinetry and closed shelving. Glass cabinets make your kitchen look bigger, but you better have pretty things to fill those glass cabinets up with because mismatched sippy cups aren’t going to get you into the lifestyle mafia.

Emily Henderson LG Kitchen Beach Casual Rustic 2

The pendants had to be hung from this ceiling beam that ran at a diagonal on the set so that is why they aren’t on the same plane or directly above the island.

Emily Henderson LG Kitchen Beach Casual Rustic 3

We propped it out with vintage seascapes, organic wood and lots of wicker. I really wish that these photos reflected how pretty it was in person because it actually was.

Emily Henderson LG Kitchen Beach Casual Rustic 4

Emily Henderson LG Kitchen Beach Casual Rustic 5

The black stainless steel looked actually really great in this beach kitchen. And a quick plug for it, (this is not a sponsored post by the way) it is VERY smudge resistant. That’s always been my beef with stainless – so hard to clean. But this has a certain technology that makes it extremely hard to smudge.

Emily Henderson LG Kitchen Beach Casual Rustic 6

Emily Henderson LG Kitchen Beach Casual Rustic 7

The rug is actually so pretty but it didn’t photograph too well here. It was a better scale for the island that we almost put in there but is a bit small for this one. We went back to take more photos the next morning with my iphone and natural light but alas they had already demo’d. All for just one night. So crazy, right? They threw this big party with a ton of editors, with huge ice sculptures, lobster, and a live jazz band. David Bromstad (who designed the other kitchen) spoke about both of our kitchens and then spoke on a panel with a few more experts on home/real estate. Designing the kitchen, styling the space, prepping my talk and being in New York with both kids was total insanity. You can see how they had the space laid out in the pic. A kitchen on each side with a presentation area in the center.

LG_Beachy Kitchen_Emily Henderson_David Bromstead

Despite said insanity I loved how the kitchen turned out although there were a few things I would change: I want a chunkier island, 4 matching stools, and better photos :). Otherwise I would live in that kitchen in a second.

What do you think?

LG Kitchen Get the Look

1. Wire Paper Towel Rack | 2. Moroccan Tile | 3. Woven Pendent Light | 4. Blue Monday by Studio Singhi | 5. Marble & Brass Orb Lamp | 6. Brass Bar Pull | 7. Rattan Bar Cart | 8. White Serving Set | 9. Brass Pot | 10. White Bar Stools | 11. Copper Cake Server | 12. Wandering by Stacy Kron | 13. Gold Dish Rack | 14. White Dutch Oven | 15. Walnut Cutting Board | 16. Marble & Wood Cutting Board | 17. Navy Rug | 18. Paint in Feathery Blue | 19. Copper Pitcher | 20. Geometric Wood Rolling Pin | 21. Faceted Gold & Glass Candle Holder

** Wood Kitchen Table Inspiration Images 1 | 2 

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8 years ago

Every time you mention the lifestyle mafia, I’m waaaaay ready for more. Like, I think about the phrase every time I decant (which is often). Please, please, please, give us a series on that.

8 years ago
Reply to  Kari

Seconding the lifestyle mafia comment. I love that phrase and I would read so many more blog posts that are even tangentially related to the lifestyle mafia.

The space turned out gorgeous! And the views from One World Observatory? Some of the best I’ve seen in the city. Was there for a INC event during Fashion Week in February – mind blown.

Sarah D.
8 years ago

It’s beautiful. Are the appliances really black? Or just stainless with black accent parts? I want to run my fingers across the fire clay back splash. I don’t mind the stools or the table, but would rather switch out the rug;) can’t believe you designed all this and traveled just after baby!!! Well done.

8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah D.

I know, I’m trying to figure out the color of the appliances too.. They look blue to me, but that is probably the reflection of a fluorescent light somewhere. I cant believe they didn’t shoot the space. What a waste. (for them!) I love the design though!

8 years ago

where did you source the rug used in the shoot? it’s different than the one in ‘get the look’… i LOVE it.

8 years ago
Reply to  katie

YES – I am dying to know where that rug is from!

8 years ago

This would be so much fun (and sounds like it was still mostly fun even with the issues that arose) – freedom to design a kitchen that will be around only temporarily? No pressure to get every detail exactly right? Make decisions and go? Sweet!

For projects like this, I’m curious about what happens to the cabinets/tile/etc. (whatever wasn’t borrowed/rented) after the exhibit is over. Are you willing to shed some light on that?

8 years ago

yes, yes, yes, that’s all beautiful but….

Where are the jacket and skirt from? You look beautiful as always!

8 years ago

Beautiful kitchen! I don’t know if I missed this but what was the countertop material? Also from IKEA?

8 years ago

Love it! David B’s kitchen looks sleek/masculine, but yours seems like it would appeal to almost anyone! And I like the island, although I understand how a chunkier one would be more ‘grounded.’ The mismatched stools are fun and I wouldn’t have thought anything of them until you bemoaned the lack of 4 matching ones. 😉 The paint-by-numbers paintings (I’m assuming that’s what they are) add just the right fun vintage touch!

8 years ago

Can you tell us what lights were installed under the open shelving? Where they built or sunk into the shelves, or just attached to the bottom of the shelf…? I am trying to get some open shelving installed, but don’t want to “see” the light fixture – is it visible here? All I can see is the glow of the light and that looks so pretty – but what kind of lights were used? I would love to see how this looks without the lights on.

8 years ago

I think it is the Ikea light strip. It’s supposed to go behind a little strip of molding. That looks like an Ikea kitchen, so this is an educated guess 🙂

8 years ago

I love the final result of this kitchen! It’s so pretty!


8 years ago

wow, only up for one day! total insanity. It looks amazing! And what a relief that the catering tables were actually that cool, and not some stainless steel crap lol. i’m interested in seeing the black stainless in person!

8 years ago

This must be my style because it just sings to me. Great post.

8 years ago

Enough already (just kidding). Can we just unanimously agree you’re the Design and Styling Diva/Goddess of this generation? Seriously, how you pulled that off under those circumstances, in that outfit, post-birth. Simply amazing. YOU RULE.

8 years ago

The tile on the back splash is off the hook!! Loved hearing the story of how the project started, escalated, and ended. An insiders peek at the real world of design. Amazing job!!

8 years ago

And for your next trick, you’re going to part the Red Sea? Talk about miracles! And yes, a chunkier island for sure…

8 years ago

The kitchen looks amazing. I love the lower cabinet color. I think you nailed “beachy”. I cannot believe you just had a baby here. What? Mind blown. Seriously, you won the genetic lottery.

8 years ago

Kitchen is nice, but the black stainless steel doesn’t work for me with light cabinets, it draws too much attention. Contrasting appliences work only if they are high end and decorative pieces. Low contrast is a better option or if the budget allows, having some of them behind cabinet doors.

8 years ago

those tiles.. swoon. will be using when we redo our kitchen. although- do you think they’d work in a bathroom??

8 years ago
Reply to  jade

I’m pretty sure Emily did use tiles from that source in her master bath reno. The results were stunning!

Jessica Cushman
8 years ago

Amazing work, again! Love the wood shelves combined with cabinetry. Can you tell us what program you use to do your renderings? They are so polished looking.


8 years ago

So wait, the expensive, lovely fireclay tile went in and then was thrown out after one day? Was it installed in some temporary manner? It hurts me to think of it just being smashed out and tossed. (I have the fireclay ogee drop on my fireplace and I love it so much!) I guess that goes for everything – cabinets, flooring, shelves & tile – was it tossed in the garbage or was it re-used in some way? Hopefully a big company like LG is sensitive to the waste issue.

8 years ago
Reply to  Frobly

It doesn’t look like it was grouted in. Might be just glued / doubleside taped on.
I’d hope everything gets reused in some way.

8 years ago

You are so hard on yourself! For God’s sake, you pulled off beautiful design after just birthing beautiful Elliot. Chill, breathe & relish where you are right now….we all love being on this journey with you.

8 years ago

It is definitely a pity that you couldn’t get any professional photos of the design. Its obviously gorgeous but so hard to see any of the detail. Just goes to show how talented your photographers are to be able to highlight and showcase your work. Normally I just feel like I am in the room and can see everything perfectly, this time I *wish* I was in the room so I could see it properly!

8 years ago

I love your kitchen, Emily, and think the island made of a door on legs is a great idea. I must say you definitely looked very chic in your black and white! And how fun to do this with David Bromstad; you two are the best design stars ever! Now I’v’e gotta go check out those appliances in person…..

8 years ago

Gorgeous kitchens! While the size of the space is unrealistic in most homes, I think all the design elements would still work really well in smaller rooms, even a galley kitchen (except the island, of course). I find the under-cabinet lighting super harsh, though!

I’m also curious what happens to all the material after this event?

8 years ago

What do I think? I think I don’t have the drive you do, Emily. I have three kids, and just reading about you in NYC with your two tiny children (one a new baby), and undergoing a high-pressured design frenzy made my stomach clench up. Everyone’s different. You are an incredibly hardworking and talented designer, and we all get to enjoy the results. You just keep on sparkling like you do, and I’ll admire your work while I leisurely sip a cup of tea. 🙂

Raquel Running
8 years ago

I can’t seem to the find the “feather blue” farrow and ball paint anywhere online or on their site… do you have a link?

8 years ago

I think that is SUCH a pretty kitchen!