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Intro Post: Orlando’s Parents Are Getting a New Kitchen!

Hi Everyone!
It’s me! Orlando! Writing from the safe confines of my parents’ house! I have some super sad news though. I HAVE TO LEAVE ON SUNDAY AND I AM FREAKING OUT. Sadly, work calls in LA. I’ve had to go down a few times since I came up here to #livewithmyparents but now I have weeks of shoots/meetings so I gotta go stay in my own house (IN MY OWN BED!) for a while. Please feel free to feel super sorry for me. I’ve had literally the best time up here hanging with my parents and my siblings, their partners, and my niece and nephew when they’re around (I hope you’ve been following on my dumb Insta stories). Oh, and I’m pretty much done with my book. Just some editing left and like a million design decisions but it’s the fun part now, not the crazy existential part where you’re like WHY AM I WRITING A BOOK?? DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE SENSE???

Okay, so onto today’s topic of conversation. I’M RENOVATING MY PARENTS’ KITCHEN! Bertazzoni, the incredible family-owned Italian appliance company, reached out to me about doing a collaboration and I immediately thought about my parents. They moved a few years ago and their kitchen needs an overhaul (read the whole sob story about it over on my blog today).

Here’s what the kitchen looks like now:


It’s right next to the family room. This is the room we all hang out in and watch TV and talk about our feelings. It’s a great space but the kitchen definitely lacks in terms of storage and is definitely not the kind of room anyone wants to spend any time in. It’s super dark (there’s like one light in there and at night you can’t see anything at night). My mom loves cooking and we do many a family holiday there, so this kitchen gets used A LOT. My brother lives about 20 minutes away and my sister and I are over here all the time, so this kitchen gets a lot more use than you’d imagine for a house only two people live in. Well, two people and sometimes their grown up adult male son.

For my whole life, my parents have had a tiny kitchen. It’s always been something that annoyed my mom. I don’t want to pretend this is like the biggest hardship ever or anything, the current kitchen is fine. But my parents gave me a pretty great life, “fine” isn’t good enough. So, the goal with this project is not only to upgrade their appliances but to completely transform the entire space from a tiny blah kitchen to a luxury chef’s kitchen my parents can enjoy. I want it to be a space they can hang out in. And that we can all gather in when we’re around. So I want to transform it from a little nook for cooking to an actual room with some gravitas.


The most expensive part of the renovation is going to be expanding the kitchen onto a deck that is right outside the kitchen/family room (see full house plans, including how we’re expanding, over on my blog). To be honest, I got sticker shock when I found out how expensive this project was going to be. The bid from the contractor came in over 100K and that doesn’t include the appliances and finishes I’m getting sponsored, which will likely add another $50K if not more. Kinda makes the $23,000 kitchen renovation nightmare I was whining about sound like pennies.

Finding a contractor was insanely difficult up here, as for some reason everyone we called was super busy and had very little interest/hunger for work. Sonoma County, where my parents live now, is getting more and more expensive by the day because of its proximity to the Bay Area and the absolutely insane real estate of San Francisco. It’s a very desirable place to live and apparently there’s a lot of rich people up here waving money at contractors, because every contractor we met with was like “I CAN HELP YOU IN 2018” (we were having these meetings in February). We finally found a great contractor we liked after meeting with about a million, so hoping to break ground in the next few weeks.


Okay, so here’s what we’re doing. On the left is the existing small kitchen, and on the right is the deck. The plan is to expand the kitchen all the way to that exterior wall to square off the room and make the kitchen almost twice its current size. I have no idea why the architect who built the house didn’t do that in the first place. In my opinion the simplest answer is usually the best one. Not sure why the room is this weird shape…

The general design plan involves a peninsula extending from the exterior wall into the room. We thought about making this an island but the layout of the adjacent family room would make the space between the island and the wall a bit useless (I’ll explain this in a subsequent post about planning the family room, which I’m also doing a light update on). We’re still working out the exact style/configuration of the island but this shows the general idea.

I’m also playing with different chair and lighting options, because we now have this amazing, glamorous breakfast bar that I know is going to be the most popular place to hang out in the house. SCROLL DOWN AND TELL ME WHICH ONES YOU LIKE!


Pendants from Schoolhouse, Chairs from CB2.


Pendants from Schoolhouse, Chairs from InMod.


Pendants from West Elm, Chairs from AllModern.


My design plan really started with this Bertazzoni range, which I fell in love with the minute I saw it. It’s definitely more ornate and complicated than any range I’ve ever used, but I think it’s just lovely. I got to tour the factory in Italy and it was totally magical. The range is the centerpiece of the room, so I’m happy that this one looks like a beautiful Italian work of art.


The refrigerator and dishwasher are also from Bertazzoni. They’re a more classic stainless steel design that will allow the Bertazzoni Heritage Range to be the star of the show.


Obviously you can’t have a house in Sonoma County, America’s wine basket (bottle?) without a wine fridge. I chose this glamorous double-doored option from Summit because it can store seventy bottles of wine and I loved the simple design and wooden pull out drawers. I also liked the double doors because you can have one side for red, one for white. EVERYONE WINS! Just thinking about that wine is making me happy right now.


The existing windows all over the house were just replaced with simple white windows, so we’re going to match those in the kitchen. I’m excited about all the added light these are going to bring in. The large picture window above the sink will be a casement window that opens outward, the perfect place to zone out while you do the dishes.


You guys, SURFACES! This is one of my favorite parts of designing a kitchen. I wanted them to be pretty, light, and easy to maintain (my parents are no-fuss kinda people). The backsplash is from Fireclay, a fun pattern called Hexite (the color is Crater Lake). The floor is lovely, warm grey concrete tile from Rustico Tile (the color is Clam). I looked at a million countertop options before finally settling on a simple white one from Cambria (the color is White Cliff). The overall color scheme is pretty pale and washed out. Blue is my mom’s favorite color so it’s the accent amongst mostly neutrals.

Okay, one final thing I want you to weigh in on before I let you go. HARDWARE CHOICES! If it were me, I would just go brass. I love brass hardware in a kitchen and think it’s a way to add warmth and a bit of color. BUT my mom’s not as into brass. She initially wanted chrome (or nickel or any silver finish) but also expressed interest in black. She seems to be fine with brass for lighting, but was less into it for sink and cabinet hardware. Anyway, WHAT DO YOU THINK???


I’m hoping we start demo in a few weeks. My goal for this was to be done with this project by my mom’s birthday, which is September 27, so keep your fingers crossed for that. The contractor said it was a six week project, so I’m expecting about two months or more, but you never know. I always tell clients to double the time estimate a contractor tells them. I’m just antsy to see something happen. Like even if it’s just someone coming over and kicking a wall down and then leaving.

There’s way more info over on my blog about architectural layout, project renderings, and me asking for even more help on decisions. HEAD ON OVER!

And GET EXCITED! I’ll be sharing updates on demo, construction, and further design conundrums here and on my blog, Hommemaker. Bye!

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6 years ago

i’m definitely with your mom on the black hardware. the brass i don’t think is gonna work with that insane stove. so listen to your mom, besides it’s her kitchen =)

6 years ago

So exciting! I love that backsplash tile, wow!
I love brass, but I have to admit I’m really into that black hardware. Also, my pick would be option 1, with option #2’s counter stools. I like the slightly Asian silhouette, since that style seems like it’s woven throughout the home.
Orlando, anything you pick is going to be gorgeous, I can’t wait to see the finished result!

6 years ago
Reply to  Molly

I agree!!! Option 3 lights are so over done but one and two are awesome. And those chairs in option two are amazing.

6 years ago

Option 1 for the lighting/chairs and black for the hardware. Nice job! It is going to look so great!

6 years ago

This all looks great. I’m not usually a fan of black hardware, but in this case I think it echoes the black of the stove beautifully.
Re the stools, I like #2 or #3 – I think #1 look like school chairs.
Dying to see how this progresses!

6 years ago
Reply to  Louise

Totally agree with everything you said! Black hardware. Chair 2 or 3. Need lighting with a black bit to tie everything in together.

6 years ago

This is amazing! I am ALSO redoing my parents kitchen and it’s been one of my most rewarding projects ever because they are such lovely people as it sounds like yours are. I totally get you on the hardware thing. I wanted brass everything but my parents had similar reaction and weren’t really feeling it. Although we are doing copper! (Like the good kind I promise)

Anyway, this plan looks amazing and think I prefer Option 2 the best. It feels approachable and comfortable. Cant wait to follow along for the rest of the design!

6 years ago

This is a dream to be able to do something like this for your parents! Congrats! I prefer option 2 for the seating/lighting and I think you should go black with the hardware. Clients (especially moms) are never wrong 🙂 Can’t wait to see more!

6 years ago

Loving it and can’t wait to see more! Based on the furniture shown, it looks like your parents have great style already. Btw – the links to your site aren’t working for me.

6 years ago

Option 2 and I love the backsplash tile. Your Inst-stories this summer have been hilarious. Can’t wait to see the final kitchen.

6 years ago
Reply to  Kaiulani

The links to your blog take me to “page not found,” rather than today’s post, but it still is your blog.

Ily, Orlando. Your family sounds lovely and your parents are lucky ducks!

6 years ago
Reply to  Anon

yes me too, couldn’t get the links to the blog to work either….. just page not found.
would love to read more about it all….

6 years ago
Reply to  Babbity

got it working now, thanks!

6 years ago

Looks great! What a nice thing to do for your family. It is your mom’s kitchen. If she doesn’t like brass hardware, then you should have her pick one of the other options!

6 years ago

That range is amazing and this remodel kitchen is going to be such a vast improvement. I like the black hardware. Or silver. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Orlando!!!

6 years ago

Black hardware!! Stunning with the stove. And love option 2 for both stools and lights. Feels “grown up”;)

6 years ago

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6 years ago

I love the black and brass, but I really think the chrome will be the most classic and go best in this kitchen. I have the Rejuvenation chairs that look like the cb2 ones in #1 and love, so of course my favorite pick 🙂

6 years ago

Ok, I like Option 1 for the lighting/ chairs (with #2 being a very close second), and if option one is the pick then the Chrome hardware with it. and if option two is the pick then the black hardware.

6 years ago

I like the black fixtures; Option #2 chairs but with Option #1 lighting. But what do I know? All I know is that I’m loving that you love your folks and that your mama is getting the kitchen of her dreams. Best. Son. Ever!

6 years ago

Amazing design, it will look gorgeous. I like black hardware to link to that beautiful stove (and I have a thing for black faucets which would go great too). I like the lights from option 1 the best as they would keep the sightline open in my opinion (white lights, white walls and the black cord again links to the hardware), but the stools in options 2 and 3 are both excellent. Maybe option 3 is slightly my preferred option. but you are a great designer so anything you pick will be great.

Meredith Still
6 years ago

CB2 chairs (from option 1) — the white fixtures blend into nothing and don’t pop
Schoolhouse pendants (option 2)
Brass hardware

6 years ago
Reply to  Meredith Still

I agree with Meredith. Clicked on the link to CB2 to get a better look and those stools are sweet!

Black hardware looked good too, since your mom isn’t diggin’ the brass.

6 years ago

I like both the chairs and lighting from option 1, and the black hardware for sure! It’s not something you see in every kitchen, will make your mom happier not having brass, and will best highlight that lovely range, which, as you say, will be the centerpiece. Can’t wait to follow along with this reno.

6 years ago

I love those gray cabinets! SO pretty!


6 years ago

LOVE! I’m for Option 2 for overall lighting/seating look and black hardware! The black really makes that stuuuuunning range pop! (And you’re clearly like the best son ever. And this is reminding me that I promised my mom I would help her revamp her kitchen and I really need to get my ass in gear.)

6 years ago

Option #1! and I love the brass as well because it looks amazing with that tile, but if she wont go for that do black. Classic.

6 years ago

I remodeled my kitchen a few years ago and used chrome hardware. I was constantly wiping them clean as they show all smudges and spots. I changed them out with matte black hardware and couldn’t be happier. So option 2 with black. I also love the pendants in #3 to bring more curves to the space.

6 years ago

I like option 3 for chairs with chrome hardware.

6 years ago

loooove the way this is going! i vote option 1 or 2 on the lighting/seating situation…not into option 3. regarding the hardware, definitely go with black!

6 years ago

I love option one with black hardware!

6 years ago

Option 1 Light fixtures, with Option 2 chairs, and Black hardware. I love brass everything too – but NOT with that stove/appliances. I wouldn’t even want brass lighting with all that chrome-y silver-y goodness. I love the crisp white and black with the lights and hardware and then you can warm it up with the chairs and various stylish knick knack things you are so good at.

6 years ago

Option 1 for the chairs/lights.

Sorry OrMOMdo, but I’m definitely team brass!!

Also I’m very excited for Berta the Range. Excited to see everything!

6 years ago

Option 2 with Brass. This design feels much more natural and organic for the space. The bar stools are perfect because they do not break the sight line into the rest of the room: They are there for style and necessity only, but do not make a commanding statement and let the room come together cohesively.

6 years ago

Option 2 and black hardware!

6 years ago

I really like all of the options, but I loved number 3! And since your mom doesn’t want brass hardware, I’d vote black!

6 years ago

This is going to be beautiful! I absolutely love the backsplash tile. It reminds me of looking down at a the water of a pool with sunlight dancing off the bottom.

I really like the chairs in option 3 (they seem minimal in a Japanese way if that makes sense) but I prefer the lights from option 1. And I think black hardware for sure! Keep it modern but still ties in with the black stove.

6 years ago

I think I’m digging option 2 overall. As far as hardware goes…brass is so, so beautiful, but I really feel like the black will work in this kitchen, especially since it will play off that stunning range. I’m also dying to know the source on both the black and chrome hardware for myself!

6 years ago

Black is the new black! Agree with it being friends with the stove. And as for the stools and lighting I think option 1… Good luck! You’re momma must be sooo happy with this (of course after it’s all done… until then she will be mad with all the dust and mess, or at least my mother would…)

6 years ago

I have the cb2 chairs in the dining chair version. I love them, the way they look and they are comfy. HOWEVER, I had to buy a rug to go under my dining table because on the bare wood floor people kept tipping them over. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt but I am not kidding that at least four different people (children and adults) tipped them forwards and backwards in maybe eight or ten dinners. They have rubber rings on the bottom, and they slip and move around a lot. Since I bought the rug, not one has tipped but it is pretty unlikely you would put a rug under the kitchen counter chairs.

6 years ago

I think black fixtures/handles would tie in nicely with that amazing range.

6 years ago

I love option #2 for both the bar stools and the hardware…will look SO pretty when it’s all done!

6 years ago

Gorgeous! I’d definitely go black or chrome since there are already a few other big colors in the kitchen (blue, black). Black or chrome would keep it simpler, I think. What program did you use to create the drawings? I’m looking into experimenting a bit myself with this. My designer has rougher architectural drawings that don’t show this level of detail, unfortunately.

6 years ago

hi Orlando. It’s going to look great! I think option #1 with black hardware is a good choice for them.

6 years ago

Option one chairs for sure!!! And any of the lights are on point. I with you on loving brass, but really don’t mind the black or chrome. Obvs, I am not help. All great options!!

6 years ago

I am all for black hardware and option 1 for chairs and lighting. The lighting stays neutral so the backsplash shines. And from your blog, I would keep the lowers on that side white and not match the peninsula, also to let the backsplash and oven shine!

6 years ago

I really like the black hardware. I do think that, if you use it, you might need some black in the lighting.

6 years ago

Chairs from option 1, lightingfrom option 2 and brass or black hardware:)

6 years ago

Orlando, it’s beautiful. That backsplash tile is friggin perfect. I vote for the white schoolhouse pendants with the chairs from InMod. It’s simple and natural and though I’ve never met your mother I think she would agree with me. Also, is nickel hardware an option?

6 years ago

I like the first stool option from CB2 but think you should pair it with something with more iron detailing to play off the chair legs + range. And I definitely like the black hardware with maybe a couple of gold accents here and there to break things up, like the faucet. But if not brass accents, definitely all black. ?

Can’t wait to see how it turns out! If brass is out, I’d go with black hardware over chrome.

6 years ago

I like the first stool option from Cb2 but think you should do pendants with more iron detailing to play off the stool legs and the range. I also like the black hardware; you could possibly do some brass accenting though, like with the faucet or some frames, etc. Otherwise, all black. ??

6 years ago
Reply to  Brigid Prior

Eek- sorry to accidentally comment twice!

6 years ago

Option 1 lighting, option 2 or 3 chairs. Black hardware! You’re the best!

6 years ago

I think chrome (or black) hardware with option 1 for lighting and chairs.

6 years ago

Hey there Orlando, via Emily, I have thoroughly enjoyed following along with your adventures living with your parents. They seem like awesome, supportive parents. Seating option 2 instantly felt like the right seating options for your mom’s gathering place. Nice wood tone and shape that are beautiful and inviting, rather than shouting, look at me! Hardware…I like the black, but it is higher contrast than the chrome, so I guess it just depends if she likes that. I think the black is a timeless, classy look and would highlight the dark of the oven, but the chrome would play really nicely with the rest of the beautiful appliances. I really like the shape of the first two lighting options, but wonder if there is something in a more woven or textured finish that would play nicely with the more sleek finishes. Those are all of my two, or three, or four, cents. Whatever you do, it will be beautiful and I am sure she will love it and be appreciative.

6 years ago

Hey there Orlando, via Emily, I have thoroughly enjoyed following along with your adventures living with your parents. They seem like awesome, supportive parents. Seating option 2 instantly felt like the right seating options for your mom’s gathering place. Nice wood tone and shape that are beautiful and inviting, rather than shouting, look at me! Hardware…I like the black, but it is higher contrast than the chrome, so I guess it just depends if she likes that. I think the black is a timeless, classy look and would highlight the dark of the oven, but the chrome would play really nicely with the rest of the beautiful appliances. I really like the shape of the first two lighting options, but wonder if there is something in a more woven or textured finish that would play off of the more sleek finishes. Those are all of my two, or three, or four, cents. Whatever you do, it will be beautiful and I am sure she will love it and be appreciative.