Designer Brit Arnesen and her husband, Derek, imbue the space with feminine, Art Deco–inspired touches.

Brit painted the dark grout lines of the tile backsplash to soften the overall look. The couple also encased the range hood with closet dowels, with the materials for that project totaling $124.

Brit Arnesen remembers riding her bike past this house when she was a kid growing up in Kokomo, Indiana, and thinking it was the ugliest house in the neighborhood. “It had a brown roof with brown gutters and brown trim, and then a yellowish-colored siding. It was really bad,” says the designer. 

When Brit and her husband, Derek, bought the foreclosed house years later, it wasn’t faring much better, having sat empty for five years. The couple’s original thought was to gut it, renovate it themselves, and put it back on the market.

$554
Windows
$6,091
Appliances
$1,938
Lighting
$2,720
Cabinets
$110
Paint
$2,110
Countertops
$179
Knobs & Pulls
$543
Tiles
$259
Sink
$183
Faucet
$407
Open Shelving
$757
Tiptoe Stools
$543
Drywall
$178
Wall Moulding
$115
Built-In Trash Can
Grand Total: $16,687
Before: When designer Brit Arnesen bought this 1962 home in Indiana, the kitchen finishes were worn, and it sorely needed more prep space.

Before: When designer Brit Arnesen bought this 1962 home in Indiana, the kitchen finishes were worn, and it sorely needed more prep space.

Courtesy of britdotdesign

When the couple first purchased the home five years ago, the main floor was compartmentalized into four separate rooms. They knocked down walls to let more natural light flow through the plan and rehabbed the kitchen right away, pulling out layers of laminate from the counter to the flooring, the latter sandwiched with black mold. After investing so much sweat equity, Brit and Derek decided that they wanted to stay put in the home after all.

After living with the resulting design for a few years, however, Brit had some new ideas about how to improve on it. So, earlier this year, Brit and Derek tackled another kitchen remodel for the One Room Challenge, a biannual event wherein participating designers and homeowners chronicle a room makeover accomplished in just six weeks. 

Before: In the first remodel, a substantial kitchen island offers more prep space, and the finishes were chosen to appeal to the average buyer. "It wasn’t so much a matter of designing the kitchen of my dreams as it was an attempt to create a kitchen that would help sell the house," says Brit.

Before: In the first remodel, a substantial kitchen island offers more prep space, and the finishes were chosen to appeal to the average buyer. “It wasn’t so much a matter of designing the kitchen of my dreams as it was an attempt to create a kitchen that would help sell the house,” says Brit.

Courtesy of britdotdesign

For this go-around—Brit’s third time doing the One Room Challenge—the kitchen remodel involved swapping out the perimeter counters, tweaking the appliance layout so the rear wall elevation was more pleasing to the eye, and instilling architectural detail into the open floor plan. New lighting and custom accents made by Brit and Derek, like the range hood and cabinet pulls, combine for a more “organic, postmodern” kitchen scheme. 

Brit started with an elongated keyhole arch that now separates the kitchen and dining room from the main living area. “I wanted to divide the two rooms a little bit to make them feel like their own spaces, without completely blocking them off from each other,” says Brit, who was inspired by a longtime affection for Art Deco architecture and decor, as well as Casework’s Hightower showroom in Chicago and Sister City by Ace Hotel in NYC

The designer drywalled and plastered an arched motif in the main living area, using the curved walls to create separation between the open living spaces.

The designer drywalled and plastered an arched motif in the main living area, using the curved walls to create separation between the open living spaces.

Courtesy of britdotdesign

See the full story on Dwell.com: Budget Breakdown: A Couple Spend Six Weeks and $16.7K Fashioning an Airy Kitchen
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