For the past couple months, I’ve been working on a full renovation of a summer home for an international family. Throughout the duration of the project I’ve seen them in person only 4 times. I’m completely humbled by their trust in my work and my ability to complete the job with us interacting mostly via email.

They came to Atlanta last week to check on the progress and were blown away by the transformation that has occurred. The most dramatic changes have been in the kitchen and the three full bathrooms in the home. Here’s how the kitchen looked when I first toured the home:

The builder’s grade cabinetry, laminate countertops, black appliances, and fluorescent lighting were far, far from what my client wanted in her summer kitchen. On our first outing she selected granite countertops in imperial brown and a mojave brown glass tile backsplash, the rest was up to me. Here is the plan I designed for their new summer kitchen:

The design plan is a marriage of both traditional design elements as seen in the handpainted cabinet doors and polished nickel hardware and contemporary design elements as seen in the industrial pendant lights, glass backsplash, and new kitchen faucet. One of the most cost effective designs in this kitchen was the resurfacing of the cabinets. In lieu of painting the doors and boxes, and short of demolishing the entire kitchen, I had my custom cabinetmaker cover the boxes in a stained wood veneer and apply an antique finish to the existing cabinet doors. The cabinetry image in the design plan is an actual photo of the new cabinet doors.

Here’s the last image I took of the kitchen. Here, the cabinets have not yet been resurfaced, but you can see the installation of the new hand-scraped maple wood flooring, crown molding, lighting, and granite countertops.

The kitchen should be fully complete by the end of the week with the new appliances arriving on Friday. I. CANNOT. WAIT.


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About Erika Ward

Multi-passionate entrepreneur, spokesperson, speaker, and philanthropist, Erika Hollinshead Ward worked in the design-build industry as an accountant before turning her passion for interior design into a successful business. Named by Atlanta Tribune as having one of the top design firms for two consecutive years, Erika is a highly sought after expert whose work has appeared in several media outlets such as House Beautiful Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, Fox 5 (Atlanta Affiliate), Huffington Post, and many others. Her influential voice in the home improvement sector has lead to marketing collaborations with leading home and lifestyle brands including Home Depot, S.C. Johnson, and Home Decorators Collection. Erika holds an undergraduate degree from The University of Georgia and resides in Atlanta with her husband and five children. With her sharp business acumen and design prowess, you can rest assured that she is one to watch as a voice for working mothers, women entrepreneurs, and interior design enthusiasts.

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  1. PROJECT PREVIEW: NISKEY LAKE FAMILY ROOM | BluLabel Bungalow | Interior Design Advice and Inspiration - July 13, 2012

    […] wife’s wishlist)…all within a modest budget (on both their wishlists). After touring a full renovation I recently completed, they fell in love with the home’s paint colors and wanted to adopt it […]

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