After a busy spring working on this full renovation project for a family of five, I’m excited to declare it’s ready for summer enjoyment.  You can imagine my surprise when I learned that these native Brazilians chose to make this Atlanta residence their vacation home.  When I arrived it was a far cry from a retreat.  You don’t have to take my word for it. The photos you are about to see speak volumes.

Breakfast nook ( far right corner)
is the area designated for morning cereal, leisure lunches, and family dinners, but it’s former lackluster appearance was enough to curb my appetite.  Though the area is open to the family room, the worn laminate flooring and badly stained carpet made the area feel choppy and disconnected.

Before the stunning tawny maple handscraped flooring was installed, I designed this custom banqette that boasts both fashion and function. Banquette seating is one of my favorite options for family friendly kitchens. Topped with decorative pillows, not only does it make a great focal point, but it also provides the kids a place to do their homework, experiment with arts and crafts, as well as enjoy their meals.

When the kids are in the backyard, mom can sit comfortably inside and watch the children play from the window.

STORAGE TO BOOT  Raise the seats to find a lengthy wall of storage to house seldom-used kitchen appliances and entertaining items. Save an area for children to store items they frequently use while sitting at the table.

FEARLESS FABRICS  When purchasing pillows for your banquette choose covers made from outdoor and/or machine washable fabrics. If there is a mess, unzip the soiled cover, remove the pillow form and toss the cover in the wash.


Kitchen ( before)
Builder’s grade cabinetry, fluorescent lighting, laminate countertops, and black appliances made this small kitchen feel dated and dark. Demolishing the existing kitchen and starting anew was not an option. That’s where creativity stepped in.

The cabinets doors were removed, degreased and prepped to receive the royal treatment– a marvelous gray glaze finish. The cabinet boxes were refaced with a wood veneer stained the same color as the cabinets. The end result rivals any high end kitchen for less than a fraction of the cost. New polished chrome knobs and pulls were icing on the cake.

Instead of adding height to the upper cabinets, crown molding was installed to occupy the wall space between the cabinets. This optical illusion gives the appearance of taller cabinets.

Sleek,stainless steel appliances replaced the older black models. New switchplate covers reinforce the kitchen’s updated aesthetic. Design is in the details!



The mohave brown mosaic glass backsplash is a close second to the cabinets when it comes to fabulousness. Light from the breakfast nook windows bounces off the tiles and around the kitchen to create a breezy atmosphere.


The granite countertops appear to be black, but are really a deep brown granite appropriately named Imperial Brown. The dark tops balance the antiqued gray cabinets and lends an air of sophistication to this modestly priced kitchen.


A kitchen with a neutral backdrop is both timeless and very versatile. Add pops of color with kitchen necessities, dish towels, and possibly an indoor herb garden. Items in any three of these categories will perform double duty as functional decor.

If your kitchen is desperate for a makeover, contact me today to schedule a consultation.  Regardless of your budget you do have options!


Cabinet refinishing–Bergeron, Inc. Glass tiles–Akdo; Granite Countertops–Marmi Natural Stone; Appliances–LG. Sink, faucet–PDI Atlanta;
Drop pendant light–Capital Lighting. Pillows and accessories–HomeGoods. Table and chairs–Clients’ Own

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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. Sherry Hart Says:

    Its beautiful Erika!!! All of your hard work was worth it!


  2. Angela Says:

    I love how you’ve turned this kitchen, with standard builder’s features, into something unique and custom. Above all, you bulked the current trend with the choices in countertops and cabinet color to create a room that’s durable and will stand the test of time. It demonstrates your confidence as a professional designer. Good job!


  3. Nikki White Says:

    So many great things about this space – repurposing the cabinets, that amazing custom designed nook, using outdoor fabric for pillows in high traffic areas, using that crown molding to extend the cabinet height. Amazing all around and I know how hard these kitchen jobs can be so hats off to you lady. Pretty sure you have some happy clients on our hands.


  4. Tricia S. Says:

    Awesome job! This is a beautiful space!


  5. dayka Says:

    Gorgeous job! Love how your thoughtful details, like custom millwork, made such a huge improvement to the house to truly give it a high-end look/feel.


  6. Kim Hoegger Says:

    Erika, this is absolutely gorgeous! What an amazing transformation!!! I love it and especially love what you have done with the cabinets…from drab to fab!


  7. Priscilla sparrow Says:


    You really did a great job. The changes are unbelievable.



  8. Gray Livin' Says:

    Nicely done! The nook is gorgeous. Love how you considered how the kids would use the space. And those cabinets look fab with the backsplash tiles.


  9. Jerri Intaglia Says:

    Love it! Really like the cabinet finish and repurposing. And of course, love the neutral palate! Great job!


  10. Bren Says:

    Gorgeous, Erika. Love the white! So fresh and so clean.


  11. Sadi Says:

    LOVE IT!!!!!


  12. Zanee' Says:

    Gurrrrlll! what magic you WERK’D with that Kitchen!!!! OMG, I Luv it from all the way up here in NYC! I have to Kidnap you when the Lord Finally BLESSES Me With a Modest Home!;) I Luv your work & have been watching you for a few years now! Keep inspiring us!


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