This Mom DIYed her Kitchen Renovation and Won a Design Contest

Hadley Keller
Photo credit: Lori Van Buren/Times Union
Photo credit: Lori Van Buren/Times Union

From House Beautiful

As a stay-at-home mom with a passion for interior design, Andrea Zappone is frequently inspired by kitchens she saw in the pages of design magazines. After living with a "typical, run-of-the-mill, all white" kitchen in her last home, when she and her husband Mike embarked on building a new family home in Saratoga Springs, Zappone knew she wanted something different. "I just wanted it to feel a lot warmer," she tells House Beautiful. Though she doesn't have any formal training as a designer, she confesses "I'm one of those people who saves boxes of old design magazine!" She embarked on designing her own kitchen—which this weekend will be named winner of the Albany Times Union's 2020 Home Design Contest. Here's how she created the winning space.

Photo credit: Lori Van Buren/Times Union
Photo credit: Lori Van Buren/Times Union

Architecture

Since the Zappones were building from scratch, the home obviously didn't have any existing bones—so they had to create them. They opted for arches to give architectural dimension to the space—and separate various zones. "I envisioned having a large archway that would separate the breakfast area from the main kitchen area and another to lead into the pantry," says Zappone.

Palette

The (literal) centerpiece of the kitchen is an oversized island topped with a veiny marble. Zappone eschewed the more traditional Carrara marble in favor of a stone with warm undertones of yellow and purple. "We basically scoured the Northeast trying to find the stone," laughs the homeowner of the piece of Calcutta Viola she selected. Its warm tones tie in well with the rest of the kitchen, where Zappone brought in additional warmth with wood grain and unexpected hues.

"All the wood throughout is oak; it's just stained different colors," says Zappone. The cabinets, meanwhile, are painted a warm, putty color—incidentally also more forgiving than white, especially for Zappone's young children.

Photo credit: Andrea Zappone
Photo credit: Andrea Zappone

Art

Zappone used several textural details to add layers to the kitchen. On the range hood, she added an edge in the same Calcutta Viola marble as the island, then added a favorite oil painting—sourced from an estate sale!—on top. "It really worked with all the colors," says Zappone. Pulling from this same palette, she opted for a mix of—you guessed it—warm metals for the faucets and pendants (sourced from Hudson Valley Lighting).

Meanwhile, the breakfast nook gets its own artful pop in the form of a bold, tropical wallpaper from House of Hackney. "I like the idea of having the purples and the corals in the kitchen with the green, because they're both very warm but they're kind of at opposite ends of the color wheel," explains Zappone. "I thought that they would kind of play against each other but also complement each other."

Furniture

In the breakfast nook, Zappone built a banquette with a vinyl faux snakeskin that would stand up to dinners with her young kids. "It's vinyl but it doesn't look like vinyl because of the texture," she explains. "It looks very luxe but it's great because it's wipeable!"

The oversized table was custom built by her cabinetmaker, and serves as a great multipurpose space for meals, crafts—and now, homeschooling.

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