Before & After: Striking Two-Toned Turquoise Cabinets Transform a “Dark, Traditional” Kitchen

A kitchen with white tile backsplash

When wine and travel entrepreneur, content creator, and owner of Lyon Wine Tastings, Caroline Conner, moved into her gorgeous loft studio apartment in Lyon, France, she knew she wanted to update the home’s layout. And one of the rooms that needed adjusting most? The kitchen.

“The kitchen was actually pretty good — just old,” Conner shares. “It had traditional terracotta tile and wooden cabinets, but its major drawback was that it was really dark on that back wall.”

A kitchen with white tiled backsplash and teal cabinets.

She hired an interior architect (a unique title in France for someone who is an interior designer and architect of interiors, she says), Jeanne Camoin, to help reimagine the layout. Because Conner lives in an older historic building, there were several hurdles to overcome before they could start working, and her French wasn’t the best at the time, so it was helpful to have someone to communicate the plans. Camoin designed the layout (moving the kitchen next to a window was a game-changer!) while Conner chose the finishes, so it was a true team effort.

Conner didn’t have any specific inspiration in mind when designing the kitchen, but white subway tiles were trending, so she chose that as a backsplash and found an inexpensive alternative to French ceramic tiles for the floor. The idea of painted turquoise cabinets initially raised Camoin’s eyebrows, but Conner trusted her gut, knowing that they’d blend perfectly with the granite countertops (after the kitchen was finished, the designer recommended the color to two more clients!).

A kitchen with white tiled backsplash and teal cabinets.

“I knew I wanted stone countertops, and that gorgeous blueberry-speckled granite was really the starting point,” Conner explains. “After that, it was just each decision as it came. I make decisions quickly about this kind of thing. I trust my sense of style. If I like something, I’m not going to hem and haw and find reasons to keep looking for something else.”

One of the items she knew she had to have was the kitchen island from Maisons du Monde, even though it covered the outlet installed on the floor. Luckily, an extension cord was woven through the island to have a power source. And although Conner says “the renovation wasn’t done with reselling in mind,” the new kitchen is easily one of her favorite rooms in the space.

A kitchen with white tiled backsplash and teal cabinets.

“I love the light, how open it is, how much storage I have,” Conner shares. “It’s a fabulous and easy kitchen to work in!” If you love the style of this kitchen, you’ll want to check out the rest of Conner’s incredible loft apartment. Visit the full home tour on Apartment Therapy to see more.