New Kitchen – Pick My Presto

Hey there- and welcome to another installment of Pick My Presto!

I randomly selected another email from my PMP inbox this weekend, and had some fun photoshoppin’ a picture of a kitchen sent in by a sweet reader named Cindy. Here’s the photo she sent me…

Her email read:

Hi Layla,

My kitchen is a new, builder-grade kitchen. It looks fine, and functions well, but I’m dreaming of painted cabinetry, light marble countertops, a beautiful vent hood & range, and windows or shelves instead of upper cabinets. You know, something like you’d do at The Lettered Cottage! Please “pick my presto” so I can convince my husband that we can make this kitchen a lot more “us”. It’s hard to justify changing things out unless we have a better visual of the possibilities.
Fingers crossed,
Cindy in Austin

So this weekend, I put pen to paper mouse to pad, and used Photoshop CS5 to create some inspiration photos for her. Move your cursor on and off of the picture below to see the first one in presto change-o action!

(Google Readers will have to click over to our site to see it change from before to after)

(Note: My drawing is for inspirational purposes only, and the ideas shown in it are just that. Spontaneous, totally flexible, just-for-fun, ideas. And since this is a just-for-fun photo consultation, and not an actual-and-perfectly-to-scale virtual consultation, I have no idea if any of the furniture, finishes, ideas or accessories I used would actually work in the room. Boom.)

Having trouble viewing the interactive photo above? Here’s a still image:

(Yes, the pantry door is swinging the wrong way, but you get the idea- ha!)

I grabbed a bunch of Cindy’s wish list elements from a bunch of photos I found on Google Images…

(Pantry Door ; Kitchen Island ; Library Lights & Windows ; Paint ColorRange ;  Upper Cabinets ; Hooked Rug)

…and put ’em all together to create the inspiration photo above.

I also used the gorgeous range hood cover in this photo…

…and I was inspired by the concrete countertops in this one…

And because once I bust out “the ‘Shop”, I just can’t seem to stop- I put together a few more options for Cindy to see, too. The picture below shows what dark wood base cabinets against the white, planked wall would look like…

And while we’re on the subject of beautiful dark wood cabinets, here’s another great inspiration photo that features dark wood base cabinets and a tall, white range hood cover flanked by windows…

(Photo by Tria Giovan for Southern Living)

Here’s some more dark wood lower/white wood upper lusciousness…

(Just wanted to show Cindy she doesn’t have to paint those babies for it to feel light and bright in there!)

This next picture shows what all white cabinets and a gray island would look like…

And this one shows what a dark wood island, white-painted wall cabinets, and a few medium wood tones sprinkled around the room would look like…

(I swiped the pantry door from a post Lauren wrote about fabulous Brooke Giannetti’s Santa Monica kitchen!)

Last but not least, here’s a inspiration pic that shows the cabs outfitted with antique brass hardware and wall sconces…

Sort of like the sconces Edie used above her kitchen sink, but her’s are actually antique nickel (and would be lovely, too!)…

She does have antique brass pendants over her island though! Aren’t they incredible?!

And speaking of brass beauties over islands, here’s another light-filled, warm wood/antique brass sportin’ kitchen that features marble counter, white-painted cabinets and a big, clean-lined, range hood cover…

Such a pretty room!

Anywho, I had a blast putting those photo drawings together (I’m a fool for Photoshop!), and Cindy, if you’re reading: I hope you found an inspiring element or two that you can use! And, don’t forget, shelves and high windows on either side of your range would look fabulous too!

Either way, we’d love to see what you guys end up doing with the space, so please keep in touch!

Would you like to submit a photo for our Pick My Presto series?

Send an email to PickMyPresto [at] aol [dot] com titled, Living Room. (Replace the words Living Room with whatever type of room you’re actually submitting.) In the body of the email, include your name, your blog name (if you have one) your design likes & dislikes, and one photo of the space in question. (No links please.) It should be clear, and measure at least 400 pixels high x 600 pixels wide. (In other words: at least 4″high x 6″ wide) The bigger the better though! Make sure it’s a photo you’re comfortable with me showing and writing about on our blog. Then, whenever I’m feelin’ the urge, I’ll randomly select someone’s email and creating some presto change-o style inspiration. Oh, and since I love surprises, I probably won’t email you to let you know I’ve “picked your presto” unless I have a specific question for ya about your space.

PS- Hubby plug alert! is up and running, so if you’re looking for help learning how to use your DSLR, click on the banner below!

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  1. says

    Hello Layla!

    Love your “picks”! You’re so talented and have an amazing “vision” for the space.

    It’s crazy, but the “old” brass is back! :-)

    Wishing you a really blessed week.


    Luciane from

  2. says

    Oh man, I’m glad I’m not Cindy, I would have a hard time choosing which awesome design to go with!! I like the first one the best I think. I like the idea of writing things that are “out of stock” in the pantry on the door. :)

    Off to your hubs site!

  3. says


    All of these ideas are great and I’m sure Cindy has discovered more than a couple of inspiring elements. I know I have! I don’t think my kitchen has been updated since they built the house in 1880! :)

    Your Friend,

  4. says

    Great changes, Layla. Amazing how just the color change makes it look like an entirely different kitchen! It would be hard for me to choose!

    Do you do Pic my Presto for outside transformations, as well? We need to either repaint or re-side our house and I’d love to do something besides the board and batten that’s there. I need to be thrifty, tho.

    • Janice says

      I, too, am looking for someone who does exterior transformations! We have a brick ranch we want to paint, add a covered porch, and the entire front (and back) yard needs new hardscape and then landscape.

      Layla, if you don’t do them maybe you know of someone who does?

      • says

        I just checked out that link and you did an amazing transformation on that house – even if it IS board and batten! :-) It’s an entirely different style – so contemporary. I loved your idea, there. I think I can work from that, actually!

  5. says

    You are ridiculously talented Layla! I love the white kitchen and how you showed the dark and white vs. just the white. The dark and white actually looks very good! Visual pics are so great to have and I bet she is jumping over the moon right now that you presto’d her kitchen. Awesome job! How do you make that little thingy on your pictures where you watermark? I know how to make the rectangle in picnik but I can’t seem to jazz it up .

  6. says

    Oooo, I’m so excited to see that today’s post is a “Pick my Presto”…they are so much fun! I love what you did with her kitchen — custom white painted cabinets & marble counters are my dreeeeaaammm.. Also I love that you went beyond what is already there & added the windows.

  7. says

    Layla, Your color choices are always the best. They are happy and restful. I’m always checking in looking for inspiration from you! Thankful for your posts.

  8. says

    Love it so much! You rock.

    I would love to see it without the addition of the windows, too — what might it look like if she just keeps — but lightens — the existing upper cabinetry?

  9. says

    I live in Austin too and have the exact same cabinets! This is so inspiring. I’m bookmarking this to show my husband!

  10. Lisa W. says

    OH so delightful…have to say the very first makeover is my fave!!! Love LOVE the colors and brightness…your good Layla your good:)!!!

  11. says

    Absolutely love love what you’ve done — the styles are fantastic. They’re my dream kitchens to be sure.

    But, BUT– if I were Cindy, I’d leave those dark, new, beautiful cabinets alone. I believe in painting wood, but not new beautiful wood. To me, it’s just plain wasteful.

    • Layla says

      Hi Mandi!
      I love Cindy’s dark wood cabs, too! 😀 I am a fan of painted cabinets too though, and I just can’t wait to see what Cindy and her family decides is the right fit for them and their kitchen! Fun stuff!

  12. TracieOB says

    So clever! Not that you’re asking – but I love the dark cabinets with the white wall and gray island. Classy – love the chalkboard pantry door – I feel a painting session comin’ on!! Thanks for all your great ideas.

  13. says

    I just love your Pick My Presto!!

    We have to paint the outside of our house, and we are debating whether to keep it grey or to paint it another color, like green or blue or white! Do you use a software to try things out or do you photoshop them?

    OR you could just always try it for me. ; ) Hehe!

  14. Cindy says

    WOW!! WOW. Wow. I’m speechless, Layla! This is much more impressive than I could have dreamed up on my own. You are an amazing talent and I am honored you selected my presto. Thank you for including so many possibilities and paint selections. I have to say that the range you picked, the windows, sconces (I like the brass!), even down to the rattan barstools are perfect. Actually, everything is just spectacular! You inspire so many, especially me. With much admiration and appreciation, Cindy

    • Layla says

      Thank you, Cindy! I’m so glad you swung by today, and I can’t wait to see what y’all do with the space! 😀

  15. lynn says

    It’s lovely, but there are virtually no upper cabinets left. Hope they live a minimalist lifestyle!

    • Layla says

      Thank you Lynn! I noticed “no upper cabinets” were in Cindy’s wish list, so I thought I’d help give her the visual! 😀

  16. says

    SO many great ideas! I love the… well, pretty much everything! :) I have a few brass accents in my house and picked up a sweet vintage brass (or what looks like brass, anyway) magazine rack at a flea market the other day. Fun stuff!

  17. Kay says

    Not that I don’t love your presto, Layla, but I’d be super happy with just the original kitchen! Lol! Then again, my kitchen has purple countertops and bright yellow paint. (Ugh, renting :( :( :( )

    • Layla says

      Hey Kay! Cindy mentioned they also thought it looked great the way it was- LOL! I think they’re just wanting to personalize it to their tastes, so it’ll be fun to see what they decide to do! 😀

  18. Sandra says

    I love what you have created in all your options. You are very talented. I wish I had your vision! I always love stopping by and seeing your “Pick My Prestos”. Keep em coming!

  19. S says

    Layla, while I think those photos that you did are beautiful, I am totally cringing at the thought of someone taking that beautiful, brand new kitchen and demoing it.

    • Layla says

      Oh, no worries, S! Cindy mentioned in her email (at the top of this post) they’re just looking to lighten and brighten…not totally gut! 😀

  20. says

    Your decorating skills are fabulous! And I am SO excited about the photography class. I have purchased 101 but am moving this week so will be starting it sometime at the end of the month. So awesome!

  21. says

    Love this!! After we painted out cabinets I wished I had stained the yellow-y oak lowers. Love the way this looks with white uppers. The example you provided are gorgeous. If it were my choice to make, that’s the route I’d go. Brass hardware and all! Now, I’m going to go back for 10 more looks. ::)

  22. says

    Layla, you’re so fantastic at this that I just can’t believe it!!!!
    I wish you lived in India. I’d probably have you over at my house for help ALL THE TIME.
    Keep up the great work :)

  23. says

    Thanks for putting together some ideas that keep wooden cabinets in the mix… great food for thought, and a nice compliment to a lot of the ideas I’ve seen floating around (which seem to want me to paint everything without question). Always enjoy your posts!

  24. linda says

    Beautiful inspirations! I am a bit sad to see that dark countertops seem to be falling out of favor. I love my white cabintets and dark counters, which are 10 years old. It is hard to think of granite going out of style and being sent to landfills. Not to mention the cost!

    • Layla says

      Ooh! I love BOTH light AND dark counters, Linda! 😀 I have dreams of using beautiful, black soapstone counters one day! XO

    • Layla says

      Thank you, Darla! 😀 So sweet of you to stop by and leave me so many WOW’s to see! 😀

  25. Sara says

    I love what you did with this Layla but I do hope that whatever Cindy decides to do, she finds a good home for whatever she decides to get rid of.

  26. Heidi says

    oooh, you did so good! I love it when you do prestos. I wish you did one a week (like you don’t have enough on your plate -ha!)

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Heidi! I always tell myself I’m going to try to do one a week, but life just always gets in the way! That being said, I’ll definitely make time to work on another one (just ’cause of your comment!) next week! 😀

  27. Dana says

    Nothing against Cindy, but the original kitchen is beautiful. Don’t fix something that isn’t broken. I love your ideas, but if I had a kitchen as nice as this original I wouldn’t want for anything!

    • Layla says

      Thank you Dana. :-) I think it’s just a matter of personalizing it to their particular tastes, so that it echoes the personalities of the people who live there. I just hope they have fun pulling it all together- kitchens can take a while to re-do. I’ve had waaay too much experience playing around with different looks in ours- LOL! 😀

  28. Rhonda I says

    oh yeah.. loved all of that.. Nothing better than sitting here in my pjs.. getting ready to turn in.. and seeing visions of beautiful kitchens bouncing around in my head.. :) Such fun!

  29. says

    I would be utterly depressed with all that dark wood. Paint away I say!! I love, love, love all of your options (and now I have a bunch of new kitchens to pin too!).

  30. Amy says

    Where are the brass pendants from? Not the ones with the man in the picture. The other ones.