Sarah Stacey Turned a Texas Kitchen From Drab to Dramatic—Mid-Pandemic

The reno was done almost entirely over Zoom chats!

texas kitchen
Avery Nicole Photography

When a client approached designer Sarah Stacey about a kitchen renovation last year, she didn't let pandemic slowdowns stand in the way of turning a drab kitchen into a high-drama dream space for her clients. The designer, like many of us during the pandemic, relayed heavily on Zoom to touch bases with her client and flash out this large-scale renovation.


kitchen before
Courtesy of Sarah Stacey

"I used Zoom to present my concepts, inspiration images, 3D renderings, and finalize cabinet elevations," Stacey tells House Beautiful. “We also FaceTimed during construction, which resulted in minimal site meetings." Stacey limited the in-person decisions, meanwhile, to the most high impact ones: materials selection and paint colors.

Stacey explains that the client was keen on dramatic accents accents, so she focused her efforts on using contrasting materials and tones throughout the kitchen. "I decided to flank that entire wall in paneling for a higher-end look," she says of the one black-painted wall—which belies a clever trick: "A lot of it is faux," she confesses of the panels, "but I decided to go with black on that entire wall for drama." Between that glossy black wall and the dramatic black marbled island, Stacey instantly elevated the space from its previous iteration (goodbye, beige laminate!).

But the space is practical, too: The designer opted for a leathered finish for the black marbled topping of the island to help hide fingerprints and smudges.

All that drama is balanced with the warmth of a vintage rug and natural elements courtesy of the floors and cabinetry, which are swathed in textural, organic wood. At first, Stacey planned to paint the cabinetry in the remaining three walls and island white, but she opted for the mid-tone oak to help to mellow out some of the high contrast.

The counter stools, with their black frame, neutral backs and cushions, are the bridge between the two. "I loved these because they had the natural element of the cane and the black frame, which worked perfectly with the color scheme of the kitchen," the designer explains (plus, they're budget-friendly: She sourced them from Target!).


texas kitchen
Avery Nicole Photography
texas kitchen
Avery Nicole Photography

Looking for more kitchen inspiration? We can help.

To keep this dichotomy from feeling too extreme, though, Stacey incorporated touches of metallic throughout: The mixed-metal hood draws the eye upward, as do the fluted pendant lights, which Stacey describes as “cute and elegant.” Much like the kitchen as a whole, it's the perfect balance.

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