Published on October 14, 2019

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Photo by Bri Ussery

This is a kitchen 10 years in the making. When Bri Ussery, the Austin-based creative behind East Co. boutique (who just launched her own firm, Dor Design House), and her wife moved into their house a decade ago, they knew most of it had to go, and “we saved the most stressful for last!” says Ussery.

She’s referring to the circa-1980s kitchen that’s now their home’s pièce de résistance. The stress was no joke: They were dealing with stained concrete floors, dark cabinets, and dated appliances. “I wanted the kitchen to feel not so kitchen-y,” explains the designer. So the couple went the complete opposite route of the original space, coating everything in white, from the fish-scale floor tiles to the miniature light fixtures. 

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Photo by Bri Ussery
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Photo by Bri Ussery

It took three months and a lot of mood boarding to make it happen. Hiccups—like a missing Smeg fridge that didn’t show up for six months and the odd plumbing issue that comes with updating an older space—came and went. Ussery kept her focus on making the details sing. A stained-glass window once belonging to her mother, which Ussery had refinished, instantly catches the eye. From the matte finish on the IKEA x Semihandmade cabinets (“We were on a budget, and they make the process very easy”) to the tan grout (chosen because “we don’t have any cool tones in the room”), everything was added to play off the home’s broader style, rather than have the kitchen feel like its own little island. 

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Photo by Bri Ussery
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Photo by Bri Ussery

Nowhere is this idea manifested more than the cutout wall. Situated above the sink, it perfectly frames the adjacent living room’s art gallery. “We wanted to feel connected to the rest of the house,” Ussery explains. She chose an organic oval shape to mimic the arched doors that came with the property; another one of those tiny accents that has a big impact.

“My philosophy is that as long as you love everything you have out on display, somehow it just all figures out a way to work together,” she says. The kitchen is full of those sentimental touches. Even the most utilitarian of fixtures, like the drawers under the window seat, have meaning. (The aforementioned storage houses the couple’s now-6-year-old daughter’s art supplies.) 

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Photo by Bri Ussery

“It’s the simple things,” Ussery says. “Just hand-washing dishes with our beautiful dish brush, or taking the time to enjoy pulling my handmade mug off the shelf, making myself tea, and being in a space that feels so lovely and is inspiring—it’s almost more ritualistic.” Here, the old adage really does ring true: Good things come to those who wait. And if you have an army of artisanal ceramics at the ready for that moment…well, that’s just a nice bonus. 

See more kitchens we love:
I Used Peel-and-Stick Subway Tiles to Transform My Rental Kitchen
There Are Hidden Depths to This 120-Square-Foot Kitchen Reno
I Bought a Cabin Sight Unseen and Created My Dream Kitchen

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