The Kitchen Island Design Shea McGee Wants to See Stick
She even included it in her own Utah home.
Published Oct 16, 2020 12:30 AM
Shea McGee’s favorite moment from filming Dream Home Makeover, a new Netflix series starring the Utah-based designer and her husband, Syd McGee, who together run the firm Studio McGee, was, in hindsight, one of the “worst on camera,” she tells us. “We got the sectional stuck in the stairs,” says Shea, recalling a home movie theater they created for a client in episode three. “I legitimately didn’t know if we were going to get it out.”
The panic faded after the crew removed the casing of the door frame that was blocking the way, but there are plenty of other moments during the six-episode show (officially streaming today) that will keep you on your toes or, at the very least, answer your most basic questions about decorating, like where should you position the TV if you don’t have a fireplace or built-ins to guide you? “My advice is to not do the media-unit thing,” says Shea. The designer prefers mounting it over a streamlined console table that’s stocked with decorative objects and books. “Make it look like a piece of artwork,” she says.
There’s also plenty of ideas for viewers who are thinking about renovating their kitchen (the room is the McGees’ specialty). If you follow the couple on Instagram, you know they love a spacious prep surface. “Kitchen islands have evolved to look more like furniture instead of just cabinets out of the box,” says Shea. “It’s one trend I hope doesn’t go away.” For their own home (pictured above, right), Shea designed an extra structure to be all open shelving. The addition allows you to achieve a more layered, lived-in look by offering space to display found objects or extra dishware.
When helping their neighbors, the Hutchinsons, finish their house in episode two, Shea’s biggest fear was that the open-concept kitchen and living area would feel like an empty warehouse. So over the island she hung two 3-foot-wide brass dome pendant lamps to rival the scale of the lofted 12-foot ceilings. “I’ve never used fixtures that huge before,” she recalls. It’s just one more detail that turns a standard element into a statement.
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