In This London Home’s Kitchen, the Designer Swapped Paint for Stain and Tile for Steel

Cobalt blue makes a splash in the bathroom.
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woman leaning on wall

The first time designer Tabitha Organ sat down with her client, a young London-based tech entrepreneur who had recently bought his first home, he showed her a photo of YouTube star Emma Chamberlain’s kitchen. The wood-paneled ceiling is bisected by a giant skylight, and the backsplash tile, countertops, and cabinets are all varying shades of soothing green. “He was like, ‘I don’t know what it is about this, I just like it,’” Organ recalls. Right there, over a drink at a pub, she began to unpack the ideas for his own home: It had to be bold but cohesive and slightly futuristic (cue the chrome). Organ also quickly learned that a few of his friends would be living there, so the place had to be party-proof.

“He was really decisive. If I presented something that he didn’t love, he was like, ‘No, move on.’ There was no ‘Oh, I’m not sure.’ It was brilliant,” says Organ. It was just the type of client she needed for her very first solo residential project (at the beginning of 2023, Organ stepped out from her role at Sella Concept to start her own studio, Tabitha Isobel). “He definitely took a leap of faith with me and trusted me in the projects I’ve done for other studios,” she says. 

Rethink Paint and Tile for the Kitchen

black kitchen
The kitchen, before.
green kitchen

The existing kitchen was the exact opposite of Chamberlain’s space: It was stark, cold, and a little lifeless. But it did have solid mid-range cabinets going for it, so Organ decided not to waste them. Instead she tacked on new tulipwood doors finished in a satiny green stain from Mundy Veneers and added chunky polished nickel handles from Spaces Within that can either be oriented vertically or horizontally.

green cabients over sink

Leaning into cool metals even further, she clad the backsplash in stainless steel—a choice that reminded her of the über-practical kitchens you see in movies from the 1990s. “I love the depth that it gives, and the movement,” says the designer. “It’s a reflection, but it’s not a mirror.” Between all of these game-changing updates, you almost don’t even notice that she didn’t touch the existing composite countertops. 

Spice Up a Breakfast Nook With Unlikely Material Pairings

“I just think there’s nothing better than a little kitchen nook,” says Organ. The built-in bench is painted a glossy green in keeping with the stained-wood cabinets, while the cushion fabric, when you look really close, appears to have almost chrome-tinged threads running through it. But all eyes are on the modern 1970s aluminum pendant lamp from Passé and beachy bamboo shades from Color & Co.—they’re the ultimate unexpected material combo.

Down Play the TV, Spotlight Groovy Lighting

white living room
The living room, before.
green sofa

Organ struck a deal with her client: If he wanted a TV over the living room fireplace, he’d have to let her conceal it in an artful way. She tracked down Navdesign, which makes laser-cut wood panels, and bought eight of them to pass off to her contractors. With the pieces, they made a folding screen, hiding the joints with strips of aluminum so it looks like a true work of art when it’s completely flat. 

light coming into living room
stone dining table

Because the existing Carrara marble fireplace was in poor condition, Organ set out to replace it with a green stone, and while she was at it, she made the surround slightly smaller, that way they could position the TV at a comfortable viewing height. For the nearby dining area, Organ scooped up her client’s dream fixture: a chrome Tom Dixon pendant lamp

Turn the Shower Into a Surprise

black bathroom cabinets
The bathroom, before.
burl wood vanity

The palette in the primary bathroom kicked off with a warm terracotta. For Organ, it was a fitting contrast to all the greens downstairs. “The whole house to me needs to be complementary; even though the spaces are a staircase apart, it needs to all make sense,” she explains.

tub next to shower
The bathroom, before.
blue tiled shower

On the floor, she opted for a small-scale mosaic from Claybrook that feels good on the feet and eye-catching zellige on the walls. To fulfill her client’s request for cobalt blue-something in the house, she swathed the 9-foot-tall shower in blue tile and painted the ceiling the same color to fully envelop it. 

Bored by Oak? Buy Burl

burl wood closet

In reconfiguring her client’s en suite bathroom, Organ actually made the room slightly smaller. This gave her some space to add a walk-in closet to his bedroom. As she saw it, this was a much better alternative to having built-in cabinets attached to the walls (there was too much original molding she wanted to preserve). She clad the closet cabinets in the same wood she used for the bathroom vanity: American walnut burl-wood veneer

Create Your Own Personal Club

basement with white sofa
The basement, before.

With two of the homeowner’s roommates being DJs, channeling nightclub–meets–members’ lounge vibes in the basement was a no-brainer. Organ already had the low ceilings going for her. She swathed the walls in a Dedar wallpaper and the windows in brownish yellow silk curtains. “It made the most sense to wrap the room in a warm dark color to make it feel really intimate and moody,” says the designer. She gave her client’s old sofa new life by having her upholsterer take one of the arms off and cover it in velvet. The piece was so large that the only way to get it into the room was by taking out one of the windows and carrying in the pieces that way.

cozy basement sofa
metal bar cabinet

Of course, you need a bar if you’re designing a home club. One of the built-in cabinets Organ incorporated in the space has bifold doors that reveal a stainless steel shelving unit with a bronze mirror backing. “I love that you can’t quite see yourself fully, but just enough to check if you’ve got something in your teeth,” she says.

Lydia Geisel Avatar

Lydia Geisel

Home Editor

Lydia Geisel has been on the editorial team at Domino since 2017. Today, she writes and edits home and renovation stories, including house tours, before and afters, and DIYs, and leads our design news coverage. She lives in New York City.

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