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Tanglewood Kitchen Pt. 1: I Owe Everything to Dakota Johnson

Welcome back to the Tanglewood renovation series! Let’s talk kitchens. The kitchen was probably the first thing I started thinking about after buying the house. Kitchens are always going to be one of the most important rooms, but this one felt especially important since it exists in a sort of kitchen/living/dining/entry combo space which is also the only common space in the house, so the pressure was on! I think the very first image I looked at for inspiration was actually from, wait for it…Dua Lipa’s Instagram account. LOL. See below:

So a year and a half ago was a slightly different time for me as a designer, ok? I still hadn’t really honed in on a look for my own brand, much less this particular house, AND I was still kind of obsessed with Super White Quartzite after seeing it on HGTV’s Good Bones which I had been binging during quarantine, so this image was resonating with me. Plus I loved the hair. Anyway, I knew I at least wanted painted cabinets with inset shaker doors and some kind of natural stone. But it all changed after coming across the infamous kitchen below:

Many of you might recognize this one from Dakota Johnson’s Architectural Digest Tour! Or from the title of this post! Either way, I appreciated that her kitchen was kind of small and with low light (let’s say, “moody”) like mine. I loved the simple, understated hardware and appliances and the warmth of the rug and accessories. I also became obsessed with the idea of green cabinets, but maybe ones that were a bit subtler than these, which led me into English cottage territory. I started looking into subtler gray-green shades by Farrow & Ball—the masters of English country charm—and finally narrowed it down to 3: Blue Gray, French Gray, and Pigeon, from left to right below:

Now let’s play spot the difference! Just kidding, but actually, all 3 shades are quite similar and could probably be easily mistaken for one another in photos, especially since Farrow and Ball colors notoriously “shift” in different light. When you get to this point in your research, though, that probably means you’re ready to swatch! So swatch I did:

I ended up only picking out two sample shades down at Armistead Paints in Buckhead. When I saw the French Gray swatch in person, it just felt a little…serious? Plus Blue Gray was just jumping out at me and Pigeon I know is a very popular and respected color, so I thought I might as well swatch that, too. After painting some foam boards and mulling it over for a bit, I knew Blue Gray was it. The house has low light (sorry, it’s “moody”) and a dark floor and ceiling already, so I felt like it needed a lighter, fresher color on the cabinetry and Blue Gray was really giving it! Pigeon was very similar, but a touch darker—in the right space it would be beautiful, but it was coming across just a tad gloomy in this room.

The color really set the tone for the rest of the design of the kitchen: I knew I wanted simple hardware like Miss Dakota and I knew I wanted to go with a super clean, unfussy layout since space was tight, so after that huge, load-bearing wall was dealt with, I decided on a wall of cabinetry around that sink window with a pantry on one end and a fridge on the other, and a big, big island with enough to space to house the range and still provide ample counter space out front.

With all of that decided, we got to work! Check out the before and after of the wall removal and the cabinet progress pics below:

Isn’t that color just glorious? Also, surprise! You get a stone, appliance, and fixture reveal too! I will link everything below, but I decided to stick with stainless steel appliances—all Bertazzoni—and matching brushed nickel hardware and fixtures. The sink is a 36” farmhouse from Kohler. The new hardwood was also installed around this time: we sanded and refinished the whole house in 2 1/4” solid white oak with a 50/50 Jacobean and Ebony Minwax stain with an oil poly sealant. Finally, we topped everything off with a slab of classic Calacatta marble. The progress photos get dicier over time because I started to think I was never going to start this blog and started taking fewer photos. BUT we are getting ever closer to our grand reveal, so all will be righted soon. We’re still waiting on our backsplash install and for some of the light fixtures to come in, so stay tuned for updates!

That’s all for now! I will definitely be a lot more fastidious about progress pics in the future, but I’ll leave you with one more photo for now—I just can’t get over the filtered light we get in here through the trees in the back of the house. It may not be abundantly bright in here, but I think I prefer the cozy vibe we get from the dark wood and dappled light anyway. It really suits the space!



Kohler Whitehaven Self-Trimming Sink

Bertazzoni 36” Range

Bertazzoni Dishwasher

Bertazzoni 36” Refrigerator

Cahaba Pull-Down Faucet

Frizzllife Under Sink Water Filter

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