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A Rustic-Modern Makeover

Sleek and modern meets rustic and cozy in this eco-friendly kitchen remodel


The young owners of this 1970s University City house wanted to create an open and warm place where friends and family could gather together and cook. They collected images of things they were drawn to: clean lines, simple materials, vaulted ceilings, distressed textures, and barn siding. The result? A stunning transformation that turned this nondescript, outdated kitchen into a functional, stylish living space.

Dubbed “rustic modern” by the team at Jackson Design & Remodeling, the project represents a growing trend in the design world. “People want their homes to be cozy,” interior designer Bonnie Bagley-Catlin said. “They want their woods to be worn and textured, not all shiny and pristine.”

The first step was creating a floor plan that worked. Architect Jim Groen expanded the kitchen into the formal dining area, opening up the subdivided layout. “We moved as many walls as we could that still allowed the roof to be suspended properly.” Groen also built in faux trusses to highlight the home’s existing structural elements.

Bagley-Catlin mixed modern and rustic elements by blending woods and metals throughout the space. “I love to see as many colors and textures as the room can handle.”

The kitchen island features a decorative wall treatment made of hand-hewn, reclaimed wood. The distressed panels by Vintage Timberworks in Temecula are recycled from old barns. 

Over the dining table, the team chose an industrial Barn Light Outback Warehouse Pendant from Barn Light Electric ($173). The galvanized finish added to its appeal. “We wanted a fixture that looked like it had done its time.” A matching light hangs in the entryway.

Playful elements, such as twig racks (sleekidentity.com), display the couple’s mug collection. The clients also wanted a kinetic piece of art for self-expression. The solution? A full-length chalkboard. Note the hand rendering of their pet, Peanut, an Australian sheep dog. (To recreate this DIY item, use Rust-Oleum Chalk Board paint. Tack a frame around it to complete the look.)

The project’s eco-friendly additions include energy-efficient lighting, no VOC paint by YOLO Colorhouse (to limit off-gassing), and CesearStone quartz countertops (made of recycled stone left over after whole slabs are harvested from the ground). 

For the flooring, the clients opted for a luxe vinyl plank by Armstrong—an ideal choice for homeowners with active pets. 

Groen said their overall success came from collaboration. “By having everyone under one roof, we created a kitchen remodel that really changed the way they live.” 

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