From Dated to Dashing: A Kitchen Renovation

By Melanie Radzicki McManus | Photography by EP Studios

Light and bright were on the minds of Emmalee and Jake Hagenbucher after purchasing their Middleton home in 2021. The home had a Tuscan feel, with a dark, dated palette.

“The goal was to modernize and brighten the spaces, while neutralizing the existing red wood used throughout the home in the flooring and millwork,” says Larissa Anderson, owner of Haven Design Studio.

The couple painted the living room’s terra cotta-colored fireplace column the same Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore as the rest of the walls, then swapped out the orange and brown fireplace surround with a lighter stone.

“This particular type of stone, and the over-grout technique used, are reminiscent of barns outside of Madison, where Emmalee grew up,” Anderson says. “I love introducing design elements that are meaningful to the client, as it personalizes the home and helps tell the story of the family that lives there.”

In the kitchen, the couple kept the existing cabinetry, repainting it Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. The island, stained brown, was lightened with a coat of Chelsea Gray, also by Benjamin Moore. All of the brown, speckled granite countertops were exchanged for lightly veined white quartz, while polished marble mosaic tile replaced the old orange backsplash tile.

“When we got rid of that orange tile and put in the marble with white grout, it really brightened up the space,” Emmalee says.

The couple traded heavy light fixtures in the foyer, stairwell, kitchen and dining area for lighting in fun shapes, while Anderson chose a Joybird storage console for the entry. Crafted from pale mango wood and caning, it adds organic texture while serving as a convenient drop zone when the owners enter the home.

Today, the couple loves their home’s new look. “Focus on the overall feel you’re trying to achieve, and don’t get stuck thinking about one thing,” Emmalee advises to those contemplating a remodel. “And sometimes go with your gut — with your designer’s help!”

Light-colored walls and furnishings tone down the rich red flooring and woodwork, which previously dominated the home’s look and feel. The living room’s camel leather sectional (seen in photos), was the starting point in creating that room’s new look. “We liked its warm tone and the fact that it’s a cozy, inviting space,” says Emmalee.

The Hagenbucher home today is welcoming with a modern vibe, thanks to touches like the dining area pendant light, created from bleached natural rope, accented with a brass band. Additional splashes of brass in the kitchen hardware and fixtures tie the rooms together, while providing warmth and a bit of glamour.

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