Lily Kaizer always thought she’d paint her cabinets in an Art Deco mint green to match the 1924 origin of her Spanish-style home in Los Angeles, but her vision suddenly changed one evening while sitting in a hot tub. During the bubbly soak, a dramatic sunset inspired the vintage-bridal-salon owner behind Happy Isles and her fiancé, Calvin Chan, to emulate one of the sky’s purple hues in their kitchen.
After gutting the room, tearing down a wall, and replumbing to allow for a more practical layout, the couple finally reached the paint swatch stage of the project. While Lily was initially drawn to relaxed, cool periwinkles that seemed safe, Calvin, who founded The USB Lighter Company, gravitated toward warm berry tones that were more daring.
After a bit of soul-searching, however, Lily agreed to a bold shade. “It’s a beautiful part of our relationship that we allow space for each other’s design fantasies to run wild,” she says. And when Calvin picked a rich lavender from Sherwin-Williams without knowing its name was Magical, the choice felt totally kismet.
Kitchen location: Los Angeles, California. “Our house is basically on the border of Miracle Mile and Mid City,” describes Lily. “We’re on this really weird, non-through neighborhood street. It kind of feels like we’re on a little island between two busy streets.”
The before: “The kitchen was probably redone in the early ’60s,” Lily explains. “There were these funky metal cabinets that didn’t have a lot of room, and basically half the space was cut into a washer-dryer zone. There were maybe two cutting boards’ worth of counter space in the entire kitchen. It was just not functional.”
The inspiration: “We really wanted to bring a cozy hominess to the house and give a nod to California Spanish style—but with our own spin on it,” says Lily. “We didn’t put pressure on ourselves to do a historical restoration because it probably wasn’t much to begin with, but we wanted it to have that classic feel. We ended up leaning in a quaint ’70s direction.”
Square footage: Approximately 80 square feet.
Budget: “We didn’t have a [dedicated] budget for just the kitchen,” says Lily. “We did so many other things to the house—we completely gut-renovated a bathroom, we installed a bunch of new flooring, we changed out all the doors and windows, so we just tried to keep it as tight as possible.”
Floors: Rustico Tile & Stone Saltillo tile. “We really wanted terra-cotta on the floors,” says Lily. “That was the first decision we made.”
Counters: House of Hardwood maple butcher block. “It felt the most ‘us’ of all the contemporary countertop options,” says Lily. “There’s something super-homey about wood.”
Cabinets: Semi-custom Shaker-style doors painted in Magical by Sherwin-Williams.
Backsplash: Mission Tile West Talavera tile. “It’s super-affordable, and it makes such an impact,” says Lily. “I really wanted a tile that had a special motif because I grew up in a kitchen with fruit tile as the backsplash. My parents still have it, and I actually love it.”
Hardware: MyKnobs.com brushed bronze knobs.
Wall paint: White Blossom by Dunn Edwards.
Doors and windows: Pinky’s Iron Doors and custom replicas. “All those fancy black iron doors and windows that you see are crazy-expensive,” Lily admits. “The house was cute but also kind of dinky. We wanted it to feel much more substantial, so going for the iron was a massive face-lift.”
Lighting: Recessed overheads and under-cabinet LED strips.
Most insane splurge: The cabinets were the priciest purchase.
Sneakiest save: “The biggest save was not having a designer,” says Lily. “We got zero professional help and made it work by utilizing people in our network.”
The best part: “My favorite part is the layout,” says Lily. “We use every inch.”
What I’d never do again: “Honestly, we got the kitchen pretty right,” says Lily. “We just feel super-proud of getting it done and it looking great.”
Final bill: Lily and Calvin spent around $30,000 on the remodel, not including the doors and windows, which were a house-wide expense, and appliances that were generously gifted.
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest