Christina Applegate’s kitchen was far from camera ready. The Anchorman actress and new mom had been gradually updating her family's Los Angeles home over the years, but got stuck when it came to its busiest space, which just so happened to be the one most desperately in need of a makeover. Her take on the original 1985 design? "It was god awful. The ugliest kitchen. Of anyone that I know.” The room sported two-tone cabinets in white and beige, a massive range hood worthy of a villa, if not for its odd drywall facing, and a jumble of furnishings that didn’t do justice to the enviable corner dining nook. The space was frustrating, but the prospect of taking on a total overhaul far too intimidating to tackle on her own.
In a fateful, if not entirely lucky, turn of events the house endured a flood that ruined the existing hardwood and prompted a sizable renovation. “We thought, while we’re going to have to rip up every bit of flooring in the whole house, we might as well do the kitchen,” explains Applegate. “I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted it to feel like and look like, [but] executing that is obviously not my forte." Enter online design service Laurel & Wolf. After taking their detailed quiz about her style and desires for the space, Applegate received several pitches from the brand's roster of designers and selected her favorite: a modern-classic concept with a touch of glamour devised by Jessica Today.
The pair collaborated on Laurel & Wolf’s digital platform to curate the perfect space, from cabinet colors to styling details. The result couldn’t be farther from the dark and dated “before.” The cabinets were swapped out with a glossy modern style, complete with sleek chrome handles. The countertops got an upgrade to durable and chic Caesarstone. And those poor floors? Replaced with gleaming dark hardwood, accented by colorful runners. The dining nook, once uncomfortable and in Applegate’s words, “a place we wanted to get out of as fast as possible,” received a dreamy update including a tufted leather banquette, a warm wood-and-metal table, and a statement-making sputnik chandelier. “It feels like it's a place now where we can celebrate,” she says, “It’s bright and open, and the use of space that Jessica came up with is amazing to me. It’s just the greatest thing ever."
Loving Applegate's enviable “after?” Read on for five need-to-know tips for getting the look for yourself, straight from her designer.
5 KITCHEN DESIGN TIPS FROM JESSICA TODAY
1. Use The Sink Placement Secret. "Christina really wanted a bright and timeless kitchen. I chose a classic white color scheme to really make the space feel more open and welcoming. I also designed the space to have the sink situated in front of a sunny window. When you're designing or renovating a kitchen, make it a priority to put a window over the sink. It creates a much more peaceful setting for cleaning vegetables and washing dishes."
2. Prioritize Thoughtful Storage. "I designed Christina’s kitchen with lots of custom drawers and cabinets for easy use when cooking—everything from upright slats for baking sheets, organized drawers for utensils and deep shelves for platters. I even added storage to the tufted banquette for throws."
3. Add Kid-Oriented Extras. "Because the kitchen has become such a family-friendly room, I wanted it to be a space for cooking and creating memories. I designed a message center near the door for the phone, mail, pens and notepads. I also added a pinboard so Christina could hang her daughter's schoolwork and special artwork."
4. Take a Hint From the Pros. "A large, wood commercial cutting board rests on the Caesarstone countertop not only as a lovely aesthetic to contrast the white, but also as an area to chop, prepare food, or place a hot pot."
5. Choose Your Statement Pieces Wisely. Because the color scheme was primarily neutral, I wanted to add a few key pieces in the kitchen to serve as focal points. The urchin-shaped light fixture, the brightly colored runner and the gorgeous Wolf range all complement one another nicely while drawing the eye in.