A Kitchen Finds the Perfect Blend of Rustic Glam

Published: May 15, 2024
View Gallery

When designer Juliana Ewer and her husband purchased their Houston home, they knew they wanted to update the kitchen to the current century. The builder-basic space was tightly framed in with chunky columns, and the dark cabinets, granite countertops and large-format floor tile all needed to go.

Ewer, who is the owner of Houston-based J Squared Home Designs, decided to gut the whole kitchen, eliminating some load-bearing columns, brightening up the room and improving aesthetics and function tenfold. The new kitchen is completely unrecognizable from the former space.

Color Correction

Ewer admits she’s not partial to dark wood, but she is also against an all-white kitchen. She chose paints and stains in cool tones and added some warm wood elements. Her painter added a blue-hued pigment to the original Morning Mist natural stain for the bottom cabinets, and the white uppers provide a nice contrast. A hand-distressed beam houses the fur down, which hides all the structural components and provides a bit of rustic simplicity.

The quartz countertops and backsplashes in the kitchen and adjacent bar area feature blue-gray veining with a touch of rust tone to pull in the shades of the overall color scheme. The yellow tile flooring was replaced with Spanish oak in a pearl color with a vein in some of the planks that plays to the blues and whites of the rest of the kitchen.

Get the latest kitchen and bath products, trends and news delivered to your inbox.

“To create texture and contrast with the glamorous lantern pendants, I replaced the ceiling drywall with tongue-and-groove shiplap in Sherwin-Williams Ceiling White,” explained Ewer.

Cabinet Strategy

The custom units are Shaker in style but offer more detail with reeded fronts on the lower doors and drawers for added dimension. If the couple end up making this their permanent home, Ewer added several elements that make the cabinets easier to access, including trash pullouts, rollouts, drawers and a custom pullout next to the sink for cleaning products and paper towel storage.

The designer admitted that creating a storage plan for her own kitchen was a challenge, so she partnered up with experienced cabinetry CAD specialist Nicki Kana with Cabinet Innovations – an expense she said was well worth it – who came up with some innovative ideas. The original island – essentially with a box on each side – was too deep to access, so one end is now dedicated to one low storage drawer and two more with rollouts behind fascia doors. The countertop overhang on both ends accommodates island seating. The other end features two cabinets with shelves for awkwardly shaped items.

“Pullout drawers also provided a solution for us to store and access heavy cookware without having to bend down,” said Ewer.

Since the couple agreed they wanted the upper cabinets to be full height up to the ceiling, Ewer specified glass fronts to display some of their more colorful China and glassware items and to eliminate the look of a full wall of cabinets.

Appliance Plan

Ewer saw the 48-inch SKS range at KBIS 2023 and knew she wanted one in her new kitchen. It offers three options: gas, induction and sous vide. She likes induction for heating things quickly, and her husband loves to cook with gas. The range features two ovens below, and the handles pull up versus out, which alleviates strain when opening and closing them. A wall oven, warming drawer and speed oven with microwave, air fry and convection bake round out the cooking appliances.

The custom hood is perhaps the kitchen’s biggest wow factor – what Ewer calls next-level beautiful. She worked with Thompson to tweak one of its Quintana hoods by adding peacock feather engraving that complements the feather wallpaper in the bar area.

“I was on a retreat with the Thompson family and asked if I could add that detail to a custom order,” explained the designer. “It was the last thing to arrive, but it was worth the wait.”

Mixing Fixtures & Finishes

The ceiling cans were all updated to LED fixtures, and the mixed-metal pendants were another way to add a touch of rustic and glam to the new kitchen. Ewer found the Vanderpump Alain fixtures at High Point Market. She installed undercounter lighting throughout the space, and the glass cabinets are illuminated with integrated strip lighting.

Ewer specified a custom Quintana apron-front brass sink from Thompson with a gold interior and chose a Kraus faucet to complement the sink and because she loves the brand. She says the handmade sink needs a little extra TLC because it is a natural piece of metal, but in time it will take on a beautiful patina.

Overcoming Project Obstacles

Ewer says she was decisive when it came to selecting products and materials, but the space-planning side of things was harder because it was her own kitchen. Because she and her husband wanted larger appliances, she could not gain square footage in the new space. She solved this by removing a column and reinforcing the headers to create a more open feel.

The designer wanted a built-in look for the refrigeration, but her husband insisted on having the ice and water function on the outside of the unit. To reach the perfect agreement, she used the panel-ready option for the look she wanted and sourced a freezer panel with the ice/water feature.

Although Ewer and her husband have differing tastes, she was able to incorporate a balanced mix of rustic and glam elements to please them both. He was granted the practical items he craved, and she implemented the curated, custom pieces she wanted.

“He was the perfect client,” said Ewer. “I planned the demo and the majority of the work while he was traveling, and then I shipped him off to our lake house until we had running water!

Her husband set a budget of $200,000 ahead of the project, and she was able to stick to that figure.

“We have been married for 29 years and are pretty good at finding common ground,” explained Ewer. “He walked into the kitchen the other day and told me I created a really beautiful space. I treasure that; it’s a great feeling every designer gets when a client is excited about the projects you create.”

Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
B2B Marketing Exchange
B2B Marketing Exchange East
Buyer Insights & Intelligence Series
Campaign Optimization Series