Design Hints

A Fresh Take on a Workspace

Cindy Mack Taggart's favorite room is the heart of her Abilene, Kansas, home. When she started renovations, she was tempted to gut the space and start from scratch. "The appliances were not usable, and the layout of the kitchen did not flow well," she says. Ultimately, she opted to rework the floor plan. "I was able to put my unique country-style stamp on it so it would look like a working American country kitchen," she adds. Here's how you can create the kitchen of your dreams:

Decorating Hints

  • Move everything and the kitchen sink. Consider repositioning appliances that aren't conducive to the room's function. Cindy didn't hesitate to move the sink, positioning it beneath a window. She also rewired the entire space so she could relocate the stove and install a new dishwasher.
  • Reclaim, reuse and recycle. Search the attic, garage and basement for leftover objects native to the property. "The farmhouse cast-iron sink is original to the home," Cindy explains. "We discovered it in a crawl space under the house and salvaged it to use in the kitchen."
  • Be original. Put your own decorating twist on the room. Cindy designed a unique kitchen faucet out of industrial pipe, fittings, levers and handles and then worked with a plumber to have it made. Additionally, she chose upcycled solid-wood doors to use as countertops. "They have a butcher block feel," she says.
  • Up-level existing elements. Look into refurbishing flooring before opting for new materials. Instead of replacing her floors, Cindy sanded and stained the existing hardwood and installed new kickplates. The white backsplash tile was in good shape, but to add visual interest, Cindy painted the grout lines blue and sealed them with clear wax.
  • Play with pattern. Layer in a variety of patterns and graphics on window treatments, linens and signage to offer interest and keep the space from feeling stagnant. Here, Cindy mixes toile, ticking, gingham, silhouettes and bold stripes to great effect.

Written by Rebecca Razo
Photographed by Gridley + Graves