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Before & After

This Breezy Los Angeles Kitchen Renovation Proves Two Experts Are Better Than One

Words by Morgan Goldberg
a kitchen with a center island with stools

The finished kitchen. Photo by Nicole Mason.

Sometimes, all you need is a second opinion to confirm you’re on the right track.

That was the case for Candace Yifru and Julian Lamm, who badly needed to renovate the early-aughts kitchen in their newly-purchased 1925 English Tudor in West Hollywood. The dated finishes—ornate cream cabinets and green granite—and dysfunctional layout that wasted a ton of space were a far cry from the warm gathering place they imagined.

To kick things off, the two lawyers did their homework: they sketched out their ideal floor plan, found cabinetry they liked within their budget, and hired a builder friend—W. O’Donnell Construction—to bring their vision to life. All they needed was a skilled designer (or two!) to solidify their choices and help source finishes to match.

With a rough plan in hand, Candace and Julian sought the help of Lauren Schneider, co-founder of Transition State, and Arianna De Gasperis, founder of And Studio on The Expert. The two designers steered them in the right direction, suggesting complementary materials, and nailing down a few last-minute details. By combining insights from both Experts, the couple achieved their dream kitchen.

a large kitchen with white cabinets and wood floors

The Before. Photo courtesy of Candace Yifru and Julian Lamm.

Listen to Your Instincts

During Candace and Julian’s first consultation, Lauren confirmed that shifting the layout to focus on a center island was the right move—and that the BOXI by Semihandmade Mushroom Shaker cabinets the couple had sourced were a great fit: the warm neutral tone would work well in an older house, simultaneously honoring its history and making it feel fresh.

The pick was also ideal for Candace and Julian’s budget, which couldn’t accommodate custom millwork. “While we really wanted to revamp this kitchen, we knew this wasn't going to be our forever home,” explains Candace. “So we looked for good quality but affordable cabinets.” BOXI’s rendering service made spatial planning extra easy.

a laundry room with a washer and dryer
a kitchen with white cabinets and a marble counter top

The After. Photo by Nicole Mason.

The After. Photo by Nicole Mason.

Go For Bold Porcelain

To complement the earthy tones in the cabinetry, Lauren steered the couple away from quartz and recommended a graphic, veiny porcelain for the countertops and backsplash. “We didn't know that a lot of veining on quartz could look really fake,” says Candace. “I don't know if we would've really noticed before it was too late if we hadn't been told, so it was really helpful information.”

a kitchen with three stools and a center island

The After. Photo by Nicole Mason.

Opt for Unlacquered Brass

Lauren suggested that the couple seek out unlacquered brass—which wouldn’t appear too shiny gold—for all their pull handles, egg-shaped knobs, and faucets. During their follow-up consultation with And Studio, Arianna nudged them towards the renowned British brand deVOL, which cemented the couple’s hardware decisions.

“We picked Arianna because we loved her house renovation in New Jersey,” Candace explains. “She nailed the balance of modernizing a space while keeping its original character, which is exactly what we were aiming for.” If beauty lies in the details, the mission here is very much accomplished.

a white light hanging from a ceiling fixture
deVOL Creamware Pendant LightINQUIRE
a white picture frame on a white wall
Boxi by Semihandmade Mushroom Shaker DoorINQUIRE
a gold faucet with two handles and two handles
deVOL Aged Brass Ionian TapINQUIRE


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