Before & After

A Smart Stove-Side Storage Solution Shines in This Once Oddly-Shaped Ohio Kitchen

Words by Morgan Goldberg
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The After. Image courtesy of the client.

Bre Bertolini had a clear vision for the remodel of her dated Youngstown, Ohio kitchen.

“I really wanted something warm and inviting with a European twist and a lot of natural finishes,” the Brepurposed founder explains. But without formal design training, she was lacking the expertise needed to iron out specific details of the project and tackle the room’s odd, angular shape.

Bre searched The Expert for the right designer to help her transform her 1989 red and black kitchen into a functional, sophisticated space with modern English flair. “I had a call with Whittney Parkinson, who I’ve followed for a while and always loved her style,” she says. “She was so amazing and helpful. She literally mocked something up as we were on the phone.”

Whittney’s clever suggestions, like adding a countertop corner cabinet and using a special edge detail on the island, combined with Bre’s distinct neutral aesthetic turned out to be a winning recipe. Here is how the dreamy kitchen came together.

Updating the Layout

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The Before. Image courtesy of the client.

Bre’s biggest hurdle was figuring out a way to reconfigure her strangely-arranged kitchen. “Our home is very contemporary, with a lot of weird angles, so it's always a challenge to work with,” she explains. “There wasn't really a way to knock down walls, so I was struggling with how to lay everything out and make the most of the space that we had.”

The old island was a confusing six-sided shape, which forced the sink into an awkward, irregular nook. Whittney confirmed that Bre’s long, rounded island idea would be a worthy replacement, then proposed moving the sink beneath the window and creating a normal, 90-degree corner with an L-shaped, countertop glass cabinet. “She just drew that up in five minutes and it became one of my favorite features with the kitchen,” says Bre.

Designing the Counters

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The After. Image courtesy of the client.

The After. Image courtesy of the client.

When Bre shared her plans for veiny Sea Pearl quartzite countertops, Whittney knew just how to upgrade the already-dramatic stone. She suggested using a standard flat cut along the perimeter, while adorning the island with a more ornate, rounded edge. “I never would've thought to do different edges,” Bre admits. “I love that it's just a little bit of a different detail that makes it unique.”

Bre used the same material for the shelf above the stove, for which Whittney advised on the depth. “Her expertise being a professional interior designer really brought an extra level of knowledge to the project,” says Bre. “It was also just a comfort for me knowing that some of the choices I had made were the right ones.”

Adding Vintage Touches

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The After. Image courtesy of the client.

Bre picked the Sea Pearl quartzite not only for its graphic veining, but also for its potential to develop a graceful patina over time. She loves a lived-in look, which is why she also chose unlacquered brass hardware, Roman clay walls, white maple cabinets with a dark walnut stain, and vintage touches. “Having those elements that will age just adds more charm to your kitchen,” she says. She’s not wrong—the kitchen already looks like it’s been there for decades.

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