Before & After: Turning on the Lights in a Dated Kitchen
A drab kitchen stuck in 1965? Most people wouldn’t give it the time of day.
But Gen and Benjamin Sohr aren’t most people.
“We love finding a house that we think has great bones, and we see the potential in but other people don’t,” Gen said. The creative duo behind Nashville’s Pencil+Paper Development Co. had a vision as soon as they saw 1765 Tyne Blvd.
“We both instantly had this idea that we could get light into the kitchen,” Gen said. The couple believes the kitchen is the heart of a home and, as a result, is often the first room they concept.
“It’s where families spend so much time now, so I could really visualize this family enjoying the space,” Gen said.
But this kitchen needed a lot of work. Completely untouched, the space was lined with dated cabinetry and appliances. A brick fireplace back-sided the living room, but the spaces were isolated from one another.
And because of how the home was built into the lot, land came right up to the exterior wall, making it incredibly dark and uninviting.
The Sohrs first lightened up the space with a rich coat of white paint. While white may seem void of personality, Gen says it’s the perfect canvas for layering art and pattern in a space. Plus, it’s super affordable.
“Paint has one of the biggest impacts for the least amount of money,” she said.
They also brought in gray accents to keep the room from feeling cold or impersonal.
Next came natural light. The Sohrs took on a big project, opening up the kitchen with French doors leading to a patio that didn’t exist before. This required building a retaining wall to push the land away from the house.
“For us, natural light is really, really important – and also the idea of indoor-outdoor living,” Gen explained. They were excited to take advantage of the four-acre lot and the privacy it afforded.
The final dose of light was a much smaller investment but also impactful: brass fixtures and hardware.
“Brass is a huge trend right now, and it’s something I embrace because I think it’s really beautiful,” Gen said. “There’s an emotion to it, and it elevates the entire experience of the home.”
While she has clients who worry brass will go out of style, Gen uses brass in small doses so she can swap it out later if she wants.
“Brass is kind of the hero,” she explained. “It’s like putting on the perfect statement necklace and all of a sudden you’re really excited about your basic jeans and t-shirt.”
The Sohrs don’t shy away from the details – they believe every home is a representation of the people that live there.
“We create homes that we feel really good in,” Gen said. “For us, that’s having great light, really clean white walls and an intimate feeling.”
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