kitchen redesign

Design Collaboration — It Works!

Some people think that hiring an interior designer is an all or nothing proposition, and forget that collaboration is such a huge part of our work.

In other words, they assume:

  1. You have to be ready to hand over the reins entirely and have your home completely renovated by someone else …. OR ….
  2. You have to take on all of the design work yourself, perhaps with the sole help of a contractor. 

That’s actually a huge misconception. And it causes people to shy away from interior design help, even though hiring a designer could actually make a huge difference to their home with little cost and effort.

Design by Ellen Kurtz Interiors

Most interior designers, myself included, take on a whole range of projects. It can be an entire remodel, or just providing help with color choices and space planning. In other words, we work to meet your needs. And we know your needs can be entirely unique to you and your home. 

With that in mind, I wanted to share a project that illustrates the beauty of this type of collaboration. How much can be achieved in just one day of consultation with an interior designer? A whole bunch, it turns out. Because that’s what we did here. Let’s take a look.

Collaborating on Design and Layout

These clients were referred to me from an electrical contractor who I have done business with. Their home is in Missouri wine country, overlooking a vineyard.


Sounds gorgeous, doesn’t it?!? (And everyone knows I love my projects in wine country! More on that in weeks to come).

We wanted to make sure the interior of the home carried as much charm as its surroundings. The main area of focus was the kitchen.

Now, as you can see in some of the “Before” photos, the old kitchen had a white and black tile floor and light oak cabinets, track lighting and cathedral-style cabinet fronts. 

This design had worked fine for the clients for some time, but by the time they called me, they were tired of that look and craving something that didn’t feel quite as dated. 


I went to their home in the winter to start the planning process. I spent a Saturday morning talking with them to get their thoughts on how the flow of the home worked and how they used their space. 

It became clear that we would be aiming not just to modernize their look, but also to ease their transitions into the space and the overall flow of the room.

The husband is very handy and wanted to do the work himself. I realized this was going to be a fun collaboration. 

Putting Together a Plan 

From that one visit (again, the power of collaboration!), I was able to pull together a tentative plan that would meet all of their functional needs. 

Then, I turned to the aesthetics. With an additional hour at ProSource, we were able to select new cabinets and tiling, hardware and countertop finishes, you name it.

Already, I could tell they were going to LOVE  their new kitchen. 

So let’s first talk about how we changed the layout.

Design by Ellen Kurtz Interiors

I moved the kitchen toward the side door, which is where the couple enters every day. 

This space used to be the laundry room. But who wants to enter their home from their laundry?

Well, this couple had actually enjoyed the set up for its convenience and dirt catching abilities, but I convinced them it wasn’t the best presentation. 

I moved the laundry behind the kitchen, converting a small room with some seating that hadn’t been getting any use. 

I then made the laundry accessible to the outside with a door to their wrap-around porch. That way, they still had their laundry room entrance for those dirty boot days when they needed it. 

Design by Ellen Kurtz Interiors

The wife wanted a large walk-in pantry (who doesn’t?!) and loved the color green. So we selected this eye popping seafoam green and a barn-door closure for some added charm.

They have a large family, so I provided a space for a table, as well as a serving bar for holidays and entertaining. The clients were really impressed with how much use I was able to fit into this one space! 

Their appliances were newer, so we decided to keep them for the time being. Eventually, they will replace the white with stainless steel for a more polished look.

Notice how the darker cabinet fronts (along with a more modern flat-panel style) and faux wood tiling go a long way toward updating the space. 

Design by Ellen Kurtz Interiors

Oil brushed hardware and faucets, and new pendant lights also worked to rejuvenate the room. And I just love those counter-height stools — a perfect look for the home and the setting!

Call Me to Collaborate on Your Next Project 

So there you have it. This was a fun, quick project with big results. And it is proof that incremental collaboration with an interior designer is not only possible, but can also go a long way toward freshening up a space.

Remember, if you have a project in mind — big or small — I’d love to help you with it. Call me and we can figure out the scale of my involvement. It’s all about meeting your needs!