A Personal Kitchen on Your Personal Budget

Wouldn’t it be nice if your kitchen were your favorite place on earth? If it were so well-crafted and personalized that you never wanted to leave? So streamlined that you could dance through cooking, eating, entertaining and cleaning in your sleep?

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. With a little bit of self-reflection and planning, you can create a multi-use kitchen that not only cooks like a five-star chef’s galley, but also serves up tea, cocktails and homework help like a five-star you.

That’s the goal that Jessica Bennett, founder of a shop and design firm called Alice Lane Home, sets for each project. “The purpose of interior design is to express yourself in the three-dimensional space you live in,” she says. Whether you inhabit a starter or an “ever-after” home, you can create an up-to-date kitchen that does it all—just like you.


For a homeowner who entertains often, the designers installed both an island for prepping, cooking and cleaning, and a separate bar for guest seating. While the white palette gives the kitchens’ cooking zone a clean feel, the dark wood counter, orange pendant lights and leather-topped stools lend the entertaining zone a welcoming ambiance. Rising to the ceiling, the range hood draws attention to the ceiling’s high-end checkerboard finish. (Photo: nicolephoto.com)

Ingredients for a Personal Kitchen

While Alice Lane’s blend of traditional and contemporary aesthetics reflects the “transitional” style trend, their distinctive look stems from the firm’s Utah roots.

“The rustic, Old-World look is over-represented in Utah,” Jessica says. “Many homes here are so filled with fancy curly-cues that I feel like I have to wear a ball gown to walk through the front door! For people like me who wear jeans and not ball gowns, I wanted to provide a more transitional look with clean lines and light colors.”

You yourself are your own inspiration—“your lifestyle, kids, pets, travels, collections—everything from your Pinterest page to your gut feelings,” Jessica says.


(Photo: Nicole Hill Gerulat)

Your Kitchen, Your Way

 Three easy, low-cost ways to make your kitchen light and bright.

  1. Color: Since you won’t want to repeat your kitchen remodel any time soon, “give the space a neutral color that’s bright and clean,” senior designer Suzanne Hall of Alice Lane Home advises. “Don’t commit yourself to a long-term love affair with any one color.” To avoid a “contrived” feel, introduce an accent color with pieces that are “organic” to a kitchen: fruit in a bowl, fun dishes on floating shelves or an area rug. For a more dramatic effect, consider switching out your island’s white cabinet doors for brightly painted ones: “It’s much more economical to dress up your island than replace all your cabinetry,” Suzanne points out.
  2. Backsplash: “A great backsplash goes a long way,” Jessica says. “If you can’t afford to redo your whole kitchen, consider upgrading your backsplash. You would buy only as much material as you needed to cover the space—perhaps only a few square feet. So you can install something with interesting graphics right at eye level for extraordinary impact.”
  3. Decorative storage: “One time Jessica went into a ‘completed’ kitchen,” Suzanne recalls, “and ended up hanging a graphic grass cloth wallpaper behind glass-fronted cabinets. The wallpaper makes the dishes on the shelves look like they’re on display.”


By Elaine K. Phillips

Photography by Nicole Hill Gerulat




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