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Pretty in Pink

This article was written by Jeanine Matlow and was featured in our January issue of Home By Design magazine. Photography by Allison Elefante. To visit the original Home By Design article, click here.


For this snazzy bachelorette pad in East Nashville, Tennessee, Lauren DeBello—owner and principal designer of her eponymous firm—created a splendid hub for her client who acquired the house ahead of the real estate boom. “Before it was even an up-and-coming neighborhood, she bought the home and ended up taking a job in California and renting it to a friend,” says DeBello. “When she moved back, she found all this equity in the house, so she decided to renovate the kitchen and update other elements as well.”

First, the formerly L-shaped layout was modified to become a custom galley kitchen that vibes with the living room. “It was very dark and dated and situated in the back of the home with a deep laundry closet that took up a lot of space and a bedroom door next to the exterior door to the deck,” the designer explains. “The kitchen is her gathering space, and she didn’t love the fact that it was right next to the bedroom.”

The solution was to relocate the bedroom door and remove the laundry closet. New exterior doors welcome natural light further enhanced by a fresh coat of white paint. Crisp-white cabinets let the homeowner stash her stuff in style. “She likes to entertain, so we added a little bar space with a wine fridge and more storage,” says DeBello. “She also likes to cook, so there is an appliance garage as well.”

A custom island made by a local carpenter provides additional prep space and a cozy spot for meals. The chic piece with a slim profile and chalky-gray base (Night Club by Behr) makes an impression from the entrance. “Now the whole space is open, so when you walk in the front door, you see the living space and the kitchen that were a little bit divided before we knocked down the doorway,” she explains.

As for the boho aesthetic, the homeowner was drawn to the palette and other particulars associated with the Southwest, like the desert and the Joshua Tree House. An inspiration photo with a blush backsplash led to the exquisite handmade clay tiles that were installed without grout to highlight the imperfections and distinctions. “Every tile looks like it’s a different color,” says DeBello.

The effect is striking. “We really let that tile have its moment; it goes all the way to the ceiling,” she says. “It’s great to be able to do color with a backsplash. Everybody loves to keep it safe, so it’s really fun when someone wants to take the chance and go bold.”

Open shelving and wall sconces are among other highlights in the heart of the home. “She wanted light and bright and fun with pink and gold that have a touch of femininity,” says DeBello. A vintage oushak runner with a Southwest feel adds colorful charm underfoot.

Due to supply-chain issues, the white appliances originally planned for the space were unavailable, but their stainless-steel replacements turned out great. “They give it a little bit of dimension,” says DeBello, who credits her client with being incredibly patient and kind.

Other practical aspects like a double oven flanked by drawers join classic elements like an apron-front sink with a champagne-bronze faucet the designer describes as “no frills, but sleek.” Sturdy surfaces include quartz counters and engineered wide-plank wood floors.

Lastly, a new laundry area with a window adds more natural light. “It helped to maximize the width of the space by tucking it in back and stacking it,” she says. “We created a little wall so it was not as open to the living room.”

This thoughtful remodel allowed her client to have her cake and eat it too. “This way, she has that natural entertaining space inside and out,” says DeBello. “She easily doubled her storage, and the home flows nicely from the kitchen to the living area. Now she can have a space she can be proud of.”

Made in the Shade
When it comes to color, interior designer Lauren DeBello believes in going all in, especially when addressing the kitchen. Here, some color considerations she made in this featured design.

Statement Piece. “The tile is really what stops people,” she says. “It’s the showstopper in this kitchen.”

Personal Spin. “People say, ‘Oh my gosh, I could never do pink in a kitchen.’ But it’s a soft, pale color that almost is a neutral,” says DeBello. “Colors we consider to be bold can be considered neutral.”

Fashion Forward. “You don’t have to be trendy. Your choice can be timeless,” she adds. “If it’s a color you love and a color you wear, it’s never going to be trendy to you.”

Happy Accidents. “For the past couple of years, we’ve just had to roll with the punches,” says DeBello about supply shortages. “Something that might feel compromising, like stainless-steel appliances instead of white, can end up working out so well.”