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AT HOME | a blog by Joanna Gaines

Design Tips from the Scrivano house

December 12, 2017


Joanna shares her favorite Design tips for the kitchen from the Scrivano Home

Thanks for watching tonight’s episode of Fixer Upper! My favorite room in this home was without a doubt the kitchen. Read the “why” behind a few of my favorite design tips from the spaces below!


Cooking dinner or making lunches can require so much countertop space in the kitchen. Not every kitchen can accommodate an island space-wise, so incorporating a movable option allows for more flexibility. For the Scrivanos, I didn’t want them to feel committed to a permanent fixture if they ever needed more space for entertaining. The carpenter that builds our cabinets created this rich-toned, walnut wood island last minute so we could add more countertop space and break up the black and cream checkered floor. To achieve a look similar to this one, either buy a ready-made island or a simple antique piece of furniture and add wheels to the base.


When planning the design of a room, I’m intentional about selecting colors and finishes to use throughout the room to ensure that the final design of it looks well thought out and streamlined. Because I went with neutral grey cabinets and bold checkered floors in this kitchen, I incorporated warm wood accents (doors, island, and countertops in the butler’s pantry) and rich brass finishing touches (light fixture, open shelving brackets, foot bar at the breakfast table, and cabinet hardware). The consistent use of these two finishes not only kept the room from feeling cold and stark, but it also helped create balance and warmth in this amazing kitchen.


At the end of the day, it’s what you want in your home that makes it right, so if you’re drawn to bold features, I say go for it. A good rule of thumb, though, is to select one or two bold statements for the space so it can really be the highlight of the room. If there are too many strong design choices, the eye has no place to rest, causing the room to feel cluttered. Because we knew the Scrivanos loved checkered flooring, I wanted to be sure they were added to the design of this kitchen. To make sure the floors worked with the Tudor style of the house, I used dusty black and cream tiles instead of the traditional black and white. This allowed the floors to make a bold statement to the room while not completely stealing the show from the other design elements. Don’t stray from using striking design choices – go with your gut and balance them with subtle details in the rest of the space!


I’ve always been a proponent for making your home your own. Transition your rooms to serve a different purpose if that’s what works for you and your family. This family specifically wanted an eat-in nook, so we created more square footage in the kitchen by getting rid of an unneeded attic stairwell and built-in. Remember that if you’re renovating, I always recommend moving spaces around to make the layout of your home work better for you and your family.


Including texture isn’t always easy in a kitchen space, because adding in an area-rug, pillows or throws usually isn’t practical. This is where we get to be creative! One way to bring in texture is by mixing materials. Because the marble, brass and soft grey cabinets offer a sleek and polished look, I added in texture through the wood accents, the trim work in the cabinetry and the stucco surface of the vent hood.

Remember to check back next Monday for all of the before and after pictures, the story, and the design details from the rest of the Scrivano house!


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  • Heather
    10:26 pm, April 13, 2018
    Love reading about you design process! Love this kitchen too!
  • Mimi
    7:08 pm, January 9, 2018
    Beautiful. One of my favorites. Does anyone know the gray color?
  • Shelley Sass Designs
    10:56 pm, January 8, 2018
    Only one word for this, STUNNING in every way! Once again, the most perfect mix of colors and textures so well balanced to create a beautiful warm space.
  • Janis W
    5:45 pm, December 26, 2017
    Apparently you either don’t reply to comments or you don’t post your replied response for us to see. I’d like to see answers to these questions
    • Karen
      10:47 am, January 3, 2018
      I'm just imagining all of the questions across all of the media/formats they're involved with and more than full-time day jobs on top of that along with a young family (plus a pregnancy!) Technology is great, but I can't blame them for not responding to everything coming their direction.
    • Barbara
      6:53 pm, January 3, 2018
      First thing that came to my mind was "wow what a jerk". Apparently YOU don't understand that having a huge audience and following makes it literally impossible for them to reply to comments and/or questions. Get it together and figure it out. Or grow up and get a life. Whichever comes first.
    • Laura
      8:14 pm, January 6, 2018
      Why are people such jerks? To the Gaines... hug that new baby and ignore the negativity!
      Janis go hire a decorator if you want answers.....
  • Elizabeth H
    11:11 pm, December 23, 2017
    I love the use of color in the molding. Making them grey and the walls white rather than the opposite. So chic
    • Lisett Miller
      12:05 pm, December 28, 2017
      I read somewhere that the gray is Purbeck Stone F&B" by Farrow and Ball.
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