Aguilar Design Studio reconfigures the space for a five-person crew
Husband and wife Aaron and Laura Aguilar, who own Aguilar Design Studio in Cornelius, were hired to update their clients’ Tuscan-inspired kitchen in Huntersville. “It had weird angles, a tiny island, an awkward peninsula, and no flow,” Aaron says. “It was like a one-person kitchen.” The homeowners wanted to brighten up the dark cabinets, mustard-colored walls, and tile flooring, but the choppy layout compelled the Aguilars to strip the room down to the studs and reconfigure its footprint. A four-month renovation transformed it into a light, functional space where the family of five can gather to entertain friends and neighbors.
The home, built in the mid-1990s, sits on a golf course. “It’s a well-built house with good bones,” Laura says, “but there were big columns everywhere and faux painting on the walls, so it just felt really dated.” They knocked down the wall between the sitting room and kitchen, removed the island and peninsula, and replaced the flooring on the main level with 5-inch white-oak planks. The first floor also got a fresh coat of paint, new stair railings, and white-oak ceiling beams in the sitting room.
The homeowners wanted high-end appliances, lots of storage, and durable finishes that could withstand the daily wear and tear of three young kids. The Aguilars added custom cabinets with polished nickel hardware and outlet strips beneath the uppers. The oversized island has a white quartz countertop and seating for five, and the surrounding countertops are leathered granite. Appliances include a 48-inch Wolf range with a custom vent hood and a microwave drawer.
Laura chose antique brass light fixtures and a herringbone tile backsplash for some visual interest, and she had custom leather barstools made to match the sofa in the sitting room. To break up the white cabinetry and give the homeowners more storage, she put an oak hutch on the wall opposite the island. “I loved that hutch because it looks like it could be a vintage piece,” she says. “It adds so much warmth to an otherwise black-and-white kitchen and makes it feel not so brand new. This makes it feel lived in and loved.”