We took a kitchen with black countertops, oak cabinets and stainless-steel appliances, and asked a local designer to give it some personality.


By replacing the hardwood floors with porcelain tile and turning the island into a seating area, designer Allie Mann made the room a colorful place for family gatherings.

Shaker-style cabinets provide clean lines. Pair dark cherry-stained doors with light floors and countertops.

Use the backsplash as a canvas. A glass mosaic of blue, green and gray tiles is a subtle touch of color.

Bar stools encourage conversation by giving guests a place to sit and talk.

Decorate with a few accessories, such as a vase with flowers and a chalkboard for shopping lists.

Try open shelving for everyday plates. Store more formal dishes in closed cabinets, out of a child’s reach.

White counters brighten the space. The material is White Cliff quartz by Cambria.

A blue-gray paint complements the backsplash. Walls are Solitude by Benjamin Moore.

Mann, of Case Design/Remodeling (703-289-5719, www.casedesign.com) is based in Falls Church.


Furniture: Undertone extra-large undercounter kitchen sink ($810, us.kohler.com); GE Cafe vent hood ($1,000, www.amazon.com); Lowe khaki counter stool ($259 each, www.crateandbarrel.com); Bliss Blend glass mosaic backsplash tile in Iceland ($25 per square foot, www.floridatile.com); Homestead style cabinets in cherry stain with espresso finish (priced according to size, www.shilohcabinetry.com).

Accessories: Cuisinart single-serve coffeemaker ($150, www.amazon.com); Pintuck place mat and napkin in smoke blue ($9 per set, www.pier1.com); Bird Cage wine rack ($100, www.potterybarn.com); Organic vase in brown ($20, www.cb2.com); Square Dial 16-piece dinnerware set ($50, www.target.com).


Grohe America LadyLux Cafe dual spray pull-down faucet ($454, www.efaucets.com).

Hampton pendant in antique nickel ($180, www.hinkleylighting.


. . . OR SAVE

Simplice single-hole pull-down faucet in stainless ($331, us.kohler.com).

Progress Lighting Wisten collection mini-pendant in brushed nickel ($50 each, www.home depot.com).

Tell us about your design challenge.

Send photos, room dimensions and contact information to makeover@washpost.com.