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This Kitchen Renovation by a Rye Designer Is Modern and Elegant

A designer shares how she transformed her condo’s tired kitchen into a bright and cozy dream.

All Photos by Kirsten Francis

Designer Stephanie Perez of Stephanie Perez Studio wanted to take her ’80s condo and turn it into something that was functional and that she loved. Part of the first phase in a full-home renovation, the kitchen was given a modern, but lived-in and whimsical redesign.

“The condo had a small galley kitchen with dated appliances and fixtures. The dining room was adjacent to the kitchen, but separated by a wall,” says Perez. “[The kitchen] lacked counterspace, storage, and overall functionality [while] the dining room was a large space that seemed impractical to host in, considering the kitchen was almost unusable.”

After moving in with their 2-week-old newborn, Perez and her husband knew this space was not going to work for their growing family. “We both love to cook,” she says. “We immediately began demolition with the goal being to knock down the wall that separated the dining room and kitchen redirecting most of the footprint towards a functional and beautiful kitchen, and to create a cozy dining nook.”

As a self-taught interior designer, Perez says her inspiration and signature lived-in style comes from her upbringing and Latin American roots. “My parents are from Colombia, and they came to New York in the late ’80s,” she says. “I grew up visiting there every year and noted how unfussy yet cozy my grandparents and relatives lived in their Spanish-style homes. I’ve also been lucky to visit many parts of Europe, and I’m drawn to an old-world aesthetic that mixes vintage and heirloom antiques to create comfortable and enduring homes.”

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coffee bar

In the kitchen, she painted the cabinets Creamy by Sherwin-Williams, and used White Flour for the wainscoting and the trim, and Benjamin Moore’s Simply White for the ceiling and banquette. The walls are covered in textured and warm linen wallpaper by Shumacher.

The classic checkerboard floors are often seen in kitchens and foyers in Europe that have been around for centuries. “I typically find different ways to incorporate this into my projects, and I knew I wanted a natural stone floor that could be the focal point of my kitchen,” says Perez.

She paired an off-white limestone and moss-green marble to create the statement look. “These will age and patina over time to show the story of my family and whoever dwells here after us,” says Perez.

She chose marble countertops and felt a zellige backsplash would pair with both the natural stone of the countertops and the floor.

kitchen island

Another pop of color is found in the built-in banquette. “I am not afraid to use colors in my projects, especially blue and green, and after finding the antique English farmhouse table, I wanted to complement the robin’s-egg blue base with a classic striped bench cushion,” she says. “I layered this with green and vintage red suzani throw pillows. Red is my favorite accent color, and you’ll see it used intentionally throughout my entire home. I think when used correctly, a pop of cheerful red can enhance any space and is more pleasing to the eye than one would initially think.”

dining area

Color and lots of personality were injected into this kitchen design including the green-and-white checkered floor, built-in banquette, and custom-made kitchen island built by her father-in-law. The baskets hanging over the eating area were collected by the designer and homeowner from her travels over the years.

She used a durable Sunbrella fabric for the cushion to repel water and stains and added a custom scalloped skirt to “create a whimsical moment” and create “the perfect finishing touch.”

The vintage baskets hanging over the banquette are part of a collection that has grown over time from her travels and antique shops. “They remind me of wonderful little moments in time and I wanted to incorporate [them] into the design in a meaningful way,” says Perez. “They are also a great way to add another layer of texture and interest to a room. This is what I believe is the foundation for great design, creating personal spaces filled with memories, pieces and collections that truly mean something to you.”

She spent many hours trying to source the perfect piece for her kitchen island, but many fell short in style or size and height. “My father-in-law, a highly skilled carpenter with over 40 years of experience, built the island and left us with an incredible heirloom piece that grounds the space,” says Perez. “We stained it dark walnut to provide warmth, character, and to help break up all of the white, then paired it with a Carrara marble countertop, matching the perimeter and tying it back into the rest of the kitchen.”


On designing a space for her own home versus one for a client, she says there are pros and cons. “As designers, our dream clients are those who fully trust our vision and give us the opportunity to stretch their imaginations, take them out of their comfort zones and give them a one-of-a-kind home,” says Perez. “Being able to design my own space comes with that immediate gratification and ability, but it can also be difficult because we’re overwhelmed by options, and sometimes it’s easier to have someone else make those decisions for you!”

“I love the overall lived-in, cozy nature of the space.”
— Stephanie Perez

The family treats the space more “like a living room than a utilitarian kitchen.”

“I love the overall lived-in, cozy nature of the space,” says Perez. “It makes me so happy to be there every day, whether I’m cooking, lying on the bench with my son, making a cappuccino on a Saturday morning, or working on design projects late into the night.”

The dining banquette, covered in natural light and vintage baskets, has become a favorite for their 16-month-old son and their Goldendoodle, who both “stare out the large windows and take turns warning us of evil mailmen,” she says. “My son often plays under the island as if it’s a hiding spot while my husband and I cook, make coffee, or listen to music.”

The Team


Stephanie Perez O’Boyle
Stephanie Perez Studio, Rye


William Thomas Woodworking
Hawley, PA

Tile Contractor

Luis Perez, All Home Style
Norwalk, CT


Upholstery by Paul
Port Chester


Lucy Bamman
San Francisco, CA

Related: Follow These Paint Color Tips to Make Your Westchester Home Pop

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