The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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Lance Armstrong's Kitchen - Get The Look!

A few weeks ago, Kathy Price-Robinson, a writer, knowledgeable on many and varied remodeling topics, asked me for comments on how to get the look, for less, of Lance Armstrong's kitchen.

I proceeded to write paragraphs (and paragraphs) on elements that I observed that one could replicate fairly easily. I'm thrilled to have been quoted in AOL for this feature, but, unfortunately, many of my paragraphs did not make the cut. There were some good points!


One could buy short stock refrigerator cabinets that are 24" in depth, mount the pieces on a platform of studs, put a sturdy top on top of them, and wa-laa you have storage and seating.  Those cabinets should be somewhere between 12-15" tall depending on the structure below and above the cabinets and the height desired for the bench. Take a look at this earlier post I did on banquette seating.


There are GORGEOUS laminate countertops now that truly look identical to granite or other stone except for the touch. They are worth a serious look. Alternatively, in one of my own kitchens, years ago, I used granite tile and wood trim which is an excellent second choice. I loved it. 


As we see in the image, one of the elements that makes the most impact are the sophisticated colors and shades in Lance's kitchen. Paint your cabinets an elegant, smoky color such as the green in Lance's kitchen. 

Note how the window trim, the island, the cabinetry under the curved window and the bench are dark, muted colors. Rather than feeling cluttered, it flows - this is the essence of this look. It is a close relationship of color from one material/surface to another. I would not advise matching these colors one to another...subtle differences only add interest and sophistication. Be aware of undertones in the color and assemble the colors together so you can see the nuances of one to another, but do not worry about matching. 

There are 3 color stories in this kitchen..keeping it simple. We see the browns, the green, and the yellow/gold. The yellow-gold is seen in the chairs, countertop, tile and wall color. It adds a brightness, a "life" to the space as well as a unifying warmth.

To add to the feeling of "flow" the ceiling color continues from the wall color. 




Observing even more continuity, note the simple backsplash which coordinates with the granite. One or two shades deeper and softer than the granite, it allows the granite countertops to take center stage without competing with it. Less IS more, especially in a large kitchen. Think of this kitchen as "layers" or blocks of color, proportion, contrast and texture to understand how these pieces fit together.

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Reader Comments (14)

You're right about plastic laminate. They are doing more and more things with that product these days, to a point where when I'm at Home Depot, I often have to walk up to the counter and touch it to know if the countertop is plastic laminate or granite.

I also think there is a lot of merit to using plastic laminate that simply looks like what it is—plastic laminate. When I learned how to apply it, I was taught how to dress it up to match the environment in which the countertop resides. Typically, plastic laminate would be applied over a substrate of medium density fiberboard. You simply go around the edge of the substrate with a ¾” board of the same wood as that used in the cabinets; you then apply the plastic laminate over both MDF and the wood edge. You then route an edge that cuts into the wood edge somewhat, be it a bevel cut or round over of some type. That is followed by applying the same finish to the wood trim as that used in the cabinetry. It’s an easy thing to do, and the end result is stunning.

There’s a lot of knocks on plastic laminate in some quarters, but my wife and I had it in a kitchen in a home we rented for five years. At the end of that time, the countertop still looked brand new. Of course, we’re childless. I don’t know if children would necessarily bang up a countertop more than adults. But if you are reasonably careful with plastic laminate, it will provide wonderful service, and it is considerably less expensive than other countertop materials.

March 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

Can I get Lance Armstrong instead? :)

March 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdrienne

I absolutely love that kitchen. I think I would've picked different bar stools though...
Lila Ferraro

March 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLila Ferraro

If you are going to use a French word in your "paragraphs" please spell it correctly! It's voila` not wa-laa.

March 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterColleen Archer

Colleen, I am very well aware of the correct French spelling. It was meant to be humorous, to produce a smile.

March 20, 2010 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Wow Colleen - you are so very smart....bravo, bravo ... tell your friends

March 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJC

Thank you for this nice and interesting tips to renovate a good modern kitchen. Would you help me what points should i must consider to makes a kitchen remodel less expensive? Remodeling cost

April 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSierra Debby

Hi,Kathy the way which you assembling the granite tile and wood for kitchen remodel and colour pattern matching,rather than you use some other option instead of costly granite. General Contractor

April 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterwillicooper

I so wish I had found these blogs three months ago before we started Demo. Hopefully others will find this and my kitchen remodel adventures on my blog and learn before they make my mistakes!!!

April 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Bates

Does anyone know where the exact bar stools can be purchased?

May 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNeeraj

That is somewhat kind of contemporary mixed with classic design. But I loved the combination and the colors. It brings emphasis to old life..

July 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

I think the best idea he has is to put a couch up against the kitchen table! That looks pretty comfortable.

August 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Heller

The high chairs are lovely...simply beautiful. This kitchen is a masterpiece no doubt. The countertop looks awesome, I mean everything looks great! Nice job, really. I Love it!

September 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRTA Cabinets

After reading this post I can say that the writer has done a lot of research and has put all the facts and figures together in his content. It is one of the most credible posts, I have come across. Great job!

October 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKitchen Countertops

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