top of page

Balboa Kitchen: Before & After

I am excited to show you a room where spend alot of time -- our kitchen!


We bought our new home in the summer of 2020 -- during the most uncertain times of the pandemic.

The home itself is 3160 square feet and built in 1978. It had 3 bedrooms and 3 baths when we purchased it. It is on the golf course in the historic Indian Canyons neighborhood of Palm Springs, which started development in the 1960s and boasts the first 18-hole golf course in Palm Springs.

The house was For Sale by Owner, with a faded hand-written sign and a phone with a San Diego area code. To say that it was a "fixer upper" would be a vast understatement! The owner, who was based in San Diego, had practically abandoned the property. I could tell, from photos he showed me, that he enjoyed good times in the house several years before, but he had not used the property in quite some time.

Above: the entry colonnade as I saw it, when I first saw the property.

I walked in and said, "I'll take it!"

Before: Where is the kitchen?

When we bought the home, there were no cabinets or appliances. There was just an empty room where a kitchen might be.

You may know that I made the deal to purchase the home as a surprise. (Not the best idea given that David is a Capricorn and hates surprises!) I knew that the home had three features that David likes in a house;

  • a pool in the front

  • open to the golf course on the back

  • a kitchen that is not open to the public rooms of the house

Check, check, and check!

Above: Literally a photo from when David first saw the house -- yes, this is how the owner was "showing" the property.

We learned later, through our insurance agents, that the previous owner received a $100,000 claim for damage to the kitchen caused by supposed wind and water. He received the money, but did not put back the kitchen. (This was his second home.)

To add insult to injury, he actually didn't haul the appliances away! They were just abandoned on the side of the house, and we had the pay to have the removed. (I'll say it again -- it's amazing that David didn't divorce me over this one.) But (as I keep telling David, and I hope you will agree with me) was all worth it!

The kitchen is long and fairly narrow, with a breakfast room at one end featuring large floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the golf course, and sliding glass doors on two sides. It's a lovely space.


The Floor Plan: Before & After

Below is the original house plan. The kitchen is to the left. You can see the original entry to the kitchen, from the dining room. This doorway made the kitchen visible from the living room, which is not our preference. Sealing off this doorway made the dining room feel larger (we use this area as a lounge) and added more usable linear feet in the kitchen. Closing off the door to the dining area, and using the wine room as the entrance to the kitchen, allowed us to add a five-foot wide pantry.

Below is the plan "after" - showing the laundry converted into the wine room and the new powder room.

We decided to use the dining room as a lounge; we incorporated the dining table into the large living area. In the lower right, you can see the washer and dryer placed in the former shower of the primary bathroom.

The wine room serves as the entrance into our kitchen, and on busy days, serves as our "drop station" for groceries and daily items. I selected the same cabinetry for the both the kitchen and the wine room, which makes them seem connected and makes the kitchen area feel larger.


The Kitchen: During

You may know that, due to some escrow issues, David and I moved into the home before we officially got title. In fact, we lived in the home for nearly six months before the house was officially ours.

During that time, of course, we needed a kitchen -- but we did not want to over-improve the property or invest alot of money.

David went to Lowe's and got off-the shelf white cabinetry, a premade laminate countertop, and a restaurant table. He went to a used appliance store in town and got a full kitchen suite of appliances that were super clean and nearly new. (We now use them in the garage for catering.)

Below is our temporary kitchen!

Looking back on those months now, I remember them fondly. Even though we lived on dirty cement floors (we pulled up the tile) it was fun to start planning the renovation. As soon as we received title to the property, we started work. In the picture above, you can see that we have widened the doorway into what was formerly the laundry room. You can see the old cabinets outlined on the wall and the water lines for the washer and dryer.


The Kitchen: Design Plan

Below is the floor plan of our new kitchen design. Chris Porter on our team creates detailed for all of our projects, to make sure that our design intent is clearly communicated to clients and contractors.

Some of the kitchen design elements:

  • Our kitchen is approximately 16' long and 9' wide, not including the breakfast area or wine room

  • It has 9' ceilings with a soffit at 8' above the pantry. I considered removing the soffit, but chose to keep it as a design element

  • We kept the sink in its existing location under the window

  • As you enter the kitchen, there are 5' wide, full height cabinetry on either side. On the right is a 5' wide pantry. On the left is the 4' wide refrigerator and freezer with paneled fronts, with a 1' wide broom closet next to it

  • We added a door at the end of the kitchen, which leads into a butler's pantry and then our bar

Below are the detailed elevation drawings of the range and sink / refrigerator walls of the kitchen.

I selected Monogram for our appliances. Monogram's 48" wide dual-fuel range really became the centerpiece of the room. We also incorporated a 36" refrigerator column with a 12" freezer next to it. Finally, we installed two dishwashers -- a must for frequent entertainers, like us!

Below is the mood board for our kitchen, featuring the 48" range from Monogram, mirrored tile from Floor & Decor, ceiling light fixtures that remind me of plates, and wallpaper sourced through out Design Studio.


After: Our New Kitchen

I am so pleased to with our new kitchen! We really love it. My goal was for it to be light and bright, with rich and unexpected details.

I considered both walnut wood and white lacquer (or a combination of the two) for our kitchen cabinets, but the oak finish suits us perfectly. It reminds me of the color of desert sand.

The ceiling lights are one of my favorite details -- they remind me of plates and saucers. How fun is that for a kitchen?

The chandelier in our breakfast room was designed by my friend, Celerie Kemble, as part of her lighting collection for Arteriors. The breakfast table is a vintage Saarinen "Tulip" table for Knoll, and the vintage lucite chairs were a gift from a client. (We tend to have amazing clients!)

I selected mirror backsplash tiles to bounce light around and make the long, somewhat narrow, space seem a bit wider.

Above: The brass handles on the Monogram range are one of my favorite details. They perfectly match the Emtek Edge Pulls on our cabinetry.

The wallpaper echoes the many palm trees right outside the windows, and really connects the inside to the outside.

I selected dishwashers by Monogram and placed one on both sides of the sink. I love having two dishwashers! I can't believe how many dishes and glasses two men and a dog can go through!

I guess I can consider our kitchen renovation a success because David really loves cooking in here! He cooks up all sorts of things on that gorgeous range. From Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon recipe to Harley's new diabetic doggie diet.... he keeps us well-nourished.


I hope you enjoyed this tour of our kitchen!




Faucets: Brizo

Appliances: Monogram

Countertops: Formation Stone

Photography: Public 311 Design

Styling: Keith Fortner

Cabinetry: Meza Hill Custom Cabinets

Continue the Tour:


  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Pinterest Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon


bottom of page