Influencers And Entrepreneurs Share Their Secrets To Designing An Instagramable Kitchen

Real Estate

The future Mr. and Mrs. Arie Luyendyk.Nicole Hill Gerulat

Algorithms change and home trends come and go, but there’s only one secret to designing a kitchen that shines on social media—making the space your own. While it’s hard to deny the wow factor of white countertops and shiplap dominating Instagram—kitchens that truly deserve the ubiquitous #inspo always feel real and lived in.

But in real life, kitchens are the least flexible room in the home. Even those with the largest social media accounts have no influence over structural elements like the placement of windows and utility pipes. Unless major construction is involved, that farmhouse sink can’t just be moved like a chair in the living room.

Influencers and entrepreneurs who have the most like-worthy kitchens, whether they’re gut-renovated, moved into, or even rented, have one major commonality—they’ve embraced what they have. From custom hardware to the magic of paint—these kitchens will have you rethinking how you see your own.

Amy Purdy

Amy’s purdy kitchen.Amy Purdy

It’s safe to say there’s really nothing Amy Purdy can’t do. She is one of the top-ranked adaptive snowboarders in the world, a Paralympic Medalist, former Dancing With the Stars contestant, author and so much more. So, when it came time to renovate the kitchen in her Colorado home, she did it alongside her interior designer sister mostly via text message. She is a woman of many talents.

Purdy and her husband Daniel Gale even took DIY to a new level, staining their shelving with vinegar and steel wool. “I had a challenges finding that color in a stain and the vinegar and steel wool created the perfect color It oxidized the shelves and turned them a beautiful dark grey-brown, which is what we wanted.”

Purdy also designed the steel brackets that hang from the ceiling and commissioned a local craftsman to make them.

While there isn’t an element of the space that she doesn’t love, her favorite feature is the Cambria quartz countertop. “Because we live in the mountains between the best Colorado ski resorts—I knew we would have a lot of friends and family coming through. I needed a sturdy countertop that wouldn’t stain, but I also wanted it to be bright and white. We settled on the Britannica style with light great veining to add to the texture in the kitchen and because the quartz was so beautiful. We wanted as much of it as possible so we made a waterfall countertop!”

Arie Luyendyk and Lauren Burnham

No rose necessary.Nicole Hill Gerulat

Arie Luyendyk and Lauren Burnham, who met on The Bachelor recently purchased their first home together. The kitchen was a major draw and it’s easy to understand why. Luyendyk revealed, “What we love most is the gray marble mixed with the all-white cabinets and shiplap backsplash.”

Because the couple nearly bought a fixer-upper, but backed out, because it was too challenging to renovate a home and plan a wedding at the same time—it was important for them to make every room feel personal to them. So they did what a lot of less-famous couples do. They registered on Wayfair for everything they needed. “We both love cooking, so I expect us to get a lot of use out of that kitchen! Some of our must-have cooking essentials would have to be a good set of mixing bowls, quality pots and pans and an overwhelming amount of wooden spoons and spatulas.”

One of their favorite finds is a sleek silver Kitchen Aid Mixer, which highlights the veins on their marble countertop. They also registered for a copper Old Dutch tea kettle (perhaps a nod to Luyendyk’s heritage), which pops against the stainless steel appliances. A large glass vase and wood cutting boards warm up the white finishes. Their registry shows that small items can really make a big impact.

Dr. Sheila Nazarian 

Dr. Nazarian is happy to do a facelift, but not to her kitchen.Dr. Sheila Nazarian

Renowned Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon Dr. Sheila Nazarian is known for transforming how her patients look and feel. But when she purchased her Bel Air home in 2017, she didn’t have to do a thing, at least to her kitchen. She told me, “When my husband and I were looking at the home to buy, it just seemed ideal for my family and our lifestyle. There’s plenty of storage and room for entertaining, which with our huge family is much needed. The pantry off of the kitchen is also incredibly conducive to hosting events, as well as keeping my three kids fed.”

However, there is one minor change Dr. Nazarian made. “One thing about the space is what we did with the cabinetry next to the window. The built-in was originally intended for a television, but instead, we made it into arts and crafts station for the kids. It’s the perfect place for them to get creative and be inspired by the light and surrounding scenery.”

Dr. Christopher Metzler

Dr. Metzler’s Ft. Lauderdale KitchenDr. Christopher Metzler

Dr. Christopher Metzler might be known as a political commentator and entrepreneur, but most people don’t know he’s also a chef (at least at home). He loves to cook everything from “oxtails, to salmon, green beans, lobster, and smashed potatoes.”

He believes the natural light and the simple layout in his kitchen make cooking easy and enjoyable. Furthermore, while the aesthetic is modern, he says the space incorporates traditional ideas. He explained, “Cooking in here is superb because it allows the natural light from outside to come in. It has great space to move around and more than one cook can be in the kitchen at the same time. Clean and simple is the mantra of my contemporary kitchen.”

Chanel Kenner

Chanel’s fab kitchen fits her lifestyle as a new mother.Chanel Kenner

Renters who like to cook are often challenged when it comes to finding a kitchen that meets their needs. But it’s not impossible. When Nutrition Coach and influencer Chanel Kenner and her husband were moving into their current apartment—having a large kitchen was an absolute necessity. Luckily, they found a brand new rental building with condominium quality kitchens, which feature upscale Viking appliances. “It was a huge selling point,” Kenner explained. She also loved the layout with the island and extra cabinet space, both of which ended up becoming even more important when she became a mother.

While Kenner admits her kitchen isn’t 100% perfect (there’s almost too much space between the island and countertop)—she is grateful for what she has. She also shared some excellent advice for renters in similar situations. “Create a check-list of your non-negotiables. Find a space that checks all, or most, of those boxes. As long as you are realistic about what you need to be happy, the little, unchangeable things you don’t love will seem less significant.”

 Anastasia Casey

Casey’s kitchen.Madeline Harper Photo

When Anastasia Casey from The Identité Collective purchased her first home, she didn’t re-do the kitchen entirely. Instead, she learned to work with what she had to create a space she could renovate in steps over time.

After painting all the walls Super White by Benjamin Moore, she decided to prime and paint the travertine subway tile backsplash the same color. “It was the easiest, cheapest quick fix. Now, it looks like exposed brick,” she said

Casey also removed the traditional crystal chandelier and swapped it for a mid-century globe fixture.

Next year, she plans to remove one wall of upper cabinets and replace it with open shelving. She’s also going to extend the island and get new countertops.

Ashley Luengo 

A modern glam kitchen.Modern Glam Home

Ashley Luengo of Modern Glam Home designed her kitchen to be as beautiful as it is functional. “By choosing white finishes, it keeps the looks seamless and makes the space feel bigger too.”

She particularly loves the white marble countertops, despite the fact they can be challenging to maintain. “[They] can stain, [but] I have no regrets. Marble adds so much character.”

But the kitchen isn’t just for show. It’s for making meal and memories, Luengo explained. “I love baking with my kids. Teaching them to know their way around the kitchen is important to me and I love to have them help me with dinner too! My kids love to create things in the kitchen and that’s exactly what we designed this kitchen for.” 

Sivan Ayla Richards

An island of style.Sivan Ayla Richards

When lifestyle blogger Sivan Ayla Richards moved into her current home, she loved the layout of the kitchen. But, everything else had to change or go. “I had the cabinets all white-washed and then I added matte black hardware. There used to be a lot of mixed wood paneling on the island and a wood backsplash throughout the kitchen and I had all of that removed to create a cleaner look by just doing a smooth white stucco.”

And while the kitchen looks perfect to the rest of us, Richards revealed she is only “80% there” right now. She explained, “Currently the floors in the kitchen are concrete and while I have plans to tile it eventually, I’m still trying to figure out the look I want to achieve before picking anything out. I still need to finalize my design before making any further changes.”

Zia Domic

Domic hunts and collects meals here.Zia Domic

When influencer and actress Zia Domic of Hunter Collector was renovating her kitchen—it was a family affair. After all, her husband is a set designer, so who better to do the job? While this would be a challenge for most couples, it wasn’t for them. She told me, “My husband and I agree on most everything [in terms of] decor. Doing what he does for a living he has all the resources for tiles, fixtures, hardware etc so we would go out and look and would agree on something immediately. We both know exactly what we do and don’t like so it was easy.”

The couple turned a small, enclosed space into a bright haven to entertain that they will appreciate for years to come. Domic has some wise words for those who are inspired by her style. “Keep your choices classic. Kitchen trends come and go really fast so if you stick to something that’s clean and classic, you won’t need to change it up again in five years.”

 Emily Jackson

Emily Jackson’s dream kitchen. Emily Jackson

Sometimes, you can’t do everything on your own, which is why Emily Jackson of Ivory Lane enlisted the help of Caitlin Creer from Alice Lane Design. What she likes best about her kitchen is that it’s so bright and open. “We spend a lot of time in our kitchen—prepping meals, doing homework with kids, entertaining etc. So I knew I wanted a large open space that could hold a lot of people and be a comfortable space to be.”

She also loves her pantry, is essential for storing everything she needs for one of her favorite things to do—baking with her kids. “Whether it’s for a holiday like Valentine’s Day, Halloween or Christmas, or just because—we love to make cookies. My sugar cookie recipe is a family favorite.”

Venessa Kaufman

Kaufman’s kitchen.Venessa Kaufman

When influencer Venessa Kaufman of We The Classy and her husband decided to renovate their kitchen—it was important for them to have full influence over the project. “It’s extremely special to me because my husband and I spent a lot of time coming up with the perfect design and finishes that we liked. We didn’t go with everything that was suggested, instead went with what was fitting to our personalities. Also, we project managed the renovation ourselves.”

Now, the design is ideal for her lifestyle. “I love how open it is. Before we had a strangely shaped island that was too high. It obstructed my view of what the kids were doing while I was cooking. Now I feel like we move more freely about. I also love that it was our design, it feels so personal.

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