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Oakland Hills Home Renovation Part I: An Inside Look at a Designer’s Inviting Kitchen & Dining Room


Remember my personal home renovation journey in Oakland Hills? Well, today, you’re in for a treat. After nearly a year, I’m excited to share the final reveal with you. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but beep beep.

Project Scope & Challenges

Designing for clients is a collaborative joyride where I present every single final decision confidently. But when it comes to designing my own space? It’s a whole different story.

The endless possibilities can feel like a never-ending rabbit hole, with visions of countless alternative outcomes swirling in my mind. Saying yes to one decision means killing the dreams of what could have been. (And yes, this is a big reason why people hire designers.)

Thankfully, after a decade of living in this home, we knew exactly what needed to change to better suit our needs:

  • Completely gut and update the kitchen
  • Expand the existing kitchen footprint for improved functionality
  • Integrate the dining area with the kitchen and living room for a more open floor plan
  • Remove a structural pole to maximize usable space
  • Install new flooring throughout the main living area

Tall order? Yup. But having been through countless renovations, we did something this time around to keep our sanity intact during the process — we moved out. Highly recommend.

Before we get to the good part, let’s take a look at how our kitchen and dining area started…

Before: Our Dated and Cramped Kitchen

coddington-design-oakland-hills-ca-home-renovation-part-1-before-images-colorful-kitchen-san-francisco-interior-designerPhotography Credit: Lauren Edith Anderson

Dated appliances, composite countertops, and a layout that practically suffocates. No thanks. This time, I craved a warm, elegant palette that would blend classic design with our home’s mid-century charm — a strong departure from our original colorful space. Ready to see the final result? Come on in…

Reveal: Classic & Elegant Kitchen

For our kitchen, I enlisted my team to work closely with my wife Maggie, ensuring her input on every aspect of the kitchen’s functionality. After all, she’s the culinary genius in the family, while I excel in DoorDash and handling the dishwasher duties. With her insights, we aimed to create a space that blends practicality and functionality with timeless elegance…


What a transformation, right? Hard to believe it’s the same view as the before image. What was once bold, cramped, and dated is now crisp, neutral, and functional — the perfect backdrop for Maggie’s culinary masterpieces.

During the renovation, we had to part with an original arched opening connecting the dining room. To preserve some of the home’s architectural charm, I introduced an arch into the new stove alcove. This clever design not only conceals the stove’s ventilation but also creates a focal point, beautifully framing the dreamy 6-burner stove.

Maggie had her heart set on a kitchen island, but the space simply couldn’t accommodate it. So, we found a happy medium and designed a peninsula with seating for the whole family…


Wall sconce: 1stDibs; Pendant: Blueprint Lighting; Counter Stools: Interior Define

We added subtle fluted detailing beneath the peninsula to bring warmth and texture, grounding the space. Now, we have a cozy spot for breakfast each morning, and our guests have a perfect place to gather while Maggie works her magic.

Instead of additional cabinetry, we flanked the kitchen window with a sculptural wall sconce and an art piece that ties in beautifully with the adjacent dining room wallpaper. This choice isn’t for everyone, but for us, it was the best decision. It opens up the space and keeps it airy. Plus, the designer in me couldn’t resist this Murano glass wall sconce I found on 1stDibs. And yes, there’s still plenty of storage…


Countertop stone: Taj Mahal, Cabinet hardware: Emtek

While busy marble countertops are trending right now, I chose something classic and durable instead — bookmatched Taj Mahal quartzite. It was a splurge, but the quality makes it worth every penny. Zero regrets.

While the space may look picture-perfect now, no renovation is without its challenges. We had all new appliances lined up, but somehow, the plan to keep our almost-new dishwasher got lost in the shuffle and ended up being donated with the old ones. Then, the new wine fridge arrived broken, which delayed the kitchen’s final completion by a few months. Ahh… the beauty of renovations.

Warm & Inviting Dining Room

To make room for our expanded kitchen, we borrowed space from the existing dining area. Now, our reimagined dining room sits adjacent to the peninsula and just off the living room, creating an open-concept layout perfect for entertaining.


Even with a cozier dining area, we can still comfortably seat a crowd at this classic white oak pedestal table. To complement this timeless centerpiece, I recovered 6 vintage Holly Hunt dining chairs. I was drawn to the original shape, but they needed a fresh update. We had them reupholstered by Revitaliste, a fantastic local company dedicated to keeping furniture out of landfills.

The new fabric combination from Perennials and Jim Thompson beautifully complements the abstract wallpaper, don’t you think? Speaking of…


Window Treatments Fabrics & Trim: Casamance, Rose Tarlow, Pindler and Fabricut

This lightly textured design by Lindsay Cowles adds a subtle burst of color and visual interest to our almost-neutral palette. Creamy Roman shades and layered light beige drapes invite both softness and warmth, while the minimalist silhouette of the modern brass chandelier from Visual Comfort nods to the home’s mid-century roots and infuses the space with a fresh, contemporary vibe. Perfection.

What’s Next 

It doesn’t end here. Our renovations also included our living room, home office, game room, and a few bedrooms, but they deserve their own spotlight. Check back in a few weeks for part 2.

In the meantime, if you’re ready to get started on your own renovation,  you know where to find us.



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