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Originally published Friday, May 14, 2010 at 7:00 PM

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Designer Candice Olson gives an '80s country kitchen an overdue overhaul

Divine Design: A worn-out kitchen gets a contemporary and highly functional update with some of the rustic and traditional touches that the homeowners love.

Home and Garden Television

Deb and Greg were high-school sweethearts whose romance blossomed during summer vacations while she and her friends worked at Greg's family's chinchilla farm. Fast-forward 22 years: Deb and Greg are now running the family business and live with their five busy teens in the house where Greg grew up.

They love that their kitchen is action central for the kids and all their friends. But they'd love it a whole lot more if their dated and worn-out kitchen was functional and easy to clean with a country-inspired look that flowed with the rest of the house.

That's where I came in — to create a contemporary and highly functional space with some of the rustic and traditional touches that Deb was hoping for.

The L-shaped room was large but badly configured. With only one electrical outlet for small appliances, Deb's work area was crammed into a dark, awkward corner next to the sink — a real shame when the big bay window in the eating area offers a view of the farm. The existing island was a dumping ground for the kids. There was a serious lack of storage. The cabinets, floors and appliances were all well past their best-before dates.

So I called in my team and soon it was out with the old and in with the new ... everything! Custom cabinetry and a creamy shade set the tone for the new functional space, and the mushroom-colored quartz countertop is as durable as it is beautiful. The redesigned island with contrasting espresso cabinetry has the same hardwearing quartz countertop, but in cream. Then we tied it all together with a basket-weave-pattern marble-mosaic-tile backsplash.

Extra seating for dinner guests was high on Deb and Greg's wish list. Seven comfy stools now surround the spacious new kitchen island. And its extra-deep sink is perfectly positioned for Deb to enjoy the view through the eating area.

Deb spends a lot of time cooking and baking, so the floor needed to be comfortable and warm, yet tough to stand up to the family's wear and tear. That meant gorgeous eco-friendly cork. Easy on the back and the dark, wide-plank format really grounds the space.

Of course, with a new kitchen comes new appliances. Top-of-the-line, double-decker convection ovens, microwave, a dishwasher and the high-tech induction cook top made perfect sense for Deb's short-order kitchen. Induction technology cooks in a fraction of the time of conventional gas or electric, yet the elements stay cool to the touch.

With five hungry teens and their friends to feed, Deb and Greg were wearing out the road to the grocery store. The 6-foot, side-by-side freezer-refrigerator combination became this kitchen's piece de resistance.

We solved the storage problem by running the cream perimeter cabinets right into the eating area. And framed the existing bay window with floor-length drapes in washable polyester with a raw silk feel, edged with pale mushroom panel; so fingerprints won't show.

Burnished-bronze finishes for the faucets, hardware, pendant lights and large chandelier all brought a traditional touch and casual feeling that was perfect for this family home.

This stale, worn-out kitchen needed a fresh start. Beautiful finishes and practical design make it a warm and welcoming heart for Deb and Greg's home. Now that's divine.

Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV's "Divine Design." For more ideas, information and show times, visit or

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