How One Designer Updated an 80's Kitchen in a Los Angeles Midcentury Home

modern la midcentury kitchen

Design: Hollis LaPlante; Photo: Gavin Cater; Graphic: MyDomaine

If there’s something we never get tired of seeing, it’s a great makeover. Whether it’s transforming a retro bathroom into a modern oasis or giving a lackluster bedroom a fresh look, pros perform these design miracles all the time.

To give designers a chance to showcase their favorite makeovers—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the best before and afters we’ve seen in our series, Makeover of the Week. Take notes for your next renovation.

“I fell in love with the views and the midcentury feel of this home and purchased it to flip,” says interior designer Hollis LaPlante. “The original owners custom built the house in 1957 where they raised their five kids. They renovated the kitchen in the 80's, however the room still felt dark and shut off from the rest of the home. I saw the potential and the need to make it more synonymous with the style of the house.”

Meet the Expert

Interior designer Hollis LaPlante, co-owner of Hollis Jordyn Design in Los Angeles, California, combines her love of prints, bold colors, and playful textures with a laid-back California vibe, resulting in designs that are elevated, fresh, and transformative.


outdated 80's Los Angeles kitchen

Courtesy of Hollis LaPlante

“Like most galley kitchens, there was limited natural light and the space was very narrow and walled off from the rest of the home,” shares interior designer Hollis LaPlante. “The beige tile countertops and flooring were dated as were the appliances, lighting and window treatments.”


updated midcentury los angeles home

Design: Hollis LaPlante; Photo: Gavin Cater

“My goal was to create a bright and open floor plan with great flow to encourage entertaining,” says LaPlante. “It was important the details—including the cabinetry and lighting—reflect the home’s midcentury’s roots.”

What Changed:

  • Color theme: Earthy cool tones provide a backdrop to the blues and greens in the room.
  • Cabinets: To-the-ceiling walnut flat panel cabinets disguise the panel-ready appliances and feature knob shaped bronzed hardware. 
  • Pedants: Light fixtures over the island reflect a vintage midcentury Danish design.
  • Backsplash: The milky white textured Japanese tile is both geometric and sculptural.  
  • Countertops: Honed white marble countertops feature a soft feathered gray veining. 
  • Center island: The stone and wood on the waterfall island speak to the earthy nature of the kitchen, while a deep stainless steel undermount sink features a pullout faucet.  
  • Floating shelves: Floating shelves display pottery and art while opening up the area around the windows.
  • Ceiling: A skylight provides additional lighting while wood beams on the ceiling play into the midcentury design. 
  • Floors: Five-inch engineered oak floor planks blend in with the cabinets. 
  • Table: A 60” wood veneer walnut-stained circular table promotes conversation. 
  • Chairs: Black leather seats make for comfortable sitting on these midcentury modern styled walnut framed chairs.
  • Rugs: A white and black diamond patterned low pile rug adds movement to the floor.
  • Wall color: The walls were painted a bright white (Benjamin Moore Simply White) to provide a fresh contrast against the dark cabinets and floors,
  • Window: The window was kept bare to keep the pool and gardens in sight.
  • Plant: Pops of greenery work with the room’s earthy tones. 

Shop the Look:

earthy and bright los angeles kitchen

Design: Hollis LaPlante; Photo: Gavin Cater

TAIKO Glazed Stoneware Tile
Wa-Kei Dunewood Whitewashed Dining Table Price Upon Request

“I love the sculptural feel of textured tile and how it changes as natural light moves in and out of a room,” shares LaPlante.

PH 4/3 Pendant
Lumens PH 4/3 Pendant $768.00

“This pendant’s curves and layered shapes provide a space-age feel,” says LaPlante.

44in Tall Fiddle Woven Basket
Marshalls 44in Fiddle in Woven Basket $69.99

“Whether real or faux, a green plant placed in a colorful planter is an easy way to feature nature in a kitchen,” says LaPlante.