A Journey From Blah To Beautiful

Marlene Pratt, a Casa Latina co-founder, believes that designing for a contemporary American lifestyle is much more than changing colors and buying new furniture. It is about integrating the many elements of a person’s life into their home.

When Marlene takes on a project, she does not just redecorate a space; she redesigns a lifestyle. She gets personal in order to understand who you are, where you are in your life, and where you want to go. Marlene works with each person to make their home an expression of who they are, interweaving their passions, beliefs and desires into the home’s fabrics, colors, textures and designs to create an intensely personal, yet functional, space.

Introduction by Nora Maria Diaz Bretherton

In this article Marlene was featured in Family Circle’s magazine:

A dream kitchen on a budget

Before drab wood, fussy wallpaper and clunky ceiling fixtures. Time for all to go!

Updated traditional was the aim of designer Marelene Pratt of The Home Depot, Long Island City, New York, location.

  • Pumpkin paint gives walls a warm note.
  • The taupe cabinetry lightens up the place
  • Stainless-steel appliances blend right in
  • Under-cabinet and recessed ceiling lights are sleek, subtle.

Time to update? This redo will inspire.  We challenged the experts at The Home Depot to use their design-installation expertise and turn a ho-hum kitchen into a beautiful and modern one, without breaking the bank.

The fridge was relocated (see page 120), to fit a larger range, a secondhand find.

  • Silestone counters, a durable mix of manmade and natural material with edges that can be cut to style, look like stone.
  • The lively backsplash is beige and white tumbled-marble tile.
  • For texture and movement, tiles are arranged in a harlequin pattern on top, smaller rows of squares below, and separated by twisted-rope molding.

Before the refrigerator was crammed into a corner and the brown pulled the mood down.

Pratt put the entire wall to work by combining stock cabinetry for a totally custom effect:

  • The darker piece looks like a hutch, with open shelving that can fit even a TV.
  • Glass doors on either side allow for display of collectibles.
  • Two-tone molding tops off the designer look.

Before too much wall space was going to waste. while the microwave ate up countertop space.

To make the most of this area:

  • The new fridge is installed in an existing pantry with storage built around it.
  • French doors, painted white, lend and airy touch.
  • Wide-board flooring makes a rich footnote.
  • Recessed lights replace a fan fixture to lift the ceiling.
  • Base cabinets have angled corners to maximiza traffic flow as well as storage.

Before dark wood, gray linoleum, and a seldom-used table all call for some rethinking.

Pots and pans stay organized and out of sight in the extra-deep drawer of the center cabinet.  A sliver space to the left was captured for a built-in wine cubby that accommodates five bottles.

Planning tips for a pro:

Home Depot designer Marlene Pratt shares her expertise, outlining some key factors to consider when you start out.

  1. Be a savvy client.  Before deciding on a contractor, get referrals from as many peolpe as possible.  Ask to see each candidate’s portafolio to get a picture of his or her results.
  2. Remember, any work that will require tampering with gas lines must get approval from your city and/or county.  Different locales have different building codes, so you’ll need to do your homework.
  3. Consider things that will make it easier to work in your kitchen, and your personal style.  Is the primary cook right- or left- handed?  Is a window over a sink a must?  These will have an impact on the positioning of work areas, built-in appliances, etc.  Are you comfy with clutter?  You might opt for open shelving.  If neatness is key, think solid cabinet doors and a close pantry.
  4. For more aesthetic results, try not to stick to one style.  All contemporary or all traditional can be bland.  Imagine cabinets with crown molding that give them the feel of fine old furniture mixed with modern appliances.  You get the idea.

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