Morocco Inspires Kitchen Remodel

Designer Laura Umansky remodels a country kitchen with colorful Moroccan-inspired design.
Moroccan Inspired Living Room Connected to Kitchen

Moroccan Inspired Living Room Connected to Kitchen

Photography by Julie Soefer

Photography by Julie Soefer

By: Jen Jafarzadeh L'Italien

Designer Laura Umansky completely transforms a kitchen and family space, creating a Moroccan vibe from a kitchen that used to be French country in style.

She also worked with the existing flooring and cabinetry and kept scale in mind for her tall clients.

What were the main items on the owners' wish list?

The family requested a transformation of their kitchen, from French-country style to colorful Moroccan, while keeping the existing flooring and cabinetry.

The homeowners are also tall, so doorways were raised and the scale of furnishings was considered.

Moroccan Kitchen Transformation

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Patterned Fireplace

A chevron pattern on the fireplace runs from floor to ceiling. The patterned hearth makes an eye-catching focal point that feels very Moroccan in style and color.

Arches and Colors

The soffit over the stool seating area was inspired by the arched doorways of Morocco. Designer Laura Umansky decided on a bold blue color for the doorways and cabinets.

What's New and Old

The furniture piece in the center of the kitchen replaced the old island — it looks like an antique even though it was custom-built for this kitchen. The tiled backsplash has a unique design that feels distinctly Moroccan.

Fireplace Before

It's hard to believe this dark, closed-in family room is the open family space it is now. The traditional fireplace underwent an extreme makeover from traditional country to a modern, chevron hearth.

Original Foundation

Designer Laura Umansky removed the old island, but she did work with the existing appliances, floors and cabinets, which were painted blue to tie in with the Moroccan style of the remodeled space.

How did you address your biggest obstacle in this space?

We kept the kitchen cabinetry intact, but it was a natural pine, which is largely used in French-country interiors. We treated the doors and frames in a wonderfully layered, blue painted finish. We also eliminated the existing island and had a piece of furniture made for the space. It looks like it has been there for 100 years!

What was the main issue you wanted to address for the family?

The big issue was that the kitchen was separated from the family room and dining room. The family requested an open concept for easy entertaining. They also wanted an open floor plan, because they have a young daughter. She can play in the living room while Mom and Dad are in the kitchen. We removed the wall between the family room and kitchen and used a Moroccan motif for the soffit to add definition to the spaces.

How does the end result match up with your original vision?

The result matches perfectly with our vision for the space. Even though we kept the original cabinets and flooring, I don’t feel like the integrity of the design was compromised at all. The family is truly happy with their new space and that is all I can ever ask for.

What surprised you the most about this project?

What surprised me most was how great the cobalt-blue doors turned out. These doors are not just located in the kitchen; we went for it on every interior door along with the exterior trim and shutters. I was a little nervous until it all came together. I will always make bold decisions like this in the future.

What are the "hidden gems"?

We used a lovely piece of furniture that the client had obtained on one of her trips to Morocco. It is located just under the window in the breakfast nook. It is perfect for the space and adds to the collected and layered look that is inherent in Moroccan homes.

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Laura Umansky & Blair Foster

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Laura U Design Studio Allied ASID 4306 Yoakum Blvd. Houston, TX 77006 713-522-0855