A Kitchen Remodel Centered on Well-Being
Amber Lestrange starts her day when the natural light streams through the sheer curtains. At the end of the day, her kids naturally start to wind down as the sky grows darker. Her family centers much of their life around well-being, from intentionally getting out into the sunshine first thing in the morning for a vitamin D boost, to bringing in as many natural elements as possible into the design of their home.
When looking for a new place to live for her family, she sought out a house that needed a lot of love so they could personalize it and create their own inspiring space to call home. This spot in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, met several criteria, including being the perfect size for the family, on a quiet cul-de-sac, in a neighborhood with their school of choice. And as a bonus, their six-year-old got the pool he really, really wanted.
Acting as their own general contractor, Amber and her husband, Cary, spent just over a year on the renovation. “Light was the number one priority,” Amber says. “We pulled down as many walls as possible to create an open living space downstairs … and the cherry on top: we installed a multi-slide glass door from Marvin. This was one of the biggest game changers when letting in loads of light.”
The existing windows were craftsman style and didn’t match the rest of the house. Working with the original window openings, they also selected a picture window and a glider with bare wood frames to bring warmth to the space.
“We are lucky that the [picture] window has a pretty view to the side yard and is nicely positioned to light up the kitchen table corner,” Amber says. “This is my favorite window in the house. It is so big that it creates this dramatic frame, beckoning the viewer to go outside to experience the yard. It creates a tranquil little nook to enjoy a meal.”
Inspired by eco-chic modular homes and the minimal approach in some Japanese architecture, the couple describe their design style as natural minimalism. There is a lot of wood, natural tones, and textures in the spaces, but you’ll also find some modern accents to balance it all out. Abundant natural light adds warmth to the minimalist aesthetic.
In the kitchen, natural light remained the priority, but they also focused on bringing the outside in with great views and making it as easy as possible to access the outdoors. That’s where the Ultimate Multi-Slide door came in. It was placed where the best view is and in the most central position to the rest of the living room. The door was a must to get the open feel they were going for.
“Light sets an amazing pace for our life,” Amber says. “We start each day sliding through the glass doors to enjoy coffee on our patio. Feeling the fresh air and sunshine first thing creates a quality of life I just couldn't live without!”
As a family that loves to socialize and entertain, an open kitchen that connected with the rest of the living area was very important. And not only do they have a great open space, but it becomes even larger when they open the patio doors to spend time on their daybed or at their outdoor table enjoying a meal.
Amber notes that feeling connected to the outdoors and surrounded by light while being productive in the kitchen is a dream. “The indoor/outdoor living plan really encourages us daily to live our best life,” she says.
With people spending more time at home than ever before this year, Amber and her family feel fortunate to live in a space that uplifts and inspires them.
“Spending as much time as we do in the house these days, the windows and doors have been a game changer,” she says. “We have light filling the house, and, thanks to our views, a serene tone is set each day. Our mental health has never been better despite this crazy world we are living in!”
Photos by Carlos Naude