A Delightful Condo Kitchen Makeover

To breathe new life into the cooking area, the design team changed the countertops and completed the look with cheerful pops of yellow

Original Article: Tisha Alvarez Styling: Issa Villar Interior Designer: Samantha Hontiveros and Leah Rosal of smth/designs

Those who live in condo units are familiar with the plain cooking areas and cabinets that go with the space upon turnover. While having an “almost complete” kitchen can make moving in easier, there are instances wherein the materials used aren’t built to last. In this condo unit, the cooking area is slowly deteriorating. Since the countertops were made of inexpensive laminate on a wood base, it started to rot. Adding to the uninspired look are the white range hood and the floral tiles used to spruce up the wall.

To give the kitchen the makeover it deserves, Real Living worked with designers who specialize in kitchen design. Samantha Hontiveros and Leah Rosal of smth/designs decided to replace the countertops, the range hood, and the look of the walls. To further inspire the owners to whip up delicious meals, yellow accents were added to the space—making it homey, brighter, and perfect for cooking sessions.

Here are key points to remember if you want to give your kitchen a new look, too:

1. Invest in durable materials.

The standard-issue countertops posed a big problem in the area. Since these were made of laminate, it started to show signs of wear-and-tear after five years. "It's not really advisable to have that material," Samantha shares. While the design team initially planned to install tiles as countertop, the owners wanted to have granite ones—even shouldering the expense for it.

2. Choose a sophisticated color scheme.

To match the deep red shade of the granite countertops, the designers painted the cabinets in dark gray with a hint of white. The chosen color worked well with the stainless steel must-haves incorporated into the area as well.

3. Keep the countertops neat and organized.

The secret to efficient cooking and easy cleanup? A spacious countertop that's clean! Before the makeover, tons of bottles, food items, and other knickknacks were eating too much space—resulting in a cluttered look and no room for essentials. To turn things around, the designers installed wall-mounted storage pieces to keep it spic-and-span. A basket was also added for fruits and other ingredients.

Designer's Tip: "If [you] have open shelves, you can conceal them," shares Samantha. An open shelf can get messy and add to the cramped look of your kitchen. Keep it organized by limiting the number of items on display. It's also best to keep pantry items, dinnerware, and utensils inside cabinets.

4. Pick sleek appliances.

Aside from the countertops and dated tiles, the kitchen came with a white and bulky range hood. "We wanted the stainless [finish] to match the gray and silver, plus pinalitan namin with a sleeker one. 'Yung clearance [between the stove and the range hood], mas malaki," explains Samantha. True enough, the range hood from ELBA is the missing puzzle piece needed to complete the kitchen.

The new appliance enabled the designers to add a spot for frequently used utensils and tools. A slim and sturdy rod holds these must-haves in place while keeping the look tidy.

For a list of ELBA appliances, click here.

5. Update the backsplash.

Prior to the makeover, tiles with floral patterns were used as borders and accents to create a country-inspired look. To improve the wall, the designers brought in tiles with a shiny finish that's similar to Graphicoat. "We couldn't do much with the layout—we could only tweak finishes to make it more modern," they share. The new tiles complemented the color of the cabinets and made the countertops stand out.

Find similar tiles at Wilcon Depot. Click here for a list of branches.

6. Don't forget the accent pieces.

A pop of color can do wonders in a space. To work with the color of the cabinets and to liven up the kitchen, the designers chose to add essentials and accessories in yellow. The color choice proved to be a hit as it gave the cooking area a bright and sunny vibe.

7. Use glass organizers.

To keep the look clean and organized, ingredients and food items are stored in airtight glass containers. These organizers can double as decor as each container adds color to the space, too.

Find similar containers at The Landmark, Ayala Center, Makati City.

Ready for your own makeover? Get in touch with SMTH / designs through Facebook or call (02) 723-1428.

Read the original article ("Counter Attack!") in the August 2008 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

*Ed's note: Final cost does not include designer's fee.

How Much It Costs:

Robinsons Department Store
Plate set, dish drying rack, pots and pans, kitchen towels, utensils, metal rod for utensils, spice rack, vases, glass containers, decor, blender, oven toaster, burger maker - P 19,000
Robinsons Department Store
Plate set, dish drying rack, pots and pans, kitchen towels, utensils, metal rod for utensils, spice rack, vases, glass containers, decor, blender, oven toaster, burger maker - P 19,000
Range hood - P 7,464
Granite top - P 34,500
Metal rod - P 3,064
LSJ Real Estate and Construction Co. Inc.
Carpentry, plumbing, masonry, glass, and painting works - P 24,444
Grand Total:

More on

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An Unfinished House Gets an Extreme Makeover

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