The problem

With her restaurant days behind her, a chef was looking for a fresh take on her 20-year-old kitchen.

The solution

Designer Candice Olson was able to take advantage of the kitchen's good bones — a functional U-shaped configuration and an island worktop — in this cosmetic makeover.

How it happened

• The existing cabinetry was plentiful and functional, so Olson simply removed the old doors and refaced the cabinets. Upper cupboard doors were custom constructed from an off-white sprayed medium-density fibreboard (MDF) in a Shaker style, with the accent of four glass doors creating the illusion of spaciousness, while displaying some of the owner's best china. Lower cabinet doors were made from a rich, dark walnut that is topped with a durable new gray quartz countertop, and a Carrara marble octagonal tile backsplash.

• Shiny new stainless steel double sink and a gooseneck faucet are complemented by brand-new stainless steel appliances, including a gas range at the chef's request.

• Crown and panel molding was added throughout the kitchen and bulkhead as well as the dining area, adding an elegant touch.

• Two comfortable gray high-back chairs flank a wooden table; additional seating is available on white painted benches topped with two-toned custom-made cushions and on stools around the island.

• A cheerful yellow, chartreuse and white traditional ikat fabric was chosen for the custom draperies, and that same yellow is picked up throughout this space in various accents — tea kettle, napkins and dish towels.

• Illumination is provided by recessed ceiling lights, under-cabinet fixtures, pendants over the island, and a polished nickel chandelier centered within a ceiling medallion over the dining table.

Best trick

In a nod toward the chef's restaurant days, a customized blackboard advertises the daily specials.

Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service. Interior decorator Candice Olson hosts "Candice Tells All," which appears on HGTV.