A Design Insider’s Dream Kitchen

A bold backsplash takes center stage in this stunning Oregon remodel.

Written by Juno DeMelo

Design by Sunday House Design

Photography by Kaitlin Green



Like a lot of homeowners embarking on a renovation, Hayley Hartlaub had decision paralysis. But in her case, it was particularly acute.

That’s because Hayley heads up the influencer/brand ambassador program and at Ann Sacks, where she works closely with some of the top designers from around the country to highlight their projects. “I see the best of the best all the time,” she says. “I’m literally surrounded by good design. So, when it came time to decide what would work for my kitchen, I really needed the help of a designer.”

Her Oregon home, built in 2003, had a builder-grade kitchen that was all the wrong shades of brown, dark, and “not functional at all,” she says. “I honestly did not want to cook in there, so I never did.” After seven years of trying to make it work, Hayley finally pulled the trigger and hired an interior designer whose timeless designs she’d long been a fan of: Noelle Harvey, the founder and principal designer of Sunday House, an interior design studio based in Portland.

To inject functionality into the kitchen, they decided to turn the underutilized pantry area into a fridge wall, increase the size of the kitchen island, and add two appliance garages, opening the space up.

One thing Hayley knew for sure: She wanted the Ann Sacks Mia marble slab to guide the design. “That was one of the first decisions we made, which is so unique,” she says. “I was able to narrow down hundreds of options because I knew I wanted to use a natural stone, and the Mia is exclusive to Ann Sacks, so it’s a very special stone.”

Noelle was on board immediately. “We didn’t exactly know whether the slab was going high or halfway or being used as countertop,” she says. “We were playing with ideas, but we knew that slab would be the star of the show.” Pulling from the slab’s greenish-gray tones, they kept the color of the island and perimeter cabinets soft and plastered the minimalist range hood the same color as the wall. “The hood is a little bit textured and the slightest bit rustic,” says Noelle. “It’s an extremely subtle detail.”

That detail was one of many that Noelle zeroed in on. “We wanted to create this perfect harmony of a lot of intentional decisions that make a bigger impact instead of going really bold with one item,” she says. Other details included custom cabinetry, unlacquered brass hardware that would patina over time—offset by a black faucet to ground the space—and, of course, tile.

“We had planned to use the Mia behind the bar area, but we ran out, which actually ended up being a happy accident,” says Hayley. Instead, they opted for the Savoy Ribbed tile in Linen, which complemented the Mia and allowed them to bring in more texture.

In the pantry, they used Ann Sacks Kelly Wearstler Liaison mosaic tile on the floor. Hayley, who jokingly refers to herself as a “bit of a tile hoarder,” had some in her garage that she showed to Noelle. “I had originally planned on checkerboard, but Noelle convinced me that a bolder tile would work in the pantry, which is a fun place to take a risk,” she says. “Plus, I knew I had to have some Kelly Wearstler in my house.” The tile worked so well, they purposely left the door off the pantry to showcase the space.

And what about the Mia slab? It ended up taking center stage not only as the backsplash, but also as a shelf. “We had to reinforce the studs and make them bigger and longer,” says Noelle. “Our trades kept saying it wasn’t possible, but we pushed back and they figured it out—and it’s by far one of my favorite aspects. When designing a kitchen, you need these sweet little moments, and it’s nice to have a shelf to showcase a few special things on: a candlestick, a salt-and-pepper situation, a still life.”

Now, Hayley actually cooks in her kitchen. “We managed to improve the functionality so much without really changing the layout, that now it’s my favorite place to be,” she says.

She loves to host too. Hayley has an open floor plan, and in addition to renovating the kitchen, Sunday House also updated the living room, refreshing the built ins; installing a custom cast-stone fireplace; replacing the flooring; and bringing in all new furniture, including a custom sofa. “We have two young boys, and the materials are all super durable,” says Hayley. “The whole space isn’t too precious, we can host the super bowl here or a nice Christmas dinner.”

Hayley’s not the only one enamored with the final result. “It’s a brand-new kitchen, but it doesn’t look brand-new,” says Noelle. “It looks like it’s aged with the home, which is always our goal.” In fact, she says that among the kitchens she’s designed, Hayley’s is one of her favorites.

Noelle chalks the project’s success up to trust. “A lot of times clients want to trust their designer fully, but they just can’t quite get there,” she says. “Hayley completely trusted us, and that really allowed us to flex our creative vision to bring our concept into reality.”

June 14th, 2024

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