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specs+spaces

Sweet Laurel Cottage: A Study in English Color

Design Trends

In the midst of writing cookbooks, creating curated home designs, and creating content for her business, Claire Thomas, of The Kitchy Kitchen fame, found time to design her friend’s home. Laurel Gallucci, co-owner with Thomas at Sweet Laurel, wanted her home to tie into the business; a seamless design aesthetic for work and play. With a strong Dunn-Edwards color palette to tie everything together, I recently discussed the project’s process, inspiration and outcome with Thomas.

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Please explain the reason behind setting up Sweet Laurel Cottage and how it ties to Sweet Laurel, the bakery.
Sweet Laurel Cottage is Laurel’s home, and we knew the kitchen and garden would be a backdrop for our cookbooks, events and content creation, so we wanted her home and the cake shop to relate to each other.

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Describe the home’s design aesthetic and the Dunn-Edwards colors you used.
Surrey meets Santa Monica is the aesthetic.There are a lot of English countryside touches, from the rose-laden archways to the pink plaster, that give it a timeless look. I wanted to pull in antiques and old-world touches, but without it feeling too fussy or covered in doilies. So I relied on classic forms and rich colors to give the space a sense of permanence but combined with an easy, laid-back style. In the kitchen, we used Light Pine (DE5535), a gorgeous soft green, and in the master bathroom, we used Mission Jewel (DET539), one of my favorite Dunn-Edwards colors. It’s so rich and gorgeous.

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Were there any challenges or hurdles you had to overcome during the design process?
There’s an instinct in modern home design to remove every wall because it creates the feeling of a large open space. I prefer geography in a home—where a room has an express purpose. I’m also such a messy cook that I usually want the kitchen hidden away so I don’t have to stress about dishes every time guests come over. So with Laurel’s home, there was some debate over how open it should be. We decided to add a small wall at the entry to create a bit of privacy as you enter the home and also help with
the geography.

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What’s your favorite space in the home and why?
I adore the kitchen—it’s such a showstopper. My background is in production, where I work as a director and, for most of my shoots, I have to design a kitchen and dining room. So for me, it was really important that
Laurel’s kitchen not only work for her as a home cook but also as a beautiful production space. I’m pleased to say that the Sweet Laurel Cottage kitchen has been used on numerous shoots.

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What’s been the outcome of the finished design? Is Laurel continuing to enjoy the space?
Laurel loves it! And I have to say, both the kitchen the bathroom get plenty of use, but the spaces still look gorgeous.

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Would you have done anything different in terms of the design if you had to do it again?
Oh, there’s always a million little things you think of along the way but, the truth is, with big reno projects, you have to make snap decisions on your feet as challenges present themselves. It’s so different from a new build, where you’re determining everything. With a renovation, you don’t really know what’s lurking inside the walls or under the floorboards until you get going, so the key is to stay flexible and undaunted.

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Read more about Claire’s work and the bakery on Sweet Laurel, and check out her 1940s home, a recent Venice Cottage remodel she designed, and a recent desert home project called Oeste.

All images courtesy of Claire Thomas