By: Holly Pembroke • Interior Decorator • Middlesex, VT.

This time of year when the cold makes you want to hibernate and we all dream of flying away to an exotic beach, I crave hearty meals and retreat to my kitchen to cook and bake so I can fill the house with good smells and warmth.

Our old farmhouse kitchen is cold in the winter and nothing warms it up like cooking, baking, and decorating with plants. I added a mini Lemon Cypress tree to our kitchen counter to make it a bit cozier and remind myself of summer. Let’s talk about more ways to keep your kitchen fresh and inviting this year.

Creating a beautiful and functional kitchen can be overwhelming and often not seen as a priority. Here are a few steps to help the job feel more manageable.

Declutter Cabinets, Shelves, and Counters

Create three boxes: Donate, Throw Away, and Relocate

If you haven’t used something in a year or have multiples of items, those are good signs that they don’t need to stay in your kitchen. How many plates does your family really use? When was the last time you used that novelty mug? How did you end up with six containers of nutmeg?

From there, you can decide if it’s something to donate, throw away, or just relocate to a different place in your house. You’ll be shocked to find canned goods, toys, and other odds and ends you would have never dreamed had been taking up valuable cabinet space.

Repaint Walls, Cabinets, and Trim

Let’s talk about paint. Do you want to brighten up your walls? Change the color of your trim? Paint the cabinets?

A new wall color can make your kitchen feel so modern and updated. Picking the right paint color is one of the best updates in a house. You don’t need to install brand new cabinets to get the look you’ve been dreaming of. Often times, a fresh coat of paint and new handles can completely change to look and feel of a kitchen.

After the organization and painting is finished, it’s my turn to decorate and simplify.

Adding Personality

I have seen so many kitchens packed with so much “stuff”. This can make the kitchen look and feel messy as well as take away your cooking and prep space. If your cabinets and drawers can’t store everything in your kitchen, you have too much “stuff”.

I want to share a kitchen I recently worked on and share the before and after pictures.

My client Jill Olson reached out to me in the fall and we have been working on an overall plan for her kitchen and living room. It has been such a pleasure to work with Jill and her family and see how the changes in their house have made such a change in their lives.

We used Benjamin Moore Decorators White on the walls and update the island and trim from red to black, (Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black). This simple change made the kitchen feel so modern. Check out the photos below! 

I decorated the walls with a cool clock and a beautiful one of a kind palm painting. I added plants and flowers.  I used baskets, white bowls and replaced plastic storage containers with white and grey ceramic ones.

Jill loves tea and I like to personalize the décor for each client. I found some antique white and gold tea cups for Jill and added some gold spoons.

I mix modern, vintage and rustic to make each space interesting, unique, and functional. Note the shelves, the countertops, and the small changes that have brought so much more functional space to this kitchen. 


From Jill

“My husband and I remodeled the kitchen nearly 20 years ago and spent two decades cooking and baking for our kids, friends and family. It’s always been a space I’ve enjoyed. But I’ve never loved it the way I do now. Holly’s eye for color and beautiful details has transformed it entirely. I could never have imagined the lemons or the clock or the teacups, and yet they’re absolutely perfect.” Jill Olson.


Still looking for more ways to warm up your home this winter? I wanted to share one of my family’s favorite recipe Barefoot Contessa beef bourguignon stew. I serve mine over mashed potato with Red Ben Bakery bread.







I’ve always been passionate about design and how a change in a room can effect positive change in your life.  As an interior decorator, I work collaboratively with clients – many who have busy, chaotic lives – to create peaceful, organized, beautiful, spaces in their homes. I also stage homes for those who are selling, and I love demonstrating how simple changes can increase a home’s value.