When Lee Mayer moved into a classic Hilltop Tudor in 2018, she knew the home’s dated, Tuscan-villa-esque finishes had to go. The heavy maple cabinetry in the kitchen was especially egregious. “For me, that was a hard no,” says Mayer, the co-founder and CEO of Denver-based design-tech firm Havenly. “I wanted our home to feel more Pacific Coast than Tuscan valley.”

So in 2018, Havenly’s vice president of creative and design, Shelby Girard, helped overhaul the kitchen with what Mayer calls a Cali-cool aesthetic. “It’s the design equivalent of a breezy ivory linen dress and an effortlessly messy bun,” Mayer says. In kitchen terms, that translates to clean white cabinetry and marble surfaces with inviting, unpretentious accents. “There’s some debate about whether the all-white kitchen is out,” she says. “I firmly believe it’s timeless. The trick is to weave in contrasting elements to create depth and warmth.” For Mayer’s crisp-white kitchen, that meant incorporating natural-wood textures [such as serving bowls, cutting boards, and barstools], brass hardware and lighting, and oatmeal-colored linen Roman shades.

The transformation reflects one of Havenly’s founding principles: Beautiful design should be attainable without spending a fortune. “One of the best ways to maximize any design budget is to know where to save and splurge for eye-catching impact,” Mayer says. “We went more cost-effective with the cabinets, lighting, and styling, but opted for the marble countertops to give it a really elevated aesthetic.”

Photo by Kylie Fitts

Quick Tip

If you have a clean backdrop, display your culinary sundries—think: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, spaghetti, or lemons—out in the open on an island countertop. “Spring for some lovely glass containers, wooden spoons, and other kitchenware,” Mayer says, “to make everyday moments feel more intentional.”