“Girls” star, Lena Dunham, recently purchased a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 1920s home near Los Angeles’ Sunset Boulevard for $2.725 million. Learn more from Pro.com’s resident Pro, Jason Kyser, on how you can replicate Dunham’s kitchen on a budget.
The beauty of Lena Dunham’s craftsman style house is that it is ageless. The simplicity of its decor and minimal color tones all but guarantee this style of home will retain its value. This doesn’t mean her home is boring – far from it. Although Dunham’s home is not overly trendy – she’s put a modern twist on a classic style by using things like circus tent rugs, which adds flare to the simplicity of her kitchen.
To begin, the countertop and backsplash are made from full slabs of Carrara marble stone, and the result is understated, and natural stone will always be in style. Instead of overlay cabinets, the woodwork on the inset doors and drawers give her cabinetry an actual furniture look and feel. As a woodworker, I love the preciseness of the reveal on the doors and drawer fronts, and it speaks to the elegance and quality typically found in hand-crafted furniture. Dunham’s are custom-made, however, it’s become popular to buy old dressers and repurpose them for both kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, giving an “artsy” twist on repurposing.
Installation of custom cabinets will not be labor intensive, around $2,500 for this sized kitchen. It is always a great surprise to demo old ceiling tiles or plasterboard and uncover original beadboard. Beadboard was widely used as a wall and ceiling surface from the 1880s – 1930s, and has never really gone too far out of style. However, this was most likely installed on Dunham’s ceiling during a remodel and can be quite labor intensive. The cost for edge-matched tongue and groove beadboard ceilings is quite pricey.
Dunham has made an investment into high-end appliances, a Viking range and hood, which will always be in style. Or, you can go the vintage route and re-enamel an old O’keefe and Merritt, or Wedgewood stove, in a cobalt blue, for example, to give the kitchen some color. The light fixtures are vintage marine pendants and repurposed, making them both unique and timeless. She also has recessed lighting embedded in the beadboard ceiling. Labor for installing the electrical components will run around $2,000. The subway tiles on the walls are also classic and will cost about $1,200 to install.
Another modern spin to an item that has been around the block is Dunham’s porcelain farmhouse sink. Her dishwasher, made by Fisher Paykel, is a current trend, but being high-end, it will hold style value. Labor for plumbing should run you around $1,500. Finally, Dunham’s floors are also a modern take on something old. Many people have wood floors, however, Dunham’s are simply old floorboards. This is a style commonly found in the U.K. where the floorboards are simply sanded and finished. Then, a final artsy finish to the floor are the repurposed floor mats made out of wax canvas carnival tent.
The simplicity of Dunham’s kitchen speaks to its timelessness, and because it’s so simple, light and airy – you can easily add accent flares without being too trendy. To find out how to replicate Dunham’s kitchen on a budget, and to learn more about the costs for labor, continue reading below.
About the Author
Jason Kyser is the Pro Expert at Pro.com, and owner/operator of Kyser Construction, LLC. Jason is a home remodel expert and cabinet-maker. His love for woodworking began from a family friend’s remodel, transforming a run-down apartment into Grade A property. Jason loves working with raw materials and fashioning them into an amazing finished product. Pro.com is able to leverage Jason’s 15 years of general contracting experience as its in-house pro expert. Jason is a father to a lovely daughter, has a pilot’s license, was a snowboarding instructor at Heavenly in Tahoe, and has practiced general contracting on two continents.