In her own kitchen, St. Louis designer Megan Temple stuck with a bold first color choice—and followed her style instincts for the rest.

Love at first sight? Hardly. "I hate it, but we'll take it." Designer Megan Temple laughs as she recalls her words while first touring the 1990s Colonial in suburban St. Louis she bought seven years ago. The house wasn't her jam, but the walkable town of Kirkwood was, so Temple went into fix-it mode and moved the kitchen from the center of the house to the side to gain more living space. With a blank slate to fill, Temple didn't play it safe.

"My style is pretty eclectic," she says. "I love black, and knew I wanted black cabinetry." Though the cabinetmakers tried to talk her out of it, her dramatic choice snowballed into a showstopper of a room. "Trust your gut and do something that represents you," Temple says, "even if it's a little different."

dark kitchen brown bar stools
Credit: Jeannie Liautaud

Standout Design Moves

Designer Megan Temple employed these design choices to help her space live large in all the right ways.

Black Cabinets

The black kitchen cabinets and matching tile set a daringly elegant tone. Temple says she's always liked things that are a bit unconventional. A childhood friend told her, "You never really were a white cabinet kind of girl."

Contrasting Quartz

Adding an island was a high priority. Like the perimeter counters, its top is white-and-gray quartz to contrast with all the black. The quartz runs up the range wall for a seamless look.

Vertical Tile

Temple placed subway tile vertically on the backsplash of her kitchen. It creates a custom look with a standard shape and helps balance the space's strong horizontal lines.

Opening Moves

Temple relocated the kitchen to the old living room and opened the cook space to an eating area. Ghost chairs pull up to a mod table in this favorite family haunt.

open kitchen living room black cabinets
Credit: Jeannie Liautaud

Get the Look

dhara stripe printed fabric
Credit: Courtesy of Thibaut


Dhara Stripe Printed Fabric in Beige and Black. $128 per yard at Thibaut Design.

edendale angled clear glass pendant in brass
Credit: Courtesy of Rejuvenation


Similar: Edendale Angled Clear Glass Pendant in Brass, $409 at Rejuvenation.

east linear pull-down faucet in satin bronze
Credit: Courtesy of Newport Brass


East Linear Pull-Down Faucet in Satin Bronze. $1,568 at Newport Brass

square bars in brushed brass
Credit: Courtesy of Lewis Dolin


Square Bars in Brushed Brass. From $9 at Lewis Dolin

zellige in scribes ink in gloss tiles
Credit: Courtesy of Cle


Zellige in Scribes' Ink in Gloss. $20 per square foot at Clé Tile

Expert Advice for Remodeling a Kitchen on a Budget

Megan Temple shares her favorite money-saving design tips.

Shop Outlets and Big-Box Stores

I tell all my clients that Pottery Barn Outlet carries stuff that is currently in their [full-price] stores. Home Depot has upped their game online. Shades of Light is a great resource for lighting with a lot of entry-level price points. My leather bar stools are from CB2.

Worth-It Upgrade

Under-cabinet lighting is really important; we use it on every project . And it's not expensive—here in St. Louis, you can get little strips at Metro Lighting for about $25.

Stay Versatile

Always buy furniture and accessories you can move to other rooms later. Bring it in for six months, then move it. I don't spend money on something if it can't be used somewhere else down the road.