When Emma Chapman and her husband, Trey, bought their 1960s Missouri ranch-style home in 2015, they could see beyond the kitchen’s dark distressed cabinets and brown granite counters. With its lofty ceilings, real copper accents, and adjacent dining area for easy entertaining, the place had potential.
Since then, Emma has been busy—she opened a tiki bar and cowrote a cookbook, in addition to crafting projects for A Beautiful Mess, her blog and lifestyle company—so she has made the space her own little by little.
The work happened over about two years. First, Emma and Trey had the cabinetry painted white, replaced the granite with hearty acrylic, and tackled a backsplash tiling job together. Emma fell hard for a graphic hand-patterned wallpaper for the dining room buffet and doubled down by using the scraps on the kitchen island.
Related Recipe: Emma Chapman's Chipotle–Sweet Potato Soup
It was important for her to choose materials that work well with her lifestyle. "I cook beets, I drink red wine, so fussy surfaces aren't for me," says Emma. "That's why we chose marble for the backsplash, not the counters."
The existing dark floors just didn’t jibe with their vibe, so the couple pulled the trigger on light-toned laminate to warm things up. Emma also took the bottom cupboards back to black for contrast and went all in on copper as her accent color. “Not sure I’m done making changes,” says Emma. “But the kitchen now feels more like me.”
To complement her new floors, Emma stained the plank ceilings by hand in Minwax’s Marshmallow color. “Our house is wood on wood, so light finishes help break up the heaviness,” she says.
The project required renting scaffolding and working nights for two weeks straight. The dining table with copper pipe legs had been made for a how-to post on her blog.
By removing the doors on an existing built-in, Emma created an open-shelving niche that makes serveware easy to grab. Pottok’s Hands wallpaper gives the piece personality.
Food isn’t the main focus of A Beautiful Mess, but Emma is an avid home cook so a cookbook seemed like the next step.
"My cookbook, Weekday Weekend, is about balance and thinking of food as fuel," says Emma. "But you have to treat yourself, too."
Weekday Weekend, which came out in late 2017 and is available on Amazon, is intended to be a healthy-eating challenge. “You eat according to five rules for five consecutive weekdays,” says Emma. “On the weekend, you indulge a bit.”
Chipotle–Sweet Potato Soup
The book includes 75 mostly plant-based recipes, from full meals, like this sweet potato soup, to snacks, sweets, and cocktails.
Recipe: Try Emma's Chipotle–Sweet Potato Soup