Rooms We Love: A Place With Taste

San Juan Capistrano interior designer shares the process behind creating her unique kitchen.
Photo by Emily J. Davis

Having grown up with a mom in design, Mikaela Greiner’s passion for creating spaces started at a young age. Her goal for her kitchen was to make it innovative and comfortable while staying true to her style rather than a reflection of trends. In addition, almost every piece in her kitchen, except for the pendant, was thrifted. “The ultimate space comes together really well (when you thrift),” Greiner says. “Everything that you’ve found was something that popped out at you, so collectively it really represents your eye.”

Greiner suggests either finding a piece of art, sourcing furniture, or even thinking of a color you love as a starting point to your design, rather than looking on social media for trends. “You have to figure out, is this something I like for myself or is this just something I’ve seen over and over again?” Greiner says. “I don’t try to home in on one style, but rather figure out what pieces blend best; it’s really about the materials and the tone and the direction of things. You can start with a certain material or a sofa or whatever it may be and then find pieces that complement it.”

Greiner enjoys the psychology aspect behind helping a client, whether it’s getting to know the client’s taste outside of the home, such as hobbies and fashion styles, or moving pieces around to restructure a space in a new way. “It’s not just about making something pretty; it’s truly about changing the dynamics of a room,” Greiner says. “You can make someone feel comfortable or not based on dimensions, colors, spacing, and pathways.”

  • Chairs: “I love the metal framing and the color of the green; it’s like a sage, avocado, muddled green.”
  • Pendant: “(The designer went) to a fashion show and thought this emulated a dress that flowed down the runway,” Greiner says. “I love how he created it to capture movement. It’s elegant and formal but also really casual with the material that’s used, which is banana leaf—one of the most sustainable materials you can use.”
  • Bowl: “I was on a surf trip in Mexico and got this from a vendor.”
  • Counter and backsplash: “I love all the veins—there’s green and rust. Every accent color I’d want to introduce is in there.”
  • Cabinets: “Keeping it flush feels more modern and balances the old-world feel of the stone and the slab.”
  • Floors: “Every kitchen that I’ve been drawn to, I’ve found the common denominator was a unique floor.”

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