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Designer Spotlights

Leslie Murchie's Midcentury Ranch

By Lindsey |

Bigger doesn't always mean better. Interior Designer Leslie Murchie Cascino takes us inside her recent Midcentury remodel where going smaller in the kitchen actually improved her home's functionality and flow. 

For a look like Leslie's, try Gypsum 3x12 in a straight stack! 


Tile Shown: 3x12 in Gypsum // Design + Photos: Leslie Murchie Cascino

About Leslie:

My style can be described as... Probably somewhere in the "transitional eclectic" ballpark. I love a wide range of styles and find that combining them keeps my spaces more approachable.
My design philosophy is… I am a sort of minimal-maximalist. I think we should be surrounded by the things we love, but there comes a point when collections become clutter (which I believe clutters more than just the space you live in!).
I got my start… When I moved to San Francisco! I had been obsessed with design and found myself spending all of my free time consuming blogs and images all over the internet-- reading articles and magazines and just absorbing anything I could. Since my finance job couldn't translate to a remote position when I moved from Chicago, I took courses through UC Berkeley Extension and knew immediately design was the right direction for me.
I find inspiration in… As cheesy as it sounds, in just about everything! My mind is always tuned into design in any environment I'm in so it's more a matter of turning it off rather than seeking inspiration.
I can’t live without… Variation! I'm always looking for a mix of color, pattern, and texture. 
My best design advice would be… Gather your inspiration and figure out your end goal. When making selections you always ask the question 'does this piece support my desired conclusion?' 
I love Tile because… There is so much opportunity for creativity if you see each element of tile selection as a building block for something incredibly cool for your project.  

Tell us more about your recent kitchen remodel!
The general story for my house is that it's a Midcentury ranch that had been renovated in the mid-90s to tastes of the time. My aim was to renovate the home in a fashion true to the original style without taking the approach that it needed to be a time capsule or a faithful recreation of the original (for which we didn't have a reference anyway). We made some rearrangements to the layout to update function for a modern family by reallocating square footage in the main living and dining areas. We shrunk the actual square footage of the kitchen but managed to maintain the same volume of storage, but in a layout that we found to be more functional. We fixed the problem of having not enough room between the wall and base cabinets so that we could actually use the back burners to cook dinner. 

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How did you find Fireclay?
I heard about Fireclay through design school. It was probably my first time visiting the San Francisco Design Center and we went to the Fireclay showroom to be introduced to their products. It was both exciting and overwhelming when I was there. Doing my first project with Fireclay was great because of the hands-on involvement my Design Consultant, Brittany took with me. She helped to review my detail drawings and supported me through selecting the various trim pieces I required. 

What type of look or aesthetic were you going for in your kitchen remodel?
Updated Midcentury Modern - in overall aesthetic and principle of Midcentury design, but practical for the given space, ultimate users, and contemporary materials. 

How did you come up with your kitchen color scheme and design?
The kitchen was driven by two elements - the walnut cabinets and the discovery of the incredibly wild island countertop quartzite. From there, all the other materials needed to play a supporting role in the design. Gypsum matched the cool gray-blue found in the island countertop. It's cool tones also helped to balance the warmth from both wood tones happening in the area - walnut veneer cabinets, and red oak floors. Choosing 3x12 for the backsplash was a nice way to play with tile sizes generally used for backsplashes without being too oversized.

How did the installation process go for you?
The installer had never worked with a product exactly like Fireclay Tile before so I reviewed with him that he needed to remove the tile from the box and basically mix them all up to more evenly distribute the color variations. It required more labor for my installer, but the extra effort was worth it.

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How was designing for your own home?
It was great, but I think it was easier to make design decisions once I set the direction that the design had to be true to the home rather than my tastes specifically. If I made selections that were a fit generally for a contemporary Midcentury home that functioned well for a family then I knew I was on the right track. I thought of my occupation of the home as just one in a line of many to come after me - so I was only half designing for me. The flip side to that philosophy though meant that all the furniture was more a true reflection of my design style, which made it a little more difficult to pull the trigger.

Loving Leslie's style? Check out her recent bathroom renovation which features our 2x6 tiles in Moonshine 

Need some help? Simply call, chat or fill out our Design Assistance Form and one of our talented Design Consultants will get back to you shortly. 

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