Designer Lisa Miao Pulls off a Dramatic Kitchen Makeover

Dark cabinets and Calacatta marble? Yes, please.

Lisa Miao

Photo by Tony Luong

When Lisa Miao, who had been living in London for six years, learned that her husband’s job would take their growing family back to Boston, she hustled to redesign the South End condo they’d left behind. The kitchen, an outdated room with salmon-colored cabinetry, was particularly in need of a new look. Knowing she would stick to neutrals in the adjacent living room, the interior designer wanted striking stone slabs to be the centerpiece of the space. Stack + Co., the contractor overseeing the project, suggested Calacatta Moonlight. Miao loved it. “The [marble] looks like someone spilled ink on it,” she says. “It reminds me of a Chinese painting.”

With the stone as the starting point, Miao chose Farrow & Ball’s “Down Pipe” for the island and the new Shaker-style cabinet fronts. She designed from afar without hesitation. “The stone was perfect, so I knew if I got the paint color within a certain range it would work,” Miao says. Angular Schoolhouse pendant lights provide a sharp counterpoint to the waviness of the stone, while wood stools add warmth. “We sit in our living room, which is monochromatic, and stare at the stone,” Miao says. “All the drama is in the kitchen.”