Christina Haack Takes Design Notes From a 14-Year-Old

Jerome Powell

Christina Haack of “Christina on the Coast” has a particular style, but she’s not afraid to customize a design for her clients, even if one of them is only 14 years old.

In the episode “Massive Kitchen Makeover,” Haack heads back to her hometown of Yorba Linda, CA, to help Karen and Jason Brazelton and their teenage son, JoJo, update their kitchen and living room. Haack is familiar with not only the area, but also the layout of this house, so she has lots of ideas for making this dated home look more stylish. Still, between Karen’s eclectic style, Jason’s beachy tastes, and JoJo’s bold requests, Haack blows past her $150,000 budget, spending $180,000.

Find out how Haack designs a home that will please parents and teens, and get take-home tips for how to make an old house feel new again.

Don’t limit beachy colors to blue

This dark, old kitchen was due for a makeover.


Jason says he wants the kitchen to have a beachy feel, but he’s disappointed by the samples Haack brings to the house. He doesn’t like the wood flooring she picks out and explains that he wants the kitchen to be filled with more beachy tones like blue and gray.

However, Haack explains that a blue-gray island, gray floor, and gray backsplash would look cold. The kitchen needs an earthier tone in there.

After: Christina Haack proves that a beachy look doesn’t need to include a lot of blues.


“Incorporating the cool tones with the warm is very California contemporary beachy. I have it in my house, too,” Haack says.

Haack assures Jason that a beachy design doesn’t need to center around the color of water, and Jason agrees to the natural-tone wood floors. While the gray cabinets and backsplash prove to be a lot of one color, the wood tone gives the space a natural touch.

It’s a great kitchen that shows how many colors can go into a beachy look.

A beverage center upgrades any kitchen

beverage center
This minifridge and ice machine is a classy, convenient touch for the family.


To finish this kitchen, Karen and Jason ask JoJo if there’s anything he wants in the space. Right away, he says he’d like a drink station.

“We really could do, actually, a minifridge if you guys are open to it. It would look really nice in here,” Haack says, adding that her son has a minifridge where he keeps his pineapple juice.

They end up adding a minifridge and an ice maker, creating a convenient spot for JoJo, his parents, and their guests to make drinks. It’s a fun upgrade that is perfect for a family who loves entertaining.

Use small amounts of bold tile

This fireplace mantel was dated and the built-ins felt dark and heavy.


While Haack works hard to give the kitchen a beach-inspired look, the family room features a fireplace with huge, dark built-in shelves. The color feels heavy, weighing down the room. So Haack suggests upgrading the space with light-colored, open shelving and new cabinets. While Karen and Jason love the idea, they want to make sure their son also has a say in the fireplace design.

JoJo says he wants a gold border around the fireplace, so Haack brings tile options with gold designs. Karen and Jason are worried about the bold look, but Haack settles their nerves.

After: With light, open shelving and gold tile, this fireplace is eye-catching.


“There’s really not that much tile going on, because you have the cabinets and then you have the whole mantel. So really, you’re talking about a very minimal amount of tile,” Haack says.

Once the tile is installed, Jason and Karen are glad they used JoJo’s pick. It’s a unique look that helps the fireplace stand out. It’s proof that it’s OK to go bold when using a small bit of tile.

fireplace tile
This gold tile adds a unique touch without overwhelming the fireplace.


An exterior door makes an unused room feel more welcoming

dining room
This dining room felt a little closed off and much too formal.


To upgrade this home further, Jason and Karen want to turn the dining room windows into a door leading to the backyard. New doors will add more light to the space and make this room a more popular spot, says Haack.

“You would probably use this room more if there [were] doors. Otherwise, I feel like this room is one of those, like, formal dining rooms that don’t get used,” Haack says.

Still, Karen and Jason need to decide what kind of door to put in. Karen likes the idea of French doors, which would cost only $3,000, but Jason wants to expand the opening and put in bi-fold doors, even though they’ll cost a whopping $10,000.

dining room
These doors make the dining room look brighter, and they allow for easy access to the yard.


In the end, they decide to go big with the bi-fold. This upgrade looks great and makes the dining room feel much more welcoming, just as Haack predicted!

It just goes to show that sometimes upgrading a dated formal dining room requires more than new decor. Access to the outdoors can make a stuffy dining room turn into the best spot in the house.

dining room
These doors give the home an indoor-outdoor flow.


Highlight a high ceiling with a statement fireplace

Haack’s clients lets her design this fireplace on her own.


When most of the renovation is finished, Karen and Jason decide to give Haack one last project. While the fireplace in the family room looks great, they want to upgrade the fireplace in the living room, too.

Haack decides to make big changes in this room, building the fireplace up.

“I love the high ceilings. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the front door,” she says. She ends up installing tile all the way up the wall and adding a modern mantel that reaches down to the hearth.

In the end, the fireplace looks great and transforms the room. Its simple design plays off the room’s best feature: the tall ceiling.

This design is chic but also warm and welcoming.


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