For today’s Behind the Design, we sat down with Yana of MIF Design to discuss what it takes to design a bright and airy kitchen for a client. Follow along below to learn how Yana and team brought this NYC-townhouse inspired kitchen to life.

Tell me about your role and a little about MIF Design.  

MIF Design is a full-service design and build firm based in Ridgewood, NJ. The MIF team is led by me and my husband, Mike. We’re a husband-and-wife duo who are simultaneously obsessed with each element of both the build and design phases.

Walk me through your process of working with clients to bring their design goals to life.

At MIF, we excel at delivering custom-crafted builds and remodels — from blueprint plans, to final designs. We uniquely own every step of the process, beginning with finding the right homes for our clients, to the remodel, to building homes from the ground up, to overall project management and finally, sourcing all the shiny finishes and materials that are truly unique to each project. We operate seamlessly across a team of trusted tradesmen to deliver curated craftsmanship, underpinned with a simplified and (dare we say) fun experience.

We absolutely love understanding what matters most to our clients and translating that vision into spaces that fit their needs, dreams, and lifestyles.

What was the inspiration behind this design? 

The goal for this renovation was to achieve a New York City townhouse vibe while maintaining the traditional East Coast style.

What are your top three tips for creating a space that is bright and airy?

Number One: Natural light is everything! Add windows whenever possible.

Number Two: If adding windows is not an option, incorporate open shelving. This feature creates an open effect without the need for installing windows.

Number 3: Opt for lighter cabinets for the perimeter of the space, and add color to the island. Keeping the space overall light and bright while adding a unique element to the island keeps the design interesting, yet airy.

How do you select home appliances that cater to this design aesthetic?

The core of our brand is creating a space that’s beautiful and functional. We have always loved Thermador appliances for their aesthetic and functionality. For our clients who love to cook, it’s our go-to brand because of its quality, customization and handcrafted look and design.

Are there any design elements that are “must-haves” for a bright and light kitchen?

Absolutely! First, you need to get as much natural light into the space as possible. Open concepts, spacious rooms, tall ceilings and ample windows make the room feel larger, brighter and airier.

Next, it’s important to add depth with varied materials. For example, mixing wooden elements with metals, or playing with textures and colors, helps provide depth and interest so the eye doesn’t get lost looking in a sea of white.

Lastly, balancing cabinets with open shelving is pivotal. Not only do the shelves help display your favorite cookware and décor, they also give an open and organic effect to the space. Coupled with the clean look of cabinets, with the ability to hide less-sightly kitchen objects, this trick is key.

What are the most common client requests when it comes to designing their ideal kitchen?

Our number one client request for an ideal kitchen is more storage! Walk-in pantries and making use of ancillary spaces not only gives the illusion of a more open and airy space, but it also affords the homeowners the space they need. When that’s not an option, cabinets that maximize storage are a must-have.

People also commonly ask for kitchen islands. The island can serve as a space to gather, prep food, display or serve meals, and has become a mainstay in modern homes, especially for families.

Lastly, people are looking for an eat-in area in their kitchens. Whether that is a small breakfast nook, or a full kitchen table, they want to be able to gather.

Anything else to share?

Kitchens have always been our absolute favorite spaces to design. Every kitchen is an opportunity to create a harmonious blend of beauty and function. We offer full kitchen design and installation within Bergen County, NJ and virtual kitchen design and material sourcing across the U.S. Our goal is to make sure that each design and finish complements the final vision for a custom kitchen you will be in love with.

Want to learn more about MIF Design? Follow their Instagram, @mif_design.

Photos by @lindapordonphotography.