Inspired By: Gloribell Lebron
Learn how the interior designer converted garage space into a dream kitchen
Interior designer Gloribell Lebron was drawn to the charming, vintage details of her 1930s Miami bungalow. She said she fell in love with the archways and brickwork. But, Gloribell wasn’t as smitten with the tiny kitchen — a common feature in homes of that era.
“I’ve always been inspired by old photos. Those that speak of a time long gone but that still have an essence of simpler moments in life.” - Gloribell Lebron on design
For four years, the designer dreamed of a larger kitchen and tried to figure out from where she could steal some extra space. In the meantime, she came up with creative storage solutions to squeeze the most out of the limited square footage, including stacking shallow cabinets next to the fridge to hold dry goods. Gloribell said, “Our pantry was 8” wide by 25” deep on the side of the fridge and in order to put away groceries you had to have at least a PhD in Tetris.”
Finding Space for a Bigger Kitchen
Gloribell considered her options for expanding the kitchen, finally settling on a garage conversion. The project was not without its challenges. Like many Miami homes, the house was built over a two-foot crawl space, but the garage was at ground level, so the floor would have to be raised. Gloribell said, “At one point I was afraid to have a slight difference in levels and at times, this kept me up at night. But we are grateful that our contractor took this matter as one of his top priorities and made both floors seamlessly leveled.”
With the “where” sorted out, Gloribell focused on the beautiful things that would fill the space. She turned to the experts at Build.com to find the products to bring her design together.
“Build.com keeps up to date in the latest trends for all your home renovation needs. From tiles to sinks, I was able to find what I needed for this kitchen renovation in only one place.” - Gloribell Lebron
Gloribell said, “One of the main reasons I shopped at Build.com (and continue to do so for my clients) is the amazing variety of products and brands. Build.com keeps up to date in the latest trends for all your home renovation needs. From tiles to sinks, I was able to find what I needed for this kitchen renovation in only one place.”
Q & A with Interior Designer Gloribell Lebron
We asked Gloribell about her approach to home improvement and what inspires her as a designer. Here’s what she told us:
A Rustic Kitchen with a Modern Twist
Q: Your home was built in 1938. Any tips for renovating an older home?
A: Many older homes (especially in Miami) have a distinctive charm or feature. Whether it’s the floors, a window or the fireplace I always recommend to enhance these areas. When we bought this house, I fell in love with the arches and bricks in the exterior. I tried to emulate these details in our new kitchen area but with a modern twist.
Q: What current trend did you incorporate into your project?
A: Brass has been one of the top trends for a while now. When I started designing my kitchen I knew I had to have this material in this new space. I was able to incorporate this finish through the faucet, pot filler, and pendants that I found at Build.com
Playing with Patterns in Floor Tile
Gloribell said she wanted the floor to be a key feature of the kitchen, calling it “the protagonist of the space.” For visual impact, she combined two different tile shapes to create a pattern reminiscent of woven cane. She said, “I’ve always been a fan of cane. It brings me back memories of my grandmother’s house and some of the furniture pieces she had... memories of past times from when I lived on the island of Puerto Rico.”
“The representative took so much interest in helping me out. He was incredibly patient with me!” - Gloribell Lebron on working with a Build.com project expert
She chose hex tiles and slant tiles from the Affinity Tile Lambris collection. Gloribell said, “I remember having a hard time calculating the amount of tile that I needed to order, since it was such an intricate pattern. I decided to call Build.com and the representative took so much interest in helping me out. After providing him with some measurements he was able to give me the amount of needed material and also took my order. He was incredibly patient with me!”
Q: What is the biggest challenge to a long reno process?
A: Long renos can be painful — especially when you're living in the house. Trying to keep a “normal” life was always a challenge. Coming home after work to clean and make dinner in a corner of the house is something I would not like to relive any time soon.
How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel
“Be patient. At the end of the day you’ll have what you’ve envisioned for so long!” - Gloribell Lebron on home improvement
Q: Any tips for people taking on a huge reno project like your kitchen?
A: Be patient. There are times when you won’t see the end of it. There are processes in any renovation that might seem to flow too slow (like plumbing and electrical). But these paced steps are very important in order for the rest of the project to proceed. At the end of the day you’ll have what you’ve envisioned for so long!
The Creative Process in Home Improvement
Q: How would you describe your overall design aesthetic?
A: My design approach has been always simple but with an interest in textures through certain materials and finishes. I love to bring warmth into a space with the use of woods but also with certain materials like leather and brass details.
Q: Where do you find your design inspiration?
A: I’ve always been inspired by old photos. Those that speak of a time long gone but that still have an essence of simpler moments in life. I also get inspired by nature’s colors and textures. I always try to look for ways to integrate this into my design either in an abstract way or with natural fibers like cane.
“The important thing about having a balanced space is to bring comfort and a peaceful feeling into a room.” - Gloribell Lebron on Interior Design
Q: You have a background in graphic design. How does that experience influence your work as an interior decorator/designer?
A: The world of graphic design taught me so much about finessing the little details. Balance is one of the key elements that I still bring into each of my space designs and planning — either by symmetry or asymmetry. The important thing about having a balanced space is to bring comfort and a peaceful feeling into a room.
About Gloribell Lebron
Simple, organic, and curated are just some of the words that we can use to describe Gloribell’s approach to interior design. After finishing Interior Design school (and while still working as a graphic designer), she decided it was time to start a new venture. Now with more than 7 years of experience in the arts of transforming spaces, Gloribell hasn’t stopped looking for new ways to cultivate a comforting atmosphere in all her projects.
Gloribell was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico; a unique island surrounded by the warm waters of the Caribbean. Her style has been influenced by her culture and also by her Spaniards ancestors when it comes to architectural details. She believes that a modern approach to spaces and their functionality is the ideal mix.