Moms are notoriously hard to shop for, but this year, Olivia Munn found what may be the most foolproof Mother’s Day gift of all time: a total upgrade to her entertaining-obsessed mom’s kitchen, dining, and living space. In the latest episode of Web series My Houzz, produced by Ashton Kutcher in tandem with home-improvement forum Houzz, Munn completely renovated the most important space in the Oklahoma City home she grew up in.
As the actress explained in the video, her mom, Kim Schmid, pretty much rules the roost from her place in the kitchen. Munn said that many of her fondest memories of her mom are those of them cooking together, and that Schmid, who keeps “an open-door policy for dinner,” thinks “cooking is the most important thing.” Despite all this, after decades in the ranch-style house, the kitchen still isn’t optimized to Schmid’s needs. Munn noted that the main issues with the combined kitchen, living, and dining area were that family members who stop by for dinner had to “eat in shifts” due to a lack of table space, there wasn’t enough storage for food and appliances, and the counters and cupboards were too high for her “hobbit” mother.
Using Houzz, Munn contacted a local interior designer, Travis Morelock of MIDMODERNdesign, and got to work making the home as functional as possible for Schmid and her husband, Sam, Munn’s stepfather. Sam and Morelock started by raising the original, 8-foot kitchen ceiling up into the apparently unused space above – “We have an attic?!” Munn quipped; they added recessed lighting fixtures all across the newly vaulted ceiling, as well as a few more lights on top of the exposed beams, to brighten the space.
Elsewhere in the kitchen, Morelock replaced the small kitchen island and haphazardly adjoined card table with a larger, lower island topped with Calacatta marble and surrounded by five comfy dining chairs. He also swapped the old white tile floors for a lighter, wood laminate option and the original dull brown cabinets for bright white ones, and turned a “dead space” between the living room and kitchen into a spacious walk-in pantry.
Munn also filled the kitchen with plenty of Kim-specific personalized touches. Not only did she add a built-in rice cooker to one end of the countertop and create a sliding cabinet in which to store and hide her mom’s many electrical appliances, but she also lowered the workspaces and added pull-down shelves in the cabinets to keep Kim from clambering on counters and stepstools for out-of-reach items.
Outside the kitchen, Munn kept the original dining table, a family heirloom, in its place, but removed the closed-off fireplace taking up space in the dining room. Instead, she made the focal point of the room a glass-shelved display area set into the wall, perfect for holding all of Schmid’s many (many) trinkets and other family heirlooms. Munn and Morelock also decluttered the living room, exchanging the smaller sofas for a larger, L-shaped sectional and adjusting the position of the TV. Again, Munn made sure to fill the homey space with personal touches, including gallery-framed needlepoint portraits by Schmid hanging on the walls.
At the end of the episode, Schmid was completely blown away by the incredible upgrades, repeating over and over how beautiful the space was. “That’s the first time you’ve ever thanked me for anything,” Munn joked. In an interview with Us Weekly, the 37-year-old added, “My mom was in awe and shock!. I really wanted to thank her for being so supportive of my dreams over the years, and this renovation was a way for me to give something meaningful to her.”