This job is a kitchen remodel (with some surprise structural work) that took this kitchen from 1984 to the present. The homeowners bought this house knowing that it didn’t fit their style, and they knew they wouldn’t be able to call this house a true “home” until they could put their creative touches on it. Soon after they closed on the house, they hired us to start making this house their dream home.
The existing kitchen was basic, tired, and impractical for this active and creative family. The clients’ goals (in no particular order) were to:
- Maximize prep space
- Increase functionality and efficiency
- Improve upon the open concept of the home and make the kitchen feel more integrated in the space
- Enhance the aesthetics of the kitchen to make it fit in more with their eclectic/transitional style
The new and improved kitchen was able to achieve these goals. The first part of the design phase was to establish a better layout. On first glance, the existing kitchen didn’t look too bad in terms of function, size, and efficiency. There was a good amount of counter space, cabinets, and even an island. However, upon closer inspection, it was clear that this kitchen would not work for this family. For starters, the island was nearly 8 feet away from the perimeter cabinets. This would mean that the user would need to take several steps, perhaps with a hot pot full of liquid, to get from one prep area to another. This is not ideal and cuts down on efficiency and safety.
For this reason, we made sure that in the remodeled kitchen, the clearance between the island and the perimeter cabinets was closer, and thus more efficient.
We also had a goal to increase the prep space. The homeowners loved to cook and bake and did so often. The goal was to improve the amount of counter space, and thus prep space, to do such activities. For this reason, a 7’x 8.5′ center island was added to the design. This not only increased prep space, but also increased storage immensely.
Because the island is so large, we wanted to make sure to add a second sink in the island, so fewer steps would need to be taken if working at the island. This also made prep easier when both homeowners were working in the space. Having a spot for washing produce that is separate from the spot you wash dishes works wonders for prepping meals.
Another issue that needed to be addressed was the fact that the kitchen felt too defined for the open concept contemporary home. The change of flooring from the kitchen to the family room was awkward and forced. It did not flow with the home.
By replacing all contiguous flooring on the first floor with hand scraped maple hardwood, we were able to accomplish the feeling of one unified “great space.”
Switching to a mid-tone hardwood also aided in the accomplishment of another goal–improving the aesthetics of the space. The kitchen was all the same: blonde cabinets, blonde floors, beige walls, beige counters–there was nothing to offer any sort of contrast or style to this kitchen. There was no backsplash tile, no pops of color, and no fun. Even the barstools the previous owner had at the island were beige! This kitchen had to be updated to match the eclectic personalities of the clients. The white Shaker inset cabinets are classic, while the high contrast “pop” of the charcoal glass subway tile and the animal print bar stools add eclectic flair and personality.
This job was not without its fair share of bumps in the road. During one of the pre-construction walkthroughs, it was determined that the framing in the kitchen was not structurally sound. The beam that was supposed to be holding up the weight of the floor above was actually supporting nothing. If this hadn’t been discovered, it could have led to disaster down the line. This problem absolutely had to be fixed, but it did add some unexpected costs that the homeowners were not expecting. However, it also opened up an opportunity. The space above the kitchen ceiling was unfinished attic space, and since it needed to be restructured anyway, why not vault the ceiling to add cathedral ceilings to the kitchen space? Although it added to the timeline and bottom line, this unique challenge was a change that made a colossal difference to the space in the end.
In fact, this whole kitchen remodel made a colossal difference in the aesthetic and functionality of the space. And the best part–the clients couldn’t be more pleased!