House Update – Kitchen Design

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When we first moved into our new home, updating the kitchen wasn’t exactly at the top of our priority list. Sure, the kitchen was a bit dated, with appliances that were as old as the house itself, but they were functional, and we figured we could live with them for a while longer. Little did we know that a leak would soon change all of our plans. It started with a leaking dishwasher and it quickly escalated into a major problem, necessitating the tearing out of the entire kitchen. Suddenly, we found ourselves facing a kitchen renovation project that we hadn’t anticipated for quite some time.

The Design

With the entire kitchen gutted, it was evident that all casework and tile required replacement. This presented us with an opportunity to select updated finishes that would complement the home’s character while infusing a modern touch. We ordered our cabinets from Bellmont Cabinets, a local and family-owned business. I chose a darker wood for the island and neutral cabinets to offset the abundance of wood covering the floors, walls, and ceilings. This strategic choice diminished the prominence of the cabinets in the overall space, allowing the other wood elements to shine.

For the backsplash, I was drawn to Fireclay Tile and settled on the color Dust Storm because I was seeking a neutral yet cool tone to harmonize with the warm wood. I opted for an on-end installation pattern to introduce texture to the wall, enhancing the subdued color. In selecting the countertops, we opted for quartzite, a natural stone known for its veining, while remaining more cost-effective and more durable than marble or granite. We specifically desired the organic veins inherent in natural stone as opposed to a manufactured quartz, so quartzite was the ideal choice for our kitchen. One aspect I was unwavering about was incorporating a sink apron. Although our installer initially hesitated, I implored them to attempt it, and after some deliberation, they agreed to make it work.

As architects, my husband and I are able to handle our own design work and drawings, allowing us to work directly with manufacturers and suppliers. This not only ensured that our vision was accurately realized but also helped us significantly reduce costs. Our initial plan was to keep costs low by retaining the existing infrastructure—plumbing, gas lines, exhaust system—and only using what our insurance would cover and making some design updates that wouldn’t trigger any infrastructure changes. After all, we reasoned, why fix what wasn’t broken? But then a friend intervened, urging us to reconsider our approach. As we delved deeper into the renovation process, our friend’s words echoed in my mind. Why settle for something that merely served its purpose when we had the opportunity to create our dream kitchen not only aesthetically but functionally? Realistically, we wouldn’t be updating the kitchen again anytime soon, so why not make it count?

The Redesign

Initially, the kitchen had a peninsula-style layout, with the range and exhaust situated right in the center. The hood hung low, posing a constant hazard as we cooked, and the corner area remained largely unusable for prep work. In the redesigned plan, we opted to relocate the range and exhaust to the back wall, where the original fridge was positioned, and moved the fridge to the spot where the oven once stood. This simple switch not only eliminated the intrusive hood in the center but also brightened up the kitchen significantly, while providing us with a generous amount of prep space. Additionally, I persuaded my husband to consider converting our coat closet into a coffee bar. After some negotiation, he eventually saw the appeal of this addition to the space, adding a touch of convenience and charm to our newly revamped kitchen.

Details: Dutton Brown Cadbury Sconce, Muuto Ambit Pendant, ZLINE appliances, KOHLER Tournant faucet, Fireclay Tile

With the design finalized, I nervously sent it off to our contractor for pricing, fully expecting to be met with a jaw-dropping estimate. However, much to my surprise, the price difference between our initial plan and our dream kitchen wasn’t as significant as I had feared. In fact, it was within reach. After much deliberation, we made the decision to splurge a little and go for it. We realized that this was a rare opportunity to create a space that we would truly love and enjoy for years to come. And so, our kitchen renovation journey took an unexpected turn, leading us from a simple repair job to the creation of our dream kitchen.

As the renovations near completion and we eagerly anticipate unveiling our new kitchen, we’re filled with excitement and gratitude. What started as an inconvenience has turned into a blessing in disguise, allowing us to turn our house into a home that truly reflects who we are. And while the leak may have been an unwelcome surprise, the end result—a kitchen that we can’t wait to cook, entertain, and create memories in—makes it all worth it.

Check out our home page to see what other spaces we are updating!

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