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Waukee Project: Kitchen Reno

When I met with my client back in August, he was looking to remodel his kitchen and master bathroom. This blog post reveals the kitchen transformation. The great room, master bedroom and bathrooms will be revealed in a separate post.

I have to say, this was a dream job and a dream client. In fact, my client only had two things that were non-negotiable in terms of changing; the window coverings that he had just installed and two pieces of custom art that he had just purchased. WOW, that is the smallest list of non-negotiables that I have ever experienced. Not only that, he was just a really fun, easy going person to work with. The added bonus to my job is meeting some really terrific people and making new friends.

It's listed on my "About" page of this website but it's worth repeating. My design philosophy is this:

I believe a room should contain elements that reflect your personality and sometimes that means being bold and taking a few risks. I believe every space should contain interesting objects that remind you of your journey, make you smile or spark a conversation. I believe that style is essential but comfort and livability are a priority. I believe there is no such thing as perfection. Not in decor. Not in people. Not in life. And, to be honest, a perfect home is a lot like a perfect person; you will spend your time chasing the unattainable, or working hard to keep up a facade for something that really isn't all that interesting. I believe your space should reflect the beautiful, quirky, unique essence of you!

Alright, now that we have that out of the way, let's dive into the details of the remodel. So what is Mr. Client's design style you might wonder? Well, his jam is a masculine mix of contemporary and mid-century.

The kitchen is on the smaller side and one of my client's complaints was the lack of storage space. While we couldn't tear down walls I had a few tricks up my sleeve to address the storage situation. The first thing I noticed was space on the exterior wall that was just sort of dead space. In other words, it was valuable real estate that wasn't being utilized. This gave me a few extra feet to expand the cabinetry and accommodate a wall oven and built-in convection microwave. I swapped out the full range for a cooktop, freeing up space to add a bank of drawers underneath and I increased the height of the new cabinetry.

As an aside, the appliances are all by KitchenAid and are in their black stainless finish. The cooktop is induction, which uses electromagnetic technology to directly heat the pan while keeping the cooktop surface cool to the touch.

We considered both gray and white cabinetry but the clean, crisp and timeless nature of white won. I flanked the range hood with double-stacked cabinets (for additional storage) and used a flip-up style cabinet on the lower for a contemporary vibe. In addition, we did away with the elevated bar and made it all counter height to open up the space.

Let's talk for a sec about the lighting sitch. The original kitchen had two awkwardly positioned bowl pendants. I won't lie, I was more than a little excited to see those go bye bye. We moved some wires and patched some drywall so that these artistically-hued, masculine, polished nickel and black mini pendants by Hudson Valley Lighting could take their new position over the peninsula. We also added a couple of can lights to the mix to increase the lighting in the kitchen area and swapped out the dining room fixture for a modern linear chandelier.

The partial wall that is connected to the peninsula was painted drywall. I knew immediately that I wanted to tile it with something really cool with a little edge. A couple of strong contenders were a white trapezoid mosaic from Lowes and a light gray penny round from The Tile Shop. In the end, however, the clear winner was the large concretesque tile, called Evoque Grigio, from The Tile Shop. Instead of using bullnose or pencil on the corners we used metal edging called, Shluter, to add to the contemporary vibe. When it came to the backsplash it was love at first sight. Nova Hex Mosaic in Graphite from The Tile Shop is stunning. The countertops are quartz from Cambria and are a statement in and of themselves. The bold gray veining of Brittanicca was a perfect choice.

In addition to the aforementioned, we pained all walls and ceilings, re-trimmed entire house with 4.25-inch white molding, installed three-panel shaker style doors throughout with matte black hardware, refinished hardwood floors, installed new carpeting and replaced all lighting and ceiling fans.

Speaking of hardware, polished nickel and matte black are the metals I chose to compliment the space. I went with polished nickel over chrome because using a warmer toned metal is a good way to add warmth to a contemporary space. Another subtle detail that adds continuity is the knurling (diamond pattern carved into the metal) on the cabinet pulls, lighting and handles of the KitchenAid appliances. You will see this same diamond pattern, or knurling, on the lighting in the foyer, bathrooms and even on the curtain rod in the master bedroom. It's a very subtle detail that adds continuity, texture and visual interest throughout.

Moving on the the dining area. Mr. Client confided in me that he is not very diligent about using trivets and hot pads resulting in a permanent heat stain on his wooden table. With that in mind, I set out to find a table that was less persnickety. A glass table was not really an option; glass always looks dusty. Marble or quartz was a possibility but what I really wanted was a concrete table and I found a beaut. It ties together perfectly with the Evoque Grigio tile on the partial wall.

Refinishing the floors was in our "nice to have" column but after things began progressing it was clear to me that they needed to be moved to the "must have" column. They were too orange to ignore. So I broached the subject, explaining my position and noting that I didn't think he would be happy with them after everything was said and done. He said three simple words, "let's do it"! This is just one example of how awesome my client is.

The hardwood underneath the orange stain was white oak. That was good news! I considered going with a gray stain but the beauty of the raw wood was just so pretty. It possessed both warm and cool gray tones so I decided to go with a natural stain, which allowed those raw colors to shine through. This also helped add warmth to the contemporary style as well as compliment the wood color of the new furniture.

I'll wrap this up by saying my iphone photos don't do this beautiful space justice. My goal for 2019 is to get a good digital camera. Then my goal for 2020 will be learning how to use it ;-)

As I stated in the beginning of this post, I'll be writing separate blog posts for the great room, master bedroom and bathroom transformations.

As always, thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the tour.

(For more photos of this project and others, click on "Galleries" tab and then select "Projects" from the drop down menu.)

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