The Client: The moment I walked in her door, I knew it was going to be a fun project. My client, Lisa, has a well-developed sense of style, a keen eye for contemporary design, and is fearless in her use of color.
Her existing kitchen was early 80’s vintage and totally dysfunctional, by her definition.
The Requirements: Glass, curves, warm & bold colors, cutting edge design, open space and plenty of WOW factor. Being a baker, she wanted easy, accessible storage for her baking tools. She wanted not to feel isolated in the kitchen while working. Laundry functions needed to remain central and she did not want to encroach on her dining or family room spaces. An informal eating space with a view of the TV was a priority for her husband Greg, the primary cook.
The Concept: Since the dining & family rooms were off-limits, the pantry and refrigerator area, and the walls themselves were our only options for more space. Removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room would provide the visual space we were after, but it was a load-bearing wall. Removing the wall required replacing two shorter beams with one larger, longer beam
Design Solutions: Starting at 30″ deep and 9′ high with the refrigerator area, we stepped back and down with the upper cabinets to accentuate the ceiling line, maximize storage, and add visual interest.
The 30″ deep countertop allowed us to mask the size of the refrigerator and to add the appliance garages and the microwave without encroaching on the front 18″ of workspace.
The appliance garages accomodate her baking tools, including the jumbo-sized Kitchenaid mixer prized by many serious bakers.
Glass doors help with interest and visual weight.The strong horizontal lines on the sink wall provide contrast with the many vertical lines of the refrigerator wall. A radiused light bridge over the sink combines functional lighting, accent lighting, and color enhancement.
New Floor Plan
Placing the slide-in range on the island with a pop-up down draft unit allowed us to maintain adequate separation of the major work centers in this small space.
The soft curves of the two-level island help to soften the feel of the space, while the “Naranja Cool” Silestone countertop and the gleam of metal in the custom-made island wallpaper added the WOW factor she was looking for.
Frosted, frameless glass doors keep the look of the laundry closet doors light & airy.The mahogany wood floor, extended throughout, erases the lines between rooms and visually expands the entire space.
While we were focused on the kitchen, the old fireplace in the living room went unnoticed.
When we directed our attention to the surrounding areas to complete the picture, we realized that the fireplace also had to go. It had become the dinosaur in the corner.
The fireplace’s original positioning, square in a corner, and shoved to one side had rendered it “strange” and irrelevant in the space.
The angled, cloud-shaped island inspired the angled, undulating wall of the new fireplace. With WOW being her stock-in-trade, Lisa found a great contemporary fireplace and we accented it with glass-coin tiles.
Warren Smith, CMKBD, CAPS has been designing & building custom kitchens and baths since 1981 in Kennewick, Washington
Conclusion: This project is a great example of the concept of functional art. Not only did we solve the dysfunctional kitchen and living space problems, but we did it in a way that contributed to the artistic flair of the owners and enlarged their “canvas”.
Lisa & Greg’s house was already fabulous in it’s furnishings, but the old room configurations were clearly holding her back. Designing and building the project that opened it all up and further unleashed Lisa’s own interior design prowess was a very satisfying experience. I also learned a thing or two about boldness in design and color along the way. Thanks, Lisa & Greg
Warren Smith, CMKBD, CAPS