Sometimes when you need a new refrigerator, you just need a new refrigerator. BUT sometimes when you need a new refrigerator, you realize that there is a whole lot more that is out of whack that a new icebox isn't going to come close to fixing.
That is just where my clients were when they first called me last year.
They had shopped, they had had layouts developed by the kitchen designers at Home Depot, they had tried drawing up floor plans themselves…but even with the promise of all new everything in the kitchen, something still felt wrong. What could it be?
Their existing kitchen was put in by the builder when the house was built 15+ years ago. Using the room to cook felt frustrating, uninspiring--there was so much space, so why did it feel like it simply didn't work?
They were ready for something that had the wow factor, an amazing space for the three generations of their family that all live under one roof to hang out in, cook together and dine.
So what are the elements of the WOW FACTOR?? Two essential things to remember:
- The most important thing about a space of any size is that the space is used well, and filled with things that are of quality. THAT is what makes a room feel satisfying to be in--whether it is the smallest of powder rooms or the largest of great rooms. Size really doesn't matter. Quality and Balance do.
- Next, the way the room is introduced to you and the way it relates to the spaces around it can either make a home feel confusing and disjointed, or amazingly balanced and full of flow.
SO, first --we would need to give purpose to all of those square feet, and put finishes in place (beautiful cabinets, stunning tile and countertops) that would elevate the feel and function of the room with excellent craftsmanship and quality.
Second--we would need to address how the kitchen related to the rooms around it. When I first saw the kitchen, you would enter the space from a doorway off the front foyer…but the opening centered on the entrance to the powder room.
Highlighting the unimpressive small hallway and powder room door in this way didn't give a sense of place or importance when one would somewhat apologetically turn down the hall and come into the kitchen.
When I explained that moving the doorway to the kitchen down the wall a few feet would not only change how the kitchen felt, but really how the whole downstairs related each room to another, my clients looked like they wanted to believe me…but I could tell that they weren't quite sure.
Luckily they had faith in my vision, and we went ahead with gusto. :)
THE RESULT: Now the room is beautifully appointed with gorgeous cabinetry, it has a layout that makes excellent use of all of that space, cooking and entertaining are effortless, and the room relates so well with the rooms around it, giving a sense of peace and balance to the whole downstairs.
Now the entrance to the kitchen is across from the glass sliders to the deck, giving you a lovely long view as you enter the room, increasing the feeling of space, and welcoming you with natural light. In addition, the pantry which had been at the far end of the room from the cooking area (see the open door on the left below)...
was removed to incorporate a bar and further open up new views from the kitchen into its adjacent cozy sitting room.
To give architectural interest to the wall that remained, we decided to incorporate wood plank, artfully stained/painted in the colors of the kitchen palette. I got a lot of strange looks when I first suggested it, but now, from what I understand, it is one of the the family's favorite details of the new space!
Another natural material that made the space come alive is the stunning limestone tile, stretching from the counter to the high ceilings. The warmth of the custom floating wood shelves add another element from nature, and the texture of the wood grain next to the smooth stone is stunning.
I feel so blessed to have been a part of such an amazing transformation.