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Design Wrap on a Major Kitchen Renovation

Having just wrapped a huge kitchen renovation project, I wanted to take a moment for some reflection and to share some insight on the process of space planning and design creation. And what better way to do so than by sharing some before and after shots?

The Alpine Lily project started out as a kitchen renovation, with the goal of modernizing the appliances and making the overall cooking space look more contemporary as a whole. Of course, once you begin to consider undertaking a kitchen renovation—which can be very costly—it’s worth thinking about other ways to optimize a home’s overall flow, focusing on the kitchen’s location in relation to the other spaces. My clients and I ultimately decided to focus on the following:

  • opening up the flow between the existing kitchen and dining room

  • making use of the unused living room

  • creating more kitchen storage (including a larger pantry space and storing baking appliances)

  • forming a warm, welcoming entry to the house (while parting with an oddly placed closet at the entry)

Once we identified our goals, we got the architect involved, and she ended up bringing in a structural engineer to help with the ceiling lines and “opening up” of the walls. This process was lengthy but one we knew would be worthwhile in the end. The below pictures show the existing and proposed locations of the kitchen.

In its existing state, the kitchen resulted in a choppy floor plan, with narrow, single point entry/exist points from the kitchen to the living room. Additionally, there was no sight line from the entry to the beautiful backyard as seen through double tall ceilings and large clerestory windows. It was decided that by relocating the kitchen to the family room, we would have the wall space needed for the new appliances. The (E) walls in blue on the “before” drawing were removed to open the floor plan. Then, by adding a new wall next to the kitchen, we created a pantry that completely enclosed full height cabinets for storage and smaller appliances. And look at the open flow and the view of the backyard from the entry (green arrows)!

When the final space plan was locked in, we were ready to determine the aesthetic at hand. What was the mood that the client desired? What eating arrangements needed to be accommodated? What about the capacity for washing dishes and the space required for baking dry goods and appliances?

When it came to cooking needs, fortunately the client knew exactly what she wanted, as she’s an excellent chef. In terms of the design aesthetic, we envisioned a European Country kitchen with modern conveniences of today. The goal was to incorporate materials like handmade tile and old-world marble countertops, hand painted tile in a European design, black tumbled marble floors, and basalt countertops. The vision for the interior design style had to be classic enough to withstand time, and I think that we really hit the nail on the head there!

The resulting kitchen provides ample space for storage and meets all of the chef’s needs. The flooring, with its wax finish, provides warmth in a time-worn way that certainly lends to the classic design. The cremone bolt hardware applied at the glass cabinets flanking the main sink give a nod to elegant, old-world charm.

Best of all, client is happy with the final result for her kitchen and the rest of the house!

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