Kitchen Surface: Neolith Calcutta Luxe // Goodman lights with brass interior // Brass knobs //
Kitchen renovations are becoming our specialty. I love giving life to tired kitchens and putting our design stamp on
it. It is a creative expression just like fashion and cooking. Here is a link to our previous kitchen renovation at the
A-Frame and California houses. We are now onto our 4th kitchen makeover (first was in Chicago before blog) and
each time we learn more. One thing that makes our kitchen renovations special is that we do practice frugality.
Uhhh. That sounds boring, but it’s actually an avenue for more creativity.
- The quality of being economical with money or food; thriftiness.
Here’s what I mean. This relates to fashion as well. Everything has a life cycle. A good stylist/designer accepts the
challenge of extending the life of that item as long as possible. That is why you see me style clothes so many
different ways. I want to get the longest life out of the piece as I can. The same is true for our kitchen remodels.
For example, in California we chose to resurface the cabinets vs. gutting the kitchen. This allowed us to keep the
design integrity of the mid-century house while saving cabinets boxes from the landfill.
Our current home was built in 2005 and everything is still in great condition. Again, we hate to throw away
something that has a lot of life in it. However, there are aspects to our kitchen I don’t like. Thus, the design
challenge. Make it work! I love that this kitchen has open space, plenty of storage and functions well. I don’t like
having the bar height island. I don’t like two islands. I don’t like the scale of the range hood. Here is our design
strategy to solve these issues while trying to conserve as much of our existing kitchen as possible. I hope this helps
with your future remodels and any decision making you have.
As I stated, our kitchen has two islands. We don’t like it. It’s like ring around the rosy. Removing the second island
will also help make our great room look more spacious. I’m planning to add a big farm table where the island used
to be and make the existing eating area a reading nook. We will be painting all the walls and trim white to
brighten the space as well. With the second island gone, we have two focal points in the kitchen and therefore we
come to our primary design decision. A kitchen design should only have one iconic feature. Do we want the hood
to be the focal point or the island? This helps drive our design decisions. I appreciate a beautiful island and
therefore prefer the island to be the icon of the kitchen. To make the island stand out we need to boost the drama
by having waterfall sides. Make sure to request a miter cut when doing a waterfall. You do not want a butt joint.
Also, choose a material that is seamless. If you have veins, be able to book match the veins as they continue over
the counter edge. Find a really good fabricator.
Keep in mind. Cost. Commodity. Sustainability. Natural marble is expensive. If you choose to use it, use it wisely.
There are also brand-new countertop materials on the market that look like marble but have the durability of
To bring the massive scale of our range hood down, we decided to paint it white to match the cabinets. We will be raising the bottom of the upper cabinets to align with the moldings of the hood. Therefore, we still have storage
we need and the hood and cabinets will appear as a unit rather than the church alter.
Reid has completed a sketch-up model to visualize the renovations as we’ve made decisions. Producing a
computer model really does help you know what design decisions to make. I recommend using Sketch-up if you
are able. Or hire Reid to help….. I’ve created a collage showing our material pallet and some accessory pieces that
will make this kitchen happy again.