Chris & Jenny’s Kitchen Posted on December 8, 2011 By hello kitchen


I’m excited to show this transformational before / after! Chris and Jenny live in a 1996 house in Travis Country, and after 15 years, this kitchen had seen some serious wear and tear. As an avid cook and high-heat stir-fryer, Chris longed for a more central location for the cooktop to showcase his skills and socialize with friends and family. Jenny, the sous chef, needed a clear workspace and much better storage to control the clutter.

The original layout had a central island that was really too small for prep work, and the pantry occupied a large amount of space in the corner. Three drywall-sheathed columns framed the kitchen without much order or rationale to their shape. The dining table seemed a bit too large for its space.

Below is a photo of the kitchen before our renovation…

…and after, the same view. The new layout gives some order to the large space, defining the kitchen, vestibule and bar area. A large island features a cooktop and floating hood, so Chris can face out to his family and guests while cooking. We moved the refrigerator to the back wall, with pantry cabinets on either side. A bar area with a wood top separates the ovens from the dining banquette.


The first time I visited the house, I noted all the 45 degree angles in the rooms. Chris and Jenny liked how the angles set up a dynamic relationship between the rooms, and wanted to incorporate some of this in the design of the kitchen. We took the inspiration into the vestibule, which before looked like this:

…and after, has a slight inward bend to its shape. This was a good way to bring some form into the space without compromising the kitchen layout or cabinetry.


The vestibule cabinet served as an overflow for the kitchen, and holds china, decorative items, and some of the books and binders that were formerly cluttering this space. A little niche was built into the side wall by the island for spices and salt.

This before view shows the back wall of the kitchen: the pantry on the left, which dominated the scale of the kitchen, the cramped cooking area for the range and micro-hood, and the narrow island.

This back wall works much better for the ‘big solids’ in the kitchen: refrigerator and pantry cabinets. The door faces were skinned with shiplap to give a modern rustic style to the kitchen, but also to break up the scale of this large storage element. The island surface is a Brazillian Santos mahogany, and we repeated this material in the corner shelves in the upper cabinets to the right. Stainless steel buttons act as a trivet for larger serving dishes, set up right in front of the chef for his presentations.


We kept the sink located under the big window, but Jenny removed the shade so they have a great view of their banana plant outside. The new light fixtures are from Rejuvenation Hardware, and this countertop is Caesarstone Nougat. The sink is a large single-bowl cast iron from Rohl and really helps brighten this work area.


The backsplash is an embossed edge, matte white tile from the Ann Sacks, Barbara Barry line. Our idea for the color scheme was to go softer and in blue /grey tones, a nice change from the bold yellows and reds!


This project was completed in about 11 weeks – Tonianne and her crew did a great job! Thanks to all these providers and skilled people who contributed to the project:

Contractor: Tonianne Soster of TAS Construction – 512.825.3773

Cabinetry: FABShop, Richard Macdonald

Wood Countertops: DeVos Custom Woodworking

Tile: Ann Sacks

Appliances: All KitchenAid, from Kiva Kitchen & Bath

Hardware: Push Pull Open Close


Photography: Allison Cartwright of Twist Tours

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Hello Kitchen Projects