We recently completed Erin and Taylor’s kitchen, which is in a more traditional language for Hello Kitchen, but shows some of our favorite color tones, materials, and design with natural light. The project is in a 1951 cottage in Westlake, which had seen various improvements throughout the years, including a master wing addition and garage enclosure in the 1980’s. The kitchen is designed to complement the best assets of the house: the wood floors, existing detailed trim, double hung windows, and brick fireplace dividing the large and small living rooms.
While Erin and Taylor liked the general aesthetic of the house, the arrangement of walls and doorways created some problems with the flow and functionality. The existing kitchen lacked workspace, and the appliances were all in awkward, crowded locations. The image below shows the kitchen before renovation, with the old location of the stove, refrigerator, and pantry wall on the left. This shows how completely shut off the dining room was from the kitchen, as well as the view to the street through the front windows.
The kitchen layout widened to increase the space between counters and connect better with the breakfast and dining areas at either end. Since the kitchen is buried in the center of the house, this was an important move to bring in more natural light to the kitchen.
Taken from roughly the same direction facing the breakfast table, the photo below shows the ‘before’ kitchen, with the original cabinetry, retrofitted flourescent lighting, vinyl tile, and popcorn ceilings. The refrigerator was in a particularly unfortunate location and blocked the central aisle with its depth. And take note of the drapery on the left, covering the garage window… actually, it wasn’t a window, but a half-hearted attempt of a previous owner to fill in a window with black paint.
From the opposite corner of the breakfast table, the refrigerator side was the most prominent feature. The main goal of our renovation was to dramatically open this corner and create a better connection between this adjacent living room and the kitchen cooking area.
A view during construction shows exactly what was going on inside those walls. We introduced new beams to pick up the load from the wall that was removed, and added a structural column in that wall near the door to the back hall. We also closed in the ‘window’ that opened into the garage.
We emphasized the new beams with a stepped trim and crown molding to create a coffered ceiling affect. I think the division helps divide the space and control the scale of the open plan room, which is more in tune with the traditional style of the cottage aesthetic.
This ‘before’ image shows the existing blue wall separating the kitchen from the front living room, which was less often used since it felt disconnected from everything else.
We created an arched opening in this wall with bar seating facing in toward the kitchen sink and cooktop beyond. The swinging doors to the dining (on left) and back living room were removed, and new cased openings extend to the underside of the beams. Erin worked with designer Blair Burton to select the neutral color palette, with Revere Pewter at the walls, Silver Satin trim, and natural linen upholstery. The fireplace brick was repainted to match the new crown molding in the room, tying these elements together visually.
We located the microwave below counter height in an open shelf, so it stays out of the way. A glass door bar cabinet at the end of the peninsula is a handy spot for cocktail mixers, glassware, and ice bins. Company tends to gather around this end and it makes a nice social center in the kitchen.
We designed this retractable door cabinet that sits on the marble counter for storing small appliances. Erin is so happy that she decided to go with the marble – it’s been a great surface to work with that she enjoys seeing every day! So far, just a few tiny etch marks that you can only see at eye level.
This Circa Bryant Sconce is a beautiful accent at the arched opening, as it casts light upward along the curve.
The new bridge faucet is Grohe, in polished chrome.
We designed the custom vent hood cover to harmonize with the trim details and emphasize the bright white of the cabinets. This style is called ‘flush inset’, meaning that the frame of the cabinet box is exposed and the door sits inside the opening. It’s a little harder to build since the gap around must be pretty dead-on, but our cabinetmaker did a fantastic job.
The backsplash is a simple white beveled subway tile. The drop in gas cooktop allows the marble to extend from wall to wall, making a clean, continuous line.
Drawers are full-extension with concealed glides, and made of baltic birch plywood. Erin lined each drawer with a different style mat – I love that little surprise of pattern and color!
Erin and Taylor sound like they’re enjoying the kitchen and cooking up a storm for family and friends! I’m so glad to see it lived in and well cared for. And thanks to Tonianne for another project beautifully executed!
Contractor: Tonianne Soster of TAS Construction
Cabinetmaker: FAB Shop
Design: Blair Burton
Light Fixtures: WAC, Ballard Designs, Circa Lighting
Plumbing Fixtures: Kohler, Grohe
Photos by Allison Cartwright of Twist Tours