A long while back, I posted here about a fabulous client before and after project that I designed last year. I've been waiting to get it professionally photographed, and the time has finally come--the photos are in! This project is a career highlight for me, both in the transformation of the space, and in the great relationship and collaboration I was able to have with these clients. I truly believe that a successful project is the result of good communication and an honest working relationship, which I felt I had with these wonderful, stylish and intelligent clients! Here's a look at what the space was like when my clients purchased the home--it was dated, segmented and related poorly to the rest of the home:
And here is the new space:
In designing this kitchen, along with reworking the back entry, staircase, and the guest room hallway, we looked at many different floor plan options before settling on this one. Usually I like to present clients with a few different design scenarios so they can see what could be, and in the end, what works best for their space and their needs. Here's my take on why this design works best, and why I think it will serve the home and the homeowners for years to come.
1 Open, but not too contemporary
I definitely think there's an urge these days to create open and free-flowing space within a home. In many cases, this can dramatically improve the everyday use of the space, the way that family interacts and congregates in the home, and the way homeowners are able to entertain guests. Older homes are notorious for having kitchens that are completely cut off from the rest of the home, and while these spaces often benefit from being opened up, the temptation to get rid of all the walls and create one large room can prove disastrous in a period home. In this space, we combined two smaller rooms to create a kitchen and seating area, and also opened up the wall to the dining room. However, the addition of trim and casing that matches the rest of the house defines the new opening, making it look planned and part of the original design--not like we just cleared out all of the walls for the sake of a more open floor plan.
2 Material choices that read as "period-appropriate", rather than "on trend"
With this home being built in 1931, we wanted to incorporate modern convenience and good design sense while still respecting the age and character of the house. A typical 1930's kitchen (in its original state) might have had painted cabinets, but for this space we took our cues from the warmth of the original dark wood mouldings and trim, as well as the natural oak floors. The cabinetry is natural cherry, which is a lovely wood species to use because it marries well with other wood tones in the space. Cherry also mellows and darkens with age, and over the years will develop its own beautiful character.
Another period appropriate material choice are the soapstone countertops. Soapstone has been used for centuries as a durable surface for high-use areas. It is non-porous, so won't stain or trap bacteria, and is so resistant to chemical abrasion and acidic foods that its a preferred surface in chemistry labs. Plus, it has a natural, organic beauty, and no two slabs are alike. A classic element is also found in the backsplash, which is composed of elongated subway tiles that pick up on the beautiful green hue in the soapstone.
3 Floor plan that emphasizes style and function
A successful part of this design is the way that the layout works well for two or for twenty. The kitchen is essentially a galley style, with the sink, range, and refrigerator placed adjacent to, or directly across from one another. A large island allows for comfortable prep space when two people are working in the kitchen, while the seating and additional beverage center/buffet create another work area for the homeowner, and keep guests out of the main prep space. The gentle curve of the island adds an element of modernity, while naturally guiding traffic toward a comfortable seating area at the other end of the room--a space designed to enjoy a morning cup of coffee, or casual conversation while entertaining friends.
So that's the tour! I could go into much greater depth about all of the details and planning that went into making this space a success, but I'll let the pretty pictures speak for themselves. As I mentioned before, this is a most favorite project of mine, and I hope it results in many great years of good living for these wonderful clients.