Boasting a 21st Century Vibe

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For this nineteenth century kitchen remodel, the secret ingredient was unrivaled imagination.

Story by Ann Butenas     |     Photos by Paul Bonnichsen

When it comes to cooking a delicious meal, it is more than just about tempting the taste buds. It is also about the presentation, and this one-of-a-kind kitchen remodel in Shawnee, Kansas, has taken that presentation to a whole new level. The homeowners of this out-of-the-box design, Stan and Catherine, are probably the greatest elements in this kitchen’s overall appeal, as it truly reflects their penchant for entertaining and making their guests feel right at home.

Built in 1880, this home certainly has a noteworthy resume. It was actually relocated twice before landing at its current site, where it is enveloped by 35+ acres of land. It is a modest home with grand personality, with part of the original structure still intact and the other part added in recent times.

Entering the kitchen is a ceremony in and of itself. As you walk past the dining room and through the living room, you take four steps down into the kitchen, which was quite “standard” in its ambiance before the homeowners contracted the experts at Kitchens by Kleweno to give it a new vibe and bring it out of its “awkward” phase.

With a second home in Napa, California, the homeowners desired to continue their love of pairing savory foods with great wines right here in the heartland. Randy Sisk, owner of Kitchens by Kleweno, worked alongside principle designer Genevieve Hamel, bringing the owners’ passions to life in this space.

“The old kitchen had sustained some water damage about two years ago and it ruined the cabinets,” explained Stan. “So this was a good excuse to put in a new kitchen. Our old kitchen was not conducive to entertaining. Now, with its wide open design, I can cook for others or just watch and look down from the living room.”

Despite the age of this home, the kitchen shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Small but mighty, it can easily handle an intimate crowd with a hearty appetite.

“The homeowners love to cook and host friends,” noted Sisk. “However, this particular space was not big enough to accommodate a large gathering of people. The challenge for us was to create a space where they could cook, live and have enough seating room available for guests to watch without being in the work path.”

Despite its small footprint, this kitchen has grand ambitions and one only has to take three steps in any direction to appreciate its full functionality.

“It is just three steps from the island to the sink; three steps to the freezer; and three steps to the dishwasher,” indicated Sisk. “Nothing in this kitchen is more than three steps away, and two people can comfortably cook while six other people are seated around the island without anyone being in the pathway.”

In creating this space, Sisk and Hamel incorporated one style for the base cabinets, the island and the range area. Along the west wall is a dish pantry which is seven and a half feet tall and 15 inches deep.  The dishwasher stands directly across from it.

“The dish pantry takes the place of all other wall cabinets, expect for the spice cabinet by the stove,” said Sisk.

There is an additional armoire near the deck entrance to the kitchen, which not only serves as a coat closet but also as the place the refrigerator is concealed.

“I am adamantly opposed to refrigerators in the kitchen, as I don’t like the look of the vertical lines,” emphasized Stan, who indicated one of his main requirements for Sisk and Hamel was to design a kitchen that did not include the refrigerator as part of the design.

Copious amounts of stonework offer a warm and cozy vibe, including the stone wall, stone ledge and stone floor. A custom range hood confidently drops out of a plank ceiling and granite counter tops along with a French stainless steel range with matte black and copper accents add comminuted definition. There are also ample amounts of windows to allow the natural light to graciously flow through the space.

“We definitely love this kitchen,” smiled Cathy. “People come in and you can’t get them out of it, they sit in the chairs and on the stairs while we cook! I tell my friends it is a magic kitchen, as you can literally do everything while sitting in a swivel chair!”


  • Kitchen Designer: Kitchens by Kleweno – Randall Sisk, Genevieve Hamel AKBD
  • Glass Pendants: Rock Cottage Glass
  • Counters: Carthage Stoneworks
  • Cabinets: Kitchens by Kleweno/Draper-DBS
  • Custom Copper Range Hood and Copper Raised Counter: Kitchens by Kleweno
  • Range: La Cornue from Paris
  • Remaining Appliances: Sub-Zero Wolf
  • Stone: Sturgis Materials
  • Wall Pottery: Dock 6
  • Blacksmith: John Duckworth
  • Stone Manson: Stone Concepts – Frank Van Lerberg

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