Boasting A BIG Personality

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A touch of style, a dash of personality and a heaping helping of functionality definitely please the design palette in this Plaza-based kitchen.  

Story by Ann Butenas   |   Photos by Matt Kocourek

When the Topeka-based owners of this stylish Plaza condominium wanted a place to stay whenever they come in town to do business, they knew the kitchen had to be a primary focal point. Although they don’t use it every day because of their schedules, when they are in town, this space undoubtedly makes them feel right at home and is perfect for cozy family gatherings or entertaining friends.


Working alongside Sue Shinneman, CKD and co-owner of the award-winning Kitchen Studio: Kansas City, the clients opted to replace its traditional appeal in favor of a more transitional and contemporary look. To kick-start that endeavor, the wall separating the kitchen from the dining room was torn down to provide a seamless flow across the main areas of the condo.

“When you walk into the residence from the front door, you can see all the way through to the windows at the back end,” noted Shinneman.

Bringing myriad elements together, Shinneman was able to cater to the clients’ needs and lifestyle in a stylish and envious way while still embracing full functionality of the space.


Replacing everything that was in the original kitchen, new elements soon took shape to bring the picture to completion. Along with stunning new cabinetry, Caesarstone quartz countertops adorn the island, made of walnut, while across the way Cygnus Quartzsite, a stone in the granite family, completes the perimeter counter space. Its dark taupe color with faint white streaking provides subtle movement and complements the taupe color of the walls and the painted maple perimeter cabinetry. The symmetry of all of the cabinets comes not only in color and style but also in the brush nickel pulls on each door and drawer.

“All of the drawers are soft-close and come to full extension when opened,” noted Shinneman. “This makes for greater storage and easier access to items.” The narrow drawers contiguous to the dining table are perfect for napkins and tablecloths and easily within reach while eating.


Complementing the kitchen is the full-service wet bar just off the living room, which picks up the same finish as the kitchen island and also has a Cygnus countertop. The vertical backsplash is a stainless glass mosaic mix and was designed in that manner to make the area above the counter appear taller in size. A wine fridge makes for a nice added touch to the space.

“We also installed glass shelving on the higher bar shelves to allow for light from the top to filter down through the shelves,” indicated Shinneman.

The tiled marble backsplash in gray and white colors in the kitchen was placed horizontally in the main areas but maintained that vertical appeal just behind the sink, tying into the wet bar’s styling and utilizing the same materials and stone.


Other unique touches to this kitchen include the microwave drawer and trash pullout in the island, as well as the spice rack in the wall cabinet between the range and refrigerator and a divided utensil draw just to the left of the range. Open shelves are found at each end of the island, one containing decorative touches and kitchenware and the other offering a perfect place to store cookbooks. The eye-catching light fixture over the dining room table, made of stainless steel rods embraced by light, was a unique find on the homeowners’ part.

Additionally, all new appliances were installed, including the paneled dishwasher that sits to the left of the farmhouse sink with apron front.


Project Designer: Kitchen Studio: Kansas City

Cabinetry: Rutt Regency

Countertops: Caesarstone – Frosty Carrina and Cygnus Quartzite

Appliances: Viking, GE and Subzero

Tile: AKDO – Heavy Rain Calcutta Gold Honed finish (behind sink)

Tile: AKDO – Calcutta Gold Subway tile Honed Finish (rest of backsplash)

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