Irish-Inspired Kitchen

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This stunning Leawood kitchen harmoniously blends a new look with old traditions making it just a wee bit exciting!

Story by Ann Butenas    |    Photos by Matt Kocourek

I have often joked that the only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house. However, after taking a peek at this particular culinary wonderland, I would probably have to confess that I’d take the house because it came with this kitchen!

Nestled in a cozy Leawood, Kansas neighborhood, this home underwent a bit of a transformation recently, with the kitchen as its primary focal point. With a strong nod to the homeowner’s Irish roots, the space has transformed into a good luck charm of sorts, as it is becoming the preferred entertaining spot for extended family and friends.

Built in 1982, this residence definitely has its roots in Johnson County, but the ethnic influences that have since been incorporated give it a welcoming old country vibe.

“This is the perfect gathering spot for the family,” noted Lisa Otterness, lead designer with Classic Kitchens Design Studio, referencing homeowners Marty and Laurie Quinn. “They definitely wanted an Irish feeling to the space but not so specific or overly-done, so in doing this project, it was about always hitting the right note.”

And hitting the right note time and again throughout the space has become music to the homeowners’ ears, both literally and figuratively.

“Marty listens to Irish music and honors and loves his heritage,” said Laurie, who also has a dash of Irish blood running through her veins.

In order to get this kitchen to its goal, both an architectural eye and a designer’s touch had to harmoniously converge. Through a solid team effort, this kitchen would not be possible without the efforts of Mark Giroux of Giroux Contracting and the architectural team of NSPJ Architects, P.A, coupled with the artistic design style of Otterness. Additionally, the one-of-a-kind detailed woodworking was created and installed by family friend Ian Byrne, owner of Byrne Custom Woodworking. Known not only for his master craftsmanship, Byrne also enjoys celebrity as the lead singer and talented musician with The Elders, an Irish American folk rock band from Kansas City.

Renovations began in the home by remodeling a wall between the living room and kitchen, which is now a big arch, designed by Byrne and carved by Donovan Mumma, who works with Byrne. Celtic knots can be found throughout the arch, along with a few other notable influences.

“Ian actually did most of the woodwork in our home, including the bookcases which showcase traditional Irish harps, Brian Boru to the left and Guinness to the right,” said Marty.

The kitchen and hearth room were expanded and what was formerly a deck is now the dining room. As such, the opening now looking into the dining room was formerly an exterior window.

Marty explained that while the original footprint of the kitchen is essentially the same, a larger island was incorporated and all of the appliances were re-arranged. Additionally, the walk-in pantry, complete with a standing work station and ample cabinet space, was moved to where the laundry room used to be.

“That is a nice area in which to store items and prepare food while entertaining,” he indicated.

The Quinn’s kitchen is filled with subtle Irish influences, including the detail on the hood above the range and the collection of knobs and pulls, which are adorned with Celtic knots.

Among the many impressive highlights in the kitchen include the Raven-colored Casearstone quartz countertop on the island, which also has toe-kick lighting underneath and ample storage. The maple cabinetry enjoys a candlelight and black glaze finish, giving the feel of cherry without all of the wood grain. The subway backsplash tile boasts a beautiful cracqueleur finish, which gives it a crackled old paint effect, to appear aged and not too new and shiny. The perimeter countertops are also Caeserstone quartz in a Pebble color.


“The backsplash over the range was the result of a collaboration with Tara Bench of International Materials of Design, a local tile shop,” explained Otterness. “We worked diligently with the designer to achieve the look which, again, hit the right note to achieve that Irish feel without being too specific.”

The pendant lighting above the island is known as seed glass, which gives the appearance of air bubbles within the glass and has been coupled with Edison bulbs for another feeling of age. The lighting was provided by Rensen House of Lights under the direction of Terri Mott. The kitchen sink is a Blanco Silgranit II in metallic grey.

Otterness thoroughly enjoyed working with the Quinns, as it not only gave her the opportunity to indulge her creativity, but it also gave her the chance to make this home unique and personal.

“It was fun pulling elements from other rooms and seamlessly integrate them into the kitchen, both for how it looks and how it functions,” she reflected.


Designer: Classic Kitchens Design Studio    |    Contractor: Giroux Contracting    |    Architects: NSPJ Architects, P.A.    |    Woodworking: Byrne Custom Woodworking    |    Tile: International Material of Design    |    Lighting: Rensen House of Lights    |    Countertops: Top Master, Caesarstone    |    Sink: Blanco    |    Appliances: Factory Direct Appliances

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