Perfecting the Look of a Transitional Kitchen

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The airy and casual elegance of this Brookside kitchen draws you in while its overall functionality is perfect for a busy family.

Story by Ann Butenas     |     Photography by Matt Kocourek

Rather than trying to design a kitchen that fit into a predetermined style, designer Sue Shinneman, CKD, Designer and Owner of Kitchen Studio: Kansas City, incorporated a few of the client’s preferred elements with her own innovative concepts, capturing a transitional vibe with a personal touch.

“The client expressed an interest in the colors we used and was very open to the unique ideas we presented her,” noted Shinneman, who thoroughly enjoyed this older Brookside home remodeling project that perfectly combines design, colors and textures to inspire both beauty and style.

Using a wonderful contrast of white and black appointments, Shinneman left plenty of room in this kitchen to remain creative, opening the door to both practical and stylish elements. She installed ample storage space to create a kitchen free of clutter while streamlining the look of the countertops. The simple aesthetics of this kitchen are maximized with great lighting and unique design elements.

“This was previously a narrow galley kitchen with a dining table at one end,” indicated Shinneman, who left the original footprint kitchen essentially intact, with the exception of annexing out where the dining table formerly stood, installing in its place the new refrigerator. She also removed a wall, creating an open space that now blends in with the existing dining room.

With more space available, Shinneman incorporated an island, outfitted with a Cambria quartz countertop, a microwave drawer and numerous storage drawers. She also created a tall, single door storage area on the right end for easy access to items the owners use on a daily basis, such as ingredients for making morning smoothies. Hanging above the island are two schoolhouse light fixtures that add a splash of charm and timeless design style.

All new appliances were definitely a part of this project, all of which add their own layer of style to the space.

“The owner has all new Sub-Zero Wolf appliances, including a 36-inch range, above which is a black painted hood to tie in with the island and the dish pantry,” referenced Shinneman.

The decorative mosaic backsplash, presenting as elongated octagon shapes, gives further sophisticated definition to the kitchen.

“The tile adds visual texture to the space without adding excessive detail,” noted Shinneman.

The porcelain farmhouse sink is accented by a brass accent light above and an original window that Shinneman repainted in black. Another window, situated to the right of the refrigerator, highlights a newly-created space for the family to use.

“That area is where the dining table originally was located, next to a bay window, which we took out, squaring the space out and creating a bar area with a wine cooler, brass light fixture, and glass cabinet storage,” indicated Shinneman.

The inherent beauty of this transitional kitchen is the manner in which the cabinetry presents with obvious elegance yet doesn’t steal the show from the other elements in the kitchen, such as the island and the show-stopping dish pantry, painted in black and adorned with a brass and stainless screen inset into its doors. The perimeter countertops are also a Cambria quartz but of a different pattern and with less detail than the island countertop. Shinneman also redid the hardwood flooring throughout the kitchen and laced in some new sections to match the flooring in the adjacent dining room and remaining first floor level.

Contiguous to the kitchen is a newly-installed mudroom, which was formerly a porch.

“We enclosed the porch and created this new mudroom, tying the colors into the kitchen,” stated Shinneman. “The porcelain tile flooring looks like a type of concrete tile and enjoys easy maintenance.”

Shinneman incorporated into the mudroom a bench and a little cabinet, which is perfect for storing mittens, scarves, and hats. On the opposite end of the mudroom is a full food pantry and additional storage for outdoor necessities, such as sports balls and patio dishware.

Overall, this updated kitchen design creates a wonderful blend of elegance and classic appeal. Its versatile style feeds into the surrounding rooms, making it a perfect design for the new open layout.


  • Kitchen Design: Kitchen Studio: Kansas City
  • Contractor: Norburg Contracting
  • Cabinetry: Crystal Cabinetworks Inc.
  • Cabinet Knobs: Top Knobs
  • Counterops: CKF
  • Tile: Central States Tile
  • Appliances: Sub-Zero/Wolf
  • Plumbing Fixtures: Kitchens & Baths by Briggs

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