A tried-and-true floor plan gets a cosmetic upgrade three decades later.
Story by Andrea Darr | Photography by Paul Bonnichsen
Imagine a kitchen that functions great for 35 years. Not starting today, but back in the 1980s. Yes, the original kitchen layout in this Arts and Crafts-style home was so meticulously planned that only when the appliances started failing did the homeowners consider a redo. And of course, they called up the same company who designed the original plan: Kitchens by Kleweno.
It started six years ago, when they had to replace a fridge. The new Sub-Zero amid dated materials came off a little clunky looking. The homeowners started envisioning what their new style would be.
“The homeowners loved the layout, they just wanted to update the look,” says Kleweno owner Randy Sisk.
Why mess with a good thing? Minus a few adjustments to placement, the flow of the room remained virtually untouched. But the look is entirely sleek and new.
The homeowner gives credit to the design back then, with its contemporary laminate cabinets and dark tile counters that sufficiently weathered the years, but is thoroughly satisfied with the updated version. “The kitchen has beautiful mahogany wood and lighter counters,” he describes.
“The high-gloss polyurethane finish brings a lot of life to the space,” designer Genevieve Hamel, AKBD, says of the cabinets. They also are free of hardware, instead opening via a channel system in the door fronts, for a fuss-free surface, and there are virtually no wall cabinets, leaving the space feeling open.
For the countertops, Hamel selected engineered quartz for the island, which lends a modern look with its thin profile, and quartzite, a natural material that looks like granite, for the perimeters. “It’s a very serviceable material — very hard and trouble free,” Sisk says.
One of quartzite’s defining characteristics is that it has clear spots you can peer down into. “It really gives the counter some depth,” Sisk explains.
The appliance package included all Wolf/Sub-Zero products because the couple, who both like to cook, needed professional-grade power. “Genevieve and Randy talked us into a steam oven, which we were unfamiliar with, but it turns out to be a great appliance,” the homeowner adds.
While they were receptive to many ideas, the homeowners also had a few must-haves for Hamel to work with, such as housing specific items in specific places, including a Cuisinart mixer and little drawers for stashing coffee and tea and shelves for accompanying accoutrement.
The kitchen’s arrangement is two-sided: one for cooking, one for baking, and a hardworking island in between. The baking area is visually connected to the dining room under an LED-lighted shelf. The opposite work area is flanked by the wall ovens and pantry, with lift-up cabinetry for larger serving pieces above an open stainless steel cafe shelf.
Among the homeowners’ favorite design details is that shelf, reminiscent of a commercial kitchen, where the couple easily accesses glasses and plates. “There’s no reason to put certain dishes you use on a daily basis behind cabinet doors,” Sisk notes.
The project is replete with attentive details, from glazed clay tile on the back of the peninsula custom made locally by Archival Design, to the eco-conscious decision to incorporate a bin for recyclables. Even the island’s barstools were custom made to blend into the space, with the bases painted to match the gray countertop and the seats to match the cabinets.
In each project, Kitchens by Kleweno tries to incorporate a place for art. You could argue that this whole kitchen itself is art, but Hamel designed in lighted niches for the homeowner to display prized pieces.
Lighting was a huge upgrade to the room, making the overall scheme dramatic. “At night, with the lights dimmed, it’s a really cool look,” the owner says.
The homeowners praise the Kleweno team and contractor Pinnacle Construction and Electronics for giving them a dream kitchen to last another 35 years.
“Overall it looks so classy and it certainly works well,” the homeowners say. “We are so impressed with it.”
Kitchen Company: Kitchens by Kleweno
Contractor: Pinnacle Construction
Countertops (Quartzite & Dekton): Carthage Stoneworks
Custom Handmade Tile: Archival Designs
Appliances: Roth Distributing