Serving Up Style

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This Leawood kitchen remodel offers abundant space, functionality, and taste with its efficient design and dramatic touches.

Story by Ann Butenas  |  Photography by Paul Bonnichsen

No matter what home design project Kitchens by Kleweno undertakes, the end result is always breath-taking, stunning, and a veritable masterpiece. However, each design is equally functional and efficient. This full-service kitchen and bath studio known for its innovative, functional, and artistic designs since 1946 always finds a way to make the art of kitchen a legendary response when building a new culinary space. This fantastic Leawood kitchen remodel is no exception to that approach.

Because owners Karla and Ivan Batlle have a large family, love to entertain and enjoy the company of good people and good food, a kitchen that checked the boxes in terms of both efficiency and aesthetics was important to them.

When Karla and Ivan moved into the home, which at the time was not even two years old, they were relatively unimpressed with the kitchen and its overall flow.

“We just weren’t happy with it, but it worked, so we just kept the idea of remodeling it in the back of our minds,” said Karla. “Now that our kids are older and have moved out of the house, we wondered if we should move or remodel.  We chose the latter.”

Their association with the Kitchens by Kleweno team made all the difference in the world with respect to their desired vision for the space.

“The former kitchen was quite dark,” noted Genevieve Hamel, AKBD and Kitchen Designer with Kleweno. “As such, we transitioned to an off-white scheme. The owners wanted to modernize the home overall, as well, and bring that style into the kitchen since it is an open space. We worked within the same space but repositioned elements within, such as putting the oven in the corner and adding more storage space.”

The original kitchen also had rather deep cabinets, which frustrated Karla as she could never fully see what was in them.

“I wanted to see all of it, so we put in more drawers which means less bending, and I can see everything I have in them,” said Karla, who now enjoys the beauty and functionality of the custom-made cherry wood cabinets, all with different orientation of grain, which adds another element of design without being too busy.

“I also wanted a big island,” expressed Karla. “That was always my dream. I never had that. I just wanted the big island without a range or sink on it, just the space. I didn’t want a dining room table. Instead, I wanted the option to seat several people comfortably around the island.”

As a result, she now has an expansive and attractive dining area and can easily move about the kitchen.

Another desired feature in the updated kitchen was a range hood, which was absent in the original design.

“They built this beautiful hood, taking our vision and making it happen,” stated Karla. “With everything they did, we never had to worry about a single detail. Genevieve and her team saw things before we even noticed them.”

Perhaps the pièce de resistance in this updated kitchen are the countertops that double as a remarkable backsplash.

“This countertop, a Santana Wave quartzite, brings something special to the kitchen,” noted Genevieve. “It has a lot of movement, so we played with that. We had two slabs of quartzite that were book matched, which allowed us to do a bookmatch pattern in the kitchen, so we extended that above the range, playing on the movement.”

Another striking feature is the hanging light fixture. Karla cherishes a Tiffany lamp, a family heirloom, which sits between the two swivel chairs just to the side of the kitchen by the windows. 

“It was important for her to keep that lamp in the space,” explained Genevieve, who modeled the new light fixture after the lamp, modernizing it, essentially creating a beehive concept with textured rondelle glass stacked together. Strategically placed, this light fixture provides an anchor to the whole area.

Not to be left out of the limelight, the copper range hood with a light patina and hammered brass bandings artfully hangs above the new Wolf range. That same brass bandings effect can be found on the bottom of the pedestal in the island. An interesting point about the range is that it is positioned diagonally, mimicking the fireplace directly opposite in the living room.

Other unique features include a steam oven, a speed oven, and an oven in the island.

“They wanted a microwave oven, but we suggested the speed oven, as it doubles as an oven and a microwave,” indicated Genevieve.

Karla and Ivan were incredibly thankful for the partnership with Kitchens by Kleweno and praised Genevieve for her talents.

“Genevieve is amazing,” smiled Karla. “You just tell her what you want, and she does it. She is an artist, and that comes out in the design. She gave me everything I wanted and more.”

Genevieve was equally pleased with the results. “This kitchen is now more transitional, clean, and fresh,” she noted. 


  • Kitchen Designer: Kitchens by Kleweno

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