Villanova Kitchen Renovation: Part 1

Last year we were lucky enough to design and build a really stunning kitchen.  One of my favorites so far.  In my opinion, this space is the perfect blend of a remodel- making for a dramatic improvement of form and function.  We were able to open up the space and make it more inviting, improve the layout of the kitchen, and just choose really beautiful, classic yet interesting finishes.  Before I get into the wow-ee after shots (saving that for next week,) I thought I would share some of the planning and insights that went into this design.

So lets start with the Before situation.  It was a really dated and dark kitchen in a lovely, old traditional home.  Besides the old finishes there were a few things off the bat that I noted as design “problems.”

#1 Commuting Issue: The refrigerator was across the room from the cooktop and sink.  You had to traverse the kitchen, going around the island to get from one to the other.  This interupted traffic flow and just was not an ideal work zone.  I needed to find a way to move the refrig over to the “work” side of the kitchen.

before 4 kit frig wall

(hey Dad!)

#2 Unwelcome Entrance:  When entering the kitchen from the foyer, you walked right smack into the side of the refrigerator.  I wanted to get rid of the tall cabinet and design something that was functional, but a little more welcoming.

kit 2

#3 A Room, or a Closet?  There was this small little room that housed a few extra cabinets just off of the kitchen.  It was too small to be functional… you could barely fit a body in there!  Would we use it as a pantry?  Would we get rid of it and open up the space?  We needed to keep an open mind and assess our clients’ needs.

before 1- kit from dining room

kit alcove

#4 The Abandoned Eating Area.  Just off of the kitchen was a space that would perfect for casual dining, but the family never ate there!  Turns out it felt so closed off and disconnected from the kitchen so nobody wanted to hang out in there.  How could we open up the space and incorporate this area into the kitchen?

laundry room and eating area

wall to be removed

#5 The Window Wall of MEH.  A wall of windows is typically a good thing, right?  Yes and no.  For one, you lose the ability to have upper storage.  Not such a big deal here as we could allocate storage elsewhere.  But these windows are kinda small and lacked wow factor.  Both budget and architectural elements limited our ability to change them.  So how could we enhance this wall and make the most of the windows?

2-kit window wall

Continue after the jump to our proposed layout.

(more…)

Before & After: Bala Cynwyd Kitchen

Few things give me as much joy as re-working a kitchen layout.  It’s weird, I know, but I get this natural high for tearing rooms apart and puzzle-piecing them back together.  I like improving function and flow.  I delight in making a dark space seem brighter.  Think your space is too small?  Maybe my layout will make it seem bigger.

Our Bala Cynwyd clients needed all of this with a dose of pretty on top.  They called us in hoping for a little kitchen magic.  Their kitchen was starting to go (cabinet doors were falling apart left and right,) the layout wasn’t working for them and the look wasn’t to my clients’ taste.  We lucked out and were able to raise a window allowing for base cabinets to run underneath of it.  This was a total game changer as a previously empty wall is now a work horse in the kitchen.  The tight U kitchen was transformed into a Double L with much better flow between work areas.  No idea what that means?  Let’s have the floor plans and pictures do the talking.

BEFORE

Bala Before Plan

Someone packed a lot of appliances and cabinets into previous kitchen design.

I have to hand it to them, the U shape was creative.  Plus the long lower counter sat up to 6.

But the space felt so crowded,.  There wasn’t good prep space

Also the family room felt really cut off from the kitchen.

Continue Post HERE

(more…)

Why are we so Afraid of Color? {In Kitchens and Bathrooms}

As much as I love decorating (textiles, chairs, lamps, mirrors oh my!) kitchens and bathrooms continue to be my favorite spaces to design.  Perhaps it’s the blending of architectural elements with more decorative softer touches.  I love specifying millwork with special details, laying out tile patterns, accentuating lighting with the perfect pendant or sconce.  Compared to a living room with lots of textiles and furnishings, these spaces usually have less materials, making each selection more profound and important.

Kitchens and bathrooms tend to be more “permanent” renovations.  Remodels are lengthy, messy and expensive.  I find that people tend to be much more risk adverse when remodeling these rooms.  There is a much greater concern over creating a timeless look vs a trendy design.  After all, changing out a pillow in a living room is no big deal, but swapping out a tile backsplash in a kitchen is not so cheap or easy.  I totally GET wanting a kitchen that will look classic in 10 years, I wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money to then have it look dated within a decade.  Buttttt does classic have to mean a white kitchen?  I often wish I got more calls to do more colorful kitchens.  People are open to color in other areas, so why not in the heart of the home?

pink and orange bathroom

As much as I love a bold statement of color and pattern,  you can add a special punch to your kitchen or bathroom without going 110%.  I adore the bathroom above…. but not for my home.

So how do you add more color into these functional rooms in a smart and dare I say “safe” way?  Here are tips to be classic yet colorful in your kitchen and bathroom.

 

#1 A colorful base cabinet paired with classic white backsplash tile (or light wall.)

I think of this as updated classic.  Keep the architectural lines clean and let the color on the cabinets do the talking. The light walls keep the room from feeling overly saturated.

blue base cabinets

I love this kitchen so much!  The choice of a navy blue base cabinet is so rich and warm.  White counters, subway tile, a traditional beaded inset cabinet all give this kitchen a classic look.

green base cabinets

orange vanity

Hallie Henley Design

#2 Mix white perimeter cabinets with a bold colorful island

When the majority of the kitchen is clean and crisp, you can go a little bolder on the island!  You can even pair the white perimeter with a special tile or wallcovering that ties into the island.  The white cabinet will help balance the space and keep it from feeling too busy.

(more…)

One Room Challenge {Petite Kitchen} Week 6 FINALE

Welcome to the  final week of the One Room Challenge!  If you have been following along from the beginning then you have seen me and  my father completely transform our client’s kitchen over the past 6 weeks.  If you are just tuning in today, you are in for a big treat because I’ll be sharing those requisite Before photos along with our super sparkly After shots courtesy of Courtney Apple.

Courtney was such a trooper and stopped by this Monday afternoon to photograph the kitchen.  We were literally cleaning up paint cans, fastening electrical plates and pulling up masonite (wood floor protection) right before she showed up.  We could not have timed this puppy any closer.  Truth be told, we aren’t completely done; the wood floors need their final (3rd) coat of finish and so we did not move the dining room furniture back into the space.  My clients have also not filled in the new cabinets with all of their kitchen goodies.  I brought over a few of my own stuff to do a little shelf styling.  Overall though, I think you’ll get a good sense of the new space.

{Need to Catch Up?}

WEEK 1 / WEEK 2 / WEEK 3 / WEEK 4 / WEEK 5

Before we renovated the kitchen it was a dark, cramped space.  At 8’7 by 14’8 not only was it not very functional to work in, it was impossible to photograph!  (Helllooo how can I show a proper Before and After if I can’t even photograph the room?)

View from the Dining Room Before

kitchen from dining room- before

It took a little convincing, but our clients agreed to let us remove the wall between the kitchen and the dining room.

View from the Dining Room Week 3

walls and floors out in petite kitchen

Now, with the wall gone, it is a completely different.  Open, bright, and incredibly inviting.  Actually words don’t do it justice,

without further ado, check out the space today…

CONTINUE READING HERE

(more…)

One Room Challenge {Petite Kitchen} Week 5

It’s week 5 of the One Room Challenge and we are rounding the finish line in this kitchen renovation.  Tile woes are subsiding as the gorgeous mosaics are set up the wall.  I’m fairly certain we will have a finished kitchen to show you next week!  We might not have time to fill and organize the cabinets, but at the very least, the construction site will be cleaned up and it will be fully functioning.

Need to catch up?

Week 1- Before Photos, Inspiration, Demolition

Week 2- Floor Plan Deliberation, Wall Removal, Drywall

Week 3- Wood Floors, Cabinet Details, Appliances

Week 4- Cabinets Installed, Tile and Countertop selections

 When I left you last week the cabinets had been installed and I went out to the stone fabricator to place the countertop sections on the quartzite slabs.  Countertops were cut and installed last week and the are so beautiful.  The material is “Aquias Blue” quartzite and I’m obsessed.

countertop waterfall

CONTINUE READING HERE

(more…)