Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Not So Fancy Kitchen is on the Home Tour!

I'm excited about my project featured in this year's Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour April 27-28! I hope you'll stop in and see it - it's #12 on the tour and is open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. on Sunday.
We dubbed it the Not So Fancy Kitchen because the owner - a wonderful woman named Michelle - didn't want shiny granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances or high gloss ceramic tile. Instead, she asked me to make it "not so pretty"  and asked me to avoid using shiny surfaces. Her dream was to transform her 1940's kitchen into a colorful and functional space, using colors inspired by vibrant antique Uruguayan tiles from her travels to South America. 
Wanting to make the kitchen "a happy, fun place to cook in," Michelle wanted to retain much of the character of the home. Also on the wish list was additional storage and more natural light to transform the kitchen into a warm and welcoming gathering space.
Repurposing the Space:

Michelle wanted to recycle or repurpose as much as possible in the home during this remodel, so we retained the fantastic 1940's original linoleum flooring. A fun repurposing project was reusing the original ironing board cabinet into a spice cabinet.
We mixed Michelle's new modern conveniences with her collection of antique toys and colorful vintage dishware - she is a modern gal who loves old stuff - like the cracks in her plaster walls! I encouraged her to fix them, but she wanted them to stay. She likes them and says they add character to her kitchen.
New Space:
This client was fun to work with because she was willing to take risks! At Michelle's request, we didn't install any new upper cabinets, which results in an open, spacious feeling. It brings attention to beautiful details like the colorful handmade tile border from Northern Prairie and SoMi tile, chosen to blend with the existing floor. (Visit and to learn more about these wonderful artisans and their work!)

When designing the cabinets, I worked with a "blind corner" - that awkward space in the corner where cabinets meet and there is typically a Lazy Susan. We didn't have enough space for a Lazy Susan, so we built sliding drawers instead - I call them 'magic drawers'. The front drawer pulls out and moves to the right, giving room to pull the second drawer out from behind it. It takes what would be wasted space and transforms it into valuable extra storage.
When installing new countertops, the existing countertops became a potential problem. The homeowner didn't want to remove or replace them, but the current countertop height is higher than it was in the 1940's and would block the window. To solve this, we retained the original counter heights in front of each of the two windows, enabling the owner to keep her windows and create a baking center. The countertops are Carerra marble - inspired by her travel to Italy, where she toured marble pits. She loves to bake and the lower countertop level is perfect for kneading dough - she loves it!  
A small, high window was installed to bring in more light and floating shelves were mounted to display the homeowner's collections. We added specially designed spaces, such as a cabinet drawer to store their liquor bottles - we measured the bottles to be sure they'd fit - and cabinets to hold all of their pots, pans and utensils.
The task of working with "no shiny surfaces" provided an interesting challenge for me and after working on it, I'm realizing a changing trend. I think more people are moving away from shiny and embracing more of an "earthy" feeling. 
Best compliment:
"No surprise, but I STILL love the kitchen! Had friends over last night - the ones who hadn't seen the kitchen - they loved it sooooo much! They said it was perfectly me! I said I had the best team working on, so of course it was perfect. Just thought you'd want to know the kitchen is almost perfect. It would be perfect if there was some kind of pullout bed so I could nap in there too. Like an under cabinet trundle bed. . . ."  -- Michele

This home is #12 on the Minneapolis St. Paul Home Tour, running April 27- 28, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. - 5 pm on Sunday.


No comments: