Because I talk about small budgets all the time, you may think that I don’t undertake any big-ticket projects. Although I don’t do many higher-end kitchens, I have been called on to do a few. (I love any kitchen but the challenge of a small budget really gets me excited, call me crazy.) You would probably also think having a big budget would make it easier, that is not necessarily true, there are so many considerations in kitchens you are bound to run up against something eventually.
The kitchen below was dated with yellow walls and a small peninsula, then Hurricane Flo hit and it had to be gutted. We thought maybe we could completely reconfigure the space since it had been taken down to the studs, I mean, let’s turn those lemons into lemonade, but that thought quickly evaporated when the cost of moving the staircase on the opposite side of the wall made that impossible.
We did, however, want to make some changes. As with every client I have ever had, they wanted a big island. Measurements were taken and many configurations later we decided to remove the peninsula and enlarge their formerly tiny island. I thought I had given them a huge island (considering we basically needed to work within the old space) but it was not big enough for the client. Three designs later, we settled on a design that would accommodate an island that could seat 4 people and still have enough room to get around the kitchen.
The design process was lengthy because I needed to address some issues that had been frustrating the homeowner for years. First and foremost, adding seating to her island was a priority but there were other small issues that she had just learned to live with that I wanted to correct. The placement of the dishwasher was awkward as she couldn’t get her plates into her cabinets with the door open so we moved the dishwasher to the island. We added pantry space and a bar area complete with ice maker because they entertain a lot. And lastly, we added deep drawer space in the base cabinets for easy access as well as custom cabinets for spices, flat pans, and pull-outs.
When choosing the cabinets I considered the fact they have tall ceilings at 108″ so I double-stacked cabinets with antique glass in the uppers cabinets that would be used for display. I went with the ever favorite white Shaker cabinet and topped it with a beautiful quartz countertop that looked like marble, giving it a traditional look that brightened up the space and made it look larger than it actually is. With the countertop picked we looked at backsplash tile. An artisan subway tile was chosen, an update to the standard 3X6 subway tile, with a lantern tile in the lightest gray/blue behind the stove as an accent.
It was a lengthy process for many reasons: contractor issues, cabinet delays, electric, and plumbing situations plagued this project. As a designer I needed to be flexible, patient, and, above all else, I needed to think outside the box. It was challenging but the result was so worth it!