Sunday, March 10, 2019

How Our Weston Hills Kitchen Goes from Drab to Fab!

Last year we ripped apart every inch of this two-story home in Weston Hills and slowly gave it a new a fabulous lease on life. This wasn't a standard renovation. Our clients own several properties and while they're considering downsizing, they weren’t sure if they would one day move back in to this home where they'd raised their three girls. They did know they wanted it to be a lot less traditional than their primary home, therefore no deep wood tones, no heavy drapery. They wanted a light and airy home, heavy on style and function. 
We started on the first floor and worked our way up.
Here's my process: When I walk into a space to consider it's potential design, nothing is off limits. I'll flip an existing floor plan upside down - relocate a sink if needed, move an ac unit or a  washer/dryer if one is sitting in kitchen...That's the beauty of starting afresh. Most homeowners who renovate assume they have to renovate within the existing footprint. Ummm, not so. Ever. 
So with that in mind, this kitchen was about to get a lesson in how to move things around to finally achieve great style and function. Here's where we started:

FYI: I loathe a bar height countertop! I just can't with the dangling legs and struggling to get on those bar stools so 99 percent of my kitchen designs have a counter height island. I'm still trying to remember that 1 percent, but carry on while I jog my memory.  I will also always prefer a hood that vents to the exterior when possible, over a microwave over the range. That means you'll see loads of convention/microwave combos in our projects or base cabinet microwaves or microwave drawers. 

There are more stylish ways to do a pantry. And that tiny refrigerator just won't cut it in a house of this size. 
Plumbing is our biggest pain in the rear. In two story homes the pipes are always, always in the wrong location for us to truly create a master piece kitchen so yes, we have to often relocate plumbing stacks. It's always worth it. Trust me on that. 

Demo days are the best days. 


 Okay. Enough chatter. Here's how she's looking these days. 

Counter height! Always. Always. Seating for five and in true style with these camel leather and chrome bar stools. FYI we sourced for hours for the perfect ones and I had to push my client on this choice because I really wanted the leather to warm things up a bit. 

Relocating the plumbing stacks allowed us to completely open the kitchen up. 
Relocating the range and hood directly in front of the sink just seemed to anchor the kitchen and allowed us to do a dramatic slab backsplash where it could truly be a star. 

This was our third choice of quartz! Our client travels a lot and we lost the first two we pitched while waiting on her approval in between flights. In the end I pulled the trigger on this one and said, sorry, this has to be it! Thankfully she agreed and my, what a beauty. 

Oh breakfast nook, you have made me a believer. 

It took five holes for this faucet and companion hose and garbage disposal button! 
But whatev, we so love it. 

I really think farm sinks are here to stay. Ditto two over-sized pendants over an island instead of three. 

Flour power.

Finally! A refrigerator that's the right scale for a five bedroom home, with pantries the way I like em  on either side of a refrigerator.

The new beverage station is a great addition and also houses a microwave drawer in the base cabinet. 


Whew. Let's have a seat! This was definitely a labor of love project. 
So many lessons learned on this one but man if it isn't now among our faves. 

But here's some Behind The Scenes (BTS) intel:
  1. I originally wanted to move the sink to the under the windows where the banquette is and in a rare case, the windows were the perfect height from the floor to do so (we've raised windows before in order to relocate a sink) But out client loves a dedicated breakfast nook and so nope, that idea was nixed much to my dismay. And guess what, that little eating area is now just as fabulous as it was meant to be.
  2. We debated a lot about the kitchen island color. My client wanted the navy color I'd used in another project but since I won't repeat a design or color that was not to be. We went back and forth for weeks about the color then one day she looked at my grey nail color and said, I really love that color on your nails. Can we do that? Ummm sure thing!
  3. I'll always, always take cabinets to the ceiling - unless ceilings are over 10 feet in which case it just doesn't make sense because, ladders to get inside your cabinets shouldn't be an every day thing. 
  4. Weeks after we finished the main floor, a pipe burst in the laundry and flooded the main floor. I was a wreck when I walked in to ankle deep water but thankfully we'd popped by just hours after it happened and so we the cabinets weren't soaked. All the doors and baseboards had to be removed and new ones reinstalled. It was a devastating turn of events for this project and slowed things down for weeks as we had to ensure all the walls were dry to avoid mold but thankfully we pulled through.

We'll reveal the other spaces we designed over the next few weeks.  What's your favorite part of this kitchen project? And have you had a difficult kitchen renovation that made you wanna pull your hair out? Tell us the worst moment and how you pulled you. 

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