Our recent Boston South Shore kitchen remodel in a 100 year old home presented a unique set of challenges to us, due its extremely low ceiling and our client’s desire for a luxury kitchen that conveyed a sense of gracious living.
They desired a kitchen that would be a family center for their children and their children’s friends, a place for them to gather, socialize and do homework.
The parents, themselves, also wanted to be able to relax and entertain their adult friends – while still being able to keep an eye on their active children.
As you can see below in one of our BEFORE photos, we had our work cut out for us.
Their existing kitchen, shown in the floor plan below, was dark and cramped, with that low ceiling, and had main circulation paths in all directions!
In addition to the problematic circulation, the room was walled off from the rest of the house. There was neither a closet nor any storage by the kitchen door.
So, how do you get a WOW kitchen when you are starting with such a problematic set of circumstances? In these two custom renderings we prepared for our client, you can see our solutions.
First, we proposed eliminating the wall between the kitchen and the den/family room at the front of the house and the small powder room adjacent to the kitchen door. This solution would:
1. Pour daylight into the space from both sides of the house.
2. Open up their kitchen to accommodate large groups of their friends and their children’s friends.
3. Enable an efficient work triangle, accessible storage and comfortable circulation for a more functional kitchen.
We also proposed opening the wall between the kitchen and the home office, and suggested that their under utilized office become the kids’ recreation area – removed from the kitchen, but accessible.
Here is our AFTER floor plan.
As you can see in the opening photo above, the transformation was dramatic – no more dark, dreary space!
We created this sense of openness, height and light [ the ceiling you are seeing here is only 7 feet -8 inches high! ] by eliminating any upper cabinets, and using bright white paints.
As designers, one of our responsibilities is to help our clients achieve the biggest impact for their invested dollars.
By carefully managing the cost of the custom cabinets, appliances and other items – such as the decorative lighting over the island – we were able to invest our client’s saved dollars where it would have the most impact for them.
And in this kitchen, those saved dollars were invested, to give our clients the WOW factor they wanted, in this marble we selected with them for their backsplash & countertop material.
It is a beautiful Vermont Danby marble, and we all considered ourselves lucky the day we saw it and were able to say YES, we’ll take it!
The second splurge was deciding upon a natural walnut for the island countertop. This gives the kitchen distinction, warmth and truly pulls the room together. Now, it is the kitchen’s hub – designed for cooking prep, family dining, doing homework, etc. On weekends, it is the perfect gathering place for friends to hang out.
Refined details make a difference in the day to day use of a kitchen and in its sense of gravitas and elegance.
The goose necked chromed silver Perrin and Rowe faucet and white porcelain apron front Rohl farmhouse sink not only make doing dishes a breeze, but add charm and distinction to this 100 year old Boston Colonial home.
As we decided on no upper cabinets in the kitchen, drawers were designed with plate and cup organizers, making it easy for young children to help themselves.
A beautiful and space maximizing *Le Mans* corner cabinet shelf system pullout was also used to maximize access to – and usability of – the corner base cabinet. Our contractors love them for their ease of installation.
A combination of open shelving and spice drawers added easy access organization next to our client’s cooktop.
An adult beverage center and wine storage unit is located at the other end of the island near the refrigerator for easy access during parties. Next to this are the floor to ceiling 24″ wide extra deep pantries we designed for additional storage.
Notice the custom designed wrought iron railing above the wine storage center? Using that open railing, rather than a half wall, when we opened up the wall between the existing kitchen and the underused home office, allowed us to create visibility for parental monitoring, while creating the perfect place for the kids to feel they had a *place of their own* to hang out with their friends, play video games and watch TV.
Sooner or later, every renovation has its challenges and the biggest challenge with this one was finding an outside exhaust range hood that would work to ventilate the stovetop, considering the low height of the ceiling.
Most external exhausts vent out the top and need at least 2 feet of clearance above them before the exhaust duct can be run horizontally to the outside of the house.
In our case, that meant the horizontal duct would have been running through two closets on the second floor – which wasn’t practical for our client- and the other obvious solution: to run a vertical exhaust through the second floor, attic and roof, would have cost an additional $8,000.
Fortunately, we solved this challenge by finding an exhaust that was designed to vent directly out its side, enabling us to run the exhaust through a soffit [ dropped ceiling ] we designed for this purpose, placed just under the second floor framing. A very clean look, and mission accomplished!
WHAT DOES OUR CLIENT HAVE TO SAY NOW?
Our client tells us this new kitchen renovation has transformed the way their family lives.
They now spend more time together after school, around dinner time and on weekends. When the boys have friends over, rather than retreating to the basement, they head straight for the kids’ room off the kitchen, right where an adult can keep a watchful eye on them.
They are thrilled!
And you should see the parties…
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