Two Cooks, One Kitchen

A cramped culinary space receives a much-needed facelift

Shape of things to come

The couple married five years ago, and David automatically moved into Iris’ Kettering home, which she’s owned since 1980. “The house is large enough for us and the location is fantastic,” David says. “But we both love to cook and the old kitchen was a one-person space. We got in each other’s way and we knew we needed to renovate.”

The couple turned to Clive Morgan at Knapke Cabinets to help with the renovation. “This kitchen had two major things working against it—the strange, triangular shape and the size,” Morgan explains. “They are avid cooks, so the challenge was packing the new kitchen with everything they wanted, without changing the footprint too much.”

In order to accommodate the couple’s hopes of including a prep island, Morgan suggested pushing the kitchen out one foot into the sunroom at the back of the house. “The sink wall originally just had a pass-thru to the sunroom,” he says. By removing the wall and pushing the sink countertop out 12 inches, Morgan gained more square footage in the kitchen. This also led to the addition of bar seating and more of an open-air design to the entire living space.

This extra space meant there was room for David and Iris’ prep island. “We didn’t want a huge island,” David says. “But we wanted something that could serve as a prep area. Now one of us can be cooking at the range, while the other chops vegetables at the island and we’re not running into each other.”

David suggested the butcher block top, which Iris admits she was apprehensive when it came to actually cutting anything on the countertop. “I got used to it quickly and now I couldn’t imagine life without it,” she says. The island also includes a small prep sink and the much-used Sharp microwave drawer.

The shape of the island derived from the triangle shape of the entire kitchen. “The island virtually designed itself because it runs along the contours of the cabinetry,” Morgan says. “It’s a quirky shape that really completes the design.”

A smooth finish

A contemporary aesthetic was also very important to the couple. “Iris has a lot of contemporary art pieces throughout the house and the old kitchen wasn’t the least bit contemporary,” David says.

While they wanted a more modern design, they didn’t want the kitchen to look cold, so they chose to warm it up by selecting a Shaker-inspired cherry cabinet door. A teaberry stain gives the cabinetry a rich, dark look. Iris says she had a hard time imagining wood cabinets creating a contemporary look. “But as soon as she saw an example her eyes lit up,” David adds.

The cabinetry, paired with the chrome, rod-shaped hardware and stainless steel appliances, create the clean, uniform look both David and Iris were hoping to achieve.

To bring contrast, Morgan suggested frosted glass-front doors for the wall cabinets. “The glass doors act as diffused mirrors, reflecting the natural light that pours in from the sunroom,” he says.

All three can’t say enough about the granite countertops and backsplash. The blue and gray veining of the Scottish Meadow granite lightens the space, while at the same time, complements the dark tones of the cabinetry. “The guys at Marble & Granite Works were amazing the way they were able to match up the veining from the countertop to the backsplash,” David says. “That one detail creates such a smooth transition and flow.”

The Columbus, Ohio-based fabricator also routed a recessed drainboard into the granite countertop, next to the sink. David and Iris saw the application when they toured the showroom. “I didn’t want an ugly plastic drainboard sitting on the countertop,” Iris says. “This has been a wonderful solution.”

The flooring was equally important to David and Iris. Morgan suggested cork after the couple said they wanted a material other than wood or tile. “If you spend as much time in the kitchen as they do, then you want a material that is kind to your feet,” Morgan says. “This is the same cork that is on the floors of the Dayton Art Institute. If it can handle that many visitors it can handle this kitchen.”

The 12x24-inch tiles are easy to clean, can be removed and replaced if necessary and bring out the light color of the prep island’s butcher block top.

Life in the kitchen has been much easier for David and Iris since the renovation. You’ll often find David cooking up something new in the rotisserie and Iris coming up with a new appetizer. “We’ve always enjoyed cooking, now we love it even more,” Iris says. “I walk into the kitchen every morning and I am still shocked. It’s a completely different world!”

Resources:

Contractor: Knapke Cabinets; Kitchen designer: Clive Morgan; Cabinetry: Decora; Knapke custom cabinets; Flooring: Wecork, Avant Garde Collection, Classic White; Granite countertops and backsplash: Scottish Meadow granite, Marble & Granite Works; Prep island countertop: Butcher block, Knapke Cabinets; Sinks: Blanco; Opella; Faucets and potfiller: Brizo; Appliances: KitchenAid dishwasher; Wolf cooktop; GE Monogram refrigerator; Thermador ovens and warming drawer; Scotsman icemaker; Sharp microwave drawer

David Friedman and Iris Davis have an affinity for cooking and they have everything they need to create gourmet meals in roughly 160 square feet of contemporary culinary space. In fact, they’re quick to recall their first meal in their newly renovated kitchen. “Leg of lamb,” they exclaim, almost in unison. The dinner was prepared in an oven rotisserie, one of the many gadgets the couple requested during the remodel. “I wanted a rotisserie in one of the new ovens,” David says. “At first, Iris thought I was crazy, but after enjoying lamb, pork and beef tenderloin, which is one of her specialty dishes, I think she’s changed her mind.”

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