Cozy Kitchen

Remodel spells organized perfection for homeowners

Today, when Tammy Fleishman is prepping a meal in her kitchen, she can hold a conversation with her friends as they socialize in the living room. The open floor plan in the kitchen is great for staying engaged with guests, and the organization of the room allows Tammy to create great meals without any stress.

A new design

After deciding it was time for an update in their kitchen and family room, Tammy and her husband Bruce called Scott Swanger, owner of Westwood Cabinetry & Woodwork, and together with designer Wendy Starr, created an entirely new and improved space. Tammy knew she wanted white cabinetry and a more open feel, but she was also looking for a kitchen that was easy on her knees. “I have really bad knees, so I wanted a kitchen that had no cupboards below my waist,” she says. “I wanted everything below my waist to be a drawer.” Scott was able to make every base cabinet a pullout or drawer to make life easier on Tammy. Instead of having upper and lower dishwasher drawers, both washers sit up high and side-by-side, so Tammy doesn’t have to bend over a lot.

“Above everything, it was a top priority for Tammy that the space give guests a genuine sense of comfort,” Starr says. “Where people wouldn’t just come in and feel like a visitor, but actually feel comfortable in her home.”

Tammy says she knew the kitchen’s layout wasn’t going to change much, so she focused on the quality of the craftsmanship and wanted to give the kitchen an updated feel. “I wanted cupboards to go all the way to the ceiling, and top notch craftsmanship,” she says. Everything in the kitchen has a rich, furniture look that Tammy loves.

The biggest difference in the space today is how open it is. “We opened up the wall between the kitchen and the family room so Tammy can feel like she’s part of the conversation even when she’s in the kitchen,” Swanger says.

Tammy was open to different options from the beginning, according to Starr. “I came up with the color schemes and I would show her options for the tile, sinks, faucets, knobs...and she loved it,” Starr says. “She really wanted our opinions and she was excited to see what we could bring to the table.” Some highlights in the kitchen include the copper farm sink and matching prep sink in the island as well as the detail in the hardware.

Organization was key to this design and Starr says that was a large portion of updating the space. “She had a lot going on before: a lot of furniture, a lot of fabrics and a lot of different finishes,” Starr says. “She wanted to simplify and I really feel we helped her with that.”

The custom cabinetry has a very simple beaded inset door and a clean, classic line. There were some country accents in the old kitchen that Starr was able to incorporate in a more streamlined, modern way. Tammy has a collection of antique potato mashers that weren’t specifically displayed in the old space. Starr had the idea to mount them above the sink. “We were able to make pieces of art out of a lot of things in her kitchen,” Starr says. “The way we organized everything is important,” says Swanger. “She feels like she has everything she needs now.”

When it was coming down to the wire, Starr asked Tammy to write down everything she needed to store in the kitchen. After the list was complete, Starr created a space for everything: cookbooks, crock pots, cookie sheets, wine bottles, etc. “It’s so wonderful because you never have to guess where something is,” Tammy says.

A year after the renovation was complete, Tammy says everyone is always in the kitchen. “The island is big enough for everyone to gather around and I love the way it functions when I’m cooking and entertaining,” Tammy says. “It flows so nicely whether I’m entertaining for 25 or 4; it’s cozy with 4 people, but functional enough for 25. I love that,” she says.


Designer: Wendy Starr, Westwood Cabinetry & Millwork; Contractor: Scott Swanger, Westwood Cabinetry & Millwork; Cabinetry: Custom, Westwood Cabinetry & Millwork; Flooring: American Elegance hardwood floors; Countertops: Venetian Gold Granite, Marble & Granite Works; Backsplash: Mirage Tile, Classico Tile & Marble; Sinks: Native Trails copper sinks, Carr Supply; Faucets: Delta faucets, Venetian Bronze, Carr Supply; Dishwasher: Fisher & Paykel dishdrawers, hhgregg Fine Lines; Range: Wolf Dual Fuel, hhgregg Fine Lines; Refrigerator: Sub-Zero 700 Series, hhgregg Fine Lines; Pendant lighting: Restoration Hardware; Cabinet hardware: Aged copper pulls, Signature Brass; Omnia Knobs, Vintage Copper; Rugs: Nica’s Rugs and Decor

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