Ravenous. Hollow Leg. Hungry as a Horse. These are words and phrases that might be tossed around frequently in a home that houses teenage boys. Parents in these homes know how difficult it is to keep the fridge stocked and the kitchen clean. And, in today’s economy, teenage boys can Eat you out of House and Home. So, with the hearty appetites of their two sons and family meal prep in mind, Kerry and Matthew Green made the decision to renovate their family’s kitchen.
“We all like to cook, even the boys participate,” Kerry explains. “We’re cooking meals three to four nights a week. We wanted the kitchen to be open so we can all be in there at the same time, not climbing over each other.”
“I think it was the island that caused us to finally redesign the kitchen,” she says. “It had a cooktop in the middle of it, and you couldn’t sit there—especially if someone was cooking—because it could burn you. We really wanted that flex seating of the island.”
THREE IN ONE
The Greens chose The Cleary Company to design and renovate their kitchen. Katie Florjancic, the designer who worked with the couple, explains that she always starts by learning the “pain points” of her clients, the things they don’t like about the space. “We then talk about what they want the space to look like and any special features they want,” Florjancic adds.
Kerry and Matthew had a wish list, and Katie came up with three different design plans for them to choose from. “We ended up incorporating pieces of all three,” Kerry says. “It was a hybrid. We did not know what to do with the pantry, and I love where we ended up with it.”
The original pantry was located in a corner that was taking up prime real estate. By moving the refrigerator, they were able to enclose a pantry with sliding doors that reveal 70 inches of front-facing storage. The old pantry space was replaced with an area favored by the boys.
“With two teenage boys, you can imagine the microwave and pantry are highly used,” Florjancic says. Garage door cabinetry was used to camouflage these appliances. “They wanted these easily accessible but outside of the main cooking space.”
A SENSIBLE MOVE
The traditional cooking triangle was important to Kerry, because she knew it would make things easier. Originally, the fridge was located off by itself, and Kerry explains, “We were just constantly climbing over each other.”
By moving the refrigerator to where the ovens were, placing the range and oven where the sink was, and installing the sink in the island; the family achieved a much more functional cooking space. The GE Café appliances are perfect for the family, especially the over-sized refrigerator. “We’re having fun playing around with how much milk we can go through in a week,” Kerry jokes.
She also loves her Moen faucet that operates touch-free with Wi-Fi function. “I can tell Alexa to fill the coffee pot, and the faucet knows how much water to fill.”
Kerry and Matthew really wanted a more open concept from their kitchen to the living room. The original space had a pass-through window in a wall of cabinetry. By removing the wall, the room was automatically opened up. However, they had to recreate that lost storage in another area. This is where the window seat comes in.
“We always wanted a bench seat under the window in our dining room,” Matthew says. “That was one of our must-haves.” The storage was moved to the cabinets that flank the window seat. The drawers below the seat are push to open. “We find that those are really great, because if you want to use the window seat you’re not getting caught on the hardware,” Florjancic explains.
Removing the wall between the kitchen and living room definitely opened and brightened things up, but the couple wanted to do more to highlight their new space. “Kerry and Matthew really wanted to do a contrasting island with a white kitchen surrounding that,” Florjancic says. “We found the perfect shades of white and charcoal.”
“We actually lost a window where the cooktop and range are, but you’d never know it because of how bright the space is.”
Kerry admits that the family missed their kitchen during the renovation, but the final space makes it all worth it. “We lived out of the basement where we have a wet bar,” she describes. “We still tried to cook in the microwave, and we used our oven roaster and hot plate. We invested in a lot of meal kits.”
“The stairs were the hardest,” Kerry adds of refinishing the staircase to match with the modern farmhouse feel of the renovation. “Our house looked like a haunted house, or like we’d gone to the moon. They used a powder-coated paint, so everything was tarped. It only took three or four days. I wasn’t sure I’d go through that part again—but the results are worth it. I am so thankful for the crew who came into our home, especially over the course of the pandemic. They cared about our home and our family.”
Construction The Cleary Company; Design Katie Florjancic, The Cleary Company; Cabinetry Shaker door in Starless sky on island and bar, Snowbound on perimeter. Bench cabinet in white oak; Countertops Vadara Quartz Carrara Nuovo; Backsplash Anticato Cerato Carrara 4 x 12 honed; Hardware Channing from Top Knobs; Faucet Moen; Sink Kohler Ironridge Cast Iron; Sconces Savoy House Morland; Island Pendant One Light Pendant, Elegant Lighting; Dining chandelier Open Frame Linear, Shades of Light; Fireplace White oak mantel, Emser Tile White Cube Link Collection façade, Vadara Quartz Carrara Nuovo hearth
Article by Sarah J. Dills | Photos by Marshall Evan Photography
Article originally appeared in July 2022