As you step through the entry hall and into the spacious kitchen of this Chagrin Falls home, a calming wave of blue rolls over you, lowering your heart rate and releasing the tension in your body. From the light blue walls to the dabs of navy and whispers of taupe in the backsplash, the color scheme dominates the entire space. And space, there is. High traffic volume should never be a problem in this flowing kitchen, as guests can casually migrate from the kitchen island to the curved banquette to the bar-height dining table, and finally into the inviting great room.
The most notable thing about the kitchen island is its sheer size, although it does offer many other amenities. “We used to joke about dance parties on top of the island,” laughs Joan Hanslik, who wore two hats for this project: tile designer for Thomas Brick, the company that supplied all of the tile and stone in the home, as well as interior designer.
The middle of the island is hollowed out and used for storage, something that there is plenty of, in this spacious culinary haven. Both upper and lower cabinets line two of the perimeter walls—a good thing as the wife likes everything to have a place and to be neatly put away in said place.
A frosted door next to the banquette hides a pantry, a cavernous closet that holds everything from cooking supplies to small appliances. And, as the wife eagerly points out, there’s an additional clean up station located behind the door. This allows the owners to entertain in the ever popular open-living style, but not have to force their guests to awkwardly mingle nearby as they’re elbow deep in sudsy water cleaning up the dishes. The mess can be tucked away and dealt with at a later time.
A charming backsplash stretches through the kitchen, reaching up to touch the underside of the cabinets and dropping low underneath the window before rising up again. “The goal was to keep it timeless,” says Hanslik on the tile selection. “We were not doing anything kitschy. We were not doing anything trendy, either in look or pattern. The goal was to keep it really simple and let the natural stone speak for itself.”
The tile leads the eye on a merry dance across the kitchen, past the open office door and to a small corner seating area: a plush chair dotted with colorful throw pillows. This is a favorite resting place for their dog, a playful pooch who likes to perch anywhere padded.
Smooth red oak flooring with a custom stain runs underfoot, connecting the kitchen and dining space to the great room. Carved into a convenient alcove that can be easily accessed from the kitchen, dining area and great room, the bar has something for every palate. Angled nooks provide tantalizing views of the stored bottles of vino, while liquors and mixers stand at attention in the glass-encased cabinetry right next to it.
The bold backsplash really makes the small area come to life. “The bar backsplash was actually one of my initial thoughts for the kitchen,” says Hanslik. “I really wanted to go pretty bold, but they wanted it to be quieter. And that’s part of the process; it’s really a collaboration.”
In the master bath, a different kind of calming color palette is used. Gone are the soft blues and eye-catching teal accent pieces; this space is all about warm neutrals. Reminiscent of a high-end spa, the gorgeous light fixtures shine delicately on two separate vanities, a luxurious tub and a large shower.
The vanities—one for him and one for her—are set on separate sides of the room, giving both of these happy homeowners plenty of leg room to get ready in the morning. Each comes equipped with its own sink and storage space, including a deep cubby conveniently located under the sink that grants easy access to fluffy towels. The owners went all out on the hardware in this space: sleek bars with a twisting design that catch the light. Hanslik says that these beauties were almost a necessity for the space: “It needed a little ummph, it needed a little sparkle.”
The finished home is a delightful combination of casual design and elegant accents, a look that’s welcoming to any and all that step through the front door.
It’s hard, though, to pinpoint exactly whose idea was what when it comes to the finished product. “It was definitely a team effort,” says Hanslik as she ticks off a few those involved on her fingers. “Me, the architect, the homeowners, even their parents on occasion,” she laughs. “It was this big sit down of everybody throwing ideas into the pot and it was always that way.”
Resources: Designer: Joan Hanslik, J. Brook Designs; Architect and builder: David Leber; KITCHEN: Tile and stone: The Thomas Brick Company; Flooring: Red Oak, Sheoga Hardwood Flooring; Countertops: Quartz, Compac; Sink: Kohler, Welker-McKee; Faucet: Moen, Welker-McKee; Dishwasher, cooktop, refrigerator, range, oven: KitchenAid, Snow Brothers; Window treatments and banquette cushions: Joan Hanslik, J. Brook Designs; Lighting: Cleveland Lighting; BATHROOM: Tile and stone: The Thomas Brick Company; Tub: Jacuzzi, Welker-McKee; Countertops: Quartz, Compac; Sinks: Kohler, Welker-McKee; Faucets: Moen, Welker-McKee; Mirrors: Restoration Hardware; Lighting: Cleveland Lighting