Even as she purchased her home in 2009, a Dayton homeowner knew the kitchen wasn’t functional for her lifestyle. “It was always the part I hated the most about my home,” she says. “It was dark and separated into different areas by a wall and weird counter space. There was a small island in the center which quarantined off the eating area.”
After living with this configuration for over a decade, the decision to renovate was finally made. The homeowner contacted the team at Kitchens by Design to help bring her vision of an open, airy kitchen to life. One major request: She wanted her new kitchen to look and feel like it had been designed and built with the rest of the home—in 1982.
“My biggest worry with the whole project was, can I create a new kitchen and make it seamlessly match the rest of the house?” She says, “I wanted it to look like it’s always been here.”
“Opening up the space was a big deal,” says interior designer Amber Johnson. “We wanted an updated look, with more of today’s feel, without it looking like a remodel.”
Johnson, along with designer Bruce Wise and the rest of the Kitchens by Design team accomplished this by bringing the color scheme from the rest of the home into the kitchen, keeping the finishes traditional—like the fluted door jams—and replacing most of the flooring on the main level with a unifying tile.
Calvin Moran, co-owner of Kitchens by Design, says, “It’s incredible what the designers were able to do. It looks like the home was built around that kitchen.”
Open and flow
The other major request was for the new kitchen to be open with a nice flow for entertaining.
“I wanted space for at least two cooks in my kitchen,” the homeowner explains.
“I put a prep sink in my island for guests to chop vegetables. People always want to help when they come over. It’s fun for them to be able to join in the cooking.”
While the waterfall edge island doubles as a buffet during dinner parties, it also pulls its weight in functionality with features below the surface.
“I have an under-island ice maker, which is phenomenal because it puts out 30 pounds of ice a day,” the homeowner explains. “I used to have to ask people to bring a bag of ice when I was having a party, but I don’t have to do that anymore.”
Johnson says ice makers are a huge trend, especially for families who entertain. In this home, one pairs perfectly with a beverage and wine fridge, which Johnson placed in the corner near the sunroom for easy access to the outdoor entertaining area. Matching finishes tie the bar area to the rest of the kitchen.
Below the surface
Even though the remodeling crew left her as functional as possible during the renovation, the homeowner was thankful for her lower-level kitchen during the four-month renovation process.
During that time, she was prepared for unexpected hiccups that could occur during the renovation project. “I was bracing myself to find something unanticipated. Thankfully there were no surprises,” she says. “The contractors were super communicative. If I didn’t see them at the end of the day, they would leave me a note. I was never in the dark, which was really a plus.”
Prepare for detours
Moran relies heavily on his team’s mechanical systems background—specifically in heating and air, electric and plumbing—to prep his clients for what might be found behind walls, in ceilings and below surfaces—especially in older homes.
“Kitchens and bathrooms can be the most exciting, most stressful and most emotional projects homeowners will ever tackle,” he says. “They cost the most and are the most personal. We spend a lot of time—and build a lot of memories—in these spaces. So it’s critical that our team delivers on the design and project execution to ensure our clients get the full enjoyment out of their new kitchen or bath.”
RESOURCES Cabinetry Medallion Cabinetry Countertops Cambria Hollinsbrook, Midwest Quartz Backsplash and flooring Daltile Sinks Karran Faucets Moen, Ferguson Dishwasher Asko Range and microwave Wolf All refrigeration Sub-Zero Ice maker Scotsman All appliances supplied by Custom Distributors, Inc.
Article by Sarah J. Dills | Photos by Fred Boettger, Blue Dog Media
Article originally appeared in March 2023