Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bringing the Sunshine In

Photo credits to Caryn B Davis.

Burst of citrus brings the kitchen to life
Outdated oak cabinets, a small island with a tiled top and inadequate work surfaces were the impetuses these homeowners used to make changes to their quaint Madison summer home.  With no true focal point and double entrances to the kitchen work space, the original layout became a busy thoroughfare and did not give the chef of the day enough space to create his or her signature dish.  In order to remedy these design challenges and drawing on their passion for color, the owners became inspired by an eye-catching, pumpkin orange Viking 48 inch range that became the heart from which the new look began to evolve.

“Cheerful” was at the top of the homeowner’s wish list as was a more functional and spacious kitchen.  The home is owned by 2 brothers and their wives and summer draws a large crowd where relaxing and entertaining go hand in hand.  Both families enjoy cooking, but the original kitchen lacked work space for more than one chef at a time and did not have an efficient traffic pattern or necessary amenities.  The new kitchen by Covenant Kitchens & Baths in Westbrook, is light and spacious and has deliberate and practical design elements.  Appliances are an integral part of the design and along with the stunning orange range include the following in stainless steel: 24” Sharp microwave drawer in the island, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, wine cooler, under counter ice maker, and Asko dishwasher.  Closing one section of perimeter provided more work surface and made walking into the kitchen an intentional decision rather than devoting kitchen real estate for use as a walkway. 

Vibrant Fiestaware featured in the space is the homeowner’s passion and the new kitchen is equipped with the perfect open shelving to display some of their sizable collection.  The neutral grays and whites of the surroundings facilitate an easy change of decor simply by selecting other dishes.

Before: Cabinets were builders grade oak and counter tops were tile.
After: White cabinets and grey accents are perfect with a pop of vibrant orange.
White perimeter cabinets and a gray island function as a backdrop, showcasing the pop of vibrant color and act as an anchor in the space.  “People are sometimes afraid of committing to color so the trick is how to use it,” says Kira Van Deusen of Covenant Kitchens & Baths.

Before: Small window flanked by cabinets did not let in the sunlight
Grey and white are the perfect neutrals and can create the back drop for most any color accessories
  “Here we used orange as the key color and due to the white and gray canvas, almost any other color easily could be substituted and the room would still look great,” she adds.  For example, Viking offers a ‘skin’ for some of their models, allowing  the home owner flexibility in changing the color of the range as time and tastes evolve. 
Before: The space seemed dark and lacked a focal point.
After: The Pumpkin Orange Viking range gave the room a great point of interest!
  Interest is created in several ways: through the use of texture in the chosen materials, touches of beadboard, and honed granite and tile keep the space interesting.  The tile covering the entire first floor was in great condition but there wasn’t enough surplus to accommodate the kitchen floor renovation.  To remedy this, Covenant’s designer chose a gray textured wood-look plank tile for the floor and used a mosaic border containing both the gray of the new kitchen tile and the beige of the existing tile to create an ideal transition and define the kitchen space.

Wine storage and ice maker round out the amenities.
Back splash and floor tile add textural interest.

The backsplash tile containing circles of Carrara marble and glass with three intentionally placed ceramic sea stars sets the beach tone and plays well against the orange of the stove and wall.  Bead board behind white open shelving that is painted a shade lighter gray than the island gives more visible texture.  Steel Gray granite perimeter tops provide a great accent without being as harsh a contrast as black granite might have been.
It's all in the details, color and texture are paramount.

The whole look was created to be happy, sunshine-filled and reminiscent of summer days on the shore. The functionality of the room is timeless. 


·         Don’t overlook lighting, it is important to both form and function and can be the jewelry of the room.
·         The use of a simple, beautiful door style helps keep the cost down, yet does not sacrifice good looks.
·         Don’t underestimate using a mix of distinctly different design elements.  Modern and classic materials work well together, from concrete to beadboard to marble, stainless steel and punched tin.
·         Repeat design elements for continuity.  Orange stove, orange painted accent wall.  White Carrara island top, White Carrara in backsplash.  Gray, black and stainless accents.
·         Select an unusual palette of colors against a neutral white or gray backdrop. Don’t be afraid to use a color you love.

Photo credits to Caryn B Davis.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Beach Beauty: Fresh Kitchen Design Meets 1920’s Home

Maddison kitchen has a new look

It was a desperate need for working appliances that actually led this homeowner on a mission to remodel her kitchen. Although there had been a few updates to this 1920’s Madison beach front home, the time had come to tap into some hidden potential and bring the kitchen and sun porch into the 21st century.

"Before" image in much the same angle as above

The porch had a fiber board drop ceiling which when removed showed that the original ceiling followed the roof line and was beadboard, replacing the ceiling following the roof line with new beadboard kept the space in the period of the home. A pale robin’s egg blue on the ceiling is reminiscent of sky and draws the eye through the space ties in the kitchen walls which are another shade of that same blue.
Wanting to take advantage of natural light, Ciccarello reworked theses spaces to create a cohesive plan, and a more casual feel. Door locations were changed to add much needed lineal feet to the stove wall. Opening the kitchen to the sun porch and dining rooms allows for beautiful sea views from each room. Soffits were removed and cabinets installed up to the ceiling, for more storage and visual elegance. Taller windows installed in the same opening bring in more light. Prior to this remodel the kitchen was dark and confining, even though the home owner is an avid cook with a love for taking cooking classes she hated to spend much time in the space. “It just was not a nice place to be” she says “it’s definitely a whole new house now, when you fix the kitchen, you get a whole new home”.
The old kitchen did not have an island. There was limited counter space which made it tough to entertain. The new island and counters are a custom fit at 1” higher than typical which helps alleviates back issues. The perimeter countertops are soapstone and the island countertop is made from hand chosen wormy butternut from old barn floor beams with a rain shield finish.
The layout and room flow is the customer’s favorite part of the space. “I thought I would miss the butler’s pantry but I don’t at all”, she says “I have not even filled all the new cabinets yet, the new space is so roomy!” She adds, “It’s easy to work in, I never feel “stuck” in the kitchen. I love the island and mother of pearl and porcelain back splash”. She listed a few more items she is happy to have…big drawers under the cook top, large double ovens with a tray divider in the cabinetry above. There is a convenient coffee station with milk, coffee filters and cups all in one spot, everything needed for that morning wake up all in one location.
The porch is now perfect for casual entertaining and is easily accessible. The table is so handy it feels like an eat-in kitchen. “I can line the grand kid’s highchairs up on the tile and not worry because it is so durable” says the home owner. The porch is family and grandkid friendly.
New radiant heat under both the kitchen wood floor and the porch tile floor adds warmth and keep the space comfortable. Now opened up, bright and pretty, the space regains freshness with the white cabinets set against blue paint. The color of each room works with the color of the adjacent room to create a timeless look.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Best of the Best: Old World meets New World…

Dream Kitchen & Baths magazine’s cover on the 2011 spring issue is a Covenant Kitchen!!

Showcased as one of the thirty timeless looks, this kitchen was one of the winners of the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) design competition in 2009.

European travel influence newlyweds’ style sense.

These newlyweds were combining two households and were searching for one voice for their collective style. Before they were married, life was simple - design-wise that is. Each leaned toward clean lines.

But it was their love of travel that inspired them

to collect antiques from around the world. The objects they purchased were more “old world” than contemporary.

Enter Covenant Kitchens & Baths in Westbrook. The designers there helped create a kitchen that would utilize the couple’s one-of-a-kind treasures.

First there were some logistics involved. Moving the kitchen from the dark north side of the house to the spot where the dining room had been, next to the conservatory, made all the difference in the flow of the floor plan.

The client’s purchased one large arched stained glass window from a 19th century church in England where they visited. Luckily, the window had a seam in it where it could be split neatly into halves, creating decorative panels for the doors that flank the AGA Cooker, which takes up an entire wall.

Then there was the 100-year-old German blue and white tile that was a prize find on a recent trip to Europe. Only, there wasn’t enough tile to do the entire back splash. Mixing it with strips of black marble camouflaged the AGA’s black exhaust vent. Perfect!

Formal and warm, the new plan combines both the open flow and the coziness they wree after. Larger work areas make entertaining a breeze. Recently they hosted a party where nine people gathered comfortably around the counters to make pizzas!

This is Old World meets the New World.

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