Bel Air Kitchen Renovation

February 27, 2020

This kitchen renovation began with the need to update cabinetry that was starting to fall apart.  When your kitchen reaches this state it is the perfect opportunity to update the function of the whole space.  As they say in design “form follows function”.  Function should always be the first part of any design, the elements that make the space beautiful will follow.  This kitchen was originally designed to have a breakfast nook at one end but this family needed storage so much more more than another place to eat. Along with maximizing storage we also wanted to harness the light from the large picture window at the other end of the house.  The best way to do that was to take out a wall and open up the kitchen to the dining and living rooms.  Check out the before photos of this corner to get an idea of how closed off the kitchen felt before removing the wall.

Taking out the wall added so much light but we wanted more so we installed a bay window in place of the original sliding pane window. This feature caused some challenges during the construction process but even with the challenges we faced I am still glad we added this to the design.  The deeper sill is the perfect place for fresh herbs to be right at your fingertips while cooking and not take up precious counter space.  Plus the 2 operable windows on the sides will provide a great cross breeze into the kitchen.

How about that sink!!  I love a big apron-front farmhouse sink.  This one by Elkay is so awesome, it is a double bowl that has low divider so if you want one really large bowl you simply have to fill the sink past the height of the divider to fit that big baking sheet or platter.  Such versatility!  This particular model included a butcher block cutting board that fits onto the ledge at the front and back of the sink.  If you don’t want it over the sink simply take it off and store it in a cabinet or use it directly on the countertop.

Metro Handle by Berenson in Brushed Nickel

Backsplash Tile: Cifre Viena PB Blanco Wall,  Euro Tile; Countertop: Super White Quartz by Zenith

I love adding some dimension to a kitchen by installing shelves to display collected objects and greenery to break up the cabinetry and add depth to the space. The client had a beautiful pottery collection and wanted it on display.  We also broke up the cabinetry by adding a few glass doors throughout the kitchen which allowed for more opportunity to display collections.

This nook in the dining area was the perfect place for a built in buffet bar and beverage fridge.  We used a local custom cabinetry firm for all the cabinetry.  They created this buffet unit at a custom height so we could get storage drawers above the wine fridge .  It fits perfectly under the window and maximizes the storage space available.

This kitchen has a timeless shaker style but to make it more interesting we selected a stepped shaker door detail to give it more depth and interest.  We kept the majority of the cabinetry white (Benjamin Moore: Oxford White CC-30) to keep the space light and bright but added a medium grey (Benjamin Moore: Chelsea Gray HC-168) tone to break up all the white.  The island and pantry wall are grey while the rest of the kitchen is white.  The stainless steel fridge doesn’t stand out as much against grey as it would have against white.  It is a good way to “hide” appliances that tend to take over a kitchen without the cost of an integrated fridge with matching cabinet panels.  We also customized the depth to avoid the fridge sticking out too far past the cabinet fronts.

When you open up a space to join another, flooring can often be a challenge.  In this case we had original hardwood in the living and dining rooms and a few layers of linoleum in the kitchen with no hardwood underneath.  We decided since there wasn’t a great place to transition from tile in the kitchen to the hardwood in the dining room that we would put hardwood throughout the whole level.  Whenever you do this you have to refinish the old hardwood so that the new and old planks are seamless.  Our contractor did an amazing job joining the new oak flooring to the old so you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins.  We also decided to stain the hardwood (Minwax Weathered Oak #270) before adding a clear coat finish since we weren’t going to refinish the upstairs hallway that is open to the dining area below.  By staining the hardwood, we were able to hide the difference between the new and old wood.  Just another little trick to think about if you are in a similar situation.

Renovations take a lot of planning and thought before the construction even begins.  Find yourself a great team of professionals and the experience will be a good one.  Bon appetit!


*Photography by Sunflake Flim

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