kitchen

Kitchen Series, 3 of 3

We demolished and rebuilt a small rectangular kitchen in our last installment of the Kitchen Series. Today we have a 1956 galley kitchen that stretches the rectangle—but it is even more narrow than the 1943 version in Kitchen Series, 2 of 3. The evolution of kitchens across the decades shows many developments. Much of the functionality remains the same, but the materials and the idea of the kitchen has undergone major changes.

The new kitchen with sleek grey and white semi-custom cabinets, hardwood floors, and high-end appliances.

The new kitchen with sleek grey and white semi-custom cabinets, hardwood floors, and high-end appliances.

Advice from Mom: if you can’t think of something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. A tall ceiling and adjacent natural light were the best features of this kitchen before we started.

Advice from Mom: if you can’t think of something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. A tall ceiling and adjacent natural light were the best features of this kitchen before we started.

Typical galley kitchens are out of favor because they are often outdated and too cramped for entertaining. Open kitchen plans are more popular than ever. However, any kitchen footprint can work well if other requirements are met—including galley kitchens. One valuable guideline is to avoid overwhelming the space with materials. Focus on the essentials and apply the editor’s maxim: have “the guts to cut” anything unnecessary. Think Hemingway, not Faulkner, in small kitchen design.

A view of the Wolf dual-fuel range and backsplash to the ceiling with undulated tile. No upper cabinets clutter the space. Generous organized storage under the counter was sufficient for these clients.

A view of the Wolf dual-fuel range and backsplash to the ceiling with undulated tile. No upper cabinets clutter the space. Generous organized storage under the counter was sufficient for these clients.

These clients subscribe to the “less is more” approach to kitchen design, and we agree. Numerous kitchens suffer from too many ornamental details (intricate cabinet doors, for example, to create the illusion of something “historic” or fancy) or over-styled finishes (hand-painted Italianate tile was popular at one time). Excess competes for your attention and ages quickly, too. Simplicity is not the same as plain.

Wolf drawer microwave under white quartz countertops, Franke water filter, and Sub-Zero refrigerator shown above.

Wolf drawer microwave under white quartz countertops, Franke water filter, and Sub-Zero refrigerator shown above.

This kitchen reminds us of the contemporary master bathroom we completed with the emphasis on uncluttered design, high-quality materials, and our focus on the short list of essentials for our clients. Do you know that feeling when you (pardon the expression) hit the nail on the head at work? We did here. It was a pleasure working with these clients, and it means a lot to us that they are thrilled with their new kitchen.


Kitchen Series, 1 of 3

Residential real estate descriptions are a hoot. Imagine the comedy if you could type MLS sentences into software like Google Translator and see what comes out. For example, “Lovely vintage home with lots of charm” actually means “Holy #&%! there’s a freakish amount of work to do here.” This description should trigger your fight-or-flight response. Our clients in Wilmette chose the former when they purchased a home built in 1900 described with exactly these words.

After completing major structural work (the alt-meaning of “lovely and vintage home with lots of charm”), they contacted us for a two-story addition. Not only was this family of four undaunted by the scope of the project, they decided to ride out the construction by living in the front of the house while we ripped off the back and rebuilt it during the cold part of the year. Tough characters, we said.

As part of the addition, we installed a modern new kitchen with an oversized window overlooking the backyard.

A view of the finished kitchen with cypress-colored lower cabinetry paired with the gloss sheen white upper cabinets.

A view of the finished kitchen with cypress-colored lower cabinetry paired with the gloss sheen white upper cabinets.

A clean slate for a kitchen is one of those sweet moments on a construction site. For us, at least.

A clean slate for a kitchen is one of those sweet moments on a construction site. For us, at least.

Our first step was to remove the old kitchen, including donating the old cabinets to the Evanston ReBuilding Warehouse.

Our first step was to remove the old kitchen, including donating the old cabinets to the Evanston ReBuilding Warehouse.

Deconstructing the back of the house in preparation for the heavy equipment.

Deconstructing the back of the house in preparation for the heavy equipment.

Let me introduce you to my little friend.

Let me introduce you to my little friend.

We think our clients would approve of this message after living though a major renovation project.

We think our clients would approve of this message after living though a major renovation project.

We’ll return to this project in a future blog entry. In the meantime, we’ve been wrapping up a few kitchen projects that we’ll cover in the Kitchen Series. Our brave clients not only survived the construction while living through it, they appear to be thriving. We’re glad we had the opportunity to improve this old home, and we wish them many happy years in it.

Until next time . . . Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Remodeling and Home Design