Before & After – A new recipe for a 70’s kitchen
Anne-Marie Brunet, CKBD, CAPS
A new white kitchen with added warmth and rustic elements
I will start out to say that I have been fortunate to work with this couple on different areas of their home over several years. It’s a beautiful field stone home, with the right amount of wood detailing on the exterior, in a pastoral rural setting.
When they called on me this time it was to do a project that’s been on the list for a long time – the kitchen.
So let’s dive in to the BEFORE and AFTER story;
Here are some of the issues the clients were dealing with, along with some of the ‘Before’ pictures below;
- Not enough windows to take in the views of their nice backyard
- Not enough lighting; natural or otherwise
- Failing appliances
- Dark and dated kitchen
- Interrupted work zones
- Not set up for entertaining
- Not enough storage for everyday items
- Floor tile with too much grout – difficult to clean
KITCHEN LAYOUT – THEN
The original kitchen was dark, and as was typical of the day, there was no ‘built-in’ area for the refrigerator. So it was just out there….hangin’…by itself …on the wall.
There were the typical bulkheads over the cabinetry which, in this case, only served as a stopping point for the upper cabinets. Since there are no obstructions, wiring or HVAC in those bulkheads, it gave me some options.
I’m thinking that back in the day this was probably a pretty au-courant kitchen I mean it had a hammered copper hood over the cooktop…which was in an island – wowza!
It also had a built-in banquette area for dining. As a little kid I was fascinated by these and who wouldn’t want a built-in seat – anywhere!!
KITCHEN LIGHTING – THEN
The lighting was not adequate and what was there had seen better days. There was no other lighting other than what would have been typical in the day;
– a small flush-mount fluorescent ceiling fixture over the kitchen sink (can you hear the hum?)
– the rangehood fan with a couple of small incandescent bulbs to light the
whole of the island….and that’s it!
There was NO undercabinet lighting to light the counters
There was NO ceiling lighting – at the time – for general room lighting.
These photos were taken during the day and you can see and feel how dark the room is.
The track lighting was added later on to try and get more light into the room, near the work surface and the dinette area, which again did not turn out to be yet adequate enough. The latest bulb technology, at the time they added the track lighting, were MR16 bulbs. Those bulbs get hot real quick and kept burning out prematurely, to the point where they just kept putting off replacing them. (notice the 3 burnt out ones in the photo below)
With the stained cabinets, wood ceiling and bench-style banquette panelling in a medium-dark stain, all of these elements together further reduced the amount of light bouncing around in the room, by absorbing any and all of the light. While those elements added to making the space feel really cozy, they did nothing to alleviate the serious lighting issues the client were dealing with. I had to admit though that the wood ceiling was beautiful, well installed AND in great shape!… Note to self 😉
This part of the house looks onto a nice view of the yard, and the fields beyond, that were only enjoyed while at the sink. The orientation of the house is such that not a lot of light pours in to the kitchen from the window above the sink, other than light from this tall window.
While this kitchen has served them well over the years, raising a family and making a many holiday meal etc., as needs and lifestyles change and evolve they were ready for an upgrade.
So here’s the Wish List;
- Big on the list was opening up the kitchen to the views in the back.
- Getting in more natural light
- Better overall lighting plan
- New appliances
- A dedicated baking space
- A layout that would better accommodate entertaining buffet-style
- Improving storage and cooking zones
- A place for two to grab a quick bite
- A ‘new’ look… but in keeping with the traditional style of the house
KITCHEN LAYOUT NOW
After coming up with several different layout options for their kitchen, the clients liked this one the best AND it checked off ALL of the boxes on their WISH LIST – Yay team ♥ !
Here’s how we checked off the Wish List;
- Opening up the view to the backyard with a larger casement window – this design element was paramount to the overall success of this renovation
- The larger window lets in a ton more of natural daylight into the kitchen.
- The larger window was the perfect spot to put a small table for two, so they could finally enjoy their view!
- The Peninsula was a great way to incorporate the serving space she wanted for buffet-style entertaining. It also eliminated traffic through her work zone.
- The elevated portion of the peninsula, hides the sink behind it and serves as the serving centre when they entertain buffet style. The flow of this works much better now as guest come in one way and out the other.
- The raised a portion with glass fronted cabinets in the on the dining side, also serves as a display case for her nicer dishes and create a ‘hutch’ effect.
- The new counter-depth refrigerator was moved to the opposite wall, and is now built-in to the surrounding cabinetry
- The wall ovens were updated
- Created a dedicated backing space with everything she needs in one place
- The new and improved lighting plan added so much more light exactly where it was needed, as well as increased much needed general lighting throughout the new kitchen
- I re-used the wood on the ceiling in a classic traditional way – which pleased the Mr. – he loves his wood! See Ceiling info below
- I lightened up the kitchen overall with new materials and colours that satisfy the ‘new’ look the Mrs. wanted and still tie it all in and blend with the house’s original character.
In the 3D view above, you can see how I reused and repurposed the existing wood ceiling.
All of the wood slats were taken down off the ceiling so we could update the electrical for lighting and run the vent for the new range hood location. Once the bulk of the reno was completed the wood was meticulously sanded and re-installed according to the ceiling detail plan below.
I really wanted to do a true coffered ceiling, but the ceiling height would not accommodate it, so instead I ‘cheated’ it with flat stock to create the look of a coffered ceiling.
It was a bit of a challenge getting the layout just right and symmetrical with cabinetry, appliances and windows to all line up – but we did it!
That ceiling design was enough to add that little extra detail to that ‘fifth wall’ The clients loved the idea immediately when I presented it, and they are loving it now – perfect!
Painting it the same colour as the cabinetry lightened up the room considerably.
The Mrs. really didn’t want any more wood cabinetry in the kitchen and really wanted to lighten up the space, so I specified a painted, modified Shaker door. I call it a modified Shaker door because it has a bevelled moulding at the inside edge. I chose this style because I felt it would cross the divide; it was both transitional (to check off the ‘new’ request) yet traditional (Shaker) which blended well with the home’s character.
To get away from a ‘sea of white’, I wanted to add a bit of wow to the kitchen and included a custom cabinetry rangehood in black. The black range hood gives the kitchen an updated and sophisticated look while complementing other iron pieces in the great room next to it.
I mean a little black always looks right in any room!
In lighting the kitchen I paid special attention to lighting the peninsula area. I like it when pendants make a statement in a room but in this case ‘invisible’ needed to be direction for this design.
Both clients are tall-er than me…(who isn’t haha)…and I needed to balance human height while not blocking the views through to the bright big window and yard.
SOLUTION: glass see through pendants. I chose two fixtures in complimentary styles, since they would be relatively close to one another, and I didn’t want the lighting to be match-matchy.
While the fixtures selected are labelled as Oil Rubbed Bronze by the manufacturer they more closely resemble a black colour, which I wanted to complement the black range hood.
A black matte faucet and accessories, to contrast with the white.
While Matte Black might be a ‘newer’ finish it definitely fit in with the client’s other aged iron pieces throughout the home.
I did a darker accent colour on one wall to make the cabinetry pop, and to inject some rustic warmth to the kitchen. I chose a colour that would complement the walnut slabs.
The ceiling and rest of the walls were painted the same colour as the kitchen cabinetry
A larger, rustic, stone looking porcelain was selected for the floor tile. This would prove very forgiving and easy to keep clean.
I selected a small hexagon tile, in a marble with some variegation, for the backsplash. Hex patterns have been around since the 1920’s, and this pattern checked off the ‘new’, because of it’s new material type, but also checked off the ‘traditional’ portion for the project.
A complimentary light coloured quartz for the countertops and a beautiful walnut slab for the peninsula top and table top….and voila!
New Kitchen With Warmth and Rustic Charm
Thank you for reading to the end. Here’s a cute puppy for your troubles :)!
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