Kitchen Renovation

We are finishing up a kitchen renovation for a residence on Lake Maxinkuckee.  The old kitchen was top of the line when the home was built, but it was looking dated and did not function the way a modern kitchen would.  It lacked a working “kitchen triangle”, and it had a wall and galley door closing it off from the dining room.  While there was a window over the sink looking west,  the dining room had two walls of windows looking west and north.

Existing Buffet Shelf

Existing Buffet Shelf

We obtained options from two kitchen cabinet providers for new cabinets and countertops  each suggesting different concepts.  The one we chose included removing the door and cutting the wall between the kitchen and dining room to provide a bar top counter.  This opened up the kitchen to a tremendous effect.  There was an existing marble buffet shelf/sideboard  in the dining room on the adjoining wall that we were able to re-purpose as a breakfast bar top.  This provided some continuity for the owners and salvaged a unique piece that would have cost hundreds of dollars to duplicate.  (Green that saves Green.)  We were also fortunate that the wall between the kitchen and dining room was not load bearing, so we were able to remove it with little difficulty.

Former Buffet Shelf re-purposed as a breakfast bar top

Former Buffet Shelf re-purposed as a breakfast bar top

The original kitchen included a wrap around counter that served as a breakfast table, but its location was between the refrigerator and the sink and stove breaking up the workspace.  When someone sat at the table, their chair conflicted with the galley door.  This made for an intimate kitchen setting for a couple to have breakfast, but made for a difficult situation when the house was full on a summer weekend.

Aside from pulling the refrigerator back into the workspace, little was done to change the cabinet layout.  Existing metal cabinets were replaced with wood cabinets with a finish that complimented the wood floors in the dining room, again pulling the two rooms together.  Plastic laminate tops were used as an economical solution, but decorative edges were included to enhance the design.

The original kitchen had white cabinets on white walls.  This helped brighten the space and gave it a clean look.  The new kitchen is more of an extension of the dining room, so green tones were used in the countertops, walls and tile along with extending the wall color out into the dining room as an accent wall.  These colors were chosen to play off the salvaged buffet shelf.  These colors along with the wood tones of the cabinets helps to pull the two rooms together.  Mike Fox of Talk to Tucker in Indianapolis has been helping us with color schemes and has done a great job of pulling things together.

Tervertine Tile backsplash detail

Travertine Tile backsplash detail

A travertine tile was installed as a backsplash up to the bottom of the upper cabinets.  The tile dimensions are in the tradition of subway tile which provides a lengthening effect.  A small cap detail was used to finish off the top of the tile where it did not finish against a cabinet or countertop.

In the original plan we were to remove and replace the existing electrical devices and covers only, but once demolition was underway, we discovered a few issues.  First and foremost, the age of the wire left the insulation extremely brittle and unworkable.  Second, we found that many of the devices that appeared to be on grounded circuits were not.  They were run with hot and neutral only which made it impossible to install the new GFI receptacles required in kitchen locations.  This meant it was necessary to run new wiring throughout the kitchen.  This was completed with some difficulty since the basement was finished and the walls had to be preserved.

View of Kitchen from Dining Room

View of Kitchen from Dining Room

On the ceiling, there were two existing skylights surrounded by square recessed lighting.  The skylights had plastic covers with leaf patterns that where showing age.  We removed them and refinished the skylight shafts to maximize natural light entering the room.  The recessed lights were also dated, but a flat roof directly above the ceilings prohibited installing new recessed lighting that met code.  New surface mounted fixtures were used which provide more light in the space.  The lights selected have brushed nickel accents that tie into the new sink faucet.

All in all we are quite pleased with how this project came out.  We have been able to provide a kitchen with greatly improved functionality, a more open layout and still making it fit well into the older home without a budget busting cost.

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