Studio Dearborn Kitchen Tour: Project Sunnyside Up
There’s never an ideal time to start a kitchen renovation, but beginning a project in the midst of a global pandemic is especially problematic. But that’s what I did with a kitchen remodel for a family of five in Larchmont.
During their time in the 20-year-old colonial, the owners had renovated every part of the house to suit their tastes. It was filled with personality and their collection of antiques, except for the kitchen. The all-white builder kitchen was kind of staid, and they wanted me to add color, texture, and personality to the space while retaining a classic style. Let me take you on this kitchen tour and show you some of the problems we solved design choices we made and the final product.
Solving a Few Problems
There were also a few kitchen problems to solve too: the island had an odd shape, the placement of the main sink created an awkward workflow, and the pantry space didn’t have any built-in organization. The kitchen was noisy and echoed, so the acoustics needed some work. And like most kitchens, there wasn’t enough storage space.
During the shelter-in-place period, I met with the clients on Zoom for the first several months of the project, and finally shifted to outdoor meetings to determine our colors and finishes. Here’s what we added to create a personalized kitchen that was colorful, inviting, and easy to use.
Adding a Pop of Blue
We decided that the main finishes would be gray-blue and creamy beige with Calacatta marble and pale oak accents.
I made several renderings to illustrate how the finishes might come together in the kitchen. They opted for mostly white cabinets with a blue island to give the kitchen the pop it needed.
Soften With a Statement Hood
After removing the upper cabinets that crowded the wall, the couple chose a statement range hood. The zinc ties in with the veins in the Calacatta marble, while the curves softened the corner, and the patina gives the hood a feeling of age.
Layer in Rich Details
The right details can elevate a kitchen design. I added warmth with burnished brass pulls and knobs, pendant lights, and faucet, plus aged brass mesh doors on the breakfast bar and the pantry bins.
Handmade Italian clay tiles give the breakfast bar backsplash a distinct feel, and running them up into the cabinets creates a visual surprise.
Combining Counter Seating + Storage
Kitchen counter seating is a standard kitchen feature these days. But I was able to pack storage underneath the counter, and I flanked the seating area with pullouts that hold everything from kids’ drinkware to candles.
Don’t Be Afraid to Double Up
The wife loved to cook and entertain and wanted her kitchen to be super functional and easy to use. So we doubled up on the Wolf Ranges and added a second sink to prevent traffic jams at the main sink. She’s also got two dishwashers flanking the primary sink, and three trash/recycling stations so every area of the kitchen stays tidy.
Add Personal Pieces
Since the homeowners love antiques, we sprinkled their pieces, such as a beloved oil painting, a well-worn wooden stool, and vintage drinking vessels throughout the kitchen. The biggest statement is their antique dining table in the breakfast nook. But we decided to punch it up a bit with mid-century chairs by Austrian bentwood pioneer Michael Thonet, upholstered in a vibrant pumpkin-colored leather.
The new kitchen design is warm and functional, and perfectly expresses the personality of the family who lives there.
Get More Inspiration and Ideas