The style of the original 1990s kitchen looked dated and the cabinets had been poorly refinished by a previous owner. The space also lacked storage; a seldom-used built-in desk and short upper cabinets wasted valuable wall space.
Our client was drawn to an efficient, modern Scandinavian style with a balance of black and natural white colors. The way designer Kate Fales applied the two-tone look was very intentional. The main wall is horizontally symmetrical with dark lowers, white uppers and black towers on either side. The extra details, like use of glass uppers at the top of each tower, hold the design together. Our client loves that her space is “much brighter now and the modern look and contrast of dark and light cabinets is exactly what I wanted.”
The space was not wide enough for an island so we decided to keep the same footprint as the original space. To maximize storage, Kate removed the unused desk to make space for cabinets; this functional improvement also provided visual balance on the main wall. She also used deeper, more spacious upper cabinets in the towers to balance the depth of the refrigerator and to establish a natural break line between the dark and light uppers.
The original soffit provided a unique challenge. It would have been prohibitively expensive to relocate the conduit, so Kate used false upper panels to to give the illusion of stacked upper cabinets and to keep a consistent floor-to-ceiling look. “There’s another false panel above the range because we were trying to keep the lines even between the uppers.”
Placement of microwave was a key factor in determining where to put the open shelving. Kate says, “the shelves were important to break up the solid wall of cabinets. It was very hard to visualize the impact of losing some upper cabinet space, so I used detailed, full color renderings so that I could clearly communicate with my client.”
Our client wasn’t exactly sure about where to locate the microwave but Kate’s renderings led to the idea to put the microwave under the counter. “Kate’s color renderings were really important for me to visualize the little things you wouldn’t see until too late like the placement of microwave. I also wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue the backsplash tile up behind the shelves, but seeing the rendering made me see that was the right choice.”
What about the new functionality – accessories and other features one might not notice at first glance? “I love having more cabinet space. We didn’t have drawers before, now we have deep drawers and organizers for things like utensils. I have a big double wide spice drawer and before they were a big mess. Now they’re all lined up alphabetically and I can see them all. Kate also helped me pick a sink – I used to have a double sink, but I love the new, big sink.”
“The experience was really easy and from the start I felt like Kate had a good sense of what I wanted and it was easy to work through my ideas with her. I could tell right away that we were on the same page. She was very respectful of our budget.”
Additional information about this kitchen
|Black Cabinets||KitchenCraft, Salem, Maple, Black|
|White Cabinets||KitchenCraft, Salem, Maple, Alabaster|
|Hardware||Berenson, Metro Pull, Modern Bronze, 128mm|
|Other Features||Clear glass in stacked upper cabinets, floating shelves above microwave are finished to match cabinetry, Lazy Susan in the base corner cabinet between dishwasher and microwave|