Kenyon of B & E General Contractors took advantage of Ann
Todrykís kitchenís height and space when implementing her
Everyone is looking for a little more
elbowroom in the kitchen. Whether you have the opportunity to expand
or simply are working with what you
have, there always seems to be a way to
maximize your space.
For some kitchens, it is all about
making the best of what you have. Rich McKesson and Rich Wilkie had
some ideas of what they wanted and called upon Tove Kenyon, kitchen
designer for B & E General Contractors, to help them pull it all
together. Their original kitchen included a small dining area that was
separated from the remainder of the space by an open wall detail. They
had the square footage; it was time to maximize it.
They were looking to create a clean,
modern area with a lot of light. Wilkie was adamant that they
incorporate granite, while McKesson wanted light cabinets to brighten
up the space. So with those prerequisites, the interior evolved.
"We wanted to bring the home out
of the 1950s and into the 2000s," comments Wilkie.
A light laminate flooring material
combined with maple cabinetry, stainless
steel appliances, hood details and the perfect granite were brought
together and topped off with a touch of color - walls painted celery
The lighting design adds to the impact
of this space and was a serious consideration. Many kitchens
incorporate down lights, but in Wilkie and McKessonís Wauwatosa
home, the heat runs through the ceiling. As a result, a combination of
under-cabinet and track lighting was used to properly light the space.
The fixture selections add to the modern appeal of the space, while
providing the necessary level of light.
And although these two do not consider
themselves frequent cooks, space maximizing features and functional
decisions were made to create the proper layout. Lazy Susans and
slotted tray storage above the oven are a few features that Kenyon
likes to incorporate. They also wanted a bar-height eating area to
seat four. Kenyon worked the space to meet the demands and Wilkie,
McKesson and their cats happily enjoy this area on a regular basis.
Kotlarek of Wooden Thumb helped Holly Riedel maximize her
"You must have a little faith in
the people that you choose to work with," comments Wilkie.
"You give them requirements and then you have to let them do
Ann Todryk worked with B & E to
transform her closed off, inefficient kitchen into something warm and
bright. "We created the most efficient use of the space without
adding on anywhere," comments Todryk, an East Side resident.
Clean, creamy white cabinetry accented
with walls painted a coppery orange creates a clean yet warm palette.
Teakwood, granite and copper finishes add elegant touches and the
perfect contrast to this simple yet classic space. An organic deco
tile offers a decorative accent and is even carried into the design of
the exposed stairwell to tie the spaces together.
According to Kenyon, "We took
advantage of the height of the space to give it an open feel. Walls
were opened by the stairwell and sunroom to add to the
To maximize the space, a combination of
drawer systems and cabinetry styles add variety to the overall
aesthetic while providing adequate storage. Todryk needed more storage
than counter space and in the end received a good deal of both.
Todryk is a client who came with an
idea. She recommends that anyone
who embarks on this type of project take the time to page through
magazines or visit showrooms. Seeing the actual products in
an installation will help in the decision-making process.
She wanted her space to be comfortable
and pleasing to the eye and she had specific materials in mind -
neutral floors, cabinets with glass fronts and, most of all, copper
elements. Kenyon worked with her to pull it all together.
Lucasí love of cooking was a major factor in the design of
the Lucas kitchen - two base ovens were even incorporated into
Holly Riedelís Wauwatosa bungalow had
an unusual layout that needed to be reorganized. What do you do with a
small space? How can I fit more storage, more counter space and a
breakfast bar? How do you make a galley kitchen efficient? Riedel
worked with Gwen Kotlarek of Wooden Thumb Inc. to find the answers to
The layout was improved by relocating
the sink area to provide a more functional work zone and create a
clear path for traffic flow. This spatial re-organization allowed
Kotlarek to accommodate a snack bar area, a request from Riedel.
To create the illusion of openness,
archways were raised and moldings
were removed to gain height within the space. An additional window and
double door with a side light flood the area with natural light to
create an open atmosphere. A combination of down lights, under-cabinet
lighting and decorative pendants along with a blend of open shelving
and closed cabinets were used to add variety and again allude to
While special attention was paid to
making this small space functional, aesthetics were not ignored. A
refreshing coastal style was achieved with a mix of colorful and
durable materials. White cottage bead board is a key design detail
used throughout the kitchen. This clean aesthetic is complemented by a
crisp ocean green hue found in the paint and Corian countertops.
Colors and materials are alternated in various areas in subtle ways to
create design interest. Final touches include a random selection of
decorative hardware. Knobs and pulls are used in different
applications and the motifs even change.
In the end the original footprint
remained the same, but space was maximized and style was achieved.
"It was a challenge, but we achieved so much in a small
space," comments Kotlarek. "It is one of my favorite little
Riedel advises, "When you take on
this type of project, take your time, donít rush through and be sure
to enjoy it." She recommends working with a designer. "I
knew what I wanted, but I needed people to direct me."
Like Riedel, Susan and Terry Lucas
called on Wooden Thumb for some direction. Even though Terry
constructed the space himself, he knew he needed a little professional
"Have lots of time, as there will
always be issues to deal with. That is
part of the process," he recommends.
The Lucasí Milwaukee home also had a
compartmentalized space that was not conducive for efficient cooking.
They too wanted to open the space. Terry wanted room to enjoy cooking
while having people gather around. In this instance he expanded his
floor plan and added approximately 14 feet to his home.
According to Kotlarek, Terryís love
of cooking dictated much of the layout. He wanted two ovens but wall
heights in the kitchen didnít allow for a double oven. "We
created an interestingly shaped island and angled it to accommodate
walking paths," comments Kotlarek. Two base ovens were
incorporated into the kitchen, one located in the island along with a
cook top. A recessed corner sink is another space-saving element that
Kotlarek integrated to create an efficient layout.
While the palette is neutral, the
impact of the interior is achieved with the cabinetry. Looking for a
rustic design, Hickory was the main material selection. A Romanite
solid surface material was used for the countertops while the flooring
is finished in a composition tile. Again due to radiant heating in the
ceiling, Lucas needed to incorporate track and pendant lighting to
properly illuminate the room.
The space incorporates a planning desk,
island and plenty of countertop space. A large bar area allows guests
to stand in a spacious dining area while peeking at the chefís
creations. A full wall of pantry cabinetry offers more than adequate
From a coastal and rustic style to a
clean or modern look, the products available today along with some
professional assistance can achieve any desired aesthetic. And whether
is large or small, everyone can find a
way to get just a little more counter space, a little more storage and
a little more elbowroom.