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Kitchen confidential
Four remodels render four distinct results



The goal of this kitchen remodel was to return to the original architectural integrity of the house.

From a residence to a Marquette dental fraternity and back to a residence, this 1907 house has been through plenty of changes. When Todd Badovski and Allyson Nemec purchased it in 2003, there was a lot of work to be done. Fraternity life had caused a certain amount of wear and tear, but these two architects had the vision to see past the tavern-like odors and damaged woodwork.

The family enjoys entertaining, so the remodel of the kitchen, done by Cream City Construction, was important from both a functional and aesthetic point of view. Circulation was the number one priority. The original kitchen had five doors and two windows, which made space planning difficult. The couple removed a staircase and repositioned doorways in order to create a traffic pattern that did not impede the work zone of the kitchen. As a result, they were able to add an island and create an L-shaped layout.

From an aesthetic point of view, the goal for the kitchen as well as the entire home was to return to the original architectural integrity of the house. Quarter-sewn oak floors were sanded and refinished, birch trim work was repaired and cherry cabinetry was installed. Recessed panel details and a craftsman four-square motif was incorporated into the design. Peacock green granite as well as a pale olive green-tiled backsplash with a leaf motif in a random pattern complements the rich woodwork. A combination of solid and glass doors as well as open shelves adds to the new look of this larger, more functional kitchen.

Black, white and red color selections offer a clean, modern palette.

While function was a priority for Joseph and Christine Kunkle’s renovation project, they also wanted to achieve a specific aesthetic. They were looking to create a décor true to the 1930s Colonial flavor of their home, but with a modern edge. They called upon S.J. Janis Co. and design consultant Kelly Behnke for assistance.

Painted metal cabinets had been installed during a remodel in the 1950s, so in order to meet the Kunkle’s needs, S. J. Janis needed to gut the kitchen to make the necessary functional and aesthetic adjustments. A dining area in the kitchen was removed in order to gain additional space. The cased opening to the dining room was widened and the dining room buffet area was relocated and built into the adjacent kitchen wall.

Traditional raised panel cabinet doors were installed and painted a crisp white to contrast the natural wood floors. Stainless steel hardware and appliances were used to offer a modern touch. A furniture-style island was created with open shelving and fluted details. This space provides an adjusted work triangle and offers a little room for guests to perch while congregating in the kitchen.

The general countertops are a black Zodiac quartz-based product, as the couple wanted the look of granite, but not the maintenance issues. Black, white and red color selections offer a clean, modern palette. Red knob details on the cook top complement the vibrant red Zodiac selected for the island countertop.

A widened crown moulding ties in with the remainder of the house, while the clean lines, contrasting colors and sleek stainless steel offer a modern appeal.

The homeowners wanted the kitchen to have a more defined area within the open concept of the house.

Size shouldn’t matter when it comes to creating a functional kitchen. Stanley and Marianne Sobkowiak had a small space with little storage and a poor layout, so the goal of their remodeling project was making their new kitchen more functional.

More cabinet storage and additional counter space were the top priorities. The couple loves to cook, so accommodating specific appliances was also important. A window was moved to meet the needs of the space plan and numerous outlets were added. Now the new L-shaped work zone with an island offers a more functional layout.

The couple also wanted the space to have a more defined area within the open concept of the home. Upright cabinet details were constructed in order to define an entrance and give distinction to this room.

Even though function was a priority, the aesthetic was not compromised. This family chose earth tones and natural materials to complement the rest of the home. Birchwood floors, cherry cabinets, granite countertops and tile details create a clean, warm décor. Solid panel cabinets and panel-front appliances disguise specific functions in order to highlight the beauty of this small space.

Bartelt Filo incorporated design elements into the kitchen that respect the history of this home.

Rick and Lynne Burling of Shorewood also remodeled a kitchen in an older home. They wanted the kitchen in their 1920s Tudor to reflect the old-world craftsmanship found in the rest of the house. "The kitchen had been updated, but it didn’t fit with the rest of the home," says Lynne Burling. "There were Formica countertops and white tile and cabinets that just didn’t fit. There is quarry tile in the entryway with earthy tones that we wanted to carry throughout the house. We also wanted to have a more open space. There was a back hall, the kitchen and a butler’s pantry that were three separate spaces."

Bartelt Filo created a design for the couple that stayed within the original footprint of the kitchen. Most important to the Burlings, they incorporated design elements that respect the history of the home. "Now you can see right into the kitchen from the foyer — it is a very inviting space where everyone congregates," says Burling.

The key to the remodel was the removal of an obstacle to the kitchen’s function — the chimney. "We had gone round and round with ideas for this space, but it wasn’t until we realized the chimney had to come out that we came up with something that worked," Rick Burling says. "The chimney had been repaired in the past and it was kind of buckled like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. It came down in one day and we were happy to get rid of the banana chimney."

"We now have double ovens where the chimney used to be," Lynne says. "It really gave us so many options as to where to place appliances."

The new kitchen has a banquette in the old butler’s pantry with a built-in china cabinet. The Burlings chose quarter-sewn oak for the cabinets finished in a warm reddish gold tone. The lighting includes functional work lighting under cabinets and recessed, but also decorative lanterns with copper and glass that complement the older home. "We found the lanterns at Brass Light Gallery," says Lynne. "We have a copper farm sink in the kitchen and a smaller hammered copper sink in the island. The copper sink is a work of art that changes every day depending on the light and what you are making. The countertops are a granite with green black and gold."

Details in the cabinetry, tile and lighting mimic the Arts and Crafts elements in the rest of the home. "These cabinets are unique with the fabulous doors with hammered-glass panels that incorporate leading in an Arts and Crafts design," says Rick. "We had a back hallway that is now open with an exposed stairway to the second floor. We have an oak railing with wrought iron spindles that looks like it could have been original. The whole Bartelt Filo crew was just great to work with."

– Judy Wood