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A place for everything
Four Northshore remodels make the most of creative storage options, offer space for family, entertaining



Hidden features, such as ceiling speakers and interior cabinet dividers, are among the things Liz and Jim Romanelli appreciate most about their Mequon kitchen remodel.

When Liz and Jim Romanelli were ready for the demolition stage of their kitchen remodel in their Mequon home, Liz packed her bags for a trip to the East Coast. Five weeks later, she returned to her dream kitchen.

"That was the most beautiful thing about the project," she says. "I didnít have to be here for the demolition. I came back and everything was finished."

"Everything" was no small accomplishment, considering the project included removing a brick wall and cooktop, remodeling the kitchen, powder room and laundry room.

"The previous kitchen was very dark with the dark brickwork," she says. "We wanted a space where two people could work at the same time comfortably. We also wanted an island and more cabinet storage."

The finished room features alder wood cabinetry. They added hardwood flooring that seamlessly connects to the original hardwood in the formal dining room. The heavy dark wood and ceiling beams were replaced leaving a light, casual, functional space that suits the familyís entertaining needs. Pendant lighting accents the island and lots of recessed lighting provides ample task lighting.

"The house isnít that old so there were no big surprises in the process," Jim Romanelli says. "We used the Cabinetree and they were very efficient. Every phase was very well planned. It was a combination of us being ready and them being on time with everything. We started planning in January and demolition was from June to July. Everyone hit their deadline."

Some of the projectís best design features are hidden, such as the charging area for all the electronics built into a pantry. The Romanellis had magnetic child-proofing devices added to the low cabinets to keep their 2-year-old son safe. Above the refrigerator, they added dividers in the cabinets that suit cookie sheets and larger pans. Sound system speakers for entertaining are hidden in the ceiling.

"The things we appreciate about the kitchen may seem small, but we use them every day," Jim Romanelli says. "We have four pullouts for garbage and recycling which we didnít have the space for before. There are six burners on the stove top so two people can be there at the same time without getting in each otherís way. The custom shelving is all adjustable. They added so much storage, yet there is still open space and light. I think it is amazing that we didnít have to expand the space or take out a wall with all the space in here."

"This kitchen is so much easier to maintain," Liz Romanelli says. "I just love walking into this room."

When Megan Miller-Shields and Tim Shields added space to the kitchen of their 1927 Shorewood bungalow, they wanted to remain true to the homeís character without pushing out any exterior walls.

True to character

When Megan Miller-Shields and Tim Shields wanted to add to their kitchen space in their 1927 Shorewood bungalow, they wanted the new style to remain true to the character of their home.

"We didnít want to have to bump out the room into the yard," says Tim Shields. "We decided to take out an adjoining bedroom and expand the kitchen. The existing kitchen was small and cramped. You couldnít have more than one person working at a time."

The couple chose Remodeling Center Inc., for the project and say they are pleased with the firmís craftsmanship and how it matched the kitchen to the rest of the home.

The new space features a tiled counter, hardwood flooring and stainless and black appliances. The windows provide a view of the back yard. Lots of storage was added without interfering with the visual line from the workspace to the informal dining area. Instead of overhead cabinets, the family chose deep drawers to store their dishes.

"At Christmas time we bake for weeks at a time," Megan Miller-Shields says. "Now it is more fun to have help in the kitchen."

"The work triangle works very well," Tim Shields says. "You are never more than a step away from what you need."

The family chose antique bronze lighting from the Brass Light Gallery that coordinates with the antique style decorative accents of the home, which include a schoolhouse style clock and an antique mercury barometer. The slate backsplash adds texture to the room and complements the soft butter wall paper. All the windows in the kitchen and dining area were replaced and the new windows feature leaded accents to coordinate with the rest of the home.

"I think the project was successful because we were actively involved in every step," Tim Shields says. "You have to look at it like a partnership in order to make it what you want it to be."

The kitchen of the River Hills home of William and Carolyn Chapin was completely gutted. Among its features are custom cherry cabinets and granite counters from India.

Family meeting place

The home of William and Carolyn Chapin was dramatically transformed when their vintage 1960s kitchen featuring avocado green was renovated with cherry cabinets and granite countertops. The Chapin family chose Remodeling Center Inc. for their project.

"Weíve been in this home for 20 years and it was time to update this room," Carolyn Chapin says of their River Hills colonial. "It was previously a very dark room that we lightened with lots of windows, a cathedral ceiling and a bump out to add more space."

The room was completely gutted to make way for custom cherry cabinetry. A walk-in pantry was removed to make for a better traffic flow to the adjoining family room. The granite for the countertops was imported from India. The wood flooring was installed on the diagonal to give the illusion of more space.

"This is now truly a meeting place for our family," Chapin says. "We have grown children and grandkids, and now it is a roomy space for everyone to get together. Not a day has gone by that I havenít enjoyed this room. The cherry cabinets are striking against the black granite. There is wonderful lighting in the cabinets and track lighting."

One of her favorite features about her new space is that she can now display her favorite china.

"It might seem like a silly thing, but I really appreciate the pullout trash under the sink," she says. "Also, I love my appliance garage where I have everything plugged in and ready to go. We had a contractor that was really creative and supportive of what we wanted. Now we have a modern, light and airy space that we love."

At 1,400 square feet, the Fox Point kitchen of Paula and William Shows is now spacious enough for entertaining. The room features alder wood cabinets and a heated travertine tile floor.

Gathering place

The Fox Point kitchen of Paula and William "Butch" Shows was transformed from a narrow galley style to a spacious and beautiful example of Old World European style. The finished project garnered a design award for JDJ Builders Inc.

"Our original kitchen was 9-by-24 with great counter space, but no room for eating in and not the best space for entertaining," Paula Shows says. "We would have 24 people at the holidays and they would all gather in the breezeway because there was no space in the kitchen."

The new design is very open, featuring a spacious black wood island large enough for dining and working. The room has a separate bar area for parties complete with wine fridge and an antiqued copper sink and faucet, and an informal dining area that overlooks the meticulously landscaped patio area. The 60-inch Wolf range is accented by a carved black wooden hood. Decorative tile accents the backsplash. The cabinetry is alder wood. The new space is 1,400 square feet designed over a heated travertine tile floor.

"We chose the alder wood and the black furniture look because it has an Old World look to it," Paula Shows says. "One of the features Iím really happy with is we chose a full-size sink instead of a double sink. You can easily put a full cookie sheet in the sink. We added a stereo system with speakers both inside and out that we really use. This is a great kitchen to cook in for one or for many. We can eat as a family in the informal dining room."

A desk area provides work space and storage and a space for a flat screen television. The remodel also added a pantry with a decorative frosted glass door, granite counters and lots of storage.

"If we ever wanted to convert this room to a first-floor laundry, it is set up to do that," Shows says.

She chose decorative accents, hardware and lighting inspired by Italian and French style. The informal dining area features a coffered and barreled ceiling that adds an element of drama to the space. The space overlooks the yard and patio that features a window seat and a view of a Frederick Hart sculpture.

"When I think about the space we had before it is pretty amazing what is here now," she says. "We actually had a conga line around the island at one party. We just love to be in this room."