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Island paradise
Kitchen gathering places give new life to the heart of the home



Nod to the past

The black and white combination in this Whitefish Bay kitchen renovation packs a dramatic punch, says Tove Kenyon, kitchen designer with B&E General Contractors. In the remodeling of this older Whitefish Bay home, Kenyon incorporated design elements from the rest of the house into the new space, such as reeded columns and reeded detail on the island. The styling on the cabinet doors also is in keeping with the time period. The room is designed along a great room concept, Kenyon says. A fireplace flanked by bookshelves and a customized planning desk create that homey feeling for this busy family with five children. Mom and the children like to cook and bake, too, and the large island offers plenty of space for everyone to gather. The cabinets are painted bisque; the countertops are a honed and enhanced Absolute Black granite; the backsplash is a ceramic crackled tile and the floors are red oak.

Rustic revisionism

During renovations to this James Hoffman Builders home, homeowners Frank and Christine Koster kept the rustic style of the design when they updated some of the spaces, including the kitchen. The ceiling beams and cabinetry are original to the 15-year-old home. The Verdi Amazon granite countertops from Lakeside Stoneworks and dramatic brushed nickel backsplash add more contemporary touches. A wine cooler and bookshelves replace a desk, and a chandelier over the island replaces a large light box. The original hardwood floor was taken out in favor of cork flooring.

Color and space

In the remodel of this 1950s ranch, the new kitchen needed to function as both a gathering place and a thoroughfare to the rest of the house. "Everybody recognizes that todayís kitchen is, among other things, an entertaining space," says Mason Sherwood of Wikwood Associates and the architect of this Bayside remodel. The kitchen island is a gathering place, similar to the table of the old-fashioned farm kitchen, Sherwood says. "Everybody gathers at that island, just the way they did at another time." The size of the room allows the Richheimer family to move from the new three-car garage to other areas of the home easily and the cathedral ceilings and round window add drama to the space. Designer Marianne Kohlmann of Blue Hot Design worked with the Richheimers to incorporate their love of color and artwork in the room. The backsplash consists of handmade Mexican tiles, the Verdi Champagne granite from Lakeside Stoneworks tops the island and the countertops are Zodiacís Cygnus Pearl. The upper cabinets are a light maple and the lower cabinets a dark cherry wood. The floor is maple. The contrasting woods and counter surfaces are "just another way to mix it up and make it more colorful," Kohlmann says. Ruvin Bros. Artisans & Trades served as the contractor for the project.

Form and function

The newly remodeled kitchen in Jon and Louise Jesseís Mequon home not only affords gorgeous views of a pond but creates a more functional space. The 1980s kitchen was fairly narrow and long and the main prep and cooking areas were separated, says Ed Miller of E. Miller and Associates. That resulted in crossing traffic lanes with hot pots and pans. The new space creates a more workable L-shape and provides a "safer and more efficient cooking environment," Miller says. The new island is larger than the old one and is a natural gathering spot. The island and counters are polished granite; the backsplash tiles are iridescent glass. The custom maple cabinets offer contrast with the oak floor.