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Into the fire
Make your kitchen sizzle with a hot new look



Prior to the kitchen remodel, the house had an ’80s ‘‘suppressed modern’’ feel with large windows and an open plan, but the kitchen was cut off from the main living area. The space now flows from one area to the next and the kitchen gets plenty of natural light that it did not have before.

When Cindy and Ken Denison stepped into the empty-nester world, they were ready to remodel their home to fit their new lifestyle. The Delafield couple wanted a clean, sleek style incorporated into a kitchen with plenty of space to cook, says Cheri Ware of Ware Design in Delafield.

To open the space, Huskinsson Builders removed a cumbersome stone fireplace that cut off the kitchen from the main living area, Ware explains. "We flowed the open plan back together with color, flooring and a new lighting plan than links the ceilings with dropped squared soffits," she says.

The result is a fresh Scandinavian modern look with natural select cherry cabinets, quartz countertops and maple flooring.



A ledge above the kitchen cabinets displays some of the homeowners’ artworks and artifacts. Organic materials give the space a natural feel, from the maple cabinets with hidden pulls that contrast with the Lagos Blue limestone countertops to the red birch wood floors that run throughout the first floor.

The chief objective in remodeling this Delafield Colonial was to "de-Colonialize" the house, says Terri Schmidt, Dream Kitchens co-owner and designer. "We achieved this by opening up the spaces to improve flow and share space, and by making it a simple, soft contemporary backdrop for the homeowners’ eclectic tastes."

In the kitchen, that translated into removing a closet to bring in light from the front of the house, borrowing space from an oversized den to create a wine bar and extending the kitchen into the back hall by borrowing space from the laundry room. A wall of windows runs the length of the kitchen. "The homeowner is a master gardener and has amazing gardens in the back of the house with a fountain and densely wooded back lot," Schmidt says. "The windows allow the outside in so they can enjoy all of her hard work, even on rainy days."

The kitchen is outfitted with lots of storage, countertop space and cook-loving appliances, including an Advantium high-speed oven and a five-burner downdraft cooktop. "We kept the cooking area near the seating so (the homeowner) is part of all the fun. But it is still in close proximity to the sink, refrigerator and ovens," Schmidt says.

Beautiful custom millwork by A. Fillinger Inc. and an energy-efficient and creative lighting plan by Steven Klein of Klein Lighting are integral to the kitchen design by Deep River Partners architects.

The kitchen renovation of the 1900s Shorewood brick Colonial goes beyond creating an updated space for a young professional couple. The design by Deep River Partners architects, Milwaukee, accomplishes the homeowners’ goal of a larger area for cooking and socializing by knocking out the requisite walls and reorganizing the space, while giving thoughtful consideration to the aesthetics and function of the space.

In order to make the space feel larger, Deep River Design Principle Richard Sherer uses visual strategies, such as creating a focal point with the dark walnut island and using white cabinetry around the perimeter of the kitchen to expand the space visually. "We also used an island that was one height so we didn’t get vertical interruption," Sherer says.

A coffered ceiling over the island and the elliptical cutout over the banquette give the impression of taller ceilings. "The other challenge that we faced was how to provide the function not just the aesthetic," Sherer says. He accomplishes this by creating entertaining and work zones within the space and by selecting a space-saving trough prep sink in the island, a five-burner cooktop that allows for storage underneath and counter space on either side, and banquette seating that takes up less space than a traditional table and chairs.

The new layout creates an open, airy feel that is filled with natural light, Sherer says. "The spirit is one that is clean, yet beckons to the home’s historical roots. It’s unencumbered so that the people in the space become the life of the atmosphere and the architecture is a subtle backdrop. At the same time, I think it’s a lively atmosphere created not so much with color but with the architecture."

The 60-inch custom-made hand-forged oil-rubbed bronze range hood by John McWilliam of Scathain is the eye candy of this East Side Milwaukee kitchen renovation by Renaissance Design and Renovation. McWilliam also silvered the home’s original windows as a mirrored backsplash in the dry bar, below.

From its vintage light fixtures to the original windows repurposed as backsplash accents, the renovation of this East Side Milwaukee kitchen by Renaissance Design and Renovation merges classic details with modern-day function.

"The homeowners really wanted to take it to its traditional roots," says RDR’s Kris Bilty. "But working with a home that was built in 1895 — it will fight with you." One of the challenges during the project was the discovery of an existing chimney in the pantry of the three-story home. Demolition was cost-prohibitive, so instead Bilty and partner Jody Ryg designed around it. "It actually worked to our benefit," Bilty says.

The key to reworking the kitchen’s chopped up layout was closing up the side entrance, which allowed room for a pantry with loads of storage that was nonexistent before the remodel. A closet was transformed into a dry bar with a specially designed barrel-vaulted ceiling, which adds more vintage charm to the space.

Attention to details, exquisite craftsmanship and top-of-the-line finishes and appliances add touches of luxury to the beautifully appointed space.