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Entertain the possibilities
Rethinking the heart of the home

By JANET RAASCH and AMY SIEWERT

 

European cremone bolts add an eclectic touch to the blue painted cabinets. Keeping the footprint of the kitchen intact, Peabody’s Interiors designer Emily Winters designed rolling carts of reclaimed wood that serve multiple functions for cooking, entertaining and dining.


Freshen Up

Wanting to redo her kitchen without completely starting from scratch, Kris O’Meara was inspired by two things: painted blue cabinets she had seen in House Beautiful magazine and a dining experience at Eddie Martini’s restaurant.

"When I saw that picture in House Beautiful I thought that was more the character of our house. Ever since then I wanted to figure out a way to have my kitchen feel just like that," O’Meara says.

The dinner was an impromptu event she shared with her husband, Mark, and their then 10-year-old son while one of their three daughters was at a high school dance. "The only place they could fit us in was at the bar. It was cozy and fun. I wanted to re-create that experience in our kitchen," O’Meara says.

As the hosts of many charitable and social events through the years — including an event with former Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy Dolan — the old kitchen layout was cramped and rigid.

The O’Mearas collaborated with their longtime designer Emily Winters of Peabody’s Interiors to freshen up the space. The ceramic tile floor was replaced with reclaimed whiskey tank wood flooring and the cabinets were painted the House Beautiful blue. Winters designed island carts with tops made from antique wine barrels, improved the task and decorative lighting in the space and created a cook’s kitchen for O’Meara that includes a pot rack and butcher-block counters.

The rolling island carts give the O’Mearas the flexibility they needed within the space. "They give us more storage, I can cook on them, use them as a serving place or push them together and sit at them," O’Meara says.

The new kitchen is befitting of the historic home, built in 1935 by one of West Bend’s most prestigious families, the Zieglers. It later served as a home to the Sisters of the Divine Savior. The O’Meara’s have lived there for nearly 20 years.

"I feel like it’s a funky way of bringing that house forward," Winters says. "We’ve maintained the integrity of the house, so to speak. There is nothing worse in my mind than taking a brand new kitchen and plunking it into an old house.

"It was a fun sort of evolution," she says.

 

 

The chairs surrounding the island are made from reclaimed wood and lend a slight cabin feel to the motif with tree carvings found on the back of each chair.


Rustic Refined

A first floor remodeling project in this Eagle home resulted in an open and airy kitchen with plenty of views of the lake.

Dream Kitchens of Delafield gutted the space, installing new windows, a sliding door and hardwood floors. "The kitchen was a classic Wisconsin 1980s oak kitchen," says Terri Schmidt, owner of Dream Kitchens.

The new room has a Southwestern motif combined with a rustic feel that works perfectly in the rural setting. The new island has a custom blue finish that continues the Southwest flavor along with the Crema Bordeaux granite in a cornucopia of colors, including cream, blue, brown and red tones.

The knotty alder custom cabinets were finished in a darker brown shade that lend a nice contrast to the blue-colored island and wood floors, according to Schmidt.

The appliances were rearranged to accompany the new flow pattern more efficiently, including the installation of the a new Wolf cook range in the island.

The island is topped with a quartz material and black granite. The island is cherry, as are the range hood and some of the cabinets, while other cabinets are maple. By layering the wood tones along with the colors from other elements in the room, such as the tile and the counters, designer Gwen Adair coordinates it all to pull the design scheme together. She chose a clean-lined cabinet doors and simple hardware to keep the look clean and crisp.


Mix and Match

Theresa Zimmerman had been dreaming of a kitchen remodel for a good 20 or more years. When she and husband Richard looked into replacing some flooring in an adjoining hallway, the timing was right to redo the kitchen of their Franklin home. "It evolved into more than it originally started out, but we knew it needed to be done," Theresa Zimmerman says.

They worked with Gwen Adair of Cabinet Supreme by Adair to eliminate some "design flaws" from their 1960s kitchen, such as soffits that boxed in the kitchen area from the family room. In the old layout you were standing in a hallway when you opened the refrigerator.

In redesigning the layout, Adair relocated the sink to the island, making the custom wood range hood and decorative tile work a focal point from the front entry. The two-tier island hides the sink from view and also offers storage and seating. A bamboo floor now extends from the kitchen, down the hallway and into the living room, making it easier for the Zimmermans’ adult son to get around in his wheelchair.

A new lighting plan includes recessed lighting, pendants and cabinet lighting.

"The kitchen is a good example of a traditional home moving into a more contemporary design," Adair says.

 

 

 

The new kitchen is conducive for cooking as everything is within reach, and also for entertaining with the large island and adjoining table. The window overlooks the backyard and expands the room visually. "A skylight ceiling emulates natural daylight and brings a brightness and freshness to the room," says architect Richard Scherer. The white and off-white tones enlarge the space and give it a feeling of openness, he says.


Role Reversal

When Kevin and Kate Moss’ Wauwatosa home was built in the 1930s, the front door faced Menomonee River Parkway. Though they imagine guests in the 1930s might have entered the home that way, the street-side door is more convenient than walking all the way around the house for both the homeowners and their guests.

So when Richard Scherer of Deep River Partners architects suggested swapping the kitchen and the foyer in a prospective remodel, the homeowners were thrilled. "That was a completely new idea," Kate Moss says. "That was the thing that made all the difference in the world."

"The kitchen becomes the heart of the home, the central point from where the other spaces radiate," Scherer says.

Now, when visitors enter from the street side, there is a new foyer and home office where the kitchen was; the new kitchen overlooks the parkway and the yard, and a new rear entry and mudroom are much more functional for family living.

"It is much more fun to have people over," Moss says, "Even just day to day the family can gather easily." m