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Kitchens that work

Photos by Doug Edmunds, Nancy Yuenkel and Melissa Oehme

 July 2014

Design: Design Group Three, Matthew Krier, designer and architectural associate

Homeowners: John and Ellen Hayes, Milwaukee

Design Group Threeís Matthew Krier describes the 1990s remodel of this kitchen a nice upgrade, but one that didnít capitalize on the 1920s architecture of the home. Removing a load-bearing wall near the staircase and relocating mechanicals were the first steps to creating a functional and inviting space for this family of four.

In terms of kitchen design, itís time to retire the styles of the 1990s. Homeowners are seeking an openness and functionality in the hub of the home dictated by busy lifestyles. As Design Group Threeís Matthew Krier says, "Kitchens then werenít as phenomenal as they have become today." Here are four renovations of í90s-era spaces where families and friends gather in comfort and style.

5 Reasons Why it Works

Space Planning: The kitchen was completely rearranged, redesigned and dramatically furnished to achieve form, flow and function, Krier says. A new arch was created where there once was a wall. In addition, an abandoned space hidden by the previous renovation was restored to create an intimate seating area with a display wall for the homeownerís grandmotherís china.

Design: Deep River Partners, Richard Sherer and Nick Blavat

Contractor: Source 1 Project Solutions

Interior Designer: Leslie Eiler, Deep River Partners

Homeowners: David and Ruth Springob, Cedar Grove

Spending winters in Arizona and summers at their home on Lake Michigan in Cedar Grove, the Springobís kitchen renovation was spurred by their desire to maintain functionality as they grow older. The requisite components of a sleek modern aesthetic are present, teamed seamlessly with ease-of-use features.

Countertops: A honed finish applied to Absolute Black Granite gives the counters a sleek charcoal gray appearance.

Island: Archways throughout the first floor inspired the shape of the island. "We felt it was appropriate to curve the island as a playful reminder of the architecture," Krier says. The shape also has a functional consideration: "The traffic patterns were critical to understanding where the seating would be and how people moved through the space," Krier says.

Lighting: Julie Howard of Julie Howard Interiors helped the homeowners select lighting and other interior finishes. The statement piece in the room is the fixture over the island. "It adds a lot of flair to that space," Krier says. Other lighting touches, such as under-cabinet lighting, also create dramatic effects, he notes.

Cabinets: Design Group Three is an authorized dealer of Greenfield Cabinetry, which was used in this project. In reconfiguring the entire kitchen, Krier was able to include more cabinet space than in the previous layout.

Design: Quality Remodeling Specialists Inc., Jake Ruiz, project manager

Homeowners: Kevin and Jackie Leis, Brookfield

As new empty-nesters, the home-owners wanted to create an open entertaining space for holidays and summers when family gathers at their Brookfield home. QRSís Jake Ruiz says that wasnít a priority in í90sí designs, but it is today. "A lot of people seem to want that now," he says. "In the past it wasnít a need."


5 Reasons to Love This Space

Open Concept: By opening up the kitchen and dining room and adding skylights in the kitchen, natural light fills the rooms. "A vaulted ceiling also makes it more spacious and open," architect Nick Blavat says. An exterior wall was bumped out to create more square-footage in the dining area, and blends well with the ranch style of the house, he says. The new layout connects the views of the woods and Lake Michigan on either side of the house.


Design: Refined Renovations, Matthew Jahns

Location: Brookfield

Photo Styling: Barb Paulini, Studio Paulini

The homeowners had been planning a kitchen renovation for a number of years and had compiled four pages of notes, front and back, when they met with Jahns. The key to getting them more space without adding on any square footage was eliminating a hallway, an artery that stretched about 20 feet long. "Instead of passing through a long dark hallway, itís now a space you actually want to be in," Jahns says.

The dramatic quartzite counter on the island set the tone for the roomís palette. "The homeowners wanted it to be gorgeous and magazine quality but didnít want it to be ostentatious or intimidating to guests," Jahns says of the space.

Cabinetry: Inspired by cabinets the homeowners had seen in M Magazine, the veneer cabinetry created by A. Fillinger Inc. was the starting point for the design. Blavat says contrasting translucent cabinets keep the cabinetry from overwhelming the space. "We didnít want to have too much of a good thing."

Island: The uniquely shaped island is situated for optimal outdoor views. "We wanted to create an eat-in casualness," Blavat says. The bar stools are from Room and Board. The island countertop is speckled with reclaimed beach glass. "Itís a subtle nod to life on a lake property," Blavat says, "and plays well with the Southwest theme of the house without being in-your-face about it."

Aging in Place: The well-thought-out design incorporates a number of features to help the homeowners adapt as they age. For instance, cabinet pulls are longer for easy gripping, double wall ovens are more ergonomic and commercial-grade vinyl flooring is softer than wood or ceramic tile, Blavat says. Even contrasting materials help to visually distinguish areas within the kitchen, he notes.

Outdoors In: The open design encourages a strong connection to the outdoors. The project also included a covered porch to enjoy views of the woods and a connection to the deck on the lake side of the property.



This story ran in the July 2014 issue of: