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Positive flow
Remodel erases home’s shortcomings with improved traffic pattern

Photos by Tricia Shay

January 2015

Placing a powder room in the middle of the kitchen might have been de rigueur in home design in the 1940s, but it’s squarely out of fashion in 2015.

"Moving the powder room out of the kitchen was paramount on our list. Its function has no place opening into the kitchen," says architect Meg Baniukiewicz of HB Designs, Whitefish Bay.

The owners of a 1941 Colonial in Whitefish Bay had contacted her for a long-planned remodel. "When we started the project we had been there just over 10 years," says the homeowner. "Our kitchen really needed help. We didn’t need or want a larger space, we just needed to make better use of the space we had," she says.

"Like many homes of this era, all of the rooms were separate living spaces, and the kitchen was cut off from the rest of the house," Baniukiewicz says. Essential to her plan were preserving the original character of the house and sizing the rooms appropriately for modern living. "I knew that they had enough square footage to accomplish this without an addition. This meant that some of the areas had to be rethought in terms of flow and use," Baniukiewicz says.

"When we saw her plan, it made complete sense," the homeowner says. "Her vision felt like this was how the house always should have been."

Enlarging the openings between rooms improves sight lines and the flow of the first floor.

Baniukiewicz borrowed space from a previous family room addition to create a mudroom and powder room at the back of the house. The previous homeowner had also altered the original living room, resulting in a long, narrow room. Baniukiewicz took the living room back to its original size and created a breakfast nook in what was a study when the house was built.

She incorporated the former powder room space into the kitchen, which now spans the width of the house, and gives the homeowners more room to cook and entertain.

The family enjoys its meals in the breakfast nook, located adjacent to the kitchen, living room and family room.

"We are vegan, so we do a lot of cooking and eat almost all of our meals at home," the homeowner says. "The kitchen is very important to us."

The sink was relocated under expanded eastern-facing windows, and a 48-inch Wolf range sits in the sink’s former space. Space restrictions wouldn’t allow for a large side-by-side refrigerator, so they worked around that by incorporating a 27-inch refrigerator with a separate under-counter freezer.

"The new kitchen space was not large enough for a freestanding island but we were able to have a larger peninsula, which also helps separate the working space of the kitchen from the entertaining space of the kitchen," Baniukiewicz says.

A portrait over the fireplace in the family room inspired the rich chocolate tones in the family room. The ceiling in the room is painted eggplant, which makes the room feel cozy and inviting. The family room previously had been cut off from the rest of the first floor, which was remedied during the remodel.

Other functional yet aesthetically pleasing features include shelving to feature the homeowner’s expansive cookbook collection and a glass-front spice cabinet.

White woodwork and cabinetry are in keeping with the classic sensibility of the homeowners, and a saturated color palette brings in the their love of nature. They worked with interior designer Leslie Dohr of Leslie Dohr Interior Design, Whitefish Bay, to ensure a cohesiveness among the spaces.

Wallpaper from England accented with gold creates a beautiful glow in the powder room, says interior designer Leslie Dohr. The marble-topped vanity was created from an antique dressing table once owned by model Naomi Sims and restored by Holzbauer and Sons. A custom mirror by Scathain and crystal chandelier are jewelry in the room.

"The words the homeowners used to describe their style were timeless, classic, elegant, smart, sophisticated and inviting," Dohr says. "They wrote them on a Post-it note, which I stapled to the inside of my file folder. I put every design decision through that filter," Dohr says.

"Even though we used an extensive palette in the home, the colors all work together because of balance," Dohr says. The green in the kitchen is balanced by the chocolate-colored wood stained floors, white cabinets and a pale blue ceiling. The purple ceiling in the family room is balanced by cream-colored walls, white cabinets and a neutral rug.

"With our cold winters in Wisconsin, it’s nice to be in here when it’s dreary outside," the homeowner says.

"From top to bottom," Baniukiewicz says, "the home completely compliments the homeowners’ personalities."



This story ran in the January 2015 issue of: