A stunning kitchen is more than meets the
eye, but appearance definitely counts.
That’s the view of three local designers who helped create impressive
spaces for one of the most important rooms in a home. Heather Scott of
Bartelt. The Remodeling Resource in Delafield, Judy Jensen of Oakhill
Design in Wauwatosa and Nathan Wachtl of S.J. Janis Company Inc. defined
their own version.
“It’s anything that makes you pause while you are reviewing various
options,” Scott says.
“It’s something that stands out and makes a statement that is not
typical,” says Jensen.
“It satisfies a list of both functional and aesthetic needs,” Wachtl
Here they explain their design methods for these three local kitchens
Photo by Doug Edmunds
This kitchen design in Mequon is guided by Wachtl and emphasizes life
around the island. The island’s 60-square-foot surface reflects the
eclectic nature of everyday cooking, family gatherings —including
playtime for a 6-year-old – as well as more adult entertainment.
“The goal was to create a bright, airy, classic look,” Wachtl says. “The
island creates a zone where people can sit around it and not touch
Traditional columns are mixed with updated finishes, making this
transitional space also a palette with a number of attractive finishes.
Those details include industrial-like pendant lights hanging over the
engineered quartz island countertop topping a blue-gray finish cabinet
base that is surrounded by paisley-printed high-back stools.
Away from the island, white cabinets support more workspace and
accommodate storage around stainless steel appliances. Gray-to-beige
tone glass subway tile is set in a chevron pattern behind the slide-in
The hickory-planked floor is arranged in varying widths ranging from 2
1/4 to 5 inches to provide a softer base to the transitional space.
Homeowner Jake LeRoy says the kitchen is now open to the rest of the
“It’s really my favorite part of the project,” he says. “Using this
kitchen is so much more efficient.”
Photo courtesy of Bartelt. The Remodeling Resource
Scott helped design a compatible kitchen for a couple who was completely
renovating a Colgate, Wisconsin, colonial-style Cape Cod before their
wedding. Homeowner Heather Finger found a line of lighting with a
lighter feminine tone – Ajourer by Metropolitan – and a hood that would
be painted to infuse rustic references over a six-burner Wolfe range.
Those opposites-attract pairings were what Scott called “the jumping off
Bright white cabinets that reflect plenty of natural light from the
large windows bordering the dining area are juxtaposed with a
granite-topped island featuring grays, black and browns, and a
backsplash along the stove of equally warm tones in porcelain subway
Fixtures and hardware add an unadorned bronze vibe against the stainless
“It’s a galley-style kitchen, perfect for someone who wants to cook
while interacting with others seated at the table that is attached to
the island,” Scott says.
Finger says the renovation has inspired her to do more cooking.
“My husband has done
a lot of the cooking but now I love to cook here, too,” she says. “And
with everything now open, we can enjoy our meals looking out through
those great big windows onto the trees and land around us.”
Photo by Doug Edmunds
The kitchen update to the 1920s Georgian brick home Jensen tackled
turned out quite different than the Wauwatosa homeowners’ initial
“They researched kitchens in photos,” Jensen says, “and they liked a
white transitional-looking kitchen. I didn’t see them in a white
One reason is this couple works in the artistic field; one is a sculptor
and the other a painter. Jensen envisioned a different creative mix.
Expanding the previously dark, small space by eliminating hallways and a
row of closets, Jensen says the resulting grays, copper, gold and black
tones were “a happy collaboration.”
Distinctive pendant lights above the indigo blue Florida quartzite
island are Tom Dixon designed elements that emphasize the transitional
nature of the renovation and, as Jensen says, “pulls it all together.”
The island base was painted in a shade of iron so that depending on the
light it looks deep gray or black. The counter cabinets along the walls
are taupe and the appliances are stainless steel.
Jensen says one of her favorite things is the multipaned windows painted
black to emphasize the view. Client Jody Kaiser Scott says she is happy
with opening the space and its compatibility with the rest of the home.
“It’s not super bright; it’s a mellow kitchen that fits us,” she says.