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325-C Arlington Avenue

Charlotte, NC 28203
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3421-M St. Vardell Lane
Charlotte, NC 28217

(704) 759-3920

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What’s the Best Kitchen Design for a Growing Family?

A great kitchen design isn’t just about the traditional work triangle. Particularly for a growing family, kitchen design should also be inclusive of the myriad ways your kitchen will be used –for which activities, when and by whom. The traffic flow in, out and through a family-friendly kitchen should be a critical factor in space planning, not just during meal times, but throughout the entire day. This young family tasked us with the challenge of opening up the previously remodeled kitchen of their 1950’s Myers Park home, after hearing from other contractors that what they wanted to accomplish couldn’t be done.

Kitchen Design Goals

While not the original kitchen to the home, the remodel by the previous owners had addressed aesthetic concerns, but not the space planning. With two young children at home, our clients’ most important goal for the remodel was an open kitchen design for increased visibility and traffic flow. Their secondary goals included maintaining a formal dining room and foyer to stay in keeping with the age and style of the home; transitional style with modern amenities such as professional-grade appliances; more functional storage and additional pantry space; a large island with seating for four and to repair the faulty hardwood floors from the previous renovation.

Cream kitchen with brass pendants over the island and a large window over the sink

The angled walls with bar height pass through helped the kitchen to feel somewhat connected to the den, but it was still impossible for our clients to keep an eye on their kids while preparing meals. The tiny vestibule at the back door was tight and included two-floor transitions since the tile and den floor was higher than the kitchen and foyer, creating a tripping hazard. The light from the kitchen window couldn’t filter into the hallway or living space, creating a dark atmosphere. The plan was to remove the walls between the den and kitchen to open the space, but the challenge was ensuring enough wall space for cabinetry and appliances without sacrificing valuable storage.

A Family-Friendly Kitchen Design that Works

Ultimately, after reviewing three different kitchen designs, our clients elected to close the doorway between the formal dining room and the kitchen. This allowed the kitchen to take on a functional L-shape and kept all the major appliances out of the island, increasing usable counter space. Because the formal dining room was right next to the kitchen, losing the extra doorway didn’t impede traffic. Opening the backdoor to the kitchen made it easier to haul toddlers and groceries to and from the car.

The new kitchen design features an open plan from the den and kitchen, making it easier to drift between the two spaces seamlessly. Reframing a portion of the existing floor system to bring the whole area down to the same level eliminated tripping hazards and made floor clean-up a breeze. We left the original window in the same location, but with the removal of the walls, light pours deeper into space, making it feel more spacious. Ultimately, there was extra space to fit an even larger island than what was in the original kitchen design, providing ample seating for the whole family.

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BEFORE – The awkward, angled counter with dropped soffit kept the kitchen and den separate, preventing an easy flow for daily childcare or entertaining. The barstools blocked traffic to and from the back door—the main point of entry for this family.

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AFTER – Working extra storage into this kitchen design was simple thanks to the large island. Hidden base cabinets under the seating area provide adjustable shelving for less frequently used items.

Maximizing Space

Simplifying the bar design made it visually recede and increased functionality. Removing the bar sink in favor of a dry bar allowed versatile counter space to act as an everyday drop zone or a serving space for entertaining. To delineate the bar from the kitchen while keeping some visual continuity, we repeated the same cream cabinets and used the quartzite slab material as a solid backsplash. Now guests (and kids) can easily mingle between the formal living room, the den, the bar, and the kitchen during gatherings.

The cased opening and original glass transom that were formerly separating the kitchen and foyer hallway were relocated approximately 6′ to incorporate some of the former halls into the new family-friendly kitchen design. As requested, a proper foyer was maintained in keeping with the formal architecture of the home.

An HVAC return and a tiny coat closet were relocated to create space for a custom pantry cabinet under the stairs. Increasing dry goods storage was an important goal for this growing family. Tall pantry cabinets with easily adjustable roll-out shelves are a great solution for maximizing the space available within a small footprint.

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BEFORE – The stepped design of the bar cabinetry made it feel heavy and intrusive and the sink and ice-maker were never used.

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AFTER –  A built-in beverage center provides space for wine, beer, and mixers outside of the main refrigerator.

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DETAILS – The built-in maple spice rack keeps herbs and spices organized and accessible. The fully integrated refrigerator with custom panel blends into the surrounding inset cabinetry for a traditional look.

Finishing Touches

A critical part of making the kitchen design feasible was incorporating two large steel beams —welded on-site—to support the second story floor above. Our engineering team created a structural design to ensure the integrity of the proposed kitchen design, resulting in the family-friendly entertaining space they desired.

In the den (now visible from the foyer) the colonial fireplace surround was replaced with a transitional cast stone design. Using the same material for the hearth, surround and mantel created a soothing contrast in textures as opposed to color, allowing the artwork to be the true focal point.

Custom cabinets, hidden storage accessories, matching appliance panels, and one-of-a-kind quartzite counters elevate this family-friendly kitchen design while maintaining a classic, transitional style.

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BEFORE – The hood overpowered the range top and the soffit and pass-through to the den dated space. Angled walls are an inefficient use of space.

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AFTER – Open site lines and clear traffic patterns are all part of this redesigned kitchen. Shades of cream, taupe, and sage green offer a soothing, timeless look.

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DETAILS – Wide island drawers with built-in drawer organizers keep knives and flatware neatly sorted, right where they’re needed most.

If your current kitchen design has you frustrated and disorganized, we’d be happy to talk through the possibilities with you. Schedule a call and our team will reach out shortly.

February 29, 2020 by lazarus

3 Ways to Create a Custom Kitchen Design

Whenever we begin working with a new client to redesign their kitchen, they almost always fall into one of three categories: A) They know exactly what they want and rely on us to translate their vision; B) They have strong opinions about a couple of key areas, but mostly they’re open to any solutions we suggest for their new design; C) They don’t know what they want, but they know what they have isn’t working. Regardless of where you fall, here are three ways to create a custom kitchen design that feels personal to you and your family.

1. Utilize Custom Cabinet Modifications to Serve Your Needs

Higher quality, made-to-order cabinet lines are going to allow customization to some degree. This can be a game-changer for making the final kitchen design feel truly custom since it means we can make the cabinet as specific to your functional, aesthetic, or architectural needs as possible. There are few kitchens that don’t require at least one cabinet to be modified to maintain the best-finished look.

Backless wall cabinets over windows to allow natural light into kitchen

More often than not, we’re modifying most cabinets to give our clients the best possible design. Modifications can include custom sizes, combining boxes to avoid seams in inset designs, adding special storage accessories, or finishing the ends in a specific manner just to name a few. The options are endless.

Bar height white kitchen island

2. Incorporate A Design Element with A Story

One of the easiest and most satisfying ways to set your kitchen apart from your friends’ kitchens (even if you have the exact same taste) is to incorporate something personal that tells part of your story. On more than one occasion, our clients have approached us with special pieces to include in their custom kitchen design – from hundred-year-old barn beams, they found in an outbuilding on their property, to a favorite light fixture that came with them each time they moved, to a custom colored range to match the label of their favorite bottle of champagne – incorporating these personal touches into our clients’ kitchen designs set them apart from their neighbors.

Custom farmhouse kitchen design with reclaimed beam

The vertical beam next to the staircase was salvaged from an old barn on this couple’s property. Having a piece with a story gives extra life to this farmhouse kitchen.

Don’t already have something you’d like to include in the new design? No problem! Choose one item that has yet to be selected and pick something you absolutely love that can act as a statement piece. It can be something semi-permanent like a light fixture, unique cabinet hardware, or backsplash tile, or it could be something you find on your own like vintage stools for the island or a beautiful painting to hang in the breakfast area.

orange range in a modern kitchen with mosaic tile backsplash

3. Plan Storage to Support Your Daily Habits

Just because you make coffee and take supplements every morning as part of a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean they have to be out on the counter in full view 24/7. From everyday dishes to serving pieces, pantry items to charging stations, our kitchens are responsible for storing a LOT. When everything has a place where it’s easily accessible and hidden from view, you’re able to move more efficiently and feel better in your space without visual clutter. Planning ahead of time, which tasks take place in which zones of your kitchen will help your kitchen designer suggest the best storage solutions to help your day run more smoothly from the get-go.

Built-in coffee station

One of the best ways to make a kitchen more functional is to store items where they are used and not necessarily with like items. For example: Instead of keeping all glasses and mugs together in one cabinet, store drinking glasses near the refrigerator for access to filtered water, and store mugs near the coffee station. Customizing the design for the way you move in and around your kitchen saves time as you won’t be crisscrossing as often while you’re preparing meals, snacks, and everything in between.

Custom-designed spice and tray pull outs in peacock green kitchen island

Narrow, pull-out storage cabinets for cutting boards and spices were placed close to the cooktop for convenient access during prep.

Want to speak with someone about your custom kitchen design? Schedule a call to speak with one of our project developers. 

5 Modern Kitchen Design Must Haves

You’ve probably heard the old adage, “the kitchen is the heart of the home.” As cliché as it sounds, we couldn’t agree more. We’d argue it’s the most important room in the house, so we’ve compiled a list of five kitchen design must haves for a successful remodel. As a residential design-build remodeling firm, we see more requests for kitchen remodeling projects than any other room of the house. It’s where you spend time with your family, it’s where you nourish your body, it’s where you live. 

Develop a Vision for Your Kitchen

When we meet with a new client for the first time, we like to get a feel for how they use their current kitchen, what – if anything – is working well, and what’s making their lives harder or causing frustration. We listen to their vision to get a better understanding of their ideal kitchen, and how we can make it a reality. Some clients know exactly what they want the end result to look like and what needs to be rearranged to make the space work best for them, while others rely more heavily on our expertise to make suggestions and guide them through the best options. They know they don’t want what they have because it’s not working, but they may not know how best to solve those problems and that’s completely normal.

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Pull & Replace 

Sometimes the overall layout functions well, but the appliances are failing, and the cabinets are showing their age, but there’s no need to redesign half of the house to make improvements — we refer to these projects as “Pull and Replace” kitchens. We pull everything out down to the studs, make a few adjustments in the design and replace everything with new, higher quality materials so you’re no longer embarrassed when your mother-in-law shows up unannounced. The locations of major appliances and plumbing fixtures don’t move much, if at all, but we’re able to breathe new life into the kitchen by rethinking the storage or the counter space to make it a more functional, modern kitchen design.

 

A Modern Kitchen Design that Fits Your Needs

Often we know we aren’t going to meet the clients’ goals without completely redesigning the space and opening the kitchen up to other areas of the house. It may be that we’re improving traffic flow, or we may be creating additional gathering areas to connect with friends and family. Eliminating unnecessary walls, installing cohesive flooring throughout, relocating windows, doors, and major electrical, mechanical and plumbing lines is more involved, but isn’t usually difficult so long as there’s room in the budget and the timeline.

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5 Must Haves in Your New Kitchen Design

Regardless of the approach, each kitchen we design is a unique interpretation of a dream that comes together through the hands of our designers and craftsmen alike. Your designer will take your input to develop the best layout, and then curate materials schemes that best suit your aesthetic and budget. Kitchens have become a fashion industry, so the choices are endless (and completely customize-able) ensuring your kitchen doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s unless you want it to. While you get the last word when it comes to the redesign of your kitchen, and incorporating what’s most important to you, we have a list of modern kitchen design must-haves we’d urge you to consider:

  • Think of Storage as a Verb – You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t fantasize about more storage space, but when we constantly think of storage as a thing we always need more of, that’s when our houses become overrun with junk and clutter. Instead, think of storage as an action plan. Establish a designated place for everything, and then stick to it. You’ll be more organized and less stressed, not to mention the envy of your neighbors. We’re particularly fond of roll-out shelves, deep drawers and utensil and spice organizers to keep your new custom kitchen organized and accessible.
  • Lighting is Everything – Poor lighting will render even the prettiest kitchen dysfunctional. Advancements in modern LED fixtures have made them accessible to every purpose and every budget. We recommend utilizing three levels of lighting whenever possible: Ambient (recessed cans), task (under-cabinet lights) and decorative (pendants, sconces, etc.). Dimmers are a great way to customize your lighting even further, and they can be used in conjunction with LEDs, so long as the lamp is compatible.
  • Pick One Thing – Every kitchen needs a focal point. It could be a custom floating hood, or a unique backsplash tile that goes all the way up to the ceiling like wallpaper; maybe it’s an unexpected paint color on the island, a really fabulous light fixture or floating walnut shelves to display your Le Creuset collection. Whatever it is, make it yours and use it as inspiration for the rest of the design.

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  • Don’t Air Your Dirty… Trash – If you have a dog or a toddler (and even if you don’t) you probably understand the appeal behind a hidden spot for the trash and recycling. Waste is going to happen, but it doesn’t need to be front and center. In fact, it should be right next to your sink, opposite the dishwasher and it should pull out in one easy motion.
  • Scale Your Appliances to Your Home – Your appliance package should absolutely fit your needs, but don’t discount the expectations of potential future buyers either. The appliances appropriate for a two-bedroom bungalow are going to vary greatly to that of a five-bedroom custom home. Do you need a little help narrowing down which kitchen appliances to shop for before heading to a busy showroom? Download our free Kitchen Appliance Shopping Guide and save yourself a ton of time and frustration! 

Are you ready to take the next step toward creating your dream kitchen? Let’s discuss how we can help; fill out the form down below to get started!

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