coastal kitchen AFTER

An Uncomplicated Coastal Kitchen

Before After

This house has belonged to the same family since 2008. The front door opened directly into a large foyer, and as I stood just inside the front door, I felt as if I stepped into a museum. The house was filled with intriguing dolls—from lovingly handmade ones, to antique rag dolls, and vintage Cabbage Patch dolls to porcelain dolls. There were literally hundreds of dolls not only in the foyer, but in the formal living room to the right of the foyer, and up the loft located directly above.

Ken and Merle started their collection 30-some years ago. Some of these dolls were crafted by truly masterful artists who made dolls that were honest-to-goodness treasures. The expressions of these dolls’ faces were so beautiful, life-like and emotional that they quite literally left me breathless when I first saw them. And a few baby dolls…I swear I thought they were going to actually shed real-life tears at any moment. Once I finally took my eyes away from the exquisite dolls, I reached the kitchen.

When Ken and Merle decided it was time to renovate their kitchen, they were looking to create a style that would be trendy, but also last longer than a season or two. It seems many design trends are “here today, gone tomorrow.” Much like their doll collection, they wanted a kitchen that would stand the test of time. “I’m not sure where to start, can you help me?” I get asked this all the time from people, with a frantic expression, but not from Ken or Merle.

Lapping waves. Light sand. Blue skies. White, fluffy clouds. These are just some of the images that come to mind when you think of the beach. That’s the look and color scheme that Ken and Merle wanted in their new kitchen. The homeowners love the color blue, and it’s a color they knew they wouldn’t grow tired of in a few years.

They also wanted to keep the footprint to avoid the expense of changing the existing floor tile. However, one of the biggest problems I saw in the existing kitchen was the mismatched interior doors. The existing kitchen configuration never changed since the house was built. There were French doors that led to the walk-in pantry and another set of sliding doors, which opened to a closet. The mismatched doors did not help the overall appearance.

Before After

It felt like a scene from Monty Hall’s, Let’s Make a Deal or The Price is Right. You know, where the three big doors were often the most vital part of the game show. Contestants are given an opportunity to select one closed door of three, behind one of which there is a prize. Behind one door is a car; behind another one is appliances, and the last one has a goat. I felt I wanted to open each to find out what was behind each set of doors…but I refrained.

Oftentimes, designing a kitchen is like putting together a big jigsaw puzzle with different shapes and sizes that must fit together perfectly in order to complete the picture. When I designed this new kitchen, I replaced the desk workspace with a built-in pantry. I designed all sets of doors to match one another and bring continuity and balance.  

A designer should never get all the credit; it takes a team to complete a renovation. At Just Counters & Other Stuff we know inaccurate measurements can cause delays to the project, and unforeseen expenses as well as a lot of additional stress to the homeowners. Mark Kemeny, the president of the company, often says, “Always measure twice…cut once.”  He knows when it comes to designs, every inch counts.  In fact, every 1/16″ of an inch counts in kitchen and bathroom measurements. After Mark re-measured, which he does for every job that gets sold at Just Counters, he consulted with Jeff Reed, our multi-tasked, very detailed-oriented installation supervisor. Through invaluable collaboration between the two, they came up with a plan on how to order and install loose doors that would look like interior doors. Our talented installers Ben Hanson, Sam Zwack, and Tylor Lefever, did an outstanding job. They were faced with a lot of challenges and overcame many obstacles to complete this renovation. Skilled tradesmen like these three take the “IM” out of IMpossible by becoming PRO at tackling PROblems. The three of them found a way to get the job done — and done extremely well! Their work speaks volumes.

What everyone wants and needs in a kitchen is storage, preferably a well-stocked pantry that is well organized so when you are cooking, you can easily find what you are looking for.  Whatever the size of your kitchen, it should include a convenient place to store groceries.

The former kitchen featured a dated look that was popular many years ago. This traditional kitchen got a fresh, new clean look. The interior doors no longer look like game-show doors. They look like built-in cabinetry to create uniformity in this beautiful kitchen. The granite countertops complement the kitchen’s pastel blue-and-white color scheme. The granite has pretty veins to it. It’s light and subtle, but creates a little bit of movement, like a sandy beach.  

Oh, and one last thing.

Grown-ups also have this fascination towards porcelain dolls, because having these dolls transport us back to our childhood – back when everything seems to be a lot less complicated. This clean-lined coastal kitchen feels bright and timeless. It provides an uncomplicated and timeless option for years to come.


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