As retirement approached, Bonnie and Randy, who were originally from Pennsylvania, knew they wanted to retire in southwest Florida. The first 10 years of retirement they lived in North Port. But they felt they would be happier living in Punta Gorda, Florida. So they moved into their forever home, a 2,330 sq. ft. house. The house was built in 1990 and although the newly purchased house was move-in ready, the kitchen was clearly outdated. They knew the kitchen would be the heart of their home because that’s where life happens. Our retired clients wanted a well-designed, remodeled kitchen that would bring new life to their “heart,” and make their day-to-day life easier.
Even though the homeowners had only been living in the home only for a few months, they knew it wouldn’t serve them in a way that it should. There were areas in the kitchen that simply were not functional. That was the reason the homeowners came to me at Just Counters & Other Stuff showroom for help in not only updating the look, but function.
In my first encounter with the homeowners’ original 1990 kitchen, the first thing I noticed was the low ceiling. Unlike the adjoining rooms the kitchen had a dropped ceiling. Not only was there a dropped ceiling but it featured a concave profile with dated Plexiglas panels and fluorescent lighting, commonly called a “dome ceiling.” Yuck! It made the room look outdated and dim. The before photos say it all.
Like with most of our new clients, one of the first questions I asked, “What would you like to see in your new kitchen?” Bonnie beamed when she replied, “A room that is warm, inviting, and stylish.” Then she added, “Anyone over five-feet tall can touch our ceiling.” She then raised one of her arms over her head for a demonstration. Sure enough, she easily touched the celling.
Bonnie then led me to the problematic dishwasher. She proved how unfortunately, the ill-shaped peninsula prevented her from properly unloading the dishwasher. “Whenever I empty the dishwasher, I have to close the dishwasher door to put things in the cabinets, above and next to it. I can’t reach the wall cabinets or move around the dishwasher when it’s open.”
And finally, last but not least, Bonnie also demonstrated the ill-shaped partial walk-in closet which served as a pantry. It was useless to her because whenever she was in a hurry she couldn’t find what she was looking for or needed. To add to the complaint list, I couldn’t help but noticed the tall, deep stainless steel refrigerator that stood out like an elephant in the room.
The homeowners enjoy entertaining and were eager to update the cabinets and countertops for a functional space they’d be proud to invite people into. Bonnie knew she wanted to brighten up the space, but she didn’t know how. If there is one thing I have learned as an Interior Designer, it’s that everyone feels like they have a small kitchen. I felt the best way to add space, or create the illusion of more space, was to elevate the ceiling. This would create more light, and make the room seem larger.
In designing for their new kitchen, I wanted to do away with the poorly functioning peninsula altogether. I designed a center island with a narrow base as a convenient workspace with storage on each side. While the new island would be pretty, it would also function as a work surface with seating for two, and be comfortable enough to serve three meals a day. I added pendant lights over the island for both practical and decorative purposes. The location of the new island would not interrupt the flow of the work triangle: the path from the sink, to the stove, to the refrigerator.
I told the homeowners, “There’s no better place to put efficiency into practice than with roll out pantry shelves. Since your kitchen pantry holds all your most essential kitchen items, it should be a priority when it comes to your kitchen upgrade.”
In my new design I did away with the inefficient closet pantry and created two floor-to-ceiling cabinet pantries. One of them had roll out trays that would allow easy access to everything. This would free this homeowner from the inevitable digging and reshuffling of cans and boxes that goes with stationary shelving. The homeowners would be able to kiss the days of digging in the dark goodbye, when they could actually see what they actually have in the pantries, and put it to use in seconds. I relocated the refrigerator next to the two tall pantries to give the refrigerator a “home.” I also brought the cabinet pantries out to the front edge of the refrigerator, so that it looked proportional to the rest of the kitchen.
It soon became clear that my design would require more than just new cabinets and countertops. They would need a contractor. I recommended Mike Progl from Coral Coast Construction.
While there were plenty of choices that our clients would have to make when remodeling their kitchen, they felt that sleek, dark stained wooden cabinets would be best for their new kitchen. As you can see in the “After” photographs, the new cabinets stand out against the light colored, stunning Cambria countertops. The stainless steel appliances along with the hardware knobs and pulls give this space a more modern look. All of Bonnie’s things are now neatly stored away and everything has a dedicated space. All the pros at Just Counters & Other Stuff, Coral Coast Construction, and SunMac Stone Specialists did an amazing job!
The homeowners are extremely proud of their new kitchen remodel. I totally agree that their new kitchen turned out gorgeous! It’s a spectacular and impressive transformation worth sharing. It’s hard to believe this is even the same kitchen!