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Like so many modern homes, Designer Richard T. Anuszkiewicz noticed one major room for improvement in this home: unused dining room space. Instead of sticking with a ho-hum design, Anuszkiewicz created a happy marriage between kitchen and dining spaces and created a space fit for the whole family.
I wanted to address the issue that the client never used their dining room. They have lived in their home for over 25 years and claimed to have only used their formal dining room a handful of times. I saw this as valuable square footage in the home that was clearly underutilized. It seemed right to unite the kitchen and formal dining areas to fit their more casual lifestyle. What stood between this marriage of spaces was the fact that a powder room, hallway and coat closet stood in between them. These items had to be relocated elsewhere in order for the space to be completely open to each other and gain proper distribution of square foot value.
The biggest obstacle was that once all the walls were opened up, we created a large and awkwardly shaped space. This somehow had to have a functional kitchen, full dining area and seamlessly flow into the adjacent family room. It is quite challenging to turn a bend in a kitchen layout and have it make sense.
I first located a central island to be the main hub of energy in the space; I placed the primary sink here, allowing the client to enjoy the great views behind the home while working here. Once I located this, the rest of the elements seemed to naturally fall into place. I incorporated a seated peninsula area on the left side of the central island.This peninsula provided a natural barrier between the kitchen and family room but also serves the function of informal-style seating. To the right of the central island, I wanted to fashion a focal point in the room; I envisioned a large decorative hood to create scale and visual interest. This wall would also hold the wall ovens, refrigerator and pantry area. Directly behind the central island I created a secondary work island, designed to resemble a table shape which would make the narrow space feel more open. The final wall area was an outside L-shape, highly unusual because we typically deal with an inside L-shaped wall/corner. Here we added a secondary prep-space with a smaller work sink, and placed a custom hutch to display their china. Finally, the open space behind the table-style island was the final and natural space to have the full dining area. Once filled, the space all flowed together.
The end result matches up well with the original plan; the only change was that we were initially going to place seating at the central island with the main sink. However, the walk ways ended up being a bit smaller than anticipated, so we opted for a standing raised bar area instead. This allows someone to comfortably stand at and lean on the raised counter. This also allowed for interesting height and color variation in the island.
The overall material selection on the project took a bit of courage from the homeowner, which then creates a risk for me if they would like the final product or not. We have so many colors and textures running through the space and I really love that. This was a bit scary for the client to commit to, however. We stayed mainly with an earthy pallet, so even though there is a lot of visual interest, it all blends well together. Some important items to note are the four cabinetry finishes, the custom metal hood, multicolored brick backsplash and the different countertop surfaces, including honed granite and walnut tops with natural edges. This was my first project where we mixed so many different pieces and materials. It made me realize that as long as we put a good thought process behind it, you really can mix whatever you want in a space. It not only makes it look more interesting but it makes it more personal and custom for the homeowner.
To me it’s all about the finer details. When working with cabinetry, it is about how you use cabinetry to make it look a certain way. This can be achieved by modifications to the cabinetry or molding detail. I have strategically used different pieces and moldings in this space to give a specific look. First you will notice that there are two door styles in the space. The first is a flat panel door that can be found on the tan brown wood cabinetry and the black distressed cabinetry. The second door style is the same door but in a raised center panel form, which can be found on the tan cabinetry and the red distressed cabinetry.
We also used base molding along the bottom of the cabinetry. Base molding can give the cabinetry a grounded look and is one way to make it feel more like furniture. A great example of this is how we used base molding and a valance around the bottom of the refrigerator and pantry area. The refrigerator/pantry area was meant to look like a large furniture armoire. You will notice how the base molding wraps around the side of the armoire and a valance stretches across the front. This allows for the refrigerator to breathe, while also giving the refrigerator/pantry the feel that it’s all one large furniture piece.
Another fine detail is the brick veneer tile that goes all the way to the ceiling and across the doorway over the ovens. I wanted for the wall to have character and texture. The idea was for it to look as though it may be an old brick wall that we exposed during the remodel. It is accented by the up and down lighting that we integrated into the cabinetry.
Some other hidden gems include the way we used the appliances, specifically the flush mount ovens, the integrated refrigerator drawers, and the integrated icemaker. The single oven and microwave drawer lip sit within the cabinet frame so that the face of the oven sits flush with the cabinet frame. This may seem like a minor detail but it’s just one example that makes this space stand out from the rest. By flush mounting the ovens it gives a very contemporary look. The idea of adding some contemporary elements in the overall country/traditional space makes it feel fresh and current.
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