Modern Kitchen Re-Design
Designer Nomita Joshi-Gupta relied on her design skills to rehab her own kitchen space back in 2011, which required a much-needed renovation as a result of its outdated floor plan. After finding a way to maximize the space and include modern design elements, the end result was the open, functional kitchen design Joshi-Gupta was craving.
What were the main items on the family’s wish list?
This was my home until November 2011. We had been through Katrina and after renovating our once flooded ground floor we decided to continue the renovation to include the kitchen. The original kitchen was oddly configured with chopped up design and old cabinets. We really wanted a kitchen that opened to the backyard and to the dining room with modern appliances and modern cabinets.
What was the single largest challenge you wanted to address for this client?
Like all home renovations — especially historic homes — people have to work with outdated floor plans. Our issue with this house was a chopped up plan than needed to be squared off. Connecting the kitchen to the rest of the house with an open plan and the outdoors was a big issue. Keeping the plan open yet with zones was a challenge.
What was your biggest obstacle in this space?
Keeping the floor plan open and still maintaining zones was crucial. A set of stairs divided the original kitchen and dining room. The original kitchen was odd shaped and opened into a utility area. The first item was to remove the utility room, square off the kitchen and create a set of double doors connecting directly into the backyard. The wall between the stairs and dining room was partially removed leaving only a ledge so that the kitchen was visually connected to the dining room. The stair volume connected the upper floor to the lower floor and was clad in cypress painted in a white deck wash to create a pickled effect.
How does the end result match up with your original vision for the space?
The concrete countertops were originally envisioned to be pure white. We used Portland cement and added aggregate to the counter and once it set it did look pure white. When we put a coat of marine grade sealer the counters became off-white which was a surprise to me- but they actually then looked like pottery or natural stone which made my disappointment turn into a new found technique for achieving this look. I also wanted the counter to appear 3” thick but we could not afford to put that much weight on the structure, so I designed a counter with a 3” lip but the rest is only a 1-1/2 inches thick. To further relieve the weight I decided to go with a steel counter for the island.
What surprised you the most about the project?
The countertop lesson was a great one. I also learned a lot about making custom cabinets-hardwoods, plywoods of hardwoods, hardware. Now when I do my clients projects I feel I am able to present them more options for countertops, custom cabinets to ready made, and all types of hardware. I also learnt a lot about space planning a kitchen. You really have to analyze the users habits- are they left handed, how much do they cook and where do there like their spices and tools to be and storage of brooms, dry and frozen goods. I interview my clients, their needs and an inventory all their kitchen items before planning a kitchen.
What are the hidden gems in your plan?
I absolutely love the concrete countertop and the steel countertop on the island. To manage weight on the structure we did a steel countertop on the island- this is plywood wrapped in restaurant grade steel by a local steel worker. I also recessed the toe kick back four inches to make the cabinets appear to be floating. The upper cabinets were hung high to give more space for larger appliance and make the workspace roomy.
The open cabinets were made with walnut hardwood and walnut plywood backing to create a open storage. The cabinets were custom made on site using walnut plywood. The drawer fronts match the grain pattern and sealed with a water based sealer. All the cabinets are mostly drawers to make storage accessible especially for large pots and pans.
I also used sleek European style appliances (Fisher Paykel) to keep the sleek look. For the backsplash I used a glass tile in three colors and mixed up the colors on site to make a random mosaic. I painted the back wall before tiling a neutral color and used a neutral grout. I also captured a tiny 6-inch depth area next to the refrigerator to create a vertical spice cabinet.