A Family-Centered Gourmet Kitchen

When retired couple Bill and Gloria Hayes decided to upgrade their boring, builder grade kitchen into a gourmet, kid friendly retreat their goal was luxury and style.


Photography by Brian Francis

Photography by Brian Francis

By: Lillian Hayes Martin




Neutral Kitchen With Traditional Chocolate Cabinetry

Neutral Kitchen With Traditional Chocolate Cabinetry



When Bill and Gloria Hayes decided to retire, they wanted a place where their extended family would to love to stay and visit. When picturing their summer days waterskiing, fishing off the dock and kayaking at sunset, a lake house made perfect sense.

The Hayeses purchased a three story home with 10-foot ceilings, an open floor plan on lakefront property that was small enough for them to live in year round, but large enough for entertaining. "My son's kids drop by after school and my out-of-town daughter will stay three weeks, so the house needed to accommodate different scenarios and families," says Gloria.

Unfortunately, the house had a boring builder-grade kitchen that Gloria instantly disliked. "Let's face it, it was a cheap-looking kitchen for such a nice house," says Gloria. "There was no easy fix; only drastic measures."

There was an eat-in bar, but it was too short to fit more than three people comfortably. The bar encroached on the living area, and the stools impeded traffic if they weren't pushed in all the way. The cook top had only four burners and did not have proper ventilation for cooking fumes.

The sink was chipped and the faucet was very low quality. As for the cabinets, while functional, they were inadequate for Gloria's small appliances and fine china collection. One of Gloria's favorite things is having a pantry and this kitchen had none. The lack of style, however, was the most obvious flaw.

No strangers to remodeling, Gloria and Bill saw huge potential behind the basic appliances and boring laminate countertops. Having renovated and built four other homes, they knew exactly what they wanted. Bill is a vegetarian, who likes to cook his own meals. So, they are usually both in the kitchen at the same time, but doing separate things.

This meant creating a kitchen with plenty of counter space for two cooks but separating the cooking appliances to alleviate bumping into each other. During the holidays, they wanted space for all visiting grandkids to be able to eat in the kitchen while the grownups ate in the dining room. Gloria loves the elegant look of traditional styling, but mixed with modern touches.

Bill and Gloria called kitchen designer, Karen Kettler, of Metropolitan Builders to help bring their concept to life. Karen started space planning and noticed immediately that the windows were not symmetrical to the space. A traditional rectangular island wouldn't work because it would never line up properly. "That is when we came up with a shape that I call "The Boot!" Karen laughs.

The unusually shaped island solved the problem and includes an eat-in bar area, large under-mount sink, dishwasher, trashcans, a bookshelf for cookbooks and a food prep area opposite the range.

"Because the kitchen opens up to the family room, it had to be both sophisticated and understated," says Karen. "Gloria likes high style, clean lines and rich finishes." When Gloria and Bill settled on Brazilian Mascarelo granite for the countertops, she built the rest of the kitchen's color palette around the stone. The granite, which has dramatic streaks of browns, burnt orange, yellow and gray with specks of copper, glows against maple cabinetry.

A Family Kitchen Furnished for Cooks

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A Place to Retire

When Bill and Gloria Hayes purchased their lakeside home after retirement they loved everything about the open floor plan except for the boring, builder grade kitchen.

Dysfunctional Beginnings

With an island that was disproportionally small for the size of the kitchen, the layout was completely dysfunctional. "There was no easy fix - only drastic measures," Gloria says.

A More Efficient Layout

With room for four grandkids and two cooks, the new kitchen layout works efficiently and is beautiful."I love the idea of having a kitchen where everyone can gather and hang out," says Gloria.

An Eating Area for Everyone

Incorporating the eating area into the kitchen island eliminates the need for a separate kitchen table. The unusual shape compensates for misaligned window placement.

Cooking with Ease

A dual-fuel six-burner range replaced an inefficient, undersized electric cook top. The gas burners make it easy for Bill and Gloria to create gourmet meals, while the electric convection oven with gliding racks bakes dishes much more quickly than a conventional oven.

Copper Shelving

A custom-built shelf, sheathed in copper tiles, holds small cooking items above the range. The color plays off the copper specks found throughout the granite counter top.

A Must-Have Steam Oven

Bill, a vegetarian, prepares his food in a separate steam oven. By installing the oven in a separate area from the range, multiple cooks have ample room to work.

Custom Coffee Maker

A built-in coffee maker is a conversation piece that makes great beverages. Having the machine installed on the wall liberates valuable counter space.

Architectural Accents

To add interest, a row of copper liners sits between 1-inch yellow glass mosaic tiles, adding an architectural accent to the kitchen. The copper tiles were expensive, but the amount needed was minimal, making the cost reasonable.

Do-It-Yourself Microwave Drawer

An under-the-counter microwave drawer hides the appliance from view. Placing the microwave closer to the eating area makes it easy for grandkids and guests to heat food themselves.

Bold Granite Countertops

Brazilian Mascarelo granite's bold colors of brown, yellow, grey and copper became the inspiration for the overall color scheme of the kitchen. When choosing multi-colored granite, try to match the granite's various tones and shades and incorporate them throughout the kitchen.

A Place for Cookbooks

Opposite the sink is an open shelf for cookbooks. Gloria keeps her favorite books out for easy access, while an adjacent cabinet holds many more behind its doors.

A Functional Focal Point

The sleek lines of the faucet, dual soap dispensers, and under-mount stainless steel sink create a modern design statement. The extra tall arc of the faucet makes washing large pots and pans manageable.

Installing a Water Purifier

Installing a reverse-osmosis water purifier requires proper planning. Make sure a certified plumber installs it correctly, and place the dispenser away at the end of the sink so it can swivel to fill large containers.

Fine China on Display

Fine china and crystal sparkle inside halogen-lit glass-front cabinets. Puck lighting is unobtrusive and economical. Dimmers control the light for all occasions.

Classic Accents

Simple hardware adorns the traditional cabinetry. The elegant simplicity of the circular knobs adds an understated modern touch.

The dark stain mimics cherry wood, but is less expensive than cherry cabinets. The backsplash, made from 1-inch yellow glass mosaic tile and copper accents reflects the warm colors in the granite, while modern, brushed nickel fixtures and hardware play off the cool grays.

Karen chose a custom wall color of warm beige with yellow undertones. Gloria originally wanted to replace all of the moldings because they were too traditional. To minimize them, Karen used flat paint on the walls and semi-gloss in the same color on the moldings. "It helps them disappear without the expense of ripping them out," says Karen.

Gloria's "must haves" included a pantry and cabinetry that went all the way to ceiling, but knew they would be costly if they were custom made. Karen suggested they ordered semi-custom cabinets, and double-stack 18-inch cabinets on top of 36-inch cabinets.

She placed a large pantry adjacent to the refrigerator along the back wall, mixing solid and glass door fronts. Double-sided glass door cabinets also float between the kitchen and the family room, adding a visual barrier that delineates the two rooms but keeps the space open.



A built in coffee maker is a conversation piece that makes great beverages. Having the machine installed on the wall liberates valuable counter space.

A built in coffee maker is a conversation piece that makes great beverages. Having the machine installed on the wall liberates valuable counter space.

While working with their designer on picking appliances, Karen offered Bill and Gloria coffee from the company's built-in Miele coffee machine. "It is such good coffee and so easy for entertaining, we decided we really wanted one," says Gloria. To counter the unexpected splurge on the coffee maker, Karen suggested that they purchase the duel fuel range and refrigerator from one of the kitchen displays at a discount.

Bill and Gloria were also adamant about having ample lighting. "Once we added ambient, task and accent lights, the plan turned out quite complex," says Karen. She reconfigured the recessed cans in the ceiling, realigning them with the new traffic areas.

She prefers the clean light of halogen, using it under cabinets around the perimeter and the interior of glass door front cabinetry. "Puck lighting shows off the beauty of Gloria's china and crystal collection," says Karen. "Everything is also on dimmers, which the electrician needs to know ahead of time."

Rarely does a renovation get completed without a few setbacks, and this kitchen was no exception. To make room for the sleek hood, the contractor ended up having to tear up the walls behind the range and route a new vent through the floor to the outside of the house. The floors ended up having to be redone.

Right after they were finished, disaster struck again when a valve on the reverse osmosis filter broke, causing major water damage. The floors had to be replaced a second time. "Oh, well," says Gloria, a veteran of renovation. "You just have to deal with it."

Now that all is finished, Bill and Gloria couldn't be happier. The modern touches, efficient floor plan and elegant styling add both glamour and value to their home. Whether the two of them are cooking side by side or welcoming family members for impromptu visits, the new kitchen makes lakeside living a breeze.

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