For most kitchen remodels, homeowners want an update in materials and products, but they don't want something that is a glaring contrast to the style of their existing house. Designer Kelly Fey of Dimon Construction in Fayetteville, N.Y., says her clients appreciated the traditional look of their Colonial-style house, but needed more light and better traffic flow.
Fifteen years ago, the clients had Dimon Construction add a spacious sunroom off the dining room, so the family was not looking for more space — they were looking for more light. The designer says the kitchen and the adjacent dining room and living room had dark hand-hewn beams. The kitchen also had dark oak cabinetry and the dining room had dark-stained beadboard wainscoting. “All of these things gave the rooms a heavy feel,” Fey says. “For such a large area, it felt closed-in.”
Fey began by evaluating the odd-shaped kitchen island. “It wasn't usable. It butted up to the back of the beams and hardly had any cabinet storage space,” she recalls. Also, when the refrigerator door was open, it blocked the aisle. Fey had her crew demolish the island and the wall between the kitchen and dining room and replace them with a peninsula. “It keeps everything closer,” she says. “It concentrates the working area of the kitchen so people aren't using it as a hallway and passing through,” she adds.
Fey used a higher countertop tier on the peninsula to separate the guests from the cooking process. She fitted a gas cooktop in the angled section of the countertop, so the cook has a view of the family room and can interact with family and guests. Fey says the hood over the cooktop is low enough to function properly per manufacturer guidelines, but high enough so it does not obstruct the view.
To add more light, Fey widened the existing window over the sink by 8 inches. She replaced the beams with an engineered beam to span the distance. The family also chose off-white cabinetry for a brighter look. Fey used crown molding above the cabinetry in a wood tone to maintain the traditional feel.
“We needed some stained finishes to bring back the wood feel that previously tied the rooms together,” she says. She did, however, cover the dark walnut stain of the wainscoting and the French doors with a coat of off-white paint. She also lined the peninsula with a matching white beadboard.