Putting the fun in function

NorthSouth Studios designer Elyse Ostland and Tom McCallum of McCallum Cabinets teamed up to redesign McCallum's home kitchen. The new kitchen has cabinets in a dark maple stain, a two-toned linoleum floor and banquet-drum lights.

TRACY WILCOX/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 7:57 p.m.

When Tom McCallum decided to make over the kitchen of his Bivens Arm home, he turned to long-time friend and interior designer Elyse Ostland.


McCallum kitchen

  • Style: Contemporary with Asian influence
  • Cost: About $35,000
  • Square footage: About 200 sq. ft. total; an additional 10 linear feet of working surface and 24 sq. ft of storage.
  • Features: Frameless European cabinets, pull-out shelving, tile mosaic and environment-friendly linoleum flooring.

Having worked together on more than a dozen remodeling projects over the years, they share a mutual understanding of style and accessory and knew exactly what would work for McCallum's project.

"I wanted (the kitchen) to be in keeping with the architecture of the original house," said Tom McCallum, owner of McCallum Cabinets Inc., whose Florida modern house was built in 1948.

Today kitchens have re-emerged as the focal point in the home, and designers are working with manufacturers to create components that merge functionality with pizazz.

McCallum's Asian-influenced kitchen combines natural elements, such as wood, glass and copper with an innovative and space-saving design.

McCallum's renovation took about three months from start to finish, but the average kitchen remodel is closer to six months, said Ostland, who has done several kitchen renovations over the years. The design process itself can take anywhere from a month to a year, with cost of remodeling ranging from $35,000 to several hundred thousand dollars depending on the components and materials chosen, said Ostland.

"A nice kitchen, something a little upscale is about, $50,000," said Ostland, owner of NorthSouth Studios LLC.

McCallum's original kitchen consisted of an 8x8-sq.-ft. space. By removing a counter section, they were able to combine the kitchen and breakfast nook into a rectangular area - without having to do major structural changes.

The two-toned red linoleum floor, white Formica countertop and overhead banquet-drum lighting are shapes and materials that would have been part of the original home's design, said Ostland.

"We took some of the elements from a 1950s modern style and added a contemporary twist to it," said Ostland.

The various cabinet components, designed by Ostland and built in McCallum's workshop, feature dark maple-stain and red finishes. Lower cabinets are deep enough to accommodate the largest cookware, while the upper cabinet doors are scarcely an inch from the ceiling, negating the need for crown molding, said McCallum.

The pantry includes pull-out shelving with raised sides and full-extension runners. In-cabinet lighting accentuates handmade rice paper sealed between the glass panes of the doorfront.

McCallum discovered his love of antiques and began collecting when just a young boy. His extensive collections are visible throughout his home. Several pieces from his antique silver collection are displayed in a glass-fronted upper cabinet.

"You love to have glass-fronted cabinets, but they have to look nice," said Nancy Oscarson, an associate with NorthSouth Studios.

A narrow floor-to-ceiling, pull-out cabinet accommodates McCallum's wine and glassware collection.

A wall of polished glass and copper tiles extends along the main work area. And alternate chunky shelving in vibrant red displays more of McCallum's collectibles.

"We played with the elements - the texture, the materials - so they're not flat. We like to layer," said Ostland.

The double corner sink features two stainless-steel rectangular basins joined at the corners in a diamond shape. The fixture and hand sprayer are commercial styles redesigned for residential use, said Ostland. The sinks are undermounted, creating a seamless counter.

The kitchen's signature art piece is a portrait of a six-year-old McCallum and his grandmother Bessie. Created by a local artist, the montage is painted from a strip of pictures McCallum and his grandmother took in a photo booth at the G.C. Murphy Co. variety store, formerly located on the corner of NW 6th Street and University Avenue.

McCallum and Ostland said they chose natural elements and green products - like the rice paper inserts and linseed-based linoleum - to create a working and living space that is both functional and visually appealing. From the gentle curve of the drawer pulls to the flowing lines of the flat-top stove and countertop appliances, they considered shape and form.

"My house is a reflection of years of collecting. (The kitchen) looks like it's been put together over time, and that's how my house is - built up over time," said McCallum.

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