CANDICE TELLS ALL
This kitchen/family room redesign was a tall order
Published: Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 26, 2012 at 11:15 a.m.
Sue Jean and Dave are hip, young urbanites who work long hours in IT and banking. At the end of the day, they escape to their own private retreat: a swank, factory-turned-loft in the city's trendiest neighborhood. In their downtime, they love to entertain, but their open-concept kitchen/family room was definitely more factory than functional.
The ingredients in this space created a recipe for disaster. Dated, condo-sized appliances, a mishmash of student-type furniture and accessories, and a lack of storage space all combined to make this kitchen distinctly unappetizing. This lofty kitchen/family-room combo had excellent bones — the exposed brick, original wood ceiling and patio doors leading out to the garden were attractive features. But clutter was taking center stage. Perhaps worst of all, the exposed plumbing pipes in the ceiling were happy to announce — quite loudly, in fact — that someone was upstairs using the (ahem) facilities.
Sue Jean and Dave wanted to retain the lofty feel of the kitchen while introducing modern, yet functional, luxury. Renovations started from the ground up, with the manufacture and installation of a custom hardwood floor crafted from hand-scraped hickory planks. The scraping gives the boards a textured, weathered look that melds with the loft's historical aspects. This floor has loads of rustic charm and looks as if it was installed just before the factory doors opened.
Next, I changed the kitchen's configuration to make it more functional and efficient. The dated appliances were banished and electrical lines were relocated across the room to allow for installation of a sleek, built-in cook top. I added floor-to-ceiling, espresso-hued cabinetry to solve the couple's storage dilemmas, and extended the cabinetry down the wall and into the family room, where it seamlessly blends into a custom electronics console.
Continuing the cabinetry from kitchen to family room harmonizes this double-duty space, transforming it into entertainment central.
Sue Jean and Dave fell in love with their loft because of its many original characteristics, but the gurgling water rushing through the plumbing stack in the kitchen ceiling took away their appetite. To solve this problem, we dropped a soundproofed bulkhead from the ceiling and concealed the plumbing stack in the wall. Besides muffling any unsavory sounds, the new iron-gray bulkhead also conceals pipes and provides the perfect place from which to hang eight gold-and-silver pendant lights.
The globe-shaped lights are among the coolest features in this stunning new kitchen. They illuminate a natural quartz countertop in blizzard white, which is both stylish and durable. A back-painted glass backsplash, also white, provides the perfect contrast to the dark cabinets.
Finally, a new dishwasher and fridge (both cleverly concealed behind cabinet doors) and a combination oven/convection microwave completed our appliance checklist. The kitchen area came together with a trio of counter stools, stainless-steel accessories and decorative pieces.
As for the family room, I added a few final touches: an inky tweed sofa was set on a stunning ivory-and-gray-patterned area rug. Above the sofa, a couple of dark wooden shelves display artwork and photos, all chosen to introduce vibrant color into the space.
Sue Jean and Dave couldn't believe their eyes when they walked into their brand-new kitchen/family room. In the end, the perfect recipe for this space called for a smidge of uptown urban, a dash of rustic retro and a pinch of factory functional.
Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV's "Candice Tells All.'' For more ideas, information and show times visit www.HGTV.com.