Behind the Kitchen with Claire Staszak

A true balance between traditional and modern design can be tricky. This complex endeavor requires a refined eye, thoughtful attention to detail, impressive design expertise and patient listening. This beautiful old world, new world kitchen design by Claire Staszak is an elegant example of this delicate balance. We interviewed Claire to learn more about the clients, her design process and the overall goal for the home.

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: What was your inspiration for this kitchen design?

Claire: The design inspiration was really a mix of my client’s taste. The wife wanted a traditional white kitchen and loves intricate detail. The husband wanted something more modern and preferred clean lines. I helped them meet in the middle!

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: Were there any specific directions or needs given from your client?

Claire: The client wanted white cabinets and the space needed to be very durable and family friendly. We also had to work with the soffit that could not be moved due to HVAC locations. I felt it was very important to camouflage the soffit as much as possible. Creating the built-in breakfast nook was something we all thought would be an ideal use of form and function. Great use of the window bay and family friendly for lots of meals!

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: Were there any challenges you had to overcome?

Claire: Figuring out the right way to trim out the soffit so it blended seamlessly into the backband and crown was a detail we gave much consideration to. We also were able to use some existing cabinet boxes (we replaced all drawer and door fronts) so the beginning was a bit like a game of Tetris, seeing what we could repurpose and what new cabinets we needed.

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: How long did it take from beginning to end?

Claire: This kitchen was part a larger whole home remodel. The project started in January 2018 and was completed in July 2018.

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: What is your favorite element of this kitchen?

Claire: I think the improved proportions of the kitchen overall are my favorite part of the design. The old kitchen had a decent floor plan, but we were able to make it more beautiful by balancing the the space with a bigger hood, built-in banquette and overall modernize the material selections.

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: What sparked your decision to use Monogram appliances?

Claire: This client needed all new, high quality appliances, some of which could be panelled. Monogram offered a wonderful full suite package with a few bonuses (like the blower for custom wood hood) so it was a great fit for this active family.

Photo by Dustin Halleck

SRFD: What would you tell other designers about using Monogram?

Claire: Monogram has exceptional customer service and training. If you’re near a showroom, send your clients in to have a date night cooking on the appliances!

Claire Staszak is a Chicago-based designer known for her holistic design process, which combines her well-trained eye for interiors with her passion for wellness. Her work has been featured by The Chicago Tribune, Modern Luxury, HGTV, Domino, Architectural Digest online and more. In 2017, the company’s namesake blog, was honored with an award for Best Design Writing by the Design Influencers Conference. She has studied interior design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and holds a Certificate of Kitchen and Bath Design from Harper College. Claire is also a certified yoga instructor with more than 500 hours of training. In 2018, Modern Luxury Interiors, noted Claire as ‘One to Watch’ in the interior design industry.

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