How One Man Created a Dream Kitchen to Honor His Late Wife

Bruce Puhr’s suburban Chicago home has hosted many happy gatherings over the years, from casual family dinners to elaborate soirees like the “pink flamingo party” his late wife, Cheryl, turned into an annual tradition. She loved entertaining guests and did so often, Puhr recalls, despite their dated and disjointed kitchen.

After his wife passed away, Puhr set out to honor Cheryl’s dream of remodeling their kitchen, and he tapped the expertise of CCS Interior Design Group to make it happen.

“The kitchen pre-renovation was outdated and lacking the style and originality the homeowner and his late wife had always hoped for,” says Cynthia C. Smith, owner and principal designer of the Chicago-based firm. “Bruce wanted to create a kitchen that was bright, inviting, modern, functional, and full of life to celebrate his wife.”

Space planning was key to the success of the kitchen and breakfast room remodel, which features warm whites and grays punctuated by fresh, modern splashes of color and texture, loads of light, and sleek stainless steel.

“We needed to get a lot of amazing features into this space, so it ultimately made this one of the most thoughtful kitchen designs we’ve done, all the way down to the tiniest detail,” Smith says. “Our client granted us a blank slate, so we felt obliged to level it up for him.”

Leveling up meant high-end elements such as marble flooring, elegant waterfall quartz countertops on a 12-foot island, custom cabinetry, and top-of-the-line appliances that impress with both aesthetics and function.

“Monogram offers high-end luxury appliances, and this is what my high-end clients are looking for,” says Smith. “They want appliances that are well made and innovative with the latest technology.”

Since Puhr cooks all his own meals and entertains friends and family, appliance choice was critical. Puhr’s new open, airy kitchen is anchored by Monogram’s 36-inch Dual-Fuel Professional Range with four burners and a griddle — one of Smith’s favorite components of the space. Accompanying the range is Monogram’s sleek, stainless 36-inch Professional Hood with Quietboost™ Blower, which efficiently removes cooking odors without obtrusive fan noise. The 1.2 Cubic Foot Drawer Microwave, which fits flush with the smoky taupe-colored cabinets, offers additional capacity for quick cooking or heating up leftovers.

Monogram’s 36-inch Built-in French-Door Refrigerator offers Puhr ample storage for all his food and beverages with a modern look that fits seamlessly into the design. A 24-inch Custom Panel Smart Fully Integrated Dishwasher allows for easy cleanup — whether that’s after Puhr’s daily meal prep or hosting the much-loved annual pink flamingo party, which provided a sort of deadline for the project.

“The kitchen remodel had to be done in time for that upcoming party,” says Smith. “He has been keeping the tradition going. The I had the opportunity to attend, and it was pink flamingos everywhere!”

The party is a loving tribute to Cheryl, as was realizing her kitchen renovation dreams.

“She loved her family and enjoyed entertaining family, friends, and guests,” says Puhr. “She’s missed every day, and she’s celebrated often.”

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