Category: kitchen

Historical Home Renovation with Ember & Brune

Initially clients Adam and Sarah came to Ember & Brune because they were having a difficult time finding their forever home. Adam and Sarah were moving from Chicago to the suburbs and had trouble finding everything they wanted in a home. They decided to buy a home and remodel it, and hired Ember & Brune. The firm looked at the house before Adam and Sarah closed on it and came up with a plan to add an addition, while also reconfiguring the existing space to make this historical house everything they wanted in a forever home. All while being budget conscious. As a full-service Design – Build firm, Ember & Brune designs the project, builds it and even provides interior design services to help furnish it!

Take a look at the final reveal Ember & Brune blog post as well as the intro and in progress posts.

 

We interviewed the team at Ember & Brune to learn a little more about the project.

SRFD: Any surprises on this renovation?

Ember & Brune: Endless. We were gutting the existing interior and adding an addition on a home that was built in 1910. Some things we found behind the walls were fun and interesting, like Saturday Evening Post magazines used as insulation and perfectly preserved. While others were scary like old electrical and gas lines that were still live and never properly disconnected and disposed of.

SRFD: What component of the project are you most proud of?

Ember & Brune: While it is impossible to pick just one component, I will say we are very pleased with the coffered ceiling in the kitchen. When our architect told us we could not open up the first floor without a hefty beam running down the middle, we decided to get creative. We designed the coffered ceiling to completely conceal the beam while adding an architectural detail in the kitchen. We tried to stay true to the home’s historical charm. The coffered ceiling has added so much character to the space.

SRFD: Tell us a little about the kitchen.

Ember & Brune: The clients like to entertain so a large kitchen was a must. The island is perfect for entertaining and comfortably sits their guests on the opposite side of their kitchen’s main cooking hub.

 

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Transitional Kitchen Remodel

This week, we’re talking to a designer whom we’ve interviewed before. Robin Burrill is CEO/Interior Designer of Curb Appeal Renovations. She recently completed a major kitchen remodel using Monogram appliances, and she tells us her story below.

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This was the second job that we were asked to complete for this homeowner…and while the first was a bathroom, it was very traditional. For their kitchen, the homeowners wanted a traditional style, but with more transitional elements.  Transitional?!  Yes! 

Many probably don’t know what that means, so let’s explain it by saying transitional design helps move from traditional to slightly contemporary using very clean lines, not all the “fussiness” that traditional can sometimes have.  And not all the decorations you see in a typical traditional design.

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Much of this project was also structural.  Since the home was built in the 1980s, it had very tiny rooms and, of course, the typical 8’ ceiling.  While they wanted to completely open the kitchen, dining, and living areas, due to structural issues with the second floor, it was cost prohibitive to do so.  The changes we did decide to make gave the area a much more cohesive, wide open look.

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Since the appliances were original to the house, and these owners loved to cook, they added just about every appliance to the kitchen that they could!  The 48’ Monogram range and the custom navy blue hood are the center of the kitchen with the pot-filler placed over the range.  Since she didn’t want a freezer in the kitchen (it’s in her laundry room right around the corner), we installed the 30” Monogram refrigerator column. The Monogram microwave was installed in the upper cabinetry, next to the refrigerator, making easy access for reheating foods or when preparing meals.

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Since the island was so large, not only were we able to get seating on the living room side, but the whole island also has an incredible amount of storage.  On the one end of the island, closest to the door leading to the backyard/pool, we installed both the Monogram ice maker and under counter fridge for easy drink access.  Instead of building a walk in pantry, the storage in this kitchen is incredible — with two-floor ceiling pantry cabinets with pull-out drawers, to the pull-out drawer on the one side of the range, the floor-to-ceiling appliance storage at the opposite end of the kitchen and all the upper cabinets…the walk in pantry just isn’t needed!

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All the cabinetry in the kitchen was painted from DeWils. The main cabinetry is not quite white and the island, while in the pictures due to the natural light, actually matches the custom hood in navy.  The counters are Superior (that’s the color name!) quartzite and while it is beautiful, it does require extra care as it is porous like marble.  The backsplash is a traditional style, subway tile, but with that transitional twist that we talked about earlier in glass!  

We installed hardwood from the front door, through the dining, kitchen and living areas to match the existing hardwood in the house.  The dining room also got a facelift with a dramatic navy ceiling to match the hood and island and a beautiful light seafoam green on the walls.  Polished nickel pendants were installed over the island, along with a new chandelier in the dining room and ceiling fan over the breakfast nook.  The final touch was the polished nickel hardware on the cabinets…giving the classic shaker door an elegant detail!

Award-Winning Kitchen Remodel

Last week, we talked to Lauren Levant about her design background and inspiration. Today we’ll hear from Lauren about a recent, NKBA award-winning kitchen remodel that rings true to her town of Pittsburgh.

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From the street, this house looks every bit a handsome, somewhat traditional home that you would find in any suburban neighborhood in America. The landscaping is neat and tidy, the neighbors wave hello as they walk their dogs and meet the kids at the school bus. In this case, this couple had just sent their last kid off to college and were easing into empty nester life – but the neighborhood and the relationships they’d formed there were enough to dissuade them from leaving the family homestead behind.

The challenge for me as a designer then became to somehow transform this traditional, uninspired kitchen/living space into a much more stylish and exciting one to help celebrate this new phase of life. As you can see in the before photo, this was a fairly small space with a cramped, inefficient layout. The clients craved a bright, breezy space, conducive to entertaining, and full of visually exciting details. They wanted to be sure that beyond improving the form and function of the space, that this renovation would also add energy and interest to their daily life.

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Two major adjustments proved to be the key to everything:

  1. Relocate the garage entry door. This allowed for the addition of a continuous wall of cooking equipment and storage, compensating well for the next step…
  2. Add a series of large sliding glass doors, opening up to the pool area. This may have been the biggest “wow” moment. Everyone would swear that we added square footage, but we didn’t. Keeping your eyes moving through the glass makes it feel that the room doubled in size when it hasn’t. Game changer.

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Now for more details… Last week, I mentioned that one of the kitchen design trends that I love is the mixing of unique metals. In this case, we used a hot-rolled, natural steel hood, created by a local metal artist. Pittsburgh is Steel City, after all. I love how the natural waxed finish allows the metal to show off its natural mill-scaled patina of blues and grays. It sets off the gorgeous Monogram range beautifully. In between those two metals, the backsplash area is paneled in glass, edge-lit by embedded LED lights. This little trick not only looks sexy, but it also enables the client to have notes and recipes written with a wax pencil, which adds some more energy and fun.

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Quartz countertops in white provide a lot of light-bouncing from the view of the pool area, which helps to fill the space with even more light. Most of the time people don’t think of countertops as a light source, but in this case, they are. The cabinetry is done in a modern, textured laminate finish, which adds some contrast from the other glossy surfaces. The secondary wall of storage at the rear of the space is designed at 3⁄4 height, creating a feeling of openness and interest, and making a transition to the third level – a massive center island. Storage is incredibly important in an open kitchen plan, and in our case, we used every available inch to create areas that are functional and easy to keep up with. I mean, who doesn’t love a hidden coffee bar?

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Using high-quality products, particularly appliances, is key to a project that works just as well as it looks. I enjoy using Monogram’s technology and quality whenever I have the opportunity because it helps to reinforce the high standards that I try to emulate as a design professional. These clients are cooking, entertaining, and living in this kitchen, and I feel great knowing that with such a well-equipped new space, they’ll be enjoying this space for many years to come.

In last week’s conversation, I mentioned a recent kitchen renovation in Pittsburgh that had snagged two first place NKBA design awards nationally this year. I’m glad to have the chance to share photos of this project this week – because I think it highlights so many of the things that kitchen design should aspire to be about in the coming years. Designers aren’t always lucky enough to have clients who trust them enough to sign on for ideas that push the limits of a space physically and visually, but in this case, the courage and faith of these empty nesters helped me to transform their modest sized kitchen entirely.

 

Photos: Dave Bryce Photography, courtesy of Lauren Levant Interior

Lake House Kitchen Remodel

Following up on last week’s profile of designer Nancy Blandford, we’re including Nancy’s story of her most recent kitchen remodel.

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My clients had just purchased this wonderful lake house. The kitchen, dining, and living spaces are open and face the lake.

The new owners requested an update to get rid of the orange woodwork, the faux painted sky ceiling, and all the murals and painted tiles.

They also questioned the “why” of the angles on the existing kitchen. The home had been remodeled in the early ’80s. I was pretty sure it was just a designer being clever since nothing else in the home was angled.

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Since the kitchen is the backdrop of the living and dining room, the room needed to fit in without dominating. I was able to straighten out the angles. We kept the existing pantry and hid the refrigerator/freezer behind cabinet doors by using two 30” Monogram appliances side-by-side framed by ovolo posts. The 48” Monogram range and hood were centered on the wall space that remained. On either side of the range are wide, deep drawers.

The island is home to a Monogram microwave drawer (hidden on the back side of the island), pull-out trash and recycling bins, a Native Trails curved farmhouse sink, a cabinet front dishwasher, and large, deep drawers for dishes. The backside of the island is raised with furniture-piece cabinets on both ends and four wide, comfy stools tucked into the center.

The island cabinets were painted a custom blue with black brushing. The remaining cabinetry was painted white with a pewter highlight.

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We took the existing hutch space and made it into a dry bar with leaded glass doors above and a Monogram Bar Refrigerator.

We used a honed onyx white quartz countertop with an ogee edge.

The ceiling was painted a deep navy and glazed with silver. In the center of the raised ceiling, we hung a chandelier that when lit, makes the ceiling glow.

And for the finishing touch — what I like to call the jewelry — we used polished nickel oversized handles and a polished nickel bridge faucet.

 

#ScrapeAndLoad

picture1We have an interesting relationship with dishwashers. I’m in my 40’s and I remember my grandmother’s fancy new top loading “mobile” dishwasher. We rolled it around when needed and plugged the hose into the kitchen faucet. I also remember many, many family gatherings where we all hand-washed our dishes. Later on I remember Mom thinking our dishwasher wasn’t getting the food off so we rinsed all our dishes. Even today the habit has stuck with me.  Not only am I rinsing the dishes, but I am also using one of those sponges with soap in it and hot water. Other than sterilization, those dishes are pretty clean by the time I load them in the dishwasher.

The problem was, I didn’t trust the machine to do a good job. I hated finding food on the dishes after running the cycle.

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DID YOU KNOW? Today’s Energy Star-rated dishwashers are limited to 3 gallons of water PER CYCLE? And that non-Energy Star dishwashers average out at 4.5 gallons per cycle. Your kitchen faucet outputs between 1.5 and 2.2 gallons per MINUTE. Let’s do the math! Older faucets can be even as high as 7 gallons per minute. And yes, that is CYCLE vs MINUTE.

You don’t need to wait till the dishwasher is full to run a cycle. They are pretty smart these days and can sense how much food is on the dishes and adjust the cycle appropriately.

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Now this is important! A typical dishwasher cycle will use LESS water washing half a load than it would take you to pre-wash your dishes! EVEN if some dishes come out with food on them and you run it again, you will still use LESS water than pre-rinsing! Crazy, right? Let that sink in!

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So this is me trying to learn to practice what I am learning so I can turn around and start preaching! I have to admit to you I grew up with Cascade powder and I have always used powder detergent. I went out and bought my FIRST purchase of Cascade Platinum tablets last month.

And for the first time ever, I bought Rinse Aid! Hopefully most of you already know Rinse Aid really has nothing to do with rinsing and more to do with drying function. It actually helps remove water from the dishes, we should be calling it Dry Aid. Did your Dad ever put Rain-X on your windshield?

I also learned not to use generic brands of detergent, stick with what you know and what works. And many high end appliance manufacturers recommend the same thing. I have been surprised since I started using these products, and loading dirty dishes, at how nice and spotless the dishes come out.

Key take-aways:

  • JOIN THE CHALLENGE #SCRAPEANDLOAD @MonogramAppl
    • STOP PRE-RINSING/ PRE-WASHING
  • STOP USING POWDER OR LIQUID DETERGENTS
  • USE RINSE AID
  • SAVE TIME AND SAVE WATER

I’m not using an overly high end dishwasher in my rental house but it’s a newer one. Previously I thought it was a “bad dishwasher.” Now I know the issue was user error. We all need to learn how to properly and effectively use this wonderful machine.

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#ScrapeAndLoad

Paula Kennedy CMKBD CLIPPS, NKBA member 1997, Timeless Kitchen Design, Ignite Creativity

COPYWRITE 2016 ©

Eurocucina

Written by Rebecca Alvord, Senior Industrial Designer for GE Appliances

I recently had the pleasure of attending Eurocucina in Milan, Italy; part of the Salone del Mobile Milano (A designer’s paradise!). This show took place April 12-17th, with over 2,400 exhibitors and 370,000 attendees. It was by far the largest tradeshow I have ever attended. I saw hundreds of beautiful kitchens with rich and interesting materials, and left very inspired! In my opinion there were two kitchens that stood out from a trendsetting standpoint.

Snaidero’s Kelly kitchen, by architect Massimo Iosa Ghini, is a fresh and modern take on traditional design. You might say it is the epitome of transitional design. The cabinetry has clean lines with hidden pocket handles. Cabinet fronts are framed with brass decorative corner details.  The hood is one of my favorite features. It has a satin brass finish that ties in with the brass detailing on the cabinets, chairs, and island legs. It’s design is very clean and modern, yet the extra structural elements add a bit of old world flair.

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Source: Snaidero

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Source: Snaidero

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Source: Snaidero

Arclinea’s Principia kitchen by Antonio Citterio was dark and luxurious. The finish palette comprised of rich dark wood, marble, brass and smoked glass with embedded mesh texture. The hood becomes a central focal point and contains open shelving for herbs as well as task lights. Display shelves were beautifully illuminated behind smoked glass. The glass had embedded metallic ,which added a luxurious textural layer. In one kitchen, dark marble countertops pair with dark chrome fixtures, while in the other kitchen, white marble countertops give way to a bright pop of brass.

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Source: Arclinea

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Source: Arclinea

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Source: Arclinea

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Source: Arclinea

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Source: Arclinea

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Source: Arclinea

A tale of two Monogram kitchen remodels

Hear from California homeowner Chris Cory about her first Monogram kitchen remodel, and why she is anxiously awaiting completion of her second Monogram kitchen remodel in another home.

“We are eagerly waiting for our new kitchen to “appear” in about 10 weeks.

About six years ago we remodeled our kitchen in Oakland, California, with three Monogram appliances (48″ range, refrigerator, and microwave).  We sold our home in Oakland and the beautiful Monogram kitchen was the main selling point.

42" Refrigerator, 48" Range and Microwave

42″ Refrigerator, 48″ Range and Microwave

 

48" Range and Microwave

48″ Range and Microwave

 

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Microwave

Day before Thanksgiving, 2011 - Prepping for dinner

Day before Thanksgiving, 2011 – Prepping for dinner

We moved to Pacific Grove, California, and purchased a great GE Cafe double oven range thinking we would use it in our “soon to be remodeled” kitchen. Nothing against GE Cafe, but it wasn’t a Monogram! I wanted my Monogram range back!

I decided to do my “homework” on appliances again. I visited design centers, read reviews, read appliance specifications and checked pricing. I looked at Wolf, Viking and any range that had a griddle, grill and two ovens (one small and one large). I “needed” the small oven (for just my husband and myself for daily meals) and a griddle for LOTS of things (pancakes, bacon, quesadillas, tacos, vegetables, grilled cheese sandwiches and more). Once again, the Monogram 48″ range was the best choice.

While visiting New York City, we decided to visit the Monogram Design Center and partake in a lunch prepared by the in-house chef. We saw and experienced the “wonders” of the Advantium oven and decided to buy one. This purchase eliminated the need for a warming oven and microwave, thus leaving more room for cabinets. We ended up taking advantage of the “2 for 1” sale and bought the following Monogram appliances … 48″ range (grill & griddle), 48″ counter depth refrigerator with built-in water dispenser, dishwasher, wine reserve and the Advantium. Where applicable, all of the appliances will have custom panels, similar to the Oakland kitchen.

My current kitchen has no appliances or cabinets. We’ve converted the dining room into a temporary kitchen. Demolition of the kitchen starts this coming Monday. Hopefully in 10 weeks I can share photos of our new Monogram kitchen.

I’m looking forward to cooking again.”

Monogram Kitchen Remodel with Siobhan and Jody Young

Christina Dragota, lead product specialist in the Monogram Design Center in Chicago, talked with homeowners Siobhan and Jody Young about their recent kitchen remodel, why they chose Monogram appliances, and what they learned during the process.

Siobhan's Kitchen

Why did you decide to remodel your kitchen? 

We were very unhappy with the overall layout of our old kitchen. It was dated and very dysfunctional. We had large areas that were tremendous wastes of space. We also greatly disliked all of our white, outdated appliances.

Tell us about your design process for the kitchen.

Initially we went to a cabinet company to do our layout. Because of the strange shape of our kitchen it presented many challenges. Finally, my husband who is s structural engineer, decided to lay it out himself. We knew we wanted to maximize the space and wanted a design that was functional with our three kids. We needed storage, display area, and wanted to increase the value of our home with a gourmet kitchen. I knew I really wanted white somewhat traditional cabinets that would last the test of time. We knew that we wanted stainless steel appliances with an industrial look. Mostly we wanted a beautiful kitchen that would be the focal point of our very lived in home.

Why Monogram appliances?

We were attracted to Monogram appliances when we visited Chicago at Easter time. We went to the GE showroom and met with Christina who showed us the functional features and industrial gourmet look we wanted. I was most impressed with the induction cooktop especially with the speed and evenness of cooking. The Advantium oven was also another huge seller. I needed the bonus of additional oven and the functionality of a microwave and toaster all in one.  My husband was sold on the 48” refrigerator, it was enormous and absolutely amazing looking. It became the focal point of our pantry wall very quickly!

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Which appliance are you most excited about?

The Advantium!

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What would you have done differently with the remodel?

In the remodel, the only thing I would have done differently would be to add a wine cooler to the pantry wall. We are avid wine drinkers but struggle with getting the perfect temperature in both reds and whites. Currently, we are undertaking a remodel in our laundry room (our final downstairs project) and are exploring adding a wine cooler in there. A Monogram cooler is on our wish list.