Before & After: Kitchen

  • Article by: CONNIE NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2009 - 2:00 PM

An outdated kitchen gets a contemporary update without adding square footage or moving walls.

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The redone kitchen by designer Laurie Butler. Home looks over the St. Croix River Valley.

THE CHALLENGE: MAKE THE KITCHEN MORE FUNCTIONAL, MORE FUN AND MORE A PART OF THE HOUSE WITHOUT ADDING SPACE

The background: The homeowners, both of whom enjoy cooking and entertaining, wanted a kitchen that could accommodate more than one chef. They also wanted the kitchen to be connected to -- rather than cut off from -- the rest of house, which overlooks the St. Croix River Valley.

Open up: By removing the soffits and bulky hanging cabinets, Butler was able to open the kitchen to the adjacent great room.

Stealing space: Instead of enlarging the footprint of the kitchen, which would have been costly, Butler gained space by transforming two coat closets: one into a pantry, the other into a recess that holds two wall ovens (not pictured).

Cost containment: Even though she reconfigured the kitchen and moved many appliances, Butler left the sink in its original location, avoiding expensive plumbing charges.

Contemporary, not cold: The homeowners were after a contemporary feel, but they didn't want "something that felt sterile," said Butler. So they chose a vibrant mix of materials -- maple flooring, granite countertops, glass tile -- in warm tones.

Custom, not cookie cutter: Partly to keep the kitchen from having a uniform look, Butler installed two-tone cabinets in maple and cherry. "It adds interest and makes the kitchen more personal," she said.

Island access: To incorporate a comfortable, designated seating area at the kitchen, Butler added a polished piece of curved glass atop the island countertop. The glass bar also makes a natural gathering spot for guests.

Color-coordinated: When one of the homeowners admitted to having a thing for purple, Butler incorporated "a punch of purple" in the mosaic tile backsplash, the wall color and the glass light fixtures.

Details, details: Subtle details elevate the design and draw the room together. The curved glass counter, with its flowing etching, mimics the St. Croix River, which can be seen from the great room. The glass trim on the contemporary vent hood ties in nicely with the glass bar.

The designer Laurie Butler, Sawhill Custom Kitchens & Design, 612-338-3991

To submit before and after photos for consideration, send jpegs to cnelson@startribune.com. Please include your name and phone number.

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