Kitchen Remodel in the Washington, DC Metro Area
These homeowners called us out to their house to talk about remodeling their kitchen. They had been living in their home for several years; a time during which they had renovated the exterior of their home by replacing all the windows and installing new siding. Now they were ready to focus on the inside, and wanted to start in the kitchen. In its current state, the kitchen was cramped, and the cabinets were falling apart. One of the homeowners had a background in architectural design, so she had many good ideas to share with our kitchen designer.
Design and Layout
The existing kitchen was squeezed into a narrow galley at the back of the house, separated from the dining room by a load-bearing wall that had been partially opened. The homeowners are avid cooks, and enjoy preparing elaborate meals. There simply was not enough counter or storage space to meet their needs. Their thought was to move the kitchen either into a large adjoining room, or to expand out into what was then the dining room. After a preliminary cost/benefit analysis, we concluded that it would make the most sense to remove the bearing wall (to the extent possible), and bring the kitchen out into what was currently the dining room. The adjoining room would then serve as the formal dining area. There were a few distinct requirements for the new kitchen: storage and counter space had to be drastically increased, several work stations were needed so more than one cook could work simultaneously, and some type of informal seating was needed within the kitchen. Our designers came up with a number of varying layouts, and eventually the homeowners settled on the one that included a center island with a rounded overhang for seating. The biggest design challenge was how to work around a massive brick chimney that was not going to move. This obstruction was accommodated with a bank of tall, deep storage cabinets, with shallower cabinets (set at the same plane as the deeper cabinets) installed in front of the chimney.
Style and Finishes
The home is over one hundred years old and the homeowners wanted to create a unique space while preserving some of the historical elements. In keeping with the period (of when the house was built), they selected an apron style sink, and a bronze finish for the vent hood and fixtures including push-button light switches and dimmers that match the original switches throughout the rest of the home. We settled on cabinets with contrasting colors with glass doors in some of the uppers to display decorative dishes. A glue-down, cork floor was installed in a basket-weave pattern, and the back-splash has a decorative, round mosaic accent strip. The homeowners are fond of the steampunk aesthetic, which influenced the finishing decorative touches.
Construction and Final Product
We encountered a few unexpected conditions during construction. When we removed the wallboard at the structural wall, we quickly realized that the existing support beam was woefully inadequate. We consulted with our Structural Engineer, and came up with a strategy by which to erect temporary bracing, remove the existing beam, and then install an appropriate structural member. While we had anticipated some structural framing (necessary to remove a portion of the wall between the kitchen and dining room as called for in our design), there was no way to foresee the extent of the structural work that was ultimately required. The second issue involved the level of the two kitchen windows. When it came time to lay out the backsplash, we realized that the windows were an inch out of level. Normally this would not be a problem, but in this particular kitchen, the design called for the decorative mosaic strip to align with the bottom of the windowsills. Therefore, it was necessary to drop one window to the level of the other. In spite of this extra work, we finished the kitchen on time and budget, and the homeowner was thrilled with both the process and final outcome!
What the Customer Said
“It’s been over a year since we’ve completed our kitchen, and we still have friends and family raving about how beautiful it is. Each meal we prepare is easy and fun, it is definitely the center of our home. The whole team was extremely organized, easy to work with, and a pleasure to interact with from start to finish. The design process was quick and easy with Liz’s help. The on-site project lead kept all team members and sub-contractors on the ball. Ben dealt with any and all questions and concerns clearly, and in a flash.”