Marcus Cahill moved into his vintage Victorian home brimming with pride. The only spot he felt was lacking was the kitchen, and shortly after moving in, he decided to update it.
"The house was a victorian row house from the 1880s, a beautiful home overflowing with character. The one lemon was the 80's style kitchen - it was sterile, stark and stuck in another era that didn't fit with the rest of the home."
He and his designer had a certain look in mind, and when they contacted Design Associate Greg from Greentea Design, he was delighted to see how in-depth they had gone in their preparations.
"It's always good to see people plan their kitchen remodel in depth. Marcus had a certain look that he was going for, and what he was suggesting promised to be a very interesting kitchen."
Greentea Design: Marcus, when you met Greg to discuss the project how did things progress at first?
Marcus: After an initial look and estimate, I quickly realized that not only was the space small, it had some limitations.
I had limited funds and it just wasn't cost-justified to move the plumbing around, so I had to keep the foot pattern the same - the new lower cabinets had to take up the same space as the old ones.
GT: What motivated you to redesign your kitchen, and why did you choose Greentea?
M: My original kitchen was made from stock pieces, and I had a lot of filler space because of it, which was really inefficient for storage.
In working with the designer at greentea we were able to gain extra space for the small cabinet, which is perfect for trays and also acts as a seamless bridge between the stove and the dishwasher.
There was also some unused space beside the refrigerator in front of the patio doors. I was able to get a small pantry designed by greentea to fit into that space, which allows for greater storage.
A common hurdle in kitchen remodeling:
"...it just wasn't cost-justified to move the plumbing around, so I had to keep the foot pattern the same."
Tray cabinet - $750
GT: What steps did you take next?
M: I was looking for an open french bistro look, but with a bit of an edge -- something different. My designer shot a barrage of questions at me - what I had that I wanted to use with the house, and what other elements I absolutely needed.
This was the crucial step in the kitchen design, as I wanted very much to use an antique pewter chandelier and wall sconces that I had used in my previous home. We also checked out some floors, and I chose a rich-grained Walnut floor I found at a local retailer.
These 2 decisions acted as a framework for the rest of the kitchen, and we were ready to make our next big step - choosing our kitchen cabinets.
GT: And what cabinets did you decide on?
M: For my cabinets I wanted something unique, and I wanted something affordable. I definitely needed real wood as opposed to laminate as I didn't want the kitchen cabinets to look cheap in comparison to the new hardwood floors.
When I saw greentea's cabinets I knew they would fit perfectly, and the reclaimed aspect also really appealed to me.
The piece de resistance was the hanging dana shelf. This was an integral piece, as the bistro-look I was aiming for really required revealing all my dishes and glasses. It was also the only piece I found that was open, yet built of thick solid woods.
GT: What other aspects of the design were there that brought it all together?
M: To match the rich color and swirling grain of the floor, I chose greentea cabinets in Elm wood with a deep chocolate stain and Iron Hirute hardware. I topped the cabinets with a black granite countertop and got black appliances so they would blend in and keep the focus on rich, solid woods.
My designer added the finishing touch by suggesting a full wall mirror behind the shelf to make the space look larger while reinforcing the bistro air.
GT: Is there any one piece that you could say is your favorite?
M: It was important for me to have an antique piece in the kitchen because the rest of the rooms in my house feature select antiques from all around the world.
When I saw this Mizuya Tansu my jaw dropped, it's a stunning piece and the color is just perfect.
Solid Elm base cabinets in a chocolate stain
The open look of the Dana Shelf - $1500
An Antique 2-tone Mizuya Tansu
GT: A major part of remodeling a kitchen is lifestyle. What about this design is tailored to your needs specifically?
M: During our initial consultation, I told Greg of some of the things that were important to me in terms of storage and lifestyle.
I like watching TV while I cook, and my living room is right outside my kitchen, so Greg custom-designed a TV Stand to house the components while acting as a room divider. It sits back to back with my kitchen counter, and the height was designed so that the granite countertop would be extended over the TV Stand.
I put a pivoted plasma atop, so now I can watch TV while I cook in my kitchen, and I can relax and watch a movie in my living room - it's the best of both worlds.
My cable, telephone, electricity, and stereo cables also all rest in the corner space of the counter, so no space is really wasted. Greentea normally doesn't do corner pieces, as their counters are all solid pieces of furniture with backs. This is ideal for a freestanding kitchen, but less so for a fitted one. Greg suggested the nook be used for wiring and it worked out beautifully.
The other thing that I really needed, was additional storage for all my baking trays and food. I mean, it's one thing to display your best glasses and dishes, but you need somewhere to stash away all the clutter.
Greentea has a huge selection of beautiful pantries, but none of them were narrow enough to fit my existing plan. Greg drew up a design for a simple narrow pantry in the same style as my cabinets, and it looks great, while giving me the extra space I need.
My one suggestion for anyone remodeling their kitchen? If you can afford it, go with custom cabinets - it makes a world of difference.