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From Cozy to Cool
By Carol McGarvey | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
home :: home & garden :: featured remodels

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New look, new vibe for Adel kitchen remodel.

Kim and Todd Nordquist were among the first homeowners to build at the new River Valley Golf Course community, north of Adel, in 1996. Their one-acre lot backs up to the 18-hole public course. A glistening pond is part of their deck view.

Fast-forward to a couple of years ago. “The kitchen was cozy and full of oak cabinetry,” Kim says. “And while there really was nothing wrong with it, it felt as if it needed to be updated. We had tile floors, laminate counters, no backsplash, and a desk that was always messy. It was just tired.”

She googled kitchen designers and went with Woodharbor Kitchen & Bath in Urbandale. “It truly was by chance. I really liked Woodharbor’s website and helpfulness. We also liked that the cabinets are made in Iowa.” The couple worked with Jill Lampe, a designer for 27 years.

Defining the premise

Kim had ideas, but she says, “Jill was really good at reading what we wanted and needed and helping us make decisions.”

“I work with homeowners to define this premise: How do you use your kitchen?” Lampe says. “Kim loves to cook and bake, so it’s important to break a kitchen into stations where tasks can be completed.” Her design only really swapped out the locations of the refrigerator and range to be more central.

The original kitchen had a large island and a cook top, but the new one has a larger cook top. Two wall ovens come in handy for large family meals at holidays and for entertaining, Kim explains.

The kitchen desk didn’t make the cut. Instead, a large wall cabinet adds to storage and organization. Deep drawers on the bottom make it easy to get out large serving items. The top part stores less-used pieces. A center frosted double-door section showcases special items, such as glassware, plates, wooden salad bowls, and a fluted cake stand. The other end serves as a food pantry.

White and wood mix

The cabinetry is white, but the island has a wood tone, cherry wood with a walnut stain. “It gives a nice contrast,” Lampe says. She also suggested that one side of the island be part of a baking station. A large stand mixer recesses into the lower cabinet and can be pulled up to work height on a mixer lift when in use. Baking necessities are nearby for easy access.

Another point of efficiency shows up in slotted cabinetry above the double wall ovens. The trays and cookie sheets are close at hand for baking.

On the other side of the island, near the cook top, Lampe suggested placing the microwave oven below cabinet height for easy use. “I didn’t know I would love that so much,” Kim says.

The backsplash on the sink side of the kitchen is classic clean and simple with gray subway tile for a finished look. Hardwood flooring replaced tile.

Laminate counters gave way to white quartz with a soft gray vein for a look of marble. Recessed lighting was replaced by three industrial-style pendant lights that hang over the island. A larger version of those lights hangs over the dining table. Kim ordered the lights online.

The dining area remained as it was, in front of a bank of large windows overlooking the golf course and pond. The area is defined by a tray ceiling.

Brown leather chair-stools around the end of the island provide additional seating. For larger crowds, the formal dining room is nearby for easy serving, too.

New appliance tone

Appliances are in a new tone, black stainless, which the couple purchased locally at Archer Home Center in Adel.

The Nordquists enjoy entertaining for Thanksgiving and other holidays. For casual times, they find grilling outside works well.

Kim often decorates a wide window sill over the kitchen sink for seasonal looks. “I used to decorate everywhere for holidays. But now I have cut back, so it’s fun just to focus on that small space.” Above it is a large “gather” sign.

Another well-thought-out detail involves outlets. Some are under the island countertop so they don’t show; others in strip form are under an upper cabinet by the sink so they didn’t have to be within the backsplash tile. It’s a detail that makes sense.

Laundry, too

The laundry area, just off the kitchen, also got an upgrade. White cabinetry, complete with a lazy Susan in the corner for storage, is fresh-looking. A small sink replaced a large farmhouse sink. And instead of side-by-side laundry equipment, a full-size stackable washer and dryer make efficient use of space. A wide area with a rod is handy for hanging items.

“With all this new and usable space, I really felt the need to downsize and purge a lot of kitchen items,” Kim admits. “It just felt like the efficient thing to do.”

Plus, she says that even though she sometimes misses the cozy look of her former kitchen, the new space is a win-win. “The whole fresh white look is wonderful. I love it.”


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