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Go with the Flow
By Linda Montet | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
home :: home & garden :: featured remodels

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Painted oak cabinets, white ceramic tile countertops, mismatched appliances, a blocky peninsula, and a space-grabbing doorway into the dining room: This outdated kitchen needed help.
When they moved into this West Des Moines home in 2003, the homeowners knew they wanted a new, more modern kitchen. Seven years later, after carefully thinking through their kitchen needs, they decided to act.

Kitchen requirements have evolved in the 19 years since their executive home was built. Back then, access to a formal dining room was important. Kitchens were dedicated to cooking and serving, often separated from the rest of the home by walls or suspended cupboards. Cabinets, although open and roomy, were not specialized or structured. Microwaves perched on the counter.

Today’s lifestyles are very different. Kitchens are gathering places where parents, children, and guests snack, do homework, and even watch TV. Cooks need plenty of room for “helpers” and to tuck away dozens of appliances and gadgets.

Last spring, Oran, Marilyn, and Derek Struecker of Construction Professionals began to design and build the new kitchen.

“There were tons of cabinets, but they were not very useful,” Marilyn says. “You had to walk around an awkward peninsula to get to the rest of the house. There was no pantry and definitely not enough specialized storage.”

As she began her designs, Marilyn knew she should open up the flow from the kitchen to the rest of the house. The kitchen’s nine-foot ceilings and large, south-facing windows perfectly set the stage for floor-to-ceiling cabinetry and a sunny, open floor plan.

She recommended closing off the dining room access door to make room for a walk-in pantry and replacing the peninsula and island with a larger, more strategically placed center island. “Now that the peninsula is gone, reaching the dining room around the corner is easy,” she says, “and the new island opens the flow from sink and oven to the serving area.”

This new configuration offers more open floor space and less congestion when several people are in the kitchen at the same time. Eating and gathering space is plentiful at both the island and kitchen table.

Rather than tearing out the outdated oak hardwood flooring, the Strueckers chose to sand, stain, and refinish it to give the floor a darker, more up-to-date appearance. They replaced adjacent carpet and extended the kitchen’s hardwood floor outward by several feet. As a result, the kitchen took on a larger, flowing footprint and the family room became cozier.

New built-in ovens, microwave, and warming drawer enhance cooking; a stovetop with a retractable downdraft vent completes the center island. Other new features include a recycle/trash pullout, a trash compactor, and toaster hideaway.

The painted and glazed door of the new refrigerator matches the cabinets, but the center island is maple wood with a leather-color stain. Espresso glaze accents both
the island the outer cabinets. “The homeowner wanted to mix woods in the kitchen, making the island look more like a beautiful piece of furniture,” says Marilyn. “The glazing brings it all together.”

The 4- by 5-foot walk-in pantry now stashes small appliances, canned goods, and baking supplies. Pull-out drawers under the stove ensure easy access to pots and pans at mealtime.

Granite covers the counters, and brown-toned glass tile accents the backsplash. Deep brown wall paint, white window frames, and brown and white floral window valances add cohesive decorative touches.

Marilyn recommends giving careful thought to remodeling a kitchen. “Once you decide to remodel, you pretty much need to go all the way. We’ve done some piecemeal floor and cabinetry work for people, but then later they realize they want more. They’ll often call us back in a couple of years to tear all that out and build a whole new kitchen.”

This home and remodeled kitchen was featured on the September 2010 Tour of Remodeled Homes sponsored by the Remodelers Council of the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines.




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