November 17, 2014
High ceilings do not always coincide with light. For this kitchen in the Chicago suburbs, the 16-ft. ceilings originally did little to help bring light into the space. Designer Cynthia Smith of CS Interior Design stepped in to give the kitchen the look of a high-rise condo while on a modest budget.
“The client’s biggest problem with the kitchen was really the lighting,” she explained. “She hardly had enough lighting to do anything.”
Along with the lack of light, the countertop sported a laminate, scratched surface, and the oak cabinetry was dated and worn. The gray tile backsplash added little to the bland palette. On top of the aesthetic issues, the stove and oven did not work properly. With this start, the owner knew she wanted a transitional look that worked with the rest of the home.
“She wanted it to be easy, contemporary and without clutter,” said Smith. “It should be open and airy with just a lot of light.”
While she looked at various sources for inspiration, she designed the kitchen with the latest transitional trends and a $20,000 budget in mind. Smith wrote up a proposal with an estimate of what she thought it would cost to accomplish the goals and stuck by it. By keeping the layout in the same place, the cost in plumbing and electricity decreased. She also stayed within the budget because of her research efforts.
“It’s important to have a good relationship with the vendors,” said Smith. “And using my designer discount kept us in the budget too.”
Warehouse and wholesale pricing contributed to the end cost as well, directing more of the budget toward improving the lighting, cabinetry, backsplash and some of the stainless steel appliances.
The existing lighting was replaced with glass pendant lighting, and undercabinet LED lighting illuminates the space at night. With 180 watts in each unit, the pendants surpass the previous 60 watts the kitchen had.
“We worked to keep it very open and airy,” said Smith. “I used a lot of natural palettes and just tried to keep the lighting very bright and open.”
The flooring, a linen porcelain tile, helps ensure this airiness and balances the dark walnut wood cabinetry.
“She had the oak cabinets before, and I wanted to do something different and keep it very contemporary,” she commented. “That’s why I chose the walnut with a flatter panel.”
The monochromatic palette, created with gray walls and white baseboards and railings, give the home a modest yet modern feel. Made of granite, the countertop adheres to the sleek and contemporary style the client hoped for. A mosaic metal tile mixed with ceramic, a blend designed to help hide dirt, links to the style of the family room and complements the countertops.
“It ties together that contemporary look,” added Smith, “while blending with the rest of the home.”
Backsplash Tile: Floor & Décor
Cabinetry: Kitchen & Bath Master
Cabinet Pulls & Knobs: Atlas
Countertop: Universal Granite & Marble
Floor Tile: Floor & Décor:
Leather Chairs: Z-Gallery
Paint: Sherwin Willians
Table: Crate & Barrel
Window Treatment: Joann (Fabric)
Photographer: Norman Sizemore