January 7, 2021
A homeowner constantly on the move needs a practical, relaxing ideal kitchen design to come home to. This was the case for designer Tina Delia’s client, who is an executive who likes to use the little spare time she has to cook and entertain. However, her original kitchen design felt just as stressful as her lifestyle and was not a calming place to return to after a chaotic day.
Overcoming Challenges of the Original Design
Before the renovation, the space had a raised, slippery granite floor, a double-height island that ran parallel to the outside wall, an oversize hood over the island and unsightly columns breaking up the room. There was also very little upper cabinet space because of the oversized refrigerator, sink placement and the odd location of the columns.
“The main requirements for this renovation were a more functional layout, better organization and additional storage,” said Delia, who is the founder of Philadelphia-based Delia Designs. “I also wanted to brighten up the space and elevate the finishes.”
To create more functional storage and prepping areas for the ideal kitchen design, she reduced the size of the existing island, moved the range and exhaust hood to the exterior wall and removed the columns. She increased the storage space by planning cabinetry for the entire outside wall, with the exception of the areas directly next to the two main windows. Using a combination of AutoCAD, SketchUp and Enscape to design the layout, Delia ensured that the cabinets offer the right interior storage for specific items that the client uses – such as her wine collection, dishwasher, cookware, linens, cleaning supplies and paperwork. She also shaped the new island as a trapezoid.
“One of my goals was to work with the geometry of the space and create a cohesive look and feel from the front door to the back door,” said the designer, explaining that the trapezoid shape of the island echoes the architecture of the room.
Brightening the Space
The home is situated on a shaded lot facing north and east, so it does not receive much sunlight during the day. Since there was an abundance of cabinetry on the entire outside wall, it was important that Delia selected a light color to brighten up the entire space.
“I selected an off-white cabinet with a linear finish in a very clean and simple updated Shaker door style,” said the designer, explaining the palette is a calming white but less stark than a true white. “We found that the warm of the off white was a breath of fresh air with a touch of lived-in charm.”
The team hit a snag when plans for paneling the refrigerator fell through. The built-in refrigerator with the cabinetry panel wasn’t sitting flush with the other cabinetry after installed, so they opted to swap that out for the stainless-steel door. Because of COVID shutdowns, they had to wait for that to arrive and get installed, but the end result was worth their patience.
“It was a happy accident because I feel that it helps break up the expansive cabinetry and tie in the other appliances very nicely,” said Delia.
There were also issues with the original marble countertop material the client wanted. While loving the look of marble, the client was concerned about staining – particularly during the wine events she likes to host. Initially, the design team suggested a marble-look porcelain slab – until they found out how difficult it would be to prep and install that material in this particular space.
“Apparently, it takes quite a bit of man hours to properly prep and fabricate porcelain slabs, causing it to be quite costly,” said Delia. “In addition, transportation of the product is an issue because the slabs need to be secured to pallets and delivered by freight carrier, making it challenging in the urban environment.”
The final decision was to include a quartz by Wilsonart, which the team and client found to be as realistic if not more so than other marble-look quartz options. This marble look is echoed in the prism-shaped, multi-color marble backsplash tile, which helps blend all the warmer tones with the cooler hues in the space.
Delia finished the plans for this ideal kitchen design at the end of 2019, reviewed all the construction bids and hired the general contractor shortly afterward. However, the construction was not completely finished prior to stay-at-home orders, and the final design was delayed in finishing. Fortunately, the client was flexible and allowed the general contractor into her home to finalize everything.
“By allowing the client to declutter, we increased her energy, creativity and confidence,” said the designer. “This new design led to a more organized lifestyle, helping our client focus on the things that really matter, which leads to a happier and healthier life.”
Designer: Tina Delia, Delia Designs
Photographer: Joseph M. Kitchen Photography
General Contractor: Under Construction Builders
Cabinet Door Hardware: Berenson
Dining Pendant: Hubbardton Forge
Faucet & Sink: Blanco
Flooring: Bell Flooring
Kitchen Pendant: Troy Lighting
Range & Wine Cellar: KitchenAid
Tile: Garden State Tile