December 8, 2014
Downsizing after enjoying a large kitchen can be daunting for homeowners with years of dishware and appliances accumulated. “They are at an age when many will make this change in their life,” said Charlene Dwyer of Houston-based Dwyer Interiors. “Storage was a huge issue.”
Coming into a tired kitchen, Dwyer worked to accommodate the homeowners’ belongings from the previous space into a smaller floor plan and a space more suitable for aging in place. “[The wife] wanted a layout where she wouldn’t have to walk herself to death,” said Dwyer. “Plus, she’s very short, so everything had to be very accessible.”
As the previous home had mostly vertical cabinet storage, the team “made sure we came back with at least that much,” added Dwyer. “The cabinets all have pullout shelves so she can see.”
The maple Wood-Mode cabinets are outfitted with a simple panel door in the Shaker style and allow for some glass doors and locked cabinets for silver. Painted in Nordic white, the kitchen aligns with the homeowner’s hope for a light space.
“We tried to add sparkle where we could with the metals, and we didn’t panel anything,” said Dwyer, who designed the kitchen to have a modern feel without the severity of too many clean lines or too much white. The homeowner’s accessories, like red leather barstools, add pops of color.
White Caesarstone countertops blend with the white cabinetry around the perimeter, while black-honed granite tops the island. “She didn’t want any kind of busy stone,” said Dwyer. Explaining the research she’s encountered about designing for an aging population, Dwyer added that many people are avoiding reflective surfaces and even selecting flatter paints. “Reflective surfaces can cause a real problem with sight for older homeowners,” she said. “You get this terrible glare, and it distorts the image.”
The countertops also accommodate the client’s desire for a maintenance-free space. Only the island has a natural stone, but its black granite boasts strong durability. The Caesarstone surrounds also provide for the working kitchen.
“I like that you don’t have to worry,” said Dwyer. “I’m so tired of going back and having these calls about stains and chips, so I can see why quartzite and solid surfaces are growing in popularity.”
While the island’s solid-colored top provides for long-lasting durability, its pentagonal shape lends itself to the kitchen’s smaller layout. “We didn’t want it to overpower the space and be a nuisance to walk around,” explained the designer. The wife decided against a sink so she could have more surface room for baking, but the island is still plumbed for one in case it is needed later.
Above the island, a pot-rack-like iron chandelier adds a hint of rusticity to the space. Previously hung above the homeowner’s breakfast room table in the larger home, the chandelier helps fill the dead space created by the newly raised ceiling.
“It was nice that we could take some things that she had lived with for years and reuse them,” said Dwyer. A single metal pendant above the sink and several inset LEDs illuminate the rest of the space.
“I like the contrast in the kitchen of the dark and light and the metals that show up,” she said. “It has a crisp clean look, even when it’s busy.”
Designers: Nicki Kana of Cabinet Innovations (Wood-Mode Dealer)
Charlene Lusk Dwyer of Dwyer Interiors (Interior Designer)
Steve Hood of Steve Hood Company (Builder)
John Culpepper with BSA Architects (Architect)
Backsplash Tile: Matching Caesarstone slab splash
Cabinets: Brookhaven by Wood-Mode Cabinets (species and stain): Maple in Nordic White
Countertop (s): Caesarstone: Frosty Carrina #5141 and Black-Honed Granite Dishwasher: KitchenAid
Door Style: Rockport Recessed with Detailed Drawerheads
Flooring: Hardwood Hood: Viking
Sinks: Kitchen: Blanco, Utility (2nd sink): Elkay Wall Oven: Viking