January 24, 2020
Cheryl Kees Clendenon, owner and lead designer of Pensacola, Fla.-based In Detail Interiors, has admitted she has redesigned her own kitchen three times. She had just finished the first renovation when she and her husband had to evacuate for Hurricane Ivan. The second renovation took place during the nine months they were displaced from their home and everything – down to the sheetrock, flooring, ceiling and countertops.
Third Time’s a Charm
Earlier this year, Clendenon completed the final (for now) renovation for her own kitchen, which includes plenty of color, finishes and what she calls “no one’s taste but her own.” She selected slab doors for the cabinets to eliminate grooves and because they are easier to clean. To balance the modern look of the cabinetry, she included a display for her rotating collection of vintage pottery, which she uses daily.
Open shelving on either side of the cooktop holds everything she and her husband use to cook with on a regular basis, and the island features a cubby hole for extra storage underneath. Higher countertops at 2 inches thick work for both of them since they are on the taller side, and because of the quality of her cooking and refrigeration appliances, she was able to keep the ones she has had for 15 years.
“I embrace color, and the impetus for the overall kitchen palette came from the window treatment over the sink,” said the designer, who chose ample jewel tones for her kitchen. “I usually start with the colors of the fabric when choosing those for the rest of the space.”
Clendenon also specified an eclectic sari silk and banana leaf wallpaper for the adjoining dining room, and to tie in that and the colorful window covering, she chose a saturated, deep blue color for the island.
“I knew all of this color would be very ADD for some people, but it was what I wanted,” she added and explained that she chose wood tones on the base cabinets and island countertop to help absorb the intensity of all the color – something she says many designers neglect to do.
She chose a more neutral tone for the upper cabinets and tall cabinets for more balance with the highly hued backsplash, which she says was a happenstance choice because of its expensive cost. A local tile store called to let her know that they had this handmade tile rebuffed by another client, and she fell in love.
Because she didn’t have space for something more formal, Clendenon incorporated what she calls the “un-dining” room adjacent to the kitchen. This is where she has her coffee and reads on weekend mornings. Although she and her husband don’t really eat in this area, it does get a lot of use when they entertain guests, which they do often.
Another unusual but striking element in the kitchen is an 11-ft. by 8-ft. pine pharmacy cabinet that she has had for 22 years – the only thing that was not affected by the 2004 hurricane. Every time the team had to redo the sheetrock on one wall, they would have to move this item – which is divided into a top half and a bottom half – out of the way.
Although Clendenon was in charge of almost all of the selections for the kitchen renovation, she did keep the dense wood flooring because of her husband’s request. Although she said she agonized over making color selections around it, the epi flooring worked well in the home’s beach environment, and it was a sustainable choice to use something existing.
The designer said her team decided to ventilate to the outside through some of the kitchen’s upper cabinets, but there ended up being some mold issues because the damper was installed incorrectly. Her husband simply replaced the damper, and the problem was solved.
The taller countertops were not level with the 15-year-old range, so she added blocks under its legs to adjust the height.
When designing your own spaces, there can also be some challenges. In this case, Clendenon changed her mind after the electrical was all installed and decided she wanted more LEDs in the cabinets.
“Adding to your project once things are installed is never fun, but we all do it,” she said. “You always have a checklist with your clients, but that all goes out the window when you are working on your own project.”
Designer: Cheryl Kees Clendenon, In Detail Interiors
Photographer: Greg Riegler
Backsplash: Pratt & Larson
Breakfast Table Lighting: Currey and Co.
Cabinets: Custom by In Detail Interiors
Faucet & Sink: Blanco
Hardware: Duverre, Schaub & Top Knobs
Ovens & Range: Wolf
Paint: Benjamin Moore