March 22, 2019
Budget is often the biggest challenge when it comes to renovations, and designer Amber Carfield is no stranger to this design hurdle. For one of her latest projects, she had to turn an old-fashioned layout – complete with more than one type of dated flooring – into her clients’ dream kitchen, while keeping the costs down.
“The most prevalent challenge we faced during this remodel was opening up the floor plan as much as possible but also staying on budget,” said Carfield, who is the lead designer at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Kitchens by Good Guys. “This project turned out to be a great transformation, completely changing the style of the home.”
Working Around the Budget
While it was obvious that the floor plan needed to be opened up, there were a few issues standing in the way of just removing walls. The HVAC ductwork was positioned along the long kitchen and dining room wall, hidden by a soffit that couldn’t be removed – at least not in a budget-friendly way.
“We decided to work around that soffit and remove the wall dividing the kitchen from the living room,” said Carfield, explaining that they built the cabinets up to the bottom of the soffit instead to eliminate any wasted space.
With the layout now spacious, designing the kitchen in its new space should have been simple. The only problem was that there was a large, wood-burning fireplace feature between the kitchen and living room. Since the budget did not allow for a complete redesign or removal of the fireplace, the design team got creative.
“We found an ethanol-fueled burner to insert into the existing fireplace,” said the designer, adding that this gives the homeowners the beauty of a flame without the work of burning wood. “Our clients love the versatility and the beauty it provides to their new remodeled space. After all, here in Arizona the heat from a fireplace is secondary to the ambiance.”
The wall containing the fireplace and chimney is now an architectural feature between the living area and kitchen; its three-sided design allows the flames to be enjoyed from either space.
Creating Interest with the Materials
In the newly opened floor plan, there was plenty of room for a large island to add more storage, seating and functionality to the kitchen. Using 2020 Design software, Carfield decided to maximize the entire length of the new kitchen with cabinetry and a new workspace.
“Our clients wanted a mixture of white cabinets and darker stained cabinetry, white subway tile and an accent mosaic blend behind the range,” she said. “They really wanted a timeless kitchen.”
According to Carfield, the cabinets and countertops were the splurge items because the clients wanted these to have lasting durability and provide interest. The result was simple, white-painted cabinets around the top of the perimeter and a more rustic, gray stain on the lower cabinets and island.
The cabinets are complemented by white quartz countertops, chosen for their family-friendly resilience and aesthetic appeal. The backsplash was an affordable white subway tile, which helped balance the budget.
These colors also work well with the new flooring they chose. Originally there were two different types of flooring they needed to deal with: tile and laminate. Once they had gotten into demolition, they found that there was once a sunken floor in the front living room. This required additional floor prep and leveling before the new floor could even be installed.
The work was worth the effort to Carfield and her clients, who chose a neutral porcelain wood-look tile flooring to go with the new cabinetry.
“Subtle finishes like the neutral cabinetry and flooring allow pops of color to be brought in through furniture, pillows and art, which can easily be changed throughout time,” she said. “The home will continue to look and feel fresh and new.”
Designer: Amber Carfield, Kitchens by Good Guys, https://www.goodguysphx.com
Photographer: Lister Assiter
Appliances: GE Appliances
Cabinetry: Aspect Cabinetry by Shiloh
Countertops: Bedrosians Quartz
Fireplace: Arizona Fireplaces
Floor Tile: RWC
Wall Tile: Arizona Tile