June 23, 2014

“While the previous designer saw something to hide, we saw something of value,” said designer Matt Krier of Design Group Three. When renovating a 1926-dated kitchen, which had been remodeled in the 90s, Krier discovered the designer’s equivalent of lost treasure – a hidden room.

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Closed off from the kitchen in the previous renovation, the room had about 20 square feet of space that was left completely abandoned. “When we found it in the original blueprints, I went outside and found an old icebox door, which had been painted shut,” described Krier. Inside, debris from the renovation lingered, as well as pieces that dated back to the 50s and 60s. “Once we found that space, we capitalized on it and achieved one of the main programs of the owner’s needs,” he said.

For this small, two-entry kitchen, the owner most wanted a separate eating area for her family of four. That abandoned space was brought into the kitchen and now holds a cushioned bench with storage underneath. The previous icebox became a window, which sits at eye level with the bench.

“It’s kind of cool, since the eating nook has a low window that allows for both ventilation and extending your sightlines to the outside,” says Krier. The window has a diamond-leaded pattern, taken from one of the home’s original windows, which is also repeated in the lit China cabinet above the eating nook.

“When she told me she had this all of this China that is never really shown, I thought we should show it off,” said Krier. By introducing glass cabinetry for the China and illuminating the interior, Krier created another focal point. “Lighting it up was a no brainer for me,” he explained. “In the evening, that piece is all you need for a nice glow. It’s almost like a giant nightlight.”

This piece of cabinetry is not the redesigned kitchen’s only focal point. After eliminating the bearing wall that had cut off the kitchen from the rest of the house, the team created a massive archway that referenced other arches in the home.

“We played off of that curve in the island, which also served as a very functional curve to open things up in a high traffic area,” said Krier. In addition to seating and prep space, the island boasts storage and a decorative bookshelf.

“We utilized every space as we designed it to take advantage of any additional storage that we could get,” he explained. A significant amount of the pantry storage was moved to the tall Greenfield cabinets, which are made of paint-grade maple. For a transitional look that tied in the rest of the home, the team used off-white-painted cabinets with inset doors and drawers and honed, black granite countertops.

“She liked the black-and-white theme, but she didn’t want something too busy on the countertops,” explained Krier. By honing the stark black granite slabs, the team created a muted, charcoal color to soften the look. The off-white subway tile backsplash ties back in the home’s history, while a wireless router and hidden speakers for streaming music bring a modern luxury into the space.

 “We really just took advantage of what we could, and literally went outside the box,” said Krier.

Tips for Embracing But Modernizing Older Homes

Designer Matt Krier wanted to embrace an older home’s 1920s architecture but still integrate all of the modern amenities. Here’s how he did it.

•    Subtly referenced the history with touches like diamond-leaded patterns on the windows and one piece of glass cabinetry.
•    Bring in other prominent features of the home, like arches.
•    Follow more contemporary trends, like using one large chandelier while incorporating the past with an archaic piece.
•    Install cabinetry that suits the home’s more traditional style.

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