December 11, 2015

One young family approached designers Kathryn O’Donovan and Terry Tondelli of Hinsdale, Ill.-based Normandy Remodeling with a dated kitchen and the dreaded dysfunctional work triangle. Lacking focus and forethought, the original kitchen was awkwardly elongated and allowed for more traffic problems than practical family environments. 

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Traffic Jams
“The island was an obstruction to every major point,” said O’Donovan, explaining that the range location right by the adjacent living space also complicated the issue. “It was a potential hazard to the homeowner’s two young, active children whizzing by.”

The work triangle stretched off the main area for several feet and created a hallway within the kitchen, which made the appliances in this area difficult to work with. There were also several windows in the kitchen that were below countertop height and in the main kitchen area, causing an interruption of counter surface.

To create a more efficient work triangle, the long hallway had to be separated from the main open space. By adding a few walls to separate the space, the designers created three separate zones: the main kitchen; a “command central zone” adjacent to the kitchen for a mudroom and organization area; and a wet bar zone that sits adjacent to the formal dining room.

“By sectioning off the long hallway and changing its function, we were able to make the kitchen space more rectangular and easier to create focal points within the space,” said O’Donovan.

By moving the sink to the island, the homeowners could more easily interact with their children and guests during dinner parties.

“Since the sink was being placed in the island, the functions we considered were preparation and cleanup zones, which include a sink, dishwasher and waste bin,” she added, explaining that the new design allows for the dishwasher to be concealed with a panel for a more fluid look. “With the sink in the center, the symmetrical layout of the cabinets really creates a balanced, substantial look that pleases the eye.”

Moving the sink also enabled the designers to close up two small windows and continue the countertop, as well also allowing for more wall space and focal points. To make up for the loss of light, larger windows were installed in the breakfast room adjacent to the kitchen.

Adding in Flavor  
As with most any dated kitchen, the original look was monochromatic with off-white walls, granite and cabinets. In contrast, the client’s aesthetic swayed toward transitional and eclectic styles.

“She loved the look of crisp white cabinets but also wanted to offset [those] with some dramatic materials, such as dark-stained walnut cabinets and stone top on the island,” said O’Donovan.

The resulting look is a black-and-white classic, with white cabinetry along the main wall and dark, almost black cabinetry along the adjacent wall. Most of the appliances are paneled, allowing for a furniture-like appearance. Black countertops around the perimeter contrast the white cabinetry and white subway-tile backsplash.

According to O’Donovan, using multiple finishes on the cabinetry and countertops helped emphasize the focal points – the main one of which is the massive black, metal hood.

“Metal hoods offer a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, which make them a fun add-on for designers to play with,” she said. “Since the range wall is a perfect opportunity to make a focal point, we provided a dramatic option for the client with this hood. The color is dramatic, yet neutral, and it’s the polished, mirrored trim metal that really makes the hood pop.”

Source List: 

Designers: Kathryn O’Donovan and Terry Tondelli, Hinsdale, Ill.-based Normandy Remodeling
Photographer: Normandy Remodeling

Backsplash: Contemporary White Marble in Kitchen; antiqued mirror in butler’s pantry
Beverage Center: Subzero

Cabinets: Plain and Fancy Medley collection

Cabinet Hardware: Top knob, Schaub & Baldwin

Coffee Center: Miele
Dishwasher: Miele

Double Ovens: Wolf

Freezer: Subzero

Hood: Vent-a-hood

Island Counters: Fantasy Brown stone

Kitchen Faucet: Blanco Grace

Kitchen Sink: Kohler Deerfield

Microwave: Wolf
Range top: Wolf
Refrigerator: Subzero
Perimeter Counters: Caesarstone Shitake

Source List

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