April 11, 2016
With the right perspective, most obstacles can easily turn into opportunities. One Chicago couple and a longtime designer were able to do just that with a creative kitchen and bathroom renovation.
After Brian Bloom’s Lincoln Park condo was damaged in a fire, he was burdened not only with the repair but with a shoestring budget. He tapped Scott Dresner of the local design and renovation firm, Dresner Design, to reimagine his kitchen and master bathroom and help him and his girlfriend Allison move on following the fire.
Dresner has designed and constructed more than 7,000 kitchens and bathrooms across the nation in his three-decade career, and with a practical point of view, he can easily envision the big picture.
Overcoming Space & Budget Challenges
Bloom, who is the co-founder of the children’s clothing line Monica + Andy, requested that the redesign allow for the kitchen to appear large and high-tech without breaking the bank. The tight layout of the condo made the placement of the kitchen island an initial challenge.
“The house is very skinny, and having a kitchen island is really tight. We needed to be extremely concise with the design – every inch counted,” said Dresner. “So we designed the island with an interesting shape so it can be thin but also allow for seating.”
Made from honed Calacatta Gold, the light countertops accent both the quasi-wooden thermo-foil cabinets and white oak floors, which are finished in a French oak stain.
“Thermo foil looks and feels like real wood, but it’s not, and it’s also at a much lower price point,” Dresner noted.
Dresner likes the combination of gray wood and Calacatta Gold, especially when juxtaposed with the glass tiling of the backsplash. Shiny Stosa cabinets, in gray and white gloss, also add to the aesthetic.
When it came time to install new appliances, money posed an issue yet again, but not for long. Dresner and his team furnished the kitchen with used appliances from major brands such as Sub-Zero and Bosch. Even the backsplash was purchased through a discount tile store. A used stainless sink and a Danze faucet completed the effect.
Size Matters in the Master Bath
Despite the size constraints, Dresner and Bloom sought for the master bathroom to feel bigger.
“We wanted it to feel open, light and bright,” said Dresner. “In small bathrooms, sometimes the shower room feels tight. So we combined the shower and tub together, creating a dedicated space for both, which makes the space feel really big.”
The shower area, striking with mosaic flooring, includes a freestanding tub, body sprays, a showerhead and a handshower. Carrara stones measuring 12 by 24 inches complement the color of the tiles perfectly. Stosa cabinets mirror those used in the kitchen.
At the last minute, a speed bump imposed on Dresner and his team’s progress. After the design for the heating and cooling systems proved problematic, the need to install a large duct was clear. So as not sacrifice the pivotal natural light, a brand new clearstory was added on the opposite wall.
“It allows light into the space, making it feel larger, and it mimics the shape of the duct so it is visually balanced,” said Dresner.
Like the kitchen, the bathroom posed its share of size-related issues in the tight, city-style condo but ultimately reaped benefits both obvious and unexpected.
Designer: Scott Dresner, Dresner Design
Photographer: Jim Tschetter
Cabinet Lighting: hera tripach
Countertops: Honed Calacatta
Oven: Bosch Hood: Bosch
Pendants: Restoration Hardware
Plumbing: Grohe Eurocube