January 9, 2023
When Amy Leferink, owner and principal designer of Woodbury, Minn.-based Interior Impressions, accepted the commission of designing a “forever home” for a couple with no children or grandchildren, she encountered a very unusual situation. “As this couple was working toward their retirement, they did the opposite of what many people do,” she said. “Instead of downsizing, they made a huge upsize with this home.” This calculated investment in the house’s resale value gave the concept of future-proofing the kitchen a whole new meaning for the design team.
Future-Proofing the Kitchen
The homeowners’ previous residence had an abundance of character and warmth, and it was important that their newly-built home would have characteristics that made it feel welcoming and inviting, and not “cookie cutter” or look like a spec home. Leferink said, “One of the best things about working with a high-quality custom home builder is the ability to create a home with those features and unique traits.”
Because it has many doors and openings to other rooms, the challenge in the kitchen was making it feel symmetrical and also maintain an efficient work flow. The pantry is located on the back side of the cooktop wall, separated from the kitchen by a hallway. “We tried to figure out a way to have the pantry attached directly but it would have thrown off the balance with the two arched doorways,” said the designer. “Also, it would have redirected movement to the mudroom and garage.” This would have been at odds with the goal of making it easy to carry groceries into the house and conveniently put things away in the kitchen and the pantry. In the new design, although the kitchen and pantry are not directly connected, they are in very close proximity to each other and the workflow is quite efficient, without throwing off the composition of the kitchen space.
The designer’s lesson learned? “We learned that the number one priority of a kitchen is function. Making it look beautiful is equally important, but the functionality must happen first!”
—By Leslie Clagett
Design: Interior Impressions, Amy Leferink
Builder: Divine Custom Homes
Photography: Jill Hamilton
Cabinet Hardware: Amerock
Wall Ovens, Refrigerator, Cooktop, Microwave: Thermador
Tile: Tabarka Studio (range backsplash)