Before & After / By Carol Wang / June 1, 2017
Imagining a Loft Apartment…in a House
A house taps into a modern vibe with a pot-filler, farmhouse sink and appliance garage
Romuald had a dream: he wanted to live in a loft apartment. His current home, a 1,800-square-foot house in Elmhurst, was definitely not a loft, but it was ideal for him and his wife in many other ways. It was close to both of their jobs, as well as to both sets of parents, and they loved having a backyard right off the kitchen. So they decided to do the next best thing: make their home as “loft-like” as a house could be, most notably opening up walls so the space would have an airy feel. Finally, it came time to tackle the tight, closed-off kitchen. Here are the details on a long-awaited kitchen renovation (and a few extras!) befitting two avid cooks.
After living in his home for close to ten years, Romuald knew that a new kitchen could dramatically change how his family used the space. He and his wife love cooking together, so they wanted to create a new kitchen in which two (or more!) people could comfortably work. Upon his wife’s recommendation, he turned to Sweeten for help and found his contractor for the project. The original kitchen featured dark wood cabinets and felt cave-like because of a wall separating it from the main living space. Wanting to demolish the wall, it was necessary to regain the storage space by adding an island. It also afforded an extra work surface and an unobstructed sightline across the whole first floor of the house for a loft apartment feel.
Working with their contractor, the couple came up with a plan for their new kitchen. The original flooring was a tile that contrasted with the hardwood running through the rest of the first floor. They wanted to continue the wood look but opted for a gray “wood” porcelain that would be much easier to maintain (important for a kitchen that sees a lot of action!). Semi-custom cabinets made it possible for creative storage solutions like an “appliance garage” (details below) to be incorporated into the kitchen plan. The warm gray cabinets they chose from Waypoint coordinated with the new flooring. A white quartz countertop and classic marble subway tile for the backsplash brought a clean yet contrasting look. Above the stove, they installed a pot-filler to save the job of hauling a heavy pot of water from the sink on the island to the stovetop.
Romuald and his wife started shopping around to replace all of their appliances with the exception of their investment appliance—a Thermador range with blue knobs. After visiting appliance stores and making product choices, he came across one of his favorite finds—the microwave drawer! A built-in microwave was placed high on their wish list so that it wouldn’t take up valuable counter space like their previous one did. When he came across the drawer, he knew that it was the way to go.
Next, their Sweeten contractor suggested the genius solution of an “appliance garage”—a much-loved-but-seldom-seen feature in city apartments. This storage unit would house their toaster, coffeemaker, as well as a few odds and ends, with outlets built into the back keeping a tangle of cords contained. With the “garage door” lowered, the counters would look instantly cleaner.
In the spot where a dividing wall originally stood, they installed an island. While they had intended to build one about six feet long, it ultimately expanded to a 10-foot-long island—a decision that Romuald doesn’t regret one bit. “We can fit four stools along one side, while the other side has enough space for our farmhouse sink, microwave drawer, and dishwasher—and with storage room, too!” Given the space now has the open feel of a loft apartment, they can now watch the TV in their living room from the kitchen. Romuald explains, “We have it on a swivel, so we just swing it around and can cook and watch TV at the same time. This is great for unwinding after a long day’s work.” They also love the way that the breeze flows through the entire space when they open the door to the backyard—something that wasn’t possible with walls in the way.
While the project took a bit longer than anticipated due to delays in delivery of materials, Romuald reports that they are very happy with the way it all turned out. And although they had intended on just renovating the kitchen, the project expanded in the end to include new floors throughout the entire living space, as well as a new railing for the stairs leading to the second floor of their house. All of these changes have made their house a dream home for the couple!
Thank you, Romuald for sharing your new, loft-like space with us!
KITCHEN RESOURCES: Semi-custom cabinets in gray: Waypoint. Marble subway tile backsplash: Builder Depot. Florida Tile 8” x 36” porcelain floor tile in magnolia ash: Classic Tile. White quartz countertops: MSI International. Optimum 27” stainless steel curved apron farmhouse sink: Signature Hardware. Sink faucet: Luxier. Chival 11” light pendant in polished nickel, #7-730-1-109: Savoy House. Refrigerator: Fisher Paykel. Dishwasher: Bosch. Range: Thermador. Hood, #DIAM36SS: Faber. Microwave drawer: Bosch. Double-jointed 15-inch pot-filler: Danze. Chandelier (eating area): Pottery Barn. Pixel White paint: Behr. Ryan counter stools: Amisco.
A statement range, like the Thermador, can serve as the anchor of a sleek kitchen design. In Lia and Chris’ apartment, a Wolf range with signature red knobs is a smart addition to a white and marble accented kitchen renovation.
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