Same footprint but a whole new look for this family’s kitchen.
Story by Tracy Dickinson
Photography by Tim Abramowitz
Featured in May/June 2021
Remodeling projects arise out of any number of circumstances—changing needs, aging materials, and opening up space, for instance. For one Urbandale family, the kitchen remodel was the inevitable result of a less-than-desirable backsplash.
“The kitchen had a lot of elements we knew we would want to change,” says the homeowner. “It had laminate cabinetry, green countertops, and a dated ceramic-tile backsplash.”
But the final straw was the vegetable tiles. “About every fifth tile across the wall had a vegetable painted on it,” the homeowner says. “That, combined with the stained-glass transom window over the French doors, we knew we wanted to make some changes.”
With a layout open to the family room, the homeowners knew that the project would have to be approached with care in order to blend the new space with the old. That’s where BLC Projects entered the picture.
“One of my coworkers recommended BLC Projects,” the homeowner explains. “We were just going to meet with them and some other companies, too. But we could tell right away they understood what we wanted, and we felt like it was a good fit.”
They were right.
Rob Walker of BLC Projects and kitchen designer Barb Hyde of Beisser Lumber took the homeowners’ input and created a space that honored the home’s original look as well as their wishes and needs.
“The existing cabinets were made of a composite and beginning to peel, so we wanted better-quality cabinets. Also, our old island was smaller with two-level countertops and less surface area,” the homeowner explains.
Hyde presented a design that kept the original footprint but offered additional storage, more counter space, and a finished look that complemented the adjoining family room. “The sheer size of the space allowed us to do everything the client was looking for. It turned out beautiful!” says Hyde.
“My dad and my grandfather were both big woodworkers,” the homeowner says. “I knew I couldn’t paint over or tear out that beautiful trim work in the family room. Rob and Barb came up with a way to make everything work together.”
The family preferred a white kitchen, but stark white cabinets might have been out of place with the more formal dark cherry woodwork and the trim surrounding the fireplace. BLC proposed a compromise that turned out to be the perfect solution: soft-white cabinets with a contrasting island finished in a subdued gray.
“The gray island adds a little color and interest,” the homeowner says. “I enjoy jewel colors, but we needed to pick something that would look nice with the cherry. Barb presented different cabinet options and styles so we could visualize how each would look in our space. In fact, the island is one my favorite features.”
Besides the finish solutions like the cabinet color and quartz countertops, designing the overall cabinet layout was key to the project’s success. “Barb presented ideas on the drawers and storage, like the spice rack and the additional storage in the island,” says the homeowner. “She also suggested the slight bump-out by the sink and the leg style design by the sink and the stove to reflect the style of the island.”
Hyde says the island is one of her favorite features, too. “The architectural posts at the island, range, and sink added a furniture styling that really makes the space unique and interesting,” she says.
Although the footprint remained the same, eliminating the need to move plumbing and major electrical, the new layout extended the cabinetry to the ceiling, offering display and storage space, and bumped the cabinetry to the edge of the French doors that open onto a three-season room, allowing more counter space on either side of the stove.
The same overall footprint still meant changes to the flooring. The homeowners wanted to retain the wood that already existed in much of the main level, so BLC installed new floors where necessary, interlinking them with the existing floor and refinishing the entire space to make the two indistinguishable.
“We really enjoyed working with Rob and Barb and the whole BLC crew,” the homeowners say. “They took care of us through every step of the process.”
The company was so efficient, the project was done in less than eight weeks. The family members were able to go about their lives fairly normally during that time. The homeowners explain, “We did the remodel the summer of 2019, so we were busy and able to be outside a lot. But BLC blocked off the work area and kept the mess contained. We could be in and out and not be affected too much.”
“I really enjoy the entire space, but the island is one of my favorites. It serves multiple purposes, from spreading out while cooking and baking or serving the family to eating light meals and allowing the kids to study while I work,” says the homeowner. And the backsplash? The new undercabinet lighting highlights the soft-white tile with not a single painted vegetable in sight. •
- Remodeler BLC Projects