Urbandale home undergoes a dramatic transformation.
Story by Tracy Dickinson
Photography by Stephen Janousek, courtesy of AIM Kitchen & Bath
Featured in September/October 2022
Sometimes a remodel project updates a worn design. Sometimes it adds space or redefines a purpose. Sometimes it does all that and more.
When Tom Kutsch and Kelly Bird opted to remodel their Urbandale kitchen, they simply wanted a more functional space. What they got was a night and day transformation from the original space and so much more than they even imagined.
“We thought about selling the home and finding something that fit our lives better,” says Tom. “But there were a number of things that needed updating even to sell it. We decided, why not update to what we really wanted instead.”
The biggest issue was the kitchen and an awkward partial wall that broke up the main living space. “We like to entertain. But we never had people over because the space was so cramped, and there was just no way to make the space work with a group,” Tom says.
Years before, when Tom lived in Beaverdale, he had talked to AIM Kitchen & Bath about a possible remodel project, so AIM was the first contractor he called. “We knew from the first conversation that they were the right choice,” he says. “We didn’t even talk to anyone else.”
Kelly says, “We loved their ideas, but we also really liked that they did most of the work in-house. They didn’t subcontract all the different pieces of the project, so we always knew who was going to be here. And the team was wonderful to work with.”
Besides removing the dividing wall and opening up the kitchen, the AIM team turned some other ideas Tom and Kelly had into reality. “I wanted this island,” says Kelly. “I really wanted this material and this size. And we talked about making it a little smaller so there wouldn’t be a seam. But I’m so glad we didn’t. I think it’s my favorite part of the kitchen.”
Deb Pudenz of AIM says, “This is one of our more dramatic before and after projects, and we could not be more pleased with how it came together. The island, one of the largest we’ve done, helps to balance the space.”
At 12 feet in length, the white-and-gray marbled surface is the focal point of the area, yet it doesn’t overwhelm the space. AIM’s design incorporated milky white surfaces throughout the kitchen and the same countertop material on the wall cabinets as well as the island, enhancing the light-filled space.
“Kelly loved the whole process,” Tom says, “shopping for the different products and working with the designer on all the selections and decisions.”
Although she jokes that she’s found her next career, Kelly says that collaborative approach was a highlight of the project. “I had so much fun talking over the design ideas and picking things out, and then I got to decorate it all afterward.”
One of the couple’s favorite features is the custom range hood AIM designed as a focal point for the cabinet wall. “I love the trim detail on the range hood and the fact that they used that same detail with the staircase posts and fireplace mantel,” Tom says.
Pudenz agrees. “The custom cabinetry turned out beautifully. We love how the dark accents are carried throughout the space in the range hood trim, the stair railing and trim, and the fireplace mantel as well.”
With the wide expanse of white countertop and white cabinetry, using dark accents and weathered gray flooring adds interest while also creating continuity from one area to the other. Using a herringbone pattern on the white backsplash has the same effect.
Tom and Kelly are both thrilled with the overall design and the craftsmanship that’s evident throughout the project. After their initial conversations with the team at AIM, they expected that to be the case.
But they also appreciate the elements of the design that aren’t visible, like the microwave tucked under the island counter and the cabinet-depth refrigerator AIM recommended.
“I can’t believe how much we like this floor,” Tom says of the LVP flooring that was installed through much of the main level.
“Not just how it looks, but how it feels and how easy it is to maintain,” Kelly adds.
Because the main living area is so open now that the kitchen wall has been removed, AIM also replaced the baseboards and trim, as well as the flooring. And that led to some updating in the powder room as well.
“One of the best compliments we can receive after completing a project is to have the client ask us to return for another project,” Pudenz says.
Clearly, this client is very complimentary. Tom and Kelly are on the schedule to have AIM remodel the master bath soon. And they’re doing a lot more entertaining. “Everything is so beautiful you just want to share it,” Kelly says.
That’s truly a night and day transformation compared to the old kitchen. •
- Remodeler, AIM Kitchen and Bath