An Urbandale kitchen remodel transforms the entire living space.
Story by Tracy Dickinson
Photography by Stephen Janousek, courtesy of AIM Kitchen & Bath
Featured in March/April 2022
Every remodel project comes with surprises-bad wiring discovered when a wall comes down, unexpected plumbing problems, or, of course, inevitable delays as a result of the current supply chain problems.
But for one Urbandale family, the biggest surprise from their kitchen remodel was how much more comfortable the entire home feels now. “We had actually talked with another remodeling company a few years ago,” says the homeowner. “They had specific ideas for our kitchen, but ideas that didn’t fit what we wanted. So we decided not to continue the project.”
The Urbandale couple put off the remodel, assuming they wouldn’t be able to find a design partner that shared their vision. Fast forward to 2021, and signs pointed them to the perfect answer.
“Several houses in the neighborhood had signs in the yard for AIM Kitchen & Bath, so we checked the website and really liked what we saw,” the homeowner says. “From the first conversation with Alex, we knew he understood exactly what we needed.”
Designer Alex Marske of AIM says he enjoyed the rapport with the homeowners and the back-and-forth of ideas that helped them collaborate so well on the project. “We worked really well together,” he says. “She was honest about what she liked and what she didn’t, and I appreciated that. I think we both felt like that ability to be honest about ideas was important.”
One of the most important elements on the homeowner’s wish list was a more open layout. That required some significant changes, including removing a load-bearing wall and moving another wall between the kitchen and laundry room. With all the rubble that comes out of a structural remodel like this, it’s essential to look at roll off dumpster rentals to remove the waste quickly and effectively, or the whole project can stall. However, it’s usually worth the extra hassle as it can completely transform a small, dark space. “The original layout had a wall between the kitchen and dining room, and the only doorway opened directly onto the door to the lower level,” says Marske.
The homeowner says, “It was this awkward little corner, and we had three different types of flooring that all met right there-carpet, wood, and linoleum. It was awful.”
Marske says that AIM removed the dividing wall and beefed up the header where it had been. The transformation was dramatic. “We didn’t add any windows, but there’s so much more natural light in here now,” he says.
“I like to cook,” says the homeowner. “Every afternoon I’m in here at the counter chopping vegetables and prepping dinner, and I couldn’t see or hear what was going on in the other room. And it always felt dark.”
Now the spacious, walnut-topped island is the only thing between the kitchen and the rest of the family, making cooking time even more enjoyable.
“Before, the actual workspace was extremely limited,” Marske says. “Between the appliances and the sink, there was barely room for food prep.” By relocating some of the appliances and bumping out the wall between the kitchen and laundry, the kitchen footprint only expanded a few feet, but the usable workspace grew exponentially. AIM also added built-ins and a fold-up bench in the laundry room to make it more usable, too.
Due to health issues, at times some family members use assistive devices to aid in mobility. Now navigation around the island, even with a wheelchair, is a breeze.
“The quartz countertops are gorgeous but still fit the comfortable style that the homeowner wanted,” Marske says. “And the heated quartz for the bar, which was a new project for us, means it’s always comfortable to sit and have breakfast there.”
Although the homeowners weren’t concerned about incorporating all the bells and whistles possible, the bonus features they did choose really enhance the comfort and convenience that was so important to them.
“I love the appliance garage. We can keep those things out of sight when we aren’t using them,” says the homeowner. “And the deep pull-out drawers in the island so that all the pans are right there in easy reach.”
“We placed the microwave above the range,” Marske says. “That gave us the opportunity to add some lighted display shelves above the microwave, which adds a pop of light and color.”
The original kitchen felt cramped and poorly planned, making it difficult for the family to enjoy cooking and gathering for meals. In the new space, everything has its place, and that’s made the home a comfortable place to be.
“We rarely used the dining room before,” says the homeowner. “This year we had a second Christmas tree in there and sat down to Christmas dinner where we could see both trees and easily go back and forth to the kitchen. It was wonderful.”
The view from the dining room table will be even better next year. The family asked AIM to work its magic on the family room next.
“If I had to sum up this project in one word, it would be ‘comfort’ I think,” Marske says. “The homeowner wanted it to be beautiful, but she wanted it to be a space where everyone felt comfortable, too.”
That’s exactly what she got. •
- Remodeler AIM Kitchen & Bath