A Johnston family gives their home a fresh new look.
Story by Carol McGarvey
Photography by Mirza Kudic
Featured in Spring 2023
For one Johnston family, remodel projects are nothing new. But when they reached out to Ankeny’s Kitchen & Bath Company last year to begin remodeling their current home, they took a different approach.
“We’d done several other remodels,” the homeowners say, “but we always started at the top of the house and worked our way down. We’d move in, work through the house, and then sell it when we were done.”
The problem with that approach was that they never got to enjoy a newly remodeled kitchen. So this time, they flipped their typical plan and started by giving the main living spaces a fresh new look.
Maria Bramer of Kitchen & Bath Company says the homeowners were flexible on their style choices but had some key elements in mind. “There were some specific changes to be made, like the corner sink and window in the kitchen. But we just wanted the overall style to suit the home, which gave us some freedom in making those selections.”
The homeowners knew they wanted to incorporate some black finishes in the kitchen. And they were looking for a design that reflected the updated traditional look of the home’s exterior.
“Although we considered using all-black cabinetry, the kitchen is on the north side of the home and doesn’t get a lot of natural light. Too much black would have made the room feel dark all the time,” Bramer says. Instead, the finished design features black cabinetry on the new island and a creamy white cabinetry along the walls.
The contractor, Done Right Construction, created a striking custom range hood with the same black finish as the island. A new glass-front built-in provides storage and display space along a previously empty wall.
“The original layout with the corner sink and a tiny island was not very user-friendly,” says the homeowner. “I always felt like I had my back to everyone when I was at the sink, and the window looked out over the neighbor’s yard, not ours.”
Now the spacious island offers plenty of storage as well as dining space, and the kitchen opens to the newly remodeled family room.
“We were replacing the floors as part of the kitchen project, which led to new flooring throughout the main level,” says Bramer. The wide-plank wood laminate with its light finish served as the ideal contrast to the cabinetry while complementing what remains of the home’s original golden oak trim.
Bramer says, “A lot of the trim was replaced when doing the floors, so the main level isn’t dominated by the yellow oak trim any more. That’s more consistent with the way designers are using trim now. When it isn’t painted, wood is typically mixed so the finishes are more mixed and everything isn’t all the same color.”
Along with replacing trim, the remodel included updating the fireplace wall in the family room adjoining the new kitchen. It was previously a wall of oak built-ins. Bramer designed furniture-style shelving that complements the new kitchen cabinetry.
“The homeowners wanted to bring in more of the matte black finish into the design without making the space feel too dark,” Bramer says. “So we created these units with open shelving and enclosed storage finished to match the look of the kitchen.”
The fireplace surround and mantel are a focal point in the comfortable space, adding subtle drama to the design.
“That fireplace wall is one of my favorite features,” says the homeowner. “We wanted something more modern looking, but Kitchen & Bath Company had never done a full quartz slab wall and mantel like that before, so it was new for everyone. It turned out beautifully.”
Unlike how they’ve felt after their previous remodel projects, the homeowners are getting full benefit of the newly designed living spaces as they work their way through some smaller remodel projects around the home.
“We’ve been working on the rest of the main level,” the homeowners say, “making the laundry room a little more efficient and updating it and the half bath.”
The next big project is finishing the lower level, they say. “There are things we’d like to do upstairs, but we’re doing everything out of our usual order this time. We realized we need a place for our son to play. He’s big enough now, and the toys keep getting bigger, too. So having a space for him that isn’t in the middle of everything else became more of a priority.”
If the main level is any indication, the homeowners will flip the idea of a “play space” on its head and give it a fresh new twist, too. •
- Remodeler Kitchen & Bath Company
- Contractor Done Right Construction