Project Spotlight: Kitchen countered

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Normandy Remodeling converts confined kitchen into sprawling galley.

April 24, 2013
A 78-inch long, 36-inch high island outfitted with granite countertop and built-

A 78-inch long, 36-inch high island outfitted with granite countertop and built-in display shelves serves as the centerpiece of

When Stephanie Bryant began discussing a potential kitchen renovation with the Freemans in late 2010, the residential designer worked from a distinct advantage: familiarity.

Bryant had fashioned a master suite and, more importantly, a family room extension for the clients’ 1920s home in LaGrange, Ill., in 2001. The Freemans now wanted to expand their kitchen and connect it to the family room that Bryant and Hinsdale, Ill.-based design-build firm Normandy Remodeling reconstructed 10 years beforehand.

The company’s intimate knowledge of the Freeman residence sharpened its approach to the kitchen project and prevented the unforeseen obstacles that many remodelers encounter during a job. Bryant started plotting the design in January 2011, and the Freemans agreed to her plans for a $113,000 kitchen renovation on March 22, 2011.

Tear down to build up

The existing kitchen, pinched between the dining room and breakfast room, constricted movement and limited interaction with the enlarged family room adjacent to the breakfast room at the front of the house. Normandy concluded a slight addition would be necessary to unite the two spaces.


Company: Normandy Remodeling
Owner:  Reg Marzec
Location: Hinsdale, Ill.
2012 sales volume: $19 million
Projected 2013 sales volume: $23 million

“We approached the project by defining what the footprint would be of the new kitchen,” says Bryant. “We knew that we would have to put on a small addition to be able to connect the existing kitchen with the existing family room.”

Construction began August 25, 2011. Normandy removed the exterior walls in the northwest corner of the residence that enclosed the breakfast room to extend the space about 50 square feet for the kitchen addition. The second story of the home had to be supported while a new concrete foundation was poured for the addition.


Disposer: InSinkErator
Range: Wolf
Hood blower: BEST
Microwave: Sharp
Refrigerator: Sub Zero
Beverage center: KitchenAid
Cabinets: Custom
Kitchen tile: Custom
Kitchen sink: Vigo
Kitchen sink strainer: Kohler
Kitchen sink faucet: Grohe
Water dispenser: Brasstech
Perimeter countertop: Stone Design
Island countertop: Marble & Granite Supply of Illinois
Crawl space door: ProBuild
Casement windows: Pella

Normandy also widened the threshold between the original kitchen and dining room to embrace the new open floor plan and improve traffic flow.

The company’s acquaintance with the home allowed Normandy to dissect the project immediately and know what to expect even before arriving at the jobsite.

“They wanted to enlarge their kitchen, and we knew that’s how we were going to accomplish the design of connecting the kitchen with the existing family room,” says Bryant.

The kitchen addition created supplementary crawl space in the residence’s foundation, which was accessible via double doors and concrete stairs from outside the home’s north side. The stairs were not altered as part of the renovation, but a new cellar door and frame were required after construction.

The double-hung window in the breakfast room that faced west was removed and reinstalled in the new west exterior wall, which now lined up with the front of the home and the mudroom. The window in the breakfast room that faced north was removed and saved, but two new casement windows were installed in the new north exterior wall.

Normandy finished the new exterior walls with pre-stained cedar lap siding and the roof with 30-year architectural asphalt shingles, which were used on the rest of the house. The firm installed new aluminum fascia, soffit, gutters, and oversized downspouts at the addition to match the home’s existing style and character.

Inside, an existing soffit between the original kitchen and breakfast room threatened to impede the installation of new cabinets along the northern wall of the addition; instead of trying to remove the soffit, Normandy decided to rearrange the layout slightly and accommodate it.

“[The soffit] looked like a structural beam that was surrounded to look like it was there all the time,” says Andy Healy, project superintendent for Normandy. “The transition made it look like part of the original design.”

Building Department revisions on June 6, 2011, called for a 16-inch-by-8-inch adjustable-screen back crawl-space vent in the addition’s north side and 10-inch-long galvanized steel anchor bolts in the foundation where the new west exterior wall met the existing mudroom.

Interior and exterior structural changes set the stage for a complete transformation of a cramped, disconnected space into an uncongested, inclusive kitchen area.

Long and flowing design

The Freemans already had an idea of the types of appliances they wanted; as a result, Bryant plugged in the sizes of their preferences to help render a re-imagined kitchen design. The Freemans supplied the new appliances, which were not included in the project’s estimated and total cost, and Normandy installed them.

The company removed the range from the original kitchen and installed a 36-inch range with a 63-inch mantle hood along the newfound 14-½-foot wall on the addition’s north side. A beverage center in the northwest corner of the addition and a microwave drawer adjacent to the original kitchen space flanked the new range and hood.

Normandy removed the Freemans’ old refrigerator, relocated it to the basement, and replaced it with a stainless model, which they installed in the corner of the original kitchen where the range had been. In the space formerly occupied by the refrigerator, the firm built a new pantry with a frosted glass entry door and five medium-density fiberboard shelves.

Normandy laid down new maple hardwood flooring throughout the remodeled kitchen but reversed the direction of the hardwood in the original kitchen, so that it ran east and west and was perpendicular to the floor joists between that space and the addition.

The centerpiece of the remodeled kitchen was a 78-inch long, 36-inch high snack counter in the middle of what was once the breakfast room. An open display with three shelves built into the east end of the island created ample space for books and knick-knacks. Normandy outfitted the island with a granite countertop, which differed from the Caesarstone the firm used on the perimeter countertop.

“They had a very small kitchen that was a cramped space,” says Healy. “Now with partitions being removed and the outside corner of the addition, they have a long, flowing wall of beautiful countertops and a long space that’s utilized with a big island that could be used for basically 75 percent of the meals if they choose.”

The Freemans revised the architectural plans June 30, 2011, to alter the size of the two new casement windows on the addition’s north side and include one-by-four trim around them. They revised the plans again July 19 to specify different product selections, including the hood blower, pantry door, cellar doors, cabinets, perimeter countertop, and kitchen tiles.

The Freemans submitted one change order for $419 during construction when they decided to go with a different kitchen sink and faucet combination. The addendum increased the final cost of the project to $113,419.

Complete satisfaction

Normandy completed the kitchen renovation January 27, 2012. The Freemans, who had one daughter in high school and another in middle school, were delighted with the results.

“They love that they can interact with [their daughters] from the family room,” says Bryant.

The Freemans particularly enjoyed the new large kitchen island, which came in handy during the holidays when the family entertained guests and hosted parties. The family has referred four projects to Normandy since the renovation, adds Bryant.

The seamless transition between the original kitchen and the remodeled kitchen made the addition and open floor plan seem natural.

“The nice part about doing a project like that is if you walk into the house, it doesn’t look like there was an addition put on there,” says Healy. “We love for someone to come in and not be able to tell there was any renovation.” PR

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