Updated Kitchen

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This 1950s kitchen was in desperate need of an update. SawHorse was able to bring it into the 21st century by blending modern features with traditional looks.

April 01, 2007

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The new design incorporates warm cherry woodtones to help integrate the modern kitchen into the traditional home.
After photos by Scott Wang Photography Inc.

With a beautiful lot on a lake, this 1950s Atlanta home was immediately attractive to potential buyers. Unfortunately, the kitchen was dated and cramped, leaving much to be desired. Despite that, the new owners decided to take advantage of the prime location and turned to SawHorse in Atlanta to create the interior they wanted.

"They were a younger couple, and they wanted a kitchen that fit the way they lived," says designer Maribeth Gaines. "They wanted to reorganize the space and create a much bigger kitchen that was suitable for entertaining."

The space to be remodeled included a kitchen, a dining room and a den. SawHorse removed the walls separating each to create one large room, with an informal eating area where the den used to be and a seating area for entertaining replacing the formal dining room, which was moved to the other side of the foyer.

"They really wanted it to be one big area," Gaines says. "It was all about creating open spaces that allowed them to cook and entertain, all in one place. We really just had to use every square inch possible."

Making the Space Work

In addition to wanting more space, the homeowners also presented an additional challenge to the designers. They wanted to convert the small powder room adjacent to the kitchen into a full bathroom because the first floor didn't have one.

Before

To accommodate the request and not take too much space from the kitchen, SawHorse opted to push the bathroom out into what had been a hallway connecting the den to the foyer. The change also helped flow visitors into the new entertaining area when they entered through the front door.

In the bathroom, SawHorse pushed the shower into the back corner to make it less visible.

"It's used more often as a powder room, so we wanted to keep that feel," Gaines says. "From outside the room you don't really see the shower, so it helps keep that illusion."

Another important decision SawHorse made: remove the door that had gone directly from the garage to the kitchen, which would lead people to come in through the laundry room/mud room and then enter the new seating area.

"We wanted to keep the kitchen area as uninterrupted as possible," Gaines says. "We wanted to preserve that open feeling of one connected space."

Although the room needed to feel connected, the design team also wanted to give each area its own personality.

SawHorse used wood bases to tie the bar area into the rest of the kitchen, while the glass cabinets and stainless steel backsplash helped to separate it from the rest of the room.

"We wanted to tie it all together, but separate each area as well," Gaines says. "So we used different backsplashes and cabinet styles to give each area a unique feel."

In the cooking area, a cherry finish adds warmth to the base and wall cabinets. That theme carries into the wet bar area, but there SawHorse had only base cabinets, with a large custom-made stainless steel backsplash. The bar area transitions into the entertainment area, so glass cabinets were added above the counters and along the wall.

"The kitchen had to be practical, but with the bar we wanted to take a more fun approach with the strange, wavy stainless steel," Gaines says.

The backsplash was designed by a local artist/metal worker to give it a three-dimensional look of wrapping around the wall and turning under it. The team left the area above the backsplash empty to allow the homeowners to mount a piece of art from their extensive collection.

"In the seating area, we stopped the steel and went to the glass because we wanted it to feel more formal," Gaines says.

SawHorse also chose the glass cabinets and shallow countertops in the seating area to allow the homeowners to display art and other items, as opposed to using the storage space needed in the kitchen.

"It was a very large space, so it was important to mix as many materials as possible," Gaines says. "Otherwise, with a kitchen that large, you run the risk of it becoming mundane."

Blending with Tradition

Design and material choices were also important in integrating the kitchen with the rest of the home. The exterior of the home was untouched and much of the interior was not being remodeled, so SawHorse had to be sure the new kitchen was not jarringly different from the home's traditional style.

 "The clients wanted sleek and new — a very contemporary look — but I really wanted to help them blend it a little bit better with the house," Gaines says. "We managed to talk them into warmer wood tones, which really helped make it part of the house."

That's a challenge in many of the kitchens the company remodels for clients looking for modern conveniences in traditional homes.

"When you give homeowners the reason behind the changes, they're open to it," Gaines says. "They don't want to create something that is out of whack."

This project is representative of the type of kitchen work SawHorse's clients ask the firm to take on. With most people looking for bigger and better, many projects cost $80,000 or more.

"They wanted something where people would come in and say, 'Wow, this is a big kitchen,'" Gaines says. "That's what we're seeing clients ask for these days. They want as big a space as possible."

In this case, the size of the home allowed the client to preserve a formal dining room, but many homeowners instead choose to do away with it all together.

"Many people will opt to just absorb that space in favor of a larger kitchen with an informal eating area," Gaines says. "We still find that people want someplace that the family can sit down together, but they just don't want that formal room. They want spaces where they can hang out."

 

Products List

Appliances: GE, Jenn-Air, Kenmore, Maytag, Whirlpool Cabinets: KraftMaid Countertops: Ceasarstone, Cambria Faucets: Kohler, Newport Brass, Brizo Flooring: Mannington Lighting: Halo Sinks: Elkay

Project Timeline
(For complete Timeline payments and Budget History, see page 32 in the April issue.) 

Date Event Payments
OCT. 4, 2005 Construction begins/demolition
14,2005 Start of rough mechanicals
17, 2005 Start of framing
31, 2005 Start of drywall
NOV. 28, 2005 Start of cabinet installation
DEC. 9, 2005 Start of interior paint
JAN. 6, 2006 Start to finish electrical
FEB. 9, 2006 Project completion

Company Snapshot

SawHorse

Location: Atlanta
Owner: Jerome Quinn
Type of company: Design/build
2006 sales volume: $4.8 million
Projected 2007 volume: $5.5 million
Contact: www.sawhorse.net
Biggest challenge: Updating the kitchen to meet modern needs while still blending with a traditional home

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