Asian-Inspired Redo Adds Forms & Function

Northbrook, IL— For jet-setters constantly on the move, coming home to peaceful, well-designed spaces like this Asian-inspired, open-plan kitchen is key. But for Trudy Tripple’s client, her existing kitchen just wasn’t giving her the retreat space she desired.

Tripple, a CKD who designs for DDK Kitchen Design, Inc. in Glenview, IL, notes: “Our client is an energetic senior citizen who loves to travel.” When home, however, the client likes to entertain, Tripple says, notinig that her existing kitchen made doing so a challenge.

Structured Settlement

Less a fussy foodie and more a microwave master, Tripple’s client needed a layout that would accommodate her style of cooking and entertaining.

According to Tripple, who worked with Chicago-based LB Interior Design, “When she entertains, it’s in her kitchen and family rooms, with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Those rooms were totally separated – it truly was a standalone kitchen. We removed the wall in between to make it one great big room.”

The structural change enabled Tripple to meet many of the client’s wishes, including creating a small wet bar that sits between the two rooms on one wall, making a functional island with improved work flow between prep, cook and clean-up areas, and creating seating in the kitchen where there was none previously.

Demolishing the wall also provided the team an opportunity to create a visual element that Tripple sees as the room’s key focal point.

“The wall we took down was load-bearing and required the installation of an I-beam. To conceal it, we dropped the ceiling down,” she says, adding that it allowed for the creation of a recessed space in the ceiling over the island.

“The ceiling within the recessed area features a warm, metallic wallpaper with cove halogen lighting, a spotlight that shines onto the island below and two minimal, boxy hanging fixtures,” Tripple adds.

Design Details

Having lived in the home for 40 years, Tripple’s client was ready for a big change. The design team worked with her to create a sophisticated Asian-inspired design, full of texture, color and natural elements such as stone, tile and wood.

She needed it all. “New appliances, a place to sit down, you name it,” says Tripple. “There wasn’t a breakfast bar, island or peninsula in the old kitchen. On the other side of the wall was a formal dining area.”

The first task was to create an island. And what an island Tripple created: The 82"x54" island, topped with 2.5" thick Cosmos granite, is the bold centerpiece of the room that directs the flow of traffic around it.

Black end panels provide a contrast to the wood veneer cabinetry found throughout the kitchen. There is a seating area with space for three on the far side of the island, while on the side that faces the cooktop, there is a knee space with a stool where Tripple’s client can sit while doing prep work, or while monitoring something on the stove.

The perimeter cabinetry, custom Dutch Made Afrormosia wood veneer cabinetry, was made to be slightly shorter than average height, to accommodate the 2.5"-thick Cosmos granite countertops that also line the base cabinetry. The grain pattern is matched between door fronts all the way around the kitchen.

Tripple and her design team made considerations for aging-in-place, as well. In addition to specifying convenience features such as pull-outs, roll-outs, Magic Corner shelves and drawers, the aisles were also taken into consideration when formulating the layout.

“We made sure we had really wide aisles so that, in the future, should she develop some kind of physical impairment, she could still get around her new kitchen,” Tripple states. “The aisles are very wide; we could have made the island even larger, but we didn’t in consideration of keeping that extra aisle space free for a walker or wheelchair.”

A critical transition is the small wet bar that rides the wall beside the wall of cabinetry where a Dacor double oven and warming drawer are found beside an integrated 736 Sub-Zero refrigerator which hides behind Afrormosia panels. Featuring a Marvel wine refrigerator, the space includes black painted cabinetry, open wine storage and a bar sink and faucet.

For more about this project, click here.

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