Kitchen, Bath Reno Go for Big Design Impact in Small Space


The couple who owns this home dreamed big. They wanted a contemporary kitchen on a grand scale that was packed full of professional-style appliances and plenty of drama and pizzazz.

What they had was a traditional style home, located here, and an existing kitchen that measured a mere 156 sq. ft.

They went to Drury Design Kitchen & Bath Studio in Glen Ellyn, IL and met with Amy Bodell, CKD, Allied ASID. They told her about their remodeling hopes and design dreams, about how they host their entire family at holidays, entertain friends frequently and cook meals each weekend large enough to last the week. They told her they wanted a contemporary look that would fit into a traditional setting. Then they told Bodell that she could only use the footprint of the existing kitchen.

"That was definitely a challenge," recalls Bodell, "to be confined to such a small space and be told that they wanted all of the bells and whistles that much larger kitchens can hold - a double sink, 36" cooktop, 42" refrigerator, double ovens, microwave, pantry, a corner cabinetry that needed 48" of space, an island, etc."

Indeed, Bodell had to pack a lot of visual and functional punch inside the existing footprint of the 14-year-old kitchen, which had poor lighting and an L-shaped island that blocked traffic flow. She was able to make her clients' dream of a big, dramatic, modern and professional-style kitchen come true despite the small space in which she had to work by playing with the heights and angles. She also created design impact in the small adjacent powder room using the same principles and a similar design vocabulary.


Bodell started her plans in the kitchen. She knew she couldn’t fit everything in there, and that some items may have to be sacrificed. She also knew that she must be careful in her choice of impact pieces to ensure the small kitchen was neither boring nor too busy.

Bodell started with the Leicht cabinetry. "They wanted all of the storage bells and whistles this line had, but I talked them into scaling back a bit and going for a simple door style," explains Bodell.

The style-European cherry wood with Avium doors and some frosted Croco glass inset panels-worked to set the contemporary tone while adding the warmth needed to make it blend into home's overall traditional style. She also staggered the cabinet heights to lend visual interest.

The next great compromise was the island. "Again, they wanted a huge island, plus room enough to have a table and chairs, even though they had a nearby dining room. The reason they wanted the seating was that when they entertain, they like to have everyone in the kitchen," relates Bodell.

Her solution was to create a scaled-down version of the island her clients desired and nix the eating area. She made it fit by angling the ends of two runs of cabinetry. The solution served to break of the linear lines of the kitchen, notes Bodell.

To add impact, and softness, she installed a round butcher block top over a curved liquor cabinet at one end of the island, and a taller, lighted display cabinet at the other end of it. She finished the island by topping the middle portion of it with New Venetian Gold granite.

The same granite tops were installed throughout the rest of the kitchen. They meshed well with the colorful, custom-made glass backsplash and the Mexican shellstone 12"x12" floor tiles with randomly placed 4"x4" Bisazza glass deco accent squares. "The tiles on the floor and the backsplash were installed on the diagonal to create more visual interest and give the illusion of more space," notes Bodell.

In terms of design, last, but not least, is the unique cooktop backsplash. The true focal point of this kitchen, the backsplash was made by Sheri Law Art Glass, Ltd. in Lockport, IL using gold and silver leaf and artistically painted, carved, 3/8"-thick glass mounted onto a stainless steel back.

The combination of tiles, glass, granite tops and cherry cabinetry came together to form a mainly gold and beige palette. All played a part in adding drama, movement and warmth to the design, states Bodell. "The main backsplash also has a lot of golds, greens, reds and yellows that help reinforce that sentiment," she adds.

In terms of function, Bodell was able to incorporate many of the larger, professional-style appliances into the kitchen by scaling back the size on a few of them, such as the Thermador 36" refrigerator. "They originally wanted a 42" refrigerator," she remembers. She was able to install the aforementioned cooktop in the size the clients wanted: 36". She chose a Thermador model. A Best by Broan hood finishes the function in that area.

Bodell further installed a Thermador double oven and warming drawer, plus a Panasonic microwave underneath the island countertop and a Miele dishwasher to the left of the Franke double sink and KWC faucet. Sphere pendant accents over the island adds style, while a light bridge over the cooktop area using Task puck lights adds function.


The powder room started out as just a simple sink, faucet and toilet upgrade, remembers Bodell, but evolved into a stunning example of design.

"When the owners started talking to me about the powder room, they were concerned about cost. So we first agreed to do a simple upgrade," explains Bodell. "But as they saw the progress of the kitchen and saw how cool it was turning out, they decided they wanted the powder room to be on the same level. They then decided that they wanted something no they knew had."

Complying with the couple's request, Bodell ultimately found a vanity in Anigre wood and a glass vessel sink from Vitraform. "I took them to see it in a place I found that had it on the showroom floor, and they fell in love with it. We brought the vanity and vessel together with a black glass countertop and mirror from Vitraform, as well as a Vola wall-mount faucet with stainless steel finish," she elaborates.

The Anigre wood has the same warm tone as the cherry wood in the kitchen, and the black countertop and mirror contrast with the red seen in the kitchen. Bodell pulled more red from the kitchen and created more visual impact behind the vanity, and the adjacent TOTO USA, Inc. toilet, by mixing 3"x3" red Crossville tiles with red and black Bisazza mosaic tiles. The other three walls received a neutral-colored faux finish. She then anchored the powder room with same floor tiles and accent squares used in the kitchen.

Lighting from Tech Lighting on a dimmer over the glass bowl adds drama to the vanity, while a fan/light combination adds overall function.