Design Details Add Visual Drama

Atlanta, GA — A major benefit of having a kitchen designer work on a project is that a professional can look beyond the existing footprint and see the potential of a space. The clients of Becky Sue Becker, CMKBD, CAPS, certainly appreciated this ability when they commissioned the designer – owner of Kitchen & Bath Designs by BSB in Lawrenceville, GA – to transform their Atlanta kitchen. Becker worked with Atlanta contractor Parkman Properties to transform the space.

The home had gone through a number of previous renovations, including one that extended the home but left supporting walls.

“The old kitchen was small, crowded and lacked counter space for prep work,” says the designer. The previous layout included a peninsula that left an awkward, essentially useless space at one end of the kitchen. “My goal was to update the kitchen and open it up to the living area to enhance family conversation and entertaining.”

While Becker couldn’t entirely remove any of the support walls, she did open up an expanse along one of them to expose the kitchen to the living area.

After removing much of the wall, she encased its header in a rustic wood facade to add interest. It complements the new peninsula, which functions more as an island to separate the kitchen and living area. Private-label custom maple cabinetry by BSB features a custom blend stain and provides storage for mixing bowls, utensils, knives, etc.

The peninsula/island includes a hidden niche at one end, with just enough space to tuck a stool so the cook can enjoy a cup of coffee, watch TV or read the newspaper. Copper pendants suspended from the ceiling add a finishing touch to the area.

Eliminate Monotony

With seating for three, this peninsula/island was designed to be the center of the prep zone, which is an important consideration given the length of the kitchen. “It’s 21'8" from the face of the refrigerator and ovens to the wall of windows,” she says. This extensive distance proved to be one of the biggest challenges when transforming the space, Becker stresses. “It equates to a long walk from one work station to another,” she says.

This extended length also had the potential to create a visually tedious wall of cabinets. To prevent that from happening, Becker varied the elements and the depths of those elements used along that wall.

In particular, the appliance center – which houses a coffee maker, toaster and blender – protrudes 6" deeper into the kitchen than the rest of the cabinetry (18" for upper cabinets and 30" for lower cabinets). Its butcher block top also provides a visual break from the adjoining length of Carrara marble countertop, which is repeated on the peninsula/island.

“I wanted to minimize the monotony of a long wall of cabinets,” says Becker. “Changing cabinetry depths and countertop materials adds interest.”

The custom-designed hood, with Vent-A-Hood liner, also breaks up the expanse of cabinetry, as does the Wolf range. “The clients wanted to keep the hood understated to maintain the cottage architecture of the kitchen and the rest of the home,” Becker explains. “This style isn’t typically elaborate, so I wanted to design with minimal details and clean lines.”

This expanse of wall also includes an interior window over the sink that provides visual access into an office/mud room area Becker previously remodeled. It ends at the wall of windows which, according to the designer, takes center stage given the wide entrance – 40"-plus – the clients desired from the formal dining room at the opposite end of the room.

The nearly floor-to-ceiling windows are encased in white trim and soothing, blue paint, which was custom blended to meet the clients’ needs. Waterworks 6"x6" glass tile enhances the feel, while custom cabinets by BSB feature beaded inset doors and drawers to support the overall cottage feel.

Lifestyle Details

Becker worked diligently to incorporate details with the family’s lifestyle in mind. A stainless steel rack above the range – which flips up and out of the way when not in use – serves as a warming shelf. Halogen lights keep the food warm, as does a fully integrated Dacor warming drawer positioned to the left of the range.

“My clients are a busy family with teenage kids,” she says. “These two items are a big benefit when people eat at different times. Everyone can have a warm meal, without having to do constant reheats.”

A custom stainless steel shelf between the KitchenAid microwave and oven pulls out to serve as a quick landing space. Becker added another pull-out shelf and a mounted spice rack near the range. A deep, tall pantry next to the refrigerator includes roll-out shelves, while drawers feature dividers for organized storage.

The appliance center also enhances the family’s busy lifestyle, frequently pulling double-duty as a breakfast area as well as a chopping/prepping zone.