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Kitchen Case Study: Tips and Products that Can Bring Your Design to the Next Level

Designing a kitchen is a bit like solving a puzzle, eventually all the pieces come together and it all makes sense from both a visual as well as a functional perspective.  This new kitchen design in Wellington Florida is a great example of that. Today I’d like to share with you an inside peek at the process and how we got from drab to amazing in ten million easy steps.

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Reinventing White Shaker Cabinets

There’s a reason why white Shaker  cabinets are so hot; it’s because they are so versatile, just like pasta, the final result depends on what you put with it.  Not only can you get this style in any price point but you can make it work with your own unique design style. Today I thought we’d take a look at some very different successful results all using garden- variety white Shaker cabinets.

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Applying the Elements of Design to Your Kitchen

Elements of design are the building blocks of art for good reason. They also happen to work when it comes to planning and laying out your kitchen. Whether you are all about luxury or bound to the basics, awareness of these fundamentals can make all the difference.



Panels around peninsula reflect architecture of the house. Cool bar stools by Kyle Wells Design.

Ta daaaaa!  Another beautiful kitchen is complete, and yes it’s white with Shaker doors.  Surprise!  Not.  There were two main challenges about working in this home.  First of all the architecture is very unique and is an integral part of the space.  It’s comprised of posts and beams, angles and open lofts which remind me of a ship.  The second challenge was a lack of unity with way too much going on visually.  The existing kitchen had three different types of counter tops, two different types of cabinets and more stuff than space.  In addition, hinges and drawer slides were failing and paint was chipping.

The homeowners came equipped with the most valuable of traits, an open mind.  They were willing to see their kitchen and laundry area in a new way.  Every step of the design process we would ask ourselves “does this unify and simplify”?  Think “nautical zen”!

First off I decided to make peace with the posts and beams.  The layout remained the same and we didn’t even change the door style or color!  What we did was improve the fit and function.  Using all white counters unified the space and allowed the blue granite back splash to be the star of the show.  Here are some “before” pix and “after” solutions which will pave the way for smooth sailing in this new kitchen.

This was the peninsula before. See the new and improved above!


This existing refrigerator just didn't fit. It overlapped the casing of the door on the right. This built-in model was not built-in!


Before we also had a traffic jam on the left of the fridge with beams, posts and different ceiling heights!


The homeowners had to face facts and downsize the fridge. What they gave up in space they made up in style. Oh, and they kept the other one in the garage. Now it's built-in and it fits! We dealt with the beam by allowing the refrigerator cabinetry to stand alone.

Traffic jam on the left is also solved. By clearing the beam we were able to go higher with the upper cabinet plus we added an appliance garage below to keep things neat and tidy.

This is Mindi showing off her new kitchen.


Before, radius drawers were failing from weight and inadequate slides and guess what? The cook top didn't fit either.


We unified the space by using matching cabinets and creating a proper fit for the new Wolf gas cook top. Acid etched glass subtly conceals contents of cabinets.


This is Max. He's into hockey, he likes to dream big and he loves to cook so he's really happy about the new kitchen.


We added some hidden conveniences. This is the spice cabinet extraordinare!


This is the pantry/laundry room before


...and here it is after.


Last but not least, this cute little family member was very accommodating through the entire process.



Glass doors above ref/fre add lightness and enhance the open feeling. Cabinets by Holiday Kitchens.

I can’t believe I’ve been back a week already!  I guess it’s time to refocus on Florida.  What better way than to share this kitchen from my portfolio? Yes, it is the quintessential “Florida” kitchen but you don’t have to live in Florida to have one.  If you have a yearning for the tropics year-round, this could be the perfect storm (poor choice of words) solution for you.   This combination of white, stainless and shades of blue green that call to mind the ocean make this a Florida dream kitchen that you can apply to your own home.

The cooking area is it's own vignette, beautiful and very functional.

I always say the best projects are the result of great collaboration and this beautiful kitchen was certainly the result of that.  The house is located in a new development and came with a builder-grade offering of unremarkable cabinetry.  The new design includes a few tweaks.   One priority for this young mom was to have a very open feel to her kitchen.  We even wanted to remove the wall between the kitchen and butler’s pantry.  That was not to be as it turned out to be structural.  Plan two was to open it up so that you could at least see through it.  I think you’ll agree it worked really well.


Kitchen flows into the Butler's Pantry (right) which leads into the Dining Room


The cabinetry is by Holiday Kitchens, Inc.  The door style is called Seattle and it is wood with white paint.  Counter tops are white quartz and the dramatic backsplash is penny tile.  A penny tile is a round penny-sized mosaic tile that comes in sheets for easy installation.  Appliances include a full sized 36” refrigerator and freezer by SubZero, a built-in wall oven and a handy microwave drawer by Sharp.  Now all you need is a sturdy pair of flip flops and a stylin pair of  shades to complete the ensemble.


Floating shelves show off penny tiled wall, with storage and wine cooler below.

A nod to the little one. My client's 4 year-old enjoys her own little section of the island.

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