More light, more space, more outside views, more connection to the rest of the house…these are just a few requests Milwaukee/NARI members hear when homeowners want to update their kitchens. People not only want their kitchen to be functional, but they also want it to reflect their personal style and seasoned with a bit of the “wow” factor.
Members of Milwaukee/NARI, celebrating 50 years as the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling resource, offer examples of recent remodels that took kitchens from simple to sensational.
Cabinetry Star of the Show
“As with many projects in older homes, the challenge is to re-design and build to accommodate the needs and wants of today’s family while maintaining the integrity of the old home and do so in a manner that is consistent with the look, feel, and comfort of these beautiful homes,” said Jim Wirtz, president of Jim Wirtz’s Woodworks, Milwaukee. “In this case, the homeowners had a desire for an updated kitchen for their 1916 Prairie style home that included open access to an outdoor patio, which would serve as replacement for an old and unsightly deck. It was important that the choice of materials was consistent with the age of the home and the simple clean style of the Craftsman period.”
The existing kitchen had been modified in the 1970s; however the original layout, which was actually two separate rooms (small kitchen and back porch/eating area) had never been changed. Wirtz combined these two rooms into a functional, updated space. Now the focal point of the new kitchen is the warm quarter-sawn oak custom cabinetry, including a built-in china cabinet.
Golden granite countertops with a slate backsplash contribute to the numerous work areas and an Old-World feel. Storage areas abound and include a food pantry, utility closet, wine rack, appliance garage, custom message center, and cedar lined coat closet. The center work island features a large double sink, dishwasher and recycling drawer, with a round elevated table. Red oak flooring and mission style lighting were chosen to match the existing features of the home. The result is a well-designed, livable kitchen and outdoor space that blends with the rest of this period home.
A View to the Garden
Young-at-heart homeowners who wanted their kitchen transformed into a warm and inviting space where they could cook and entertain while enjoying the beautiful natural landscape that surrounded their home called upon Design Tech Remodeling, Milwaukee.
“This renovation transformed an outdated, lackluster, disjointed 1950s kitchen into an environment that is warm, spacious, efficient, and inviting,” said Masha Wagner, owner of Design Tech Remodeling. “This new space is now the perfect spot to dine and entertain with friends.”
The project began by removing the soffits and installing pecan stained cherry cabinets. The upper cabinets were extended to the ceiling to provide extra storage and were accentuated by three-piece crown moldings. The 12-foot quartz-topped island that seats up to six people provided a harmonious contrast to the finish of the cabinetry. It was placed in front of a new 10-foot French sliding patio door so that they could enjoy their magnificent garden as they dined.
Enhancements included recessed lighting with bronze bezels, hand rubbed bronze pendants with frosted globes, and a matching light over the eating area. The final artistic elements were the use of the rich brown color on the walls and a Noce travertine backsplash with randomly placed dark gray, taupe, tan and red glass tiles.
Keeping in Character
In a design by Remodeling Innovations Group, Brookfield, a plain Jane kitchen was taken to bold and beautiful. “The homeowners wanted to keep with the character of the house, but wished to enhance their cooking experience and have a welcoming area to entertain,” said Matthew Griggs, Remodeling Innovations Group president. “Whenever we do a kitchen remodel, we try to keep the existing natural characteristics. We also design so the kitchen area flows with the rest of the house.”
By keeping the room the same size and removing a dropped header and creating a flush header, Griggs was able to better utilize the space and create more room for cabinets and the island, which was at the top of their wish list. The island included a double waste container, slide-out spice cabinet, and a foldaway system for a mixer. “This couple does a lot of cooking, so by enlarging the room, it also created space for bigger and better built-in appliances,” he said.
“To keep the character and flow of the home’s existing cabinets, the kitchen’s custom-built cherry cabinets included details like inset flat panel doors and beadboard,” he said.
The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 800 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.
For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI's Remodeling Guide,” call 414-771-4071 or visit the Council’s website at www.milwaukeenari.org.
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