Designed by: Kelly Serra Donovan renovation chaos
Now for the fun part! With the floor plan decided, it is time to get down to business and select products and finishes to fit within our overall vision of simplicity and warmth. Since our kitchen has to do double duty as food prep space and a dining area, we wanted to keep the surfaces simple, the traffic flow nimble and minimize the “kitchen” feel by choosing sleek appliances and furniture-like cabinetry. We are fortunate to have Bosch, Kohler, Silestone, Kessebohmer, Hafele and Kravet as sponsors, and each offered fantastic solutions that fit the bill perfectly.
For cabinets, the choice was a no-brainer: My mom's cabinetry line, Bornholm Kitchen, has a gorgeous Scandanavian aesthetic, with furniture-like legs and an open framework. But my favorite part is that the walnut cabinets have hand cutouts in place of hardware for a completely clean and unobtrusive look. Not only have I yet to meet a knob or handle that I truly loved, but the hand cutouts really help the cabinetry to resemble furniture you might see in a living room.
Bosch 30" single wall oven
Appliances were the next big decision. We chose to pair Bosch's 30” Induction Cooktop with their 30” Single Wall Oven. The cooktop sits nearly flush with the counter, and the wall oven tucks beneath it, without any knobs or dials to clutter our sleek façade. We kept the streamlined vibe going with a low-profile 36” Under Cabinet Ventilation unit and a 36” Counter-Depth Side-By-Side Refrigerator. Our dishwasher is the 24” Custom Panel Dishwasher—we picked the stainless steel finish to keep things neutral while adding a slight urban/industrial edge.
Kohler Karbon black faucet
For our sink, we went with Kohler’s Indio sink in a luscious grayish taupe shade called Cashmere. I went into this process thinking I had to have an apron-front sink to match my home’s farmhouse pedigree. However, in true "mom" fashion, our designer pressed us on that choice to make sure we wanted a truly rustic feel. I realized that while an apron-front sink might have been the best aesthetic fit for house as it once was, an undermount version would actually help us achieve the updated, modern feel we're going for. Our faucet is, perhaps, the coup d’état of the kitchen. Even I was surprised when I chose the Kohler Karbon faucet, which is simultaneously industrial, elegant and sculptural. We bypassed the "safe" stainless steel finish for black, which ties in nicely with other black decorative elements throughout the kitchen.
Silestone Grey Amazon countertops
I'm excited about the three different types of Silestone we chose to incorporate—it gives the kitchen a very custom look. Picking a shade was difficult, and further illuminated the kitchen vs. living space dichotomy. Originally we assumed we would go with white to play it safe and provide a bright, simple contrast to the walnut cabinetry. However, upon further reflection, it became clear that a darker color, more similar to the cabinetry, would offer a more elegant, furniture-like look. For our counter surfaces, we opted for Grey Amazon, a grayish taupe speckled with dark gray throughout that's a beautiful match to the Cashmere sink. A second shade, White Zeus, will be used for the shelves to the right of the sink, the shelf across the stove wall, the backsplash (in the rough Volcano finish), and a custom tabletop in the exact shape of my grandmother's vintage mid-century modern table. Our table will be accompanied by a custom-built (by us) banquette covered in wonderfully cozy steel gray fabric from Kravet.
To make the pantry and cabinet alongside the dishwasher more user-friendly, we chose Kessebohmer Dispensa pull-out cabinet inserts in a beautiful chrome/white finish. This will be a huge upgrade from my previous cabinetry organization—or lack thereof! With no inserts to speak of, our previous cabinets quickly became a tenuous pile of pots, pans, and melamine kiddie plates. We're also excited to have Kessebohmer’s Linero unit extending across the entire width of the backsplash to provide easy access to cooking tools, spices, paper towels and more—a definite plus when trying to keep up with two little ones.
Hafele will be designing and supplying a custom lighting scheme that will provide various levels of illumination depending on how we're using the space—cooking and prep, late night lounging, entertaining, etc. Previously, our kitchen was a one-trick pony. Sure, we could cobble together a meal, linger a bit after the last bite and clear the decks for daytime crafting with the kids, but none of those activities were given their fair share of atmospheric consideration. Now, we’ll be able to turn the lights up during the day and for meal prep, and set the mood when we sit down to dine with our family or for a quiet glass of wine after the kids are in bed. My husband is a stickler for setting a mood, and I know this lighting solution will be right up his alley.
Kelly and her husband, Dave, prepare to put in the new window.
With the products chosen, it was time for the real fun—demolition and construction!—to begin. The first step was replacing the window. My husband and brother were brave enough to take on this project while I tended to the kiddies in the backyard—in between helping to lift the window in and meticulously laying the roofing tape. It was truly a family affair, with each of us pitching in where we could and relying on teamwork to get it done. Once the huge new window was in, we could really appreciate my mom’s vision and were excited to keep the momentum going.
Kelly's daughter washes dishes in the bathroom during the kitchen renovation.
Next up was cabinet demo and floor refinishing. This meant clearing out the entire kitchen and living with all of our appliances, cabinet contents and dining table in our living room. Needless to say, this made for some pretty interesting playtime for the girls, and stressed out my neat-freak husband immensely. We eventually made peace with our cluttered existence, considering ourselves fortunate to be able to undergo such a kitchen renovation in the first place.
Check back next week to see how things are coming along—and get an inside look at the design decisions from my mom's point of view.