Text by: Tiffany Carboni, Editorial Contributor
Home, sweet home. These are words this Austin, Texas couple lives by despite having outgrown their small, walled-off 1970’s kitchen they’d been living with for years. Though they looked for larger, more modern houses in the area, they couldn’t bring themselves to leave their happy abode.
The couple stopped their real estate hunt, deciding instead to invite Designer Julie Evans to work her magic and reconstruct them a kitchen big enough for them to live, cook, and entertain in unrestrictedly.
Evans granted their request by demolishing the barriers dividing the kitchen, breakfast room and adjacent study, all of which were too small and claustrophobic as individual entities. “By opening everything up,” the designer explains, “we were able to create new ceiling angles that still conformed to the existing roofline, and a centralized space for everything the couple wanted.”
The new eat-in kitchen allows access to the backyard by way of wide French doors, a comfortable sitting area to kick back for a little television viewing and loads of space for cooking and entertaining groups of all sizes. The island is the room’s central nervous system. The eight-by-three foot custom unit offers unobstructed tabletop usage—save for the sink—ideal for food preparations and large buffets. The alder cabinets topped with quartzite double as a built-in library, TV stand and generous storage capacity. “We used every square inch of the island to maximize its efficiency,” notes Evans. “Cabinets are typically 24” deep, but with this we were able to create storage spaces much deeper on the horizontal sides while still allowing for stools to tuck under. Frequently used tools are on the stove side and seasonal items are kept on stool side.
The room’s dynamic new roofline and skylights make for a bright, airy feel that allows for the unexpected dark colors the homeowners were excited to use. The strong earth tones were determined by the antique furniture and eclectic collection of textiles from the couples’ travels around the world. Red was the common denominator to their prized pieces, the exposed ceiling beam and mesquite flooring that Evans chose for its durability as much as its native Texas charisma. Grey was used for the wall cabinets as a neutral backdrop allowing the reds to pop and the stainless steel appliances to blend inconspicuously into the background. The white countertops and cream-colored walls serve as a visual resting place while modern school light fixtures were added to delight the retired schoolteacher’s sense of whimsy and nostalgia.
What was a trifecta of small, claustrophobia-inducing rooms is now the personalized kitchen the homeowners always wanted. This is in fact their home, sweet home.