- Jennifer Chartier
The Eatwell Kitchen - “Restore + Restyle”
Meet the Eatwell Kitchen project, a textbook illustration that stunning transformations can happen without starting from scratch.
When the Elwell family, an active party of 5, purchased their home in one of Huntsville’s most breathtaking mountain communities, the kitchen was begging for a refresh. It wasn’t exactly their style, and at nearly 15 years old, the worn kitchen cabinets were showing their age. The space didn’t just need a little TLC, it was eager to reflect the vibrant young family who lived there.
Interior Designer Andrea Wilson with Wilhouse Designs came aboard and immediately recognized the potential. “The overall footprint was functional, but there were key areas that could work harder for the family with a little finessing. For example, the range hood cabinetry was utilizing valuable counter space on one side of the kitchen, while an angled wall of cabinetry on the opposite side felt disjointed and unusable. A recessed fridge area and the large center island were also on the list for Andrea’s fine tuning -meets-facelift treatment. And with the exception of a few must haves, like the farmhouse sink, the Elwell's gave Andrea free reign to work her magic! The design solution was environmentally friendly (and kind on the budget too)- the kitchen didn’t necessitate demolishing everything down to the studs and starting fresh. The cabinets could be restored and reworked, and Andrea would layer in new style elements to create the cohesive, show-stopping kitchen of their dreams!
Andrea began by addressing the function of the entire space. A large section of cabinetry across from the island was not pulling it’s weight, so the cabinets were raised off the counter top to establish a stunning new serving and display area that added so much life to that side of the room. The family requested a larger fridge, so that work zone was streamlined with an integrated unit plus upper cabinets that extended to the ceiling. The kitchen lacked a clear focal point, so Andrea put the spotlight on the range wall. Swapping the overbearing range cabinetry for a more refined new hood in a calm-inducing shade of green set the tone for the entire space. She echoed the soothing Benjamin Moore Intrigue selection on the island, creating just the right balance for the rich wood accents subtly woven throughout the plan.
Painting the entire suite of cabinets not only reinvigorated them, but it also allowed the cherry hardwood floors to shine as well.
Sparkling granite counters married beautifully with a timeless subway backsplash done in a larger tile size to match the scale of the space. The client was particularly excited to see the island part ways with the old counter top, noting that the black glossy finish showed every fingerprint and crumb! The kitchen further evolved by replacing ornate corbels, cabinet feet, and hardware elements with sleek new modern details.
As part of the hands-on collaboration her clients have come to enjoy, Andrea also served as project manager. When clients are still living in the middle of a renovation, this task is a well-choregraphed dance to limit the down time in crucial spaces. The Elwell family was happy to report that
“Andrea did a great job of lining up all the subcontractors so the process moved as quickly as possible!”
Layer by layer, Andrea remastered the kitchen into a showpiece as purposeful as it is aesthetically pleasing! The kitchen now ties in well with the rest of the home, flowing naturally into the surrounding living areas.
Summing up the experience, Jennifer Elwell bragged “the new design just makes us happy to be in the kitchen, so we’re cooking more!” And really, isn’t that what great kitchen design is all about?
:BEFORE: This large section of cabinetry wasn't pulling its weight. With the upper unit sitting on the countertop, the counter was shallow and almost unusable.
:After: Raising the upper cabinets to the ceiling freed up prime counter space and reinvented this section of the kitchen. Now, curated family treasures, cookbook collections, and kitchen gadgets are right at home above, while the counter space is an ideal spot to serve drinks during family events!
:Before: Topping their wish list was a farmhouse sink, so the original cabinet needed to be modified to support the new sink.
:After: A fabulous new single bowl farmhouse sink and gold Delta faucet complete the look of this restyled space.
:Before: The fridge was undersized for the kitchen and the Elwell's needed more space.
:After: A built-in Thermador fridge and freezer columns filled the nook entirely, making better use of the space and providing a more appropriate size for a busy family of five.
:Before: The original hood surround was too dramatic, completely blocking the counter space on either side of the range. By removing the "legs" of the hood, it opened up this area entirely and gave the Thermador range a functional cooking space.
:After: Fresh green paint, a reclaimed wood beam and corbels, and a subway tile backsplash make the range area the stunning focal point it was always meant to be!
:Before: The black granite countertops were a hassle to keep clean, showing every smudge and fingerprint. Also, the prep sink was in an awkward spot.
:After: The 2" solid oak wood counter top not only adds softness to the space, but it also ties in the other wood elements throughout.
Credits- Interior Designer: Andrea Wilson Cabinetry: The Craftsman Group of Alabama
Photography: Urban Lens Studio