On my first site visit to the Valencia Kitchen Remodel, I was stumped. I mean, I had some ideas, but I wasn't sure they'd actually work out. You see, they had this weird, angled laundry closet right in the middle of their kitchen! And they wanted to take out a wall that had their fridge on it and there was really nowhere for that fridge to go! Oh and they wanted - no, needed - a bigger pantry. We had to work all that in to an already-small kitchen.
The angle of the laundry closet was just extra weird and I felt like it had to go. But I worried that it would close in the kitchen too much. I got to work laying it all out in SketchUp, my go-to 3-D designing software. It lets me draw layouts to scale and then walk through the room to see how it feels. After a few iterations, I knew we had the answer!
(More on the layout in a bit, but if you're really curious how it all changed from a bird's eye perspective, go check out this video on instagram.)
The other challenge was to make this drab, 1980s kitchen more reflective of our client. When we first talked, she said, "I like neutrals". Now, if you knew her, or even saw the rest of her house, you'd know she was in denial a bit. Her house is fun and funky, full of color. And her Pinterest board was full of colorful kitchens. It's actually become a bit of a joke over the course of this project - "Oh you like neutrals? Like your neon yellow phone case??" :)
But the best part is, she trusted us explicitly. She put the design in our hands and said, "Do what you think is best!" We love clients like this!!
Because the space was small, I was hesitant to do color on both the uppers and lowers. Sometimes that is a fantastic choice! But sometimes, it can make a room feel closed off or smaller. So, we did the lowers in Providence Blue by Benjamin Moore and the uppers in White Dove by Benjamin Moore.
On the countertops, we did a veined quartz and a simple white subway tile backsplash. I'm not always a subway tile fan, but I kind of wanted the clean look and for the cabinets to take center stage.
We added floating shelves for a little character and warmth. Like many people, she was hesitant just because styling them feels overwhelming, but they really did complete the kitchen and make the layout all make sense in the end.
Lastly, on the aesthetic side of things, can we have a moment for these floors?! I LOVED them and knew they would be a subtle way to bring a quirky side of things in to the kitchen design without being over the top. It's been funny, though, seeing people's reactions to them. They either love them or hate them, the latter usually being people with OCD who can't stand the random, illogical pattern. Ha! And that's the beauty of design.
So, back to the layout. The one thing our clients were adamant on was that they wanted to take out the wall with the fridge on it to open it up to the dining room. They love to entertain and their kitchen previously felt very closed off. Opening that wall up made a huge difference in the feel of their house. (Refer to the first picture in this post or the second before-and-after below to see what we're talking about.)
With taking out that wall, the oven range being on another wall, and a third wall being covered in windows, we had very few options for where to put the washer/dryer, refrigerator, and pantry. That's where the big "cube" came in. It was a detailed feat to make sure everything fit just right but we made it happen and it feels like it was meant to be!
Oh and that wall of windows? That was a predicament as well. Originally, it had these bay windows that didn't really make a lot of sense. Our clients had put a sideboard there, but it really wasn't a very useful space. They were getting new windows anyway, so we raised the windows to match the sink window height and pulled the countertops over to that area. This allowed more countertop space for both serving during parties and laundry folding on regular days since the stackable washer and dryer is right across from it! Not to mention, it added cabinet space below, as well.
Now, when you walk into the Valencia house and see the dining room that flows into the kitchen, it feels like it was always that way. And it feels like another house entirely, reflective of our client and the story they want to live - fun, inviting, and vibrant.
Here are some fun before and after shots.
See the full gallery of photos here.