The kitchen—it’s the gathering place for family and friends, the room with the most action. It’s a place to prepare and cook food, entertain guests, store gadgets and share family meals and stories from the day. As the center of the home, it’s also the reason kitchen remodels are so popular. Today, islands, updated lighting and stainless steel appliances are common additions, while custom cabinets and countertops are key components of any inspirational dream kitchen.
Rosemary Merrill of Rosemary Merrill Design in Minneapolis knows a thing or two about creating dream kitchens. As designer and partner at Casa Verde Design in Minneapolis (which closed in August), Merrill has been designing custom kitchens and remodeled spaces for years. Earlier this year, she was awarded second place in The National Kitchen & Bath Association’s competition for a beautiful kitchen transformation she completed in Edina.
When considering the design, thoughtful attention to detail was given to the kitchen remodel of this 1940s classic Cape Cod home. The kitchen had been remodeled in the 1980s when a family room was added off of the kitchen; however, many design elements of the Cape Cod style were never incorporated at that time. With that in mind, Merrill focused on a fresh design that would add a timeless color palette, bring in more natural light to the space, and replace mixed and matched kitchen appliances with state-of-the-art models, all while maintaining the original footprint of the kitchen.
Merrill says, “We wanted to make sure we achieved a timeless design that not only fit with the architecture of the home but was also functional and incorporated modern conveniences for an avid cook and entertainer.”
Because it’s a smaller kitchen, the homeowner sought improved functionality and requested additional counter space and storage. Merrill knew that the cabinets would be a quick, easy fix. However, a bigger challenge would be designing around the placement of a soffit over the kitchen window, along with a supporting beam that made the room seem smaller. When designing the space, Merrill’s primary objectives were to use various design elements to make the room seem more spacious and achieve the desired results of the homeowner, while returning the design to the integrity of a Cape Cod-style home.
Since layout and storage options are typically standard, choosing interesting materials was key for making this kitchen stand out. Merrill’s winning design in the small-kitchen category included adding dark soapstone countertops to bring a beautiful dark and light color contrast against the lighter wood flooring. She also added a gray glazed subway tile backsplash to fit with the architecture of the home.
Merrill incorporated stainless steel, state-of-the-art appliances and a custom cabinet-front refrigerator that blends with the white cabinetry. To allow for more storage, Merrill added 11 inches to the refrigerator wall and reorganized the appliances to create additional countertop space. Moving the range allowed for more work surface on either side, and a custom range hood provides both a focal point and better ventilation.
For more natural light, Merrill shifted the kitchen’s entryway, removed a swinging door between the kitchen and dining room, and replaced an exterior door with one that’s full-view. “Shifting the doorway ultimately created more counter space, improved work flow and [brought] natural light into the kitchen. The transition was absolutely seamless,” says Merrill.
Merrill used inset painted white cabinetry with glass cabinet doors flanking the existing kitchen window, giving the illusion of a larger window and more light. Increased countertop space, integrating glass cabinet door-fronts and raising some of the cabinets to the ceiling made this small kitchen seem significantly larger.
This remodel transformed the space into the kitchen the homeowners dreamed about with the functionality and modern conveniences they needed. “The kitchen fits so nicely with the architecture of the home,” says Merrill. “It is a timeless, classic look that will never go out of style.”
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