Creative People, Design, Interior Design

Case Study – Kitchen 1

Each semester that I teach the materials and products class, I ask the students to do a case study project on a commercial project. They have catalogued some great ones that you can view at their blog. Much of the Interior Design work, especially the commercial work that I have been part of, I cannot share on my personal blog.  As an employee of a firm, the work that I create for them belongs to them. I have gone back to a few projects to take photos for my personal use on my own time.

While residential work has not been my specialty area, I have worked with mostly friends and family and thought I would share some of that work here starting with a 4 part series on Kitchens! Each kitchen has a unique story and involves a client (friend, family,etc.) that is very special to me.

Kitchen 1 belongs to my parents and so the story goes…..

My parents have this great little house in the central coast area of CA. Let me make sure I emphasize the word LITTLE!  A two bedroom/1 bath, super cute little house with a detached guest cottage on about an acre of land. It was built in the 40’s and the large kitchen left a lot to be desired. After living there for several years, they decided to remodel the kitchen and make a few other functional changes to the layout. I was more than happy to help.

For me, it was mostly the layout and functionality that I wanted to help with. My step-mother had some great ideas on the finishes, colors, etc. She opted for a blend of stone and glass tile on the backsplash with a limestone countertop – both beautiful choices.  The biggest challenge was trying to work with a budget and think long term about a possible addition to the house for a new entry.  I explored layouts, made some 3D models in SketchUp and presented my ideas to them. After many, many sketches, they took their plan to Home Depot and worked with a designer there to input the design and order the cabinets. For countertops, backsplash and flooring, we shopped and shopped and shopped! It all came together in the end, but it was a long road to get there.


Being a DIY family, most of the installation was done by my Dad &stepmom. Dad installed the flooring, cabinets, light fixtures and did most of the remodel type work. Beth installed the backspash tile and painted and is also responsible for the plants and styling of antique dishes and accessories. Being a DIY family, this project also took a long time to complete!

The appliances selected were a blend of Kenmore and Kitchenaid with a double/convection oven, 6 burner cooktop and a DW that does most of the work for you!

At one point, we spent some time at IKEA exploring fixtures, hardware, etc. My parents got very excited about the$300 farmhouse style sink and bought it along with a faucet.  After a good nights sleep, my Dad promptly returned it. Not happy with it being a ceramic sink vs.  porcelain, they decided it was worth the investment to go with a Kohler fixture, but kept the stylish IKEA faucet.

All in all, the project turned out beautiful and it’s such a pleasure to visit, cook and eat in this amazing space!

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