Wheaton Kitchen Remodel with Genius Seating Solve


Demo days are a festive affair, especially for a couple like this, who’d been waiting, waiting, waiting for the right time to set us loose on their Wheaton kitchen remodel. There’s something therapeutic about swinging a crowbar (or better yet, sledgehammer!) around – and wearing muscle shirts and bandanas, just because. Plus no one’s ever too sad about ridding a kitchen of cabinets hailing from the mid 90’s. Buuut, this time no sledgehammer, just some precision-ninja crowbar moves to keep the cabinets intact, since our clients had grand, big-hearted plans for them. Still in decent shape with plenty of life left, the cabinets (and appliances!) all moved on to a new home, courtesy of the homeowners and Habitat for Humanity. So generous and thoughtful. Earth-friendly too. Anyway, enough with the mushy, gushy stuff, let’s move on to this cherry monster’s makeover.

This was actually a house we’ve worked on before. We’d done some fun mini-projects like the master bedroom and kids’ bedrooms a few years back. And now it was time to go full Designstorms on the kitchen. The day had finally come to give this couple their very own personal version of the kitchens they’d been stalking on our site for years.

Small, dark and u-shaped, the existing space was, well, not likely to win any kitchen pageant sashes. It was cramped and not at all conducive to entertaining – or even just normal everyday conversing for that matter – since the sink and prep area left both cook and cleanup crew with their backs to the room.

There was also a largely neglected and seriously outdated dining room. The kind of room everyone walks by and no one goes into. So they bid farewell to the demising wall, which we knocked out for a full kitchen takeover. By eliminating that barrier, we were also able to visually connect the kitchen with the fabulous new landscaping and outdoor living space on the other side of the windows.

Other reconfigury included making way for an island, and larger paneled appliances that blend in with the cabinetry. We placed the 36-inch Wolf range along the back wall where the sink used to be, and had the cabinet maker create a custom hood surround, with stained wood mantle detail to match the new ceiling beams and floor (more on those below). Narrow lower cabinets flank the range, keeping go-tos like trays and spices within easy reach. Then we added a wall oven and the highest ranking list-topper for the homeowners: a built(!)-in(!) coffeemaker(!).

While white is the prevailing color, we mixed it up a bit with light gray on the island base and large pantry wall cabinets to give them a furniture-esque feel, complete with oversized nickel-plate pulls from Cliffside. One of the “pantry” cabinets is a semi-secret hideout for everyday plug-in appliances like the blender and toaster, keeping the counter free and clear, while the other serves as an actual pantry-pantry. Since the new kitchen setup had plenty of storage, we were even able to work in some open shelving for displayables in a corner that would have been tight for cabinet doors.

We placed the dining table at the end of the island with four chairs for the family’s everyday scenario, and came up with a creative seating solve for when more of their kids were around. Two ottomans that tuck under the perimeter desk area (between the two pantry cabinets), easily move to perch at each end of the table when they slide it away from the island for gang’s-all-here sit-down meals. We hung subtle mercury glass fixtures over the island, saving the razzle-dazzle for the globe above the table.

Speaking of the table (quick commercial break)

We sourced this li’l lovely from Aronson Woodworks near Des Moines – eco-friendly rescuers of a slew of local ash wood that had been cleared out for booming commercial construction. They have a patent-pending Claize™ finish process (cleverly named for the owner, Clay). It raises the grain so they can apply a contrasting color to just the mottled lines running through the wood. Plus it’s so durable you can leave a glass on it all night with no ring-mark. We have the color swatches here – just ask at our showroom, Storm Inspired, if you want to take a gander. For this particular table, we custom-designed the base to accommodate the chairs and ottomans, and had it finished in a more subtle brown/gray stain. But for the right room, their bolder painted-grain look is most definitely a statement maker.

A few other notes on unifying the two-rooms-turned-one. The floors needed some serious patch-love after so much moving-around of cabinets and appliances and walls and things. The existing floors were pre-engineered cherry wood, which changes color over time, as cherry does – so they were darker in places that get more light, and lighter where rugs were placed. We did some color-mix wizardry to even it out with a more of-the-moment shade, landing on a deep, rich brown – and ended up refinishing the entire first floor. Our clients loved the new (old) floors so much they decided to extend the wood throughout, adding it in rooms that had previously been tile or carpet. To connect the newly opened-up kitchen/dining space even more, we added ceiling beams, staining them the same dark-roast brown we concocted for the floors.

Prettying up the powder room too.

As often happens with remodels, once the rest of the first floor started looking so new and “now,” suddenly the verrrry traditional (read: classic 90s) powder room didn’t seem as ok as it did before the kitchen remodel. So we gave our demo team another shout (hey, bring back the crowbar!), ditching everything but the toilet. So the vanity, sink, faucet, light fixtures, wall covering annnd window treatments are all new like the rest of the main floor.


And now for some big-juicy-huge news. (A drumroll would not be out of line here.) Storm Inspired online is going live this week!

Yep, our showroom browsing is no longer confined to regular retail hours and parking availability, which means you’ll be able to shop Storm Inspired from the comfort of your porch swing. Or bathtub. Or even a hammock on your beach vacay. Wherever you like. Whenever you’re feelin’ it. We’re constantly adding unique new finds when we see things that strike our fancy. In fact, you’ll be able to shop some of the accessory items you see in this project. Sign up to receive notice when you can shop this fun stuff:

Thanks for reading!

See more from Designstorms here. Or shop Storm Inspired, our Amy Storm-curated retail showroom that’s open to anyone interested in perusing the goods. Ask about custom options. Definitely doable.

Until next time…

All photos by Picture Perfect House (Thanks Marina!)

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