Amy K. was living in Shanghai, China without access to shelter magazines while she planned the renovation of St. Paul, Minnesota kitchen in an 1889 house. Using internet design sources (including Atticmag we’re happy to report!) as well as our beloved Gardenweb kitchen forum, this mother of two teenage boys pulled off a stunning transformation in her 15- x 11-foot space.
The result: a glorious classic black-and-white kitchen with a show-stopping focal point: her black Bertazzoni Heritage-line all-gas 36-inch range installed with practical open pass-through spaces on each side. Of all the stove set ups I’ve seen, this is unique: it frames a gorgeous (and affordable) range, lets in additional light, and creates a pair functional pass-through openings that serve the needs of an active family.
“I didn’t want to close off the connection between the eating area [above] and kitchen – this is where my kids hang out before dinner and start their homework,” Amy explains. “We use those spaces daily and love them. I plate the food and hand it through, and the kids stack dirty dishes there to relay them to the sink.”
Working with an architect and a contractor by email, Amy did an elegant renovation chock full of smart decisions. She reused the existing dishwasher in the dark oak kitchen [above] but completely reconfigured the “not very large” space. “We would not have had a spot for the range if we had left it with an “L” plus island. It would have meant putting either the sink or range in the island. I was really firm in my resolve to have a big, clear island surface.”
The gleaming counters coordinate with the range and are pointed up by her choice of Zodiaq Mystic Black quartz which, she explains, is “charcoal gray with very subtle sparkly flecks.” The existing Kitchen Aid (here in the old kitchen) made a successful transition to the new. “It works well and I couldn’t justify a new, paneled, one,” Amy told us.
Living in China also allowed her to have two important elements custom made for her kitchen and shipped back to the States with her belongings. “In China,” she explains, “ ‘custom’ doesn’t equal expensive the way it does here.” She had leaded glass windows made to her specifications, as well as the 3-inch Calacatta marble hexagonal backsplash tiles. “The neighbor’s house is very close and this way I get the light and privacy, too,” she says. The popular Kohler Vinnata faucet is paired with a Ticor 508, O-radius (square corner) stainless steel sink.
Locally made wood-tone cabinets were used for the island and a built-in storage hutch. “Nothing is level in this house,” Amy says. The cabinet makers “had to fuss and fudge endlessly to fit everything in and then trim it out.” They “were geniuses!” Cabinets were painted in Benjamin Moore’s Bone White to coordinate with woodwork throughout the house. The tall cabinet to the left of the range that opens into the pass-through window is an appliance garage. The others around and above are used to store oils, spices and infrequently used serving dishes and vases. The stainless range guard and utensil rail are from Bertazzoni. “The rail matches the range handles which is something that no one else would probably ever notice — but I do!” Amy notes. The kitchen also opens into a family room.
A Thermador French-door refrigerator with interior hinges is concealed by cabinet panels and fits flush. “This is one of the few things I bit the bullet and spent money on,” Amy explains. Pendant lights are from Hinkley.
Light coming through the leaded window is reflected on the fridge wall. The handsome stools pulled up to the island counter, from Pier 1, “were an icky brown so I painted them black,” Amy says. In addition to the range style, the heritage and beauty of this kitchen clearly results from the owner’s superb eye for detail.