There are a number of moving parts at play with a full or partial home remodel, and sometimes it may feel like you have to walk into the process blindly. Matt Mierek, owner of Aptitude Design & Build, sheds light on project processes below, breaking down the background, materials, hurdles and client response to this kitchen remodel in Town and Country, MO.
If you’re thinking about a remodel, keep reading.
Tell us a bit about the background of this project.
About two years after the homeowners moved in, they decided to remodel their kitchen. They couldn’t expand it into any other rooms, so we used the existing space to create both a kitchen and a dining room area. They wanted more cabinet space, and we changed around their island a little bit, but everything else pretty much stayed in the same spot: the refrigerator, stove and sink.
The house on the outside looks very similar to the kitchen and dining room area: cottage-style, with some rustic elements. The dining room table is an old barnwood table we helped them choose, and we decided to change the brick fireplace to stacked stone, to tie it in with the rest of the house. We also demoed the cabinets but kept the sink in place, and kept the fridge and microwave so they’d have a makeshift kitchen during most of the renovation.
What were some hurdles you ran into, and how did you navigate around them?
There really weren’t a whole lot of hurdles—it was more about making sure the updated style fit with the rest of the house. We looked to what was there already to get a sense of their personal style—furniture they had, for example—to keep the look of the kitchen within that style. The kitchen didn’t look anything like this before. The floor was blue tile, and the cabinets were contractor-grade white cabinets. And the fireplace was just this brick-red color, with no mantle.
What kind of building materials did you use to achieve this look, and what’s your favorite design feature?
We used travertine tile in a Versailles pattern—which required five different sizes of tile—and hickory wood to create the butcher block top on the island. It’s a little bit darker than typical cutting board tops, to work with the darker stone in the fireplace.
We also did an inlaid mosaic over the range where we took some glass and marble tile that bordered a smaller, more delicate version of the pattern we created with the travertine tile—exact same tile, just a little bit smaller. Oftentimes the solution isn’t to go crazy with a bunch of different colors or styles when trying to build a focal point. This way, we were able to build visual interest that’s really nice but understated. And, above that, we built in some corbels. It all flows together in a simple way, even though there are a number of interesting little things happening on that wall.
What has the client response been?
They love it! They like how the space works a little better. We also upgraded the range from electric to gas, and they cook a lot, so they really like that. The island is a little smaller, so there’s a little more room in the layout. It’s not so cramped. I know they also get a lot of positive comments about the fireplace, because it’s such a big centerpiece of that area. It makes it feel really warm and cozy, which is what they wanted. They can have fun cooking and entertaining, but it also feels very inviting, warm and cozy.