Adele Arrellano and Jose Cintron's Streng home lacked the openness and flow the couple needed for entertaining. After nearly 40 years of use, appliances, cabinets, lighting, and flooring were drab, unfunctional, and unattractive.
"We entertain a lot, and in our experience, guests would gather in the kitchen no matter how cramped it was," Adele says. "Our home had a typical Streng layout with a three-quarter wall dividing the dining room and formal living space on one side of the kitchen, family and fireplace room on the other."
Architect David Thimgan helped the couple bring in more light by tearing down the wall and creating a great room. He also recommended replacing the sliding-glass doors with new Blomberg Window Systems, which open the kitchen to the backyard, swimming pool, and terrace.
Thimgan further opened up the kitchen by limiting the cabinetry to base cabinets, except for one appliance wall, so that the views between spaces and toward the outside would not be impaired.
"Now when we entertain, guests gather around the outer islands and sit in both the living and dining spaces," Adele says. "Thus far we have had gatherings of up to 25 people, and we can accommodate everyone in the same space comfortably."
The cabinets, which mimic the streamlined look of the couple's furniture, feature self-closing drawer hardware, rollout shelves throughout the bases, and a large pantry for food storage. The Ceasarstone countertops wrap around the base cabinets and extend to the floor to create a very clean, uncluttered look.
"We know that having the kitchen as the main focal point in the home would not appeal to everyone, but for us, the kitchen truly is the center of our home, literally and figuratively, and we absolutely love it," Adele says.
Design: Stephen Kennedy/Kitchen Studio, CKD, with Yates Associates Architects, AIA
Contractor: Briggs Construction
Cabinetry: Kitchen Studio
Photography: Rochelle Kramer
Rebbeca and Erik Thorsen were less than one week from embarking on a major home renovation when project architect Jerry Yates encouraged them to consider redoing the kitchen, too.
"Jerry came over and told us that we would regret having the 'old' kitchen with the updated bathrooms, living room, and dining room," Becca says. Within two weeks, the couple, along with the help of kitchen designer Stephen Kennedy, came up with a plan that was both on budget and beautiful.
"I told him that I wanted simple, sleek, and white, and this is what he came up with," Becca says.
"We had limited counter space, little natural light, and very little storage," Becca recalls. "There was no space for friends to congregate and speak with me while I was preparing the meal. We often ordered dinner out."
Kennedy recommended Hallmark Cabinets, a high-end custom cabinetry line based in Salt Lake City, for base cabinets. The slab-style doors are constructed with Eco Woods Engineered Wenge wood, utilizing both horizontal and vertical grains to add visual interest. Cabinet interiors are crafted with a Beech melamine, and all cabinet doors shut softly with Blumotion cabinet closures.
Wall cabinets are constructed with aluminum frames, metallic grey melamine and acid-etched mirror inserts. Porcelain tile from Italy covers the floor, and three-quarter-inch-thick CaesarStone in Blizzard White form the counters and backsplash.
Kennedy also recommended wide walkways—larger than 36 inches—to make the kitchen feel more open.
"Now our friends come over more often, and I am trying new recipes every week," Becca says. "When I walk through the door at the end of my work day, I want to be in the kitchen and making a meal."
Photography: Toerge Photography