Project Spotlight: Renovating a 1940s Beach Cottage
My Californian client Bruce wanted to update his kitchen to make its appeal more true to the 1940s cottage style home. The outdated, off-white thermofoil with brown trim kitchen cabinets certainly wasn’t cutting it. A cheery open concept design that still retained privacy and seclusion from the rest of the home was important. As a traveler, areas to display his treasured souvenirs were also on the must-have list.
Over a three month period, Bruce, his architect, and I worked back and forth, bouncing ideas off each other to come up with a plan that best utilized the space. For Bruce, every morning started with an email either sharing a new bit of inspiration he found on Houzz or reacting to a new design update from me. His great communication, dedicated research, down-to-earth demeanor, and great sense of humor made him an absolute joy to work with.
Finalizing the Look
When we were close to wrapping up the project, Bruce decided to compare prices with a local custom cabinetry shop. This was back when CliqStudios first started, so I think his hesitancy was the result of making a large purchase online from a new company. However, our lower prices and the rapport we built up over the previous months won him over.
To replace the well-aged cabinets, Bruce selected our shaker-style Dayton door in Painted White. The painted finish, rather than one of our stained woods, was more in tune with the beach vibe he desired. He liked the clean lines of the door that also held a subtle traditional flair. Around the space, we used the Painted Tea Leaf as accent pieces. He was worried about having too sterile of a look, so these pops of color, in addition to the finishing touches of the backsplash and counter, helped liven it up.
The entrance to the kitchen is through an arched door way. Working with the architect, we widened and reworked the archway to end midway over the counter to favor a more open floorplan. Over the archway, we built a run of small cabinets to display the clients travel items. On the opposite wall, above the sink, we built in another display area made from void-door cabinets with outside corner molding trim to create a more furniture, bookcase feel. The display cabinets above the window and archway are what give the kitchen added style. These details, and others like it, go a long way, for without them, the kitchen would be very plain.
As the space is somewhat tight, we did all we could to keep it feeling as far from cluttered as possible. With this in mind, we built the microwave into the cabinetry across from the fridge and next to the archway entrance. This gave it a low profile.
One of the standout features of the kitchen is the gorgeous bi-fold window above the sink. Bruce really wanted the kitchen to feel one with his outside entertaining area. This window along with a continuation of the Colonial Gold granite counters and barstool seating creates the excellent gathering and serving space he wanted. The beautiful orangey gold tile backsplash completes the space.
A Finished Kitchen
Bruce is incredibly happy with his new kitchen, and I fell in love with the project too. Bruce said, “The quality is great. The price was amazing. And as far as the free design, it’s a huge benefit. I won’t say the remodel and design process was always easy. Some days it was downright agonizing, but I was very fortunate to have worked with Tessa, who was super patient incorporating my countless design considerations, came up with a great final plan, and, to my amazement, was still totally involved and checking in well after the cabinets were delivered.” I feel fortunate to have worked on such a unique space with an all-star of a client.
Author: Tessa Buhman believes the kitchen is the heart of the home. She loves to see an outdated kitchen transform into a dream kitchen that will endure for a lifetime! Tessa has an AAS degree in Interior Design and over 10 years of kitchen and bath industry experience. She enjoys building relationships with her clients and understands the importance of communication. She also has a passion for cooking and feels that her kitchen is the perfect place for quality “me” time.