Kitchen & Bath Design News

APR 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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WADSWORTH, IL — Encountering challenges is par for the course for many renovation projects. But Michelle Rohrer-Lauer, Allied ASID/IIDA, was especially tested with this circa 1980s kitchen, which presented several unique obstacles. For one, the kitchen is an interior room, further complicated with four openings…one each to the living room, dining room, family room and guest room, which will ultimately be- come a four-seasons sunroom during a future renovation. "The kitchen floats in the center of the house, so there are no windows to the out- doors," says the designer, of Michelle's Interiors Limited in Wadsworth, IL. Another challenge emerged when the home- owners wanted to keep the existing ceramic floor, which wasn't necessarily a problem in and of itself, but the original three-sided island was going to be replaced with a new rectangular ver- sion. "That meant its footprint would change," she says, noting she had limited availability of spare tiles to work with for patching. Additionally, the height and depth of the original cabinets, countertops and walls didn't line up, thereby lowering the sight lines and creating an overall choppy appearance and a lot of wasted space. "My clients had lived in their home for 25 years," she says, noting she collaborated with JML Remodeling Specialists to create the new kitchen. "They love to cook family meals at home and they love to entertain, but the orig- inal kitchen was poorly designed for cooking and clean-up, and it just wasn't conducive for large gatherings of family and friends. They wanted a new space that was more attractive and more functional, so we almost totally gutted the kitchen and reimagined it with equal emphasis on form and function." CREATING SOLUTIONS To address the first challenge, Rohrer-Lauer brought more natural light into the space by replacing the original narrow glass block window above the sink with a much larger, more on-trend, metal-framed clear window. She accented the new fireclay farm sink with an American Standard pull-down faucet with an extra-long hose and pause button so her client can fill large pots on the counter. "The new window makes the kitchen brighter and provides a view through the living room windows to the yard," she says, adding that improving sight lines was an important goal of the renovation. "Now she can see to the outside when she's working at the sink." Maintaining it as a window rather than just an opening also enhanced acoustics and creat- ed a sound barrier that made it easier to carry on conversations in different parts of the house, without having them interfere with each other. Plus, she notes that the window promotes a kitchen vibe. "When a sink is located along a wall, there should be a window," she says. "It just makes sense for it to be there, even if it isn't an exterior wall." Solving the challenges of the island and its new footprint was a bit more involved, given that there weren't enough spare tiles to fill in all of the voids created after removing the original island. As a resolution, Rohrer-Lauer created 'Floating' Kitchen Gets Functional Overhaul BY KIM BERNDTSON Designer Michelle Rohrer-Lauer overcame a challenging footprint to perform a full renovation of this interior room and make it figuratively and physically the home's central focus. ON-TREND, METAL-FRAMED WINDOW Allows more natural light to flow into the space and improves sight lines to the outdoors FOCAL-POINT OVEN/ PANTRY WALL Provides a cohesive look to the kitchen and boosts storage capacity 'BASALT' ISLAND Ties the otherwise all-white kitchen to the rest of the home Photos: Jeff Mateer; Studio West Photography 30 Kitchen & Bath Design News • April 2019 PROJECT CASE STUDY SPOTLIGHT ON CREATIVE, PROBLEM-SOLVING KITCHENS AND BATHS

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