Kitchen & Bath Design News

FEB 2017

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

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CHICAGO — When developers purchased this old banjo factory in the industrial section of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood 30 years ago and turned it into townhouses, each of the eight dwellings could have been special. Interiors with exposed brick walls and original wood posts and beams of the historic building offered initial promise, but the full potential of this residence ultimately fell short. The small U-shaped kitchen functioned poorly for multiple users, and its white, traditional styling just didn't fit the vibe of the architecture. The homeowners and their son lived with the less-than-desirable design for 10 years before recently turning to Fred M. Alsen, fma Interior Design, to create a space that realized the home's true potential. "They wanted a remodel that would provide a more authentic feeling of the architecture – with the exposed brick and original 13' wood ceiling – but still be current," says the Chicago designer. The design also needed a layout that worked for the way the family lived in and used the space. Since there were no closets, storage was a concern as well. FOUNDATIONAL CHANGES Alsen started by choosing which elements to keep. The short list included the brick, posts and beams as well as the main sink's location. Foundational changes included removal of the 3" red oak flooring that was replaced by 5" natural walnut planks to give a current look and feel that referenced the historic building's original pine planks. The designer also replaced the old, white, plain glass windows with divided glass win- dows in a bronze finish to give the look of iron windows typically found in old industrial buildings. About 6" of height was added in the process. The previous windows also lacked sills, so Alsen had custom sills made from salvaged oak beams with accents of embedded copper elements. This picked up on the original cop- per air vent pipe that was discovered inside the long granite box backsplash built underneath the previous windows. "That copper pipe was a great find," he says. "Since it was the air vent for the sink, we needed to keep it. We left it exposed, so I had an artist polish and then flame-torch it to give it an aged look. It turned into a great piece of artwork for the space." Based on a strong foundation, Alsen added elements that satisfied the homeowners' desire for a larger kitchen that multiple people could conveniently use. "He and his son do the cooking, and she likes to bake on weekends," he mentions. Alsen expanded the kitchen, doubling it in size, and created 'his' and 'her' spaces so both could be in the kitchen, but out of each other's way. Common elements to both sides include Corsi Group Greenfield Cabinetry alder wood cabinets in a Coastal stain and matte finish. Bevels around the doors add detail. Accents of Historic Remodel Realizes True Potential BY KIM BERNDTSON A Chicago designer captures the authentic feel of this banjo factory- turned-townhouse in a new kitchen combining the original brick and wood ceiling with a layout designed for multiple users. EXPOSED BRICK WALL AND WOOD CEILING Provide the architectural vibe for the new kitchen 'HIS' SIDE Includes everything needed for cooking and prep Photos: Mike Kaskel Photo 'HER' SIDE Functions as a dual- purpose baking center and bar 28 Kitchen & Bath Design News • February 2017 PROJECT CASE STUDY SPOTLIGHT ON CREATIVE, PROBLEM-SOLVING KITCHENS AND BATHS

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