Kitchen of the Week: Better, brighter and no longer basic

Brian and Holly Lemons were busy planning their kitchen renovation when Holly went to grab something from a lower cabinet and the door came off. “I remember thinking we really do need new cabinets,” she says. That gave the Dallas couple confidence to move forward with designer Amanda Jones to replace the falling-apart honey-brown cabinets with something brighter (and working) and to expand the kitchen for better workflow and openness to the nearby living room in their Craftsman-style home.

Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here: Brian Lemons, an investment manager; his wife, Holly, a retired physician and now full-time homemaker; and their 12-year-old son, Luke
Location: Dallas
Size: About 420 square feet (39 square meters), including a pantry area and breakfast space
Designer: Amanda Jones of Hatfield Builders & Remodelers

Before: The Lemonses and Jones felt that the old cabinets, in addition to falling apart, didn’t take full advantage of the wall space near the ceiling and to the right of the cabinets. The abundance of wood, coupled with inefficient lighting, also pulled the atmosphere down. “They wanted to update the look and make it more modern, but also honor the style of the home that has a Craftsman feel,” Jones says.

After: White cabinets and white ceiling and trim (a custom color from Sherwin-Williams) with soft gray walls (Agreeable Gray by Sherwin-Williams) brightened the kitchen and living room and helped unify the two rooms.

A nine-light chandelier with spherical frame and bronze finish replaced an outdated ceiling fan in the living room.

Jones took the new maple cabinets in a soft white factory finish all the way to the ceiling and expanded them 6 inches to the right to maximize storage.

Oversize satin brass pulls complement the new island pendants and wall sconce over the window. Large-format (4 by 12 inches) ceramic white subway tile covers every available wall space — behind open shelves, flanking the range and around and above the window — for an elegant-meets-commercial-kitchen look.

A tall unit of glass-front cabinets on the right goes from countertop to ceiling. Lights illuminate the couple’s collection of glassware. “I love glass cabinets and I’m a nut about crystal and glassware,” says Holly, who has pieces from her family that date to 1890.

The large drawers below have dividers for deep baking dishes and kitchen items like a popcorn maker and teakettle.

The existing oak floor in the kitchen and living room was refinished.

Custom cabinets: Lancaster door style in Soft White, Shiloh Cabinetry; Grace wall tile in Panna, 4 by 12 inches: Bedrosians Tile and Stone

The new island has a rich cocoa stain that offers contrast to the perimeter cabinets. The honed warm taupe Taj Mahal quartzite countertop on the island has veining similar to marble. “I went back and read a lot of articles about honed versus polished,” says Holly, who gathered many ideas for this project from Houzz. “I like the honed — it has a more sophisticated look to me.”

Three midcentury-style swivel stools with dove gray velvet upholstery sit at the island.

Pro tip: “We had to think about where to run the electrical under the island,” Jones says. “A drawer on the other side of the island has more outlets and a USB port for charging tablets. You definitely want to consider where you need access to power and how to incorporate that into your design.”

Holly loves to cook with fresh herbs and wanted them available year-round. Grow-light strips under the upper cabinets (separate from the undercabinet LED lights) keep small pots of herbs thriving on the counter. The grow lights can be set on a timer and controlled from a wall switch. “I have arugula, mint and chives growing right now,” Holly says.

In the range area, a niche added to the backsplash (Holly calls it her “soap dish”) provides storage for salt, pepper and cooking oils. “She didn’t have much counter space on that side of the kitchen, so our solution was that niche that gives her a shelf for items she uses most while cooking,” Jones says. “It keeps things within arm’s reach but out of the way.”

A large cabinet in the base of the island has pullout drawers for pots and pans. “You have no idea how much I love this,” Holly says. “It’s so easy to just grab a pot when I need it. It has just made such a difference.”

Jones designed the floating extra-thick maple shelves surrounding the range. The shelves were made and painted on site to coordinate with the cocoa color used on the island.

The vent hood above the gas range was made by the cabinet manufacturer, but an in-house carpenter applied crown molding and trim after the hood was installed, for a finished look.

Around the corner from the range sits a butler’s pantry that connects the kitchen to the dining room. New cabinets and countertops in the style of the kitchen updated the area.

A custom maple barn door with seeded baroque tempered glass inserts leads to a walk-in pantry.


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