Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
A full-scale renovation combined two kitchen spaces to create a place for cooking and entertaining
Meet homeowners Karen and Sam Welch and you’ll understand the term “hospitality.” The Little Rock couple enjoys hosting family and friends, so it might not be surprising their mid-century modern home had two kitchens that were connected. “It was cool that I had the second kitchen, because I had two sinks, two dishwashers, and two refrigerators, but it didn’t flow too well,” Karen relates.
However, as a decorator herself (she owns RoomWorks with Kennon Bednar), Karen admits it can be difficult to design your own home. Ready to remedy the situation, the Welches called on Bill Wrape of Distinctive Kitchens & Baths to help rework the floor plan and update the style. Here’s how they created one new space that checks all the boxes for organization, cooking, and entertaining.
At Home in Arkansas: You had been living in this home for years. How did you know it was time to do a full-scale renovation of the kitchen?
Karen Welch, homeowner: A few years ago, we put in stranded bamboo over the living room’s original parquet flooring. I had tile floors in the kitchen, which I hated, and the lady I was working with on the floors suggested I do everything at once while the manufacturer was still making that exact flooring. So that started it. My initial thought was we’ll need to move cabinets to do the floors and then maybe we could do new doors on cabinets, and it just grew from there. We met with Bill and really hit it off and felt like he was a man of integrity who we could work with to do the entire space.
A small overhang on the island allows room for barstools to tuck underneath, giving the couple extra seating space for gatherings or less formal meals. Karen’s friend and local artist Sheila Cotton painted the abstract work seen above the sink, which she titled “Karen’s Hydrangeas.”
What did the spaces look like before?
Bill Wrape, designer: There were two separate kitchens essentially. The main kitchen was really small, and the butler’s kitchen was really the original kitchen. The cabinetry was older Wood Mode that needed to be updated, and, overall, the space just wasn’t working for them anymore.
How did you solve for the flow issues and bring everything up-to-date?
Bill: I think the biggest change we made was the flow. It made no sense because you had to go into the back room to get things you needed to cook. So just getting the walls out and making sure we had the proper amount of room to work made all the difference.
We shifted the kitchen forward and made the back portion the cleanup area. This allowed them to keep their beautiful view out the front windows, too.
What about organization and storage? Did the Welches lose any cabinet space?
Bill: Karen and Sam and I worked together on storage issues. They would pull things out of drawers and say “where am I going to put this” or “how are we going to store this,” and we worked through all of the items and how they would be stored and accessed.
Sam Welch, homeowner: We actually have more space now. We have room to buy new things, whereas before, I think, we were at capacity.
What are some of your favorite features of the new kitchen?
Karen: I think one of the greatest things we did is put a huge, huge refrigerator in the back of the kitchen. We made the space up front where the second refrigerator had been a bar with an ice machine and drink fridge.
Sam: Yes, the big refrigerator was my one request. Things don’t hide from me in there, and there’s never that, “Oh, how long’s that been in there?” reaction.
“When you live in an older house, you learn to live with things that are dysfunctional. You don’t realize how great a change can be until you see it.” — Karen Welch, homeowner
What drew you to a white palette?
Karen: I chose white because the cabinets we had before were a really yellowish cream. I think the white feels fresh, and it’s so popular. I also like that you can change your accessories out with the neutral background.
Sam: I also think the white makes the space look bigger and the food look better.
Is there a reason why you chose to accent with gold finishes?
Karen: I knew I wanted to give a nod to the mid-century modern style of the home. There were big oriental-style gold pulls in our original kitchen, and they inspired me to mix in gold and bring back a chandelier that we originally removed when we first moved in here. We also have a lot of brass and gold in our house, so I think it flows with that.
Contractor Distinctive Kitchens & Baths Interior design McKenzie Ferrand Kitchen design Bill Wrape, CKBD, Distinctive Kitchens & Baths Accessories Urban Pad Appliances Metro Appliances & More Art Sheila Cotton and Jackie Kaucher Cabinetry, Fixtures, and Millwork Distinctive Kitchens & Baths Countertops AHI Stoneworks, Inc. Flooring C&F Flooring and Rug Gallery Hardware PC Hardware