Date: May 30, 2020 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
An updated layout and light, neutral design elements are hallmarks of this makeover
When this Little Rock family of five purchased their house from friends, they knew it was a place they’d want to call home for years to come. However, as much as they loved the new space, they were eager to make a few updates to give the home a more current feel—and to make it their own. “They realized the kitchen was an area they could tackle pretty quickly,” says designer Sarah Finley of Finley Design Group. Sarah, who worked in corporate design for a number of years before getting her contractor’s license, formed Finley Design Group in 2014. Here, she and Heather Fuller, who has a background in both design and furniture retail, work side-by-side on projects of all sizes from concept to completion. The pair’s goal for this renovation was to make the room more user-friendly while adding sophistication.
Previously, the kitchen had limited space and included an island with no room for seating. To remedy this, Sarah and Heather relocated the adjacent laundry room to a nearby, under-used craft room, allowing them to expand the footprint of the kitchen and build an island with room for five barstools. “This was so important because they are in the stage of life where there are always middle schoolers and junior high kids in the kitchen hanging out, and they really wanted their house to be a hub,” Sarah adds.
Also on the family’s wish list were more windows to bring light into the space and the ability to see the living room’s television from the kitchen. The bay window was existing, but Sarah and Heather were able to add a second window to the space where the sink was previously located. They also expanded a cased opening to allow for greater traffic flow and a direct line of sight into the living room.
In making these structural changes, it was also a goal to stay in line with the home’s architectural style. “This is a very traditional house with lots of detailed molding and classic features, so we wanted to be true to that,” Sarah says. From the neutral palette to the timeless dining table, the new design fits within the context of the home. “It helps that we do the construction, because we design the space with the end in mind. We can go out and shop at our local places while the work is in progress and find what really works,” Heather says.
An existing settee and a chair that originally belonged to the mother of one of the owners were recovered to create a conversation area where kids, parents, and grandparents can all hang out during family gatherings.
At Their Service
A butler’s pantry and drink station connect the kitchen to the dining room while offering a serving area and storage for less frequently used pieces. Built-in drawers and contemporary open shelving make good use of a corner adjacent to the dining table.
Go for the Gold
Large polished brass pendants add a current feel over the island. The open framework style keeps the room feeling light and ensures the view to the dining area and living room beyond are not blocked.
The homeowners wanted the barstools to have backs for comfort and be easy to clean while both Heather and Sarah thought it was important they add dimension to the design. A gray option with a low-profile back and seats that wipe clean checks all the boxes.
Form Meets Function
As a busy family of five, practicality was top of mind in the design. A restaurant-style pull-down faucet allows whoever has dish duty to rinse plates and scrub pots easily. Moreover, the industrial design adds a hint of edge to the space.
Off the Grid
“We wanted to see the whole kitchen and not just have the backsplash jump out,” Heather says of the tile, a handmade neutral subway selection. White grout makes for a seamless look, while laying it in a straight herringbone pattern adds interest.
Contractor, interior design, and kitchen design Sarah Finley and Heather Fuller, Finley Design Group Accessories Cobblestone & Vine, Providence Design, and Tipton & Hurst Appliances Metro Appliances & More Art Cobblestone & Vine Cabinetry and hardware Duke Custom Cabinets Countertops Casa Blanca Granite, Marble & Tile Fabrics and upholstery Cynthia East Fabrics Flooring D and M Hardwoods Furniture Providence Design lighting Light Innovations Millwork Edgars Woodworking Paint Benjamin Moore Painting G and G Painting Rugs Cantrell Furniture Design Center and Providence Design Tile First Quality Tile Tile (backsplash) Acme Brick, Tile & Stone Window coverings Laura’s Draperies & Blinds