A few years ago, the owners of this Phoenix, AZ home remodeled its exterior, giving the circa 1980s residence a bit of a mid-century vibe while creating a backyard paradise, complete with a pool.
Recently retired, the couple was anxious to renovate its interior to make their home complete. On the agenda was a transformation of the kitchen as well as the laundry room, master bath, powder room and guest bath, all designed by Affinity Kitchens in Scottsdale with Handcraft Builders serving as the contractor.
From the start, the homeowners knew what they wanted for a design aesthetic in the kitchen…mid-century modern with a clean, contemporary look. “They brought me a picture they had taken of a kitchen on the Modern Phoenix Home Tour…white cabinetry, wood flooring and waterfall countertops,” says designer Tim Huber. “It served as the inspiration for their new kitchen, showing me the exact direction we needed to head for a clean, bright look.”
The couple also knew they no longer wanted to eat at their small table in the adjacent dinette. So, when Huber suggested adding that space to the new kitchen, along with a portion of the patio, they were quickly on board.
Other structural changes included raising and smoothing the tray ceiling. Although the ceiling in the adjacent family room is vaulted, the one in the kitchen was just 7′. “I had hoped to raise it quite a bit,” says Huber. “But when we opened it up, we found a beam we couldn’t move so 8′ was all we could accomplish. That bump up did make a huge difference, though. We also had to incorporate a 4″x4″ support post by the sliding glass door, but we were able to integrate it into the design.”
At the heart of the kitchen is a massive island, with seating for seven. “They entertain a lot and love to have big dinner parties,” he says, adding that the additional space gained from the dinette and patio gave him the ability to accommodate so much seating. “With the new island, everyone can eat in the kitchen. The homeowners can prep their meals there, too, so everyone can be together.”
The island’s foundation is a combination of Kitchen Craft bright Gloss White thermofoil cabinets mixed with horizontal grain bamboo cabinets finished with a Winter stain that allows the natural wood grain to shine through. Base cabinets for both styles are fitted with Blum Tandem metal drawers. He topped them with Silestone quartz in Blanco Maple, adding a cantilevered section of contrasting Silestone Unsui quartz. A strip of metal sandwiched between the white countertop and bamboo cabinets morphs into a support leg custom-crafted from cold-rolled steel with a finish that matches the mantle over the fireplace, which can be seen from the kitchen.
To add further interest, Huber finished each countertop with contrasting edges. “The white countertop has square edges and a waterfall on the refrigerator side,” he says. “The darker top has an extreme back-beveled edge that is inspired by Finnish architect and furniture designer Eero Saarinen. It’s very elegant with a strong, graphic mid-century detail.”
While seated at the island, the homeowners can also readily view and access the backyard paradise through the floor-to-ceiling glass wall/sliding doors that extend from the kitchen and into the family room. “They have a beautiful backyard,” he says. “We wanted to give them more glass, as well as access to the pool, so now they can open those doors and everyone can easily move between the kitchen and the patio. In the Southwest, it’s important for people to be able to enjoy the great weather so there is a lot of indoor/outdoor interaction with spaces. This design really plays on that concept.”
To complement the island, Huber added matching white cabinetry around the kitchen’s perimeter and topped it with white quartz. As a contrast, he added Cement-colored Island Stone Waveline glass tile, which offers a soft geometric pattern and a matte finish. While the Bosch cooktop and downdraft reside in the island, all of the other appliances, including a U-Line beverage refrigerator, line the perimeter.
The Bosch microwave/single oven combination located next to the tall pantry cabinets along a 135-degree wall transitions into the refrigerator/freezer.
Although the Electrolux refrigerator and freezer are freestanding models, Huber designed the cabinetry around them to provide a built-in feel. “We brought the cabinets forward 6″ so they look built in,” he says. “That also means the countertops to the right of the refrigerator are 30″ deep, offering additional counter space.”
A stainless steel farmhouse sink completes the modern look. “It isn’t a typical farmhouse sink,” he says, noting its modern interpretation. “It is very rectangular and square, and the additional splash of stainless makes the sink area more of a focal point and adds interest to that elevation of cabinetry.”