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With the help of local professionals, the Gilbert family transforms their kitchen into a modern yet cozy space that blends two distinct design styles.
He wants rustic, she wants modern. He likes natural wood accents while she prefers sleek, contemporary finishes. Blending two distinct styles is a challenge and requires compromise, as in any good marriage.
“I am a huge fan of mid-century modern design, so I usually lean towards that with touches of industrial, art deco and bohemian,” says Kristin Gilbert. “My husband KC loves anything industrial, rustic and comfortable. Over the years we have found a great blend of both of our styles with only the occasional compromise (on KC’s part).”
A couple of years ago the Gilberts began their search for a new house for their family, including their three sons. It was a long and arduous process, but one thing they knew they needed: a kitchen they could completely gut and customize to fit their needs and unique blend of styles.
They did eventually find the perfect house with the less-than-perfect kitchen. And although she had lots of ideas for what she wanted in her family’s renovated space, Kristin struggled with marrying her ideas to the finished product. And so she turned to her friend and certified interior designer Theresa Dorlini.
Theresa and her husband John are the co-founders of CIRCLE Design Studio, an interior architecture and design firm based out of Roanoke that offers custom designs for both residential and commercial interiors. Theresa and Kristin met at a mommies’ Bible study group and they quickly bonded over a shared love of modern design.
“Even though I had a clear vision of what I wanted in the kitchen, down to the smallest finishes, Theresa and her team were invaluable in the initial planning,” says Kristin. “They were able to take my ideas and bring them to life through 3D drawings.”
By using 3D renderings, Theresa was able to put the homeowners inside a digital version of their renovated kitchen and show them how the space would look from every angle. She could also manipulate the light sources and adjust the sun angles so the Gilberts could see what the kitchen would look like at different times of the day.
“Even in cases where the homeowners have definite ideas about design direction, it is always helpful to work with a designer who can show you your space in 3D,” says Theresa. “If anything, seeing the space modeled in 3D gives the owners the confidence they are making the right choices for their families and lifestyle, which ultimately makes the process smoother and less stressful.”
In addition to the 3D imaging, one benefit of working with a designer for large renovations such as the Gilberts’ kitchen is finding solutions to unforeseen structural issues.
“With any renovation there are always unknowns,” says Theresa. “You often don’t know what you’ll uncover during demo. The biggest challenge with this renovation was making sure we could route the ductwork for the island hood without having to drop any soffits. The Gilberts did not like the existing soffits, so we knew it was not an option to add new ones.”
The Gilberts also enlisted contractor Luke Schindler of Schindler Remodeling, who proved an invaluable resource throughout the process.
“Luke basically lived with us for six weeks and worked so hard to make this kitchen come to life,” says Kristin.
The finished kitchen, completed last spring, is an impressive combination of contemporary design and natural elements. Every cabinet, drawer and appliance was carefully chosen and placed to maximize storage and efficiency. Beautiful custom cabinetry and a white subway-tile backsplash give the kitchen a clean, fresh look without feeling sterile or austere, and the gorgeous Silestone quartz countertops add a little luxury to this otherwise cozy cooking space.
There are plenty of custom features throughout the kitchen, such as a lift for the stand mixer hidden in a lower cabinet and a beverage station complete with coffee maker and wine refrigerator. The backsplash reaches all the way to the ceiling, and every light fixture was hand-picked by Kristin, who admits her love of lighting made it one of the hardest decisions to make.