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From Dull to Dynamic

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Sandra Kicman and Bob Breissinger

Imagine a kitchen remodel so dramatic that comparison of the before and after spaces suggest a mystery. It’s a puzzling case. How was such a spectacular and dynamic new space coaxed out of the original kitchen?
    “You know when something is poorly done. That’s how the original space was,” says Bob Breissinger, owner of Designer’s Library, a to the trade design studio, and co-owner of DL Home & Garden, a retail store.  As the designer of the remodel, Breissinger’s task was formidable.
    It was a suburban kitchen typical of the late 70s, early 80s. An enormous built-in china cabinet wall choked the kitchen entry. Once you moved around the cabinet into the core kitchen area, a refrigerator, bulging beyond the counters and stuffed along the side wall, dominated the view. Hanging cabinets and a perimeter soffit pushed the overhead space inward and down. Rubber mats overlaid the wood floor in high traffic areas. It felt dark and claustrophobic.
    In contrast, the new space is bright and airy, resplendent with natural light and pops of cheerful color. The home’s sylvan setting, which limited natural light in the original kitchen, now works to an advantage in the redesigned space. The fresh, emerald green views outside add another jewel-toned accent to the décor. 
    Here is Breissinger’s to-do list that resulted in a transformation so remarkable that visitors are left wondering if they are in the same house: 
Gut everything. Soffits, hanging cabinets, and the built-in china cabinet are gone.  Natural light fills the space and is no longer absorbed and blocked by awkward appendages.
Install two kitchen islands.  Two islands encourage use of the entire space. Granite counters capture the contrast of white neutrals and walnut browns.  A wine cabinet is in one island – convenient and beautiful – but not a focal point.
Replace appliances. The low-profile refrigerator does not overextend the counters. Wall ovens are on the far right, out of the flow of traffic. Each island has a dishwasher encouraging a team effort in cleanup duties!
Get color from contrast. Color explodes from accent pieces like the sapphire chair, mustard ottoman, window treatments, and artwork. Most of the downstairs was replaced with light oak flooring oriented in the same direction for continuity. The walnut stain matches the kitchen island cabinets. Everything else was painted bright white.  
Keep it alive. Pendant lights with seeded glass appear covered in raindrops. Natural materials, views, and artwork work together creating a space that feels refreshingly crisp and alive. 

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