Who lives here: Leslie Murchie Cascino, Tom Cascino and their dog Jarvis
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Size: 126 square feet (11.7 square meters)
Before she renovated, designer Leslie Murchie Cascino of Bonnie Wu Design had an unusual problem with the kitchen in her 1959 home in Ann Arbor, Michigan: It was just too big. She renovated to enhance the kitchen’s everyday functionality, in part by reducing it to a scale that felt more appropriate for the home. In the process, she also made the space more beautiful.
Cascino relocated the microwave to the island, well out of the way of the cooktop. She added a new wall of tall cabinets to serve as a pantry and beef up storage. (It also neatly closes the space after a powder room was added; the drywall bump-out between the back wall and the tall cabinetry wall is the corner of the powder room.) Cascino also added cabinetry to the front of the island.
Floor: red oak
The front of the island (where the stools tuck in) has 12-inch-deep cabinets for extra storage.
Ceiling. Cascino wanted to add recessed lighting to the ceiling but faced a challenge: The exposed material between the ceiling rafters was actually the underside of the roof and there was no room to install the fixtures and electrical required for recessed lighting. Cascino wanted to preserve the home’s visible rafters, so drywalling over them to make way for lights didn’t seem like a good idea. Alternate lighting solutions that could work around the rafter ceiling were too expensive.
Then architects Bonnie Greenspoon and David Lewis of Lewis Greenspoon Architectscame up with a novel solution: adding rift-cut white oak veneer panels to the ceiling. By affixing the panels to the rafters, they created a gap that the recessed lights and electrical could tuck into, simultaneously creating an interesting design feature.
Island counter material: Burlesque Quartzite; pendants: Cedar & Moss; find more globe pendants
Cabinetry. The kitchen’s flat-panel cabinets are walnut veneer with a clear coat. The new 90-inch-tall cabinetry wall packs in storage amid the appliances: Above the two wall ovens is a cabinet with dividers for storing baking sheets and cutting boards, and below them a drawer for pie dishes, oven mitts and baking tins. To the right of the double ovens is the couple’s dry-goods pantry and the cabinet above it contains melamine plates, serving ware and some wine. What appears to be a wide cabinet on the right end of the oven wall is actually the refrigerator and freezer, clad in the same walnut veneer used for the cabinets themselves.
Cabinetry hardware. Cascino blended a mix of handles in the space based on what seemed best for function. She chose vertical pulls on the tall cabinet wall and island front, and horizontal pulls for the drawers beneath the cooktop and the sink side of the island. Discreet black finger pulls work for the upper cabinets along the cooktop wall.
Appliances. The dishwasher and microwave are both on the island. You can just see the handle of the microwave on the end of the island. The dishwasher is next to it, between the microwave and the sink. To the right of the sink (out of view in this photo) is the trash and recycling pullout.
Perimeter counter. The perimeter counter is a simple white Caesarstone.
Prep space. Cascino uses the far end of the island as her main prep space, moving items from the refrigerator to the sink and prepping them on the island, where she has a view of the backyard.
Perimeter counter: Blizzard 2141, Caesarstone; cabinetry hardware: vertical pulls, Emtek; finger pulls, Top Knobs; find more cabinet hardware