From Builder-Grade Kitchen To Bright and Contemporary in O’Fallon, IL

Project Summary

Location: O’Fallon, MO

This project was located in O’Fallon, MO, a city about an hour away from our St. Louis headquarters.

Our clients had a builder-grade kitchen. It was large, and the layout was okay, but they wanted it updated with new finishes that were more in line with their style and tastes.

The Challenge

There wasn’t really anything inspiring about the kitchen beforehand. It had poor-quality, generic builder-grade finishes, and features. The original cabinets are what we call “cathedral cabinets,” which are very indicative of the design approach typical to the 1990s and early 2000s. We can say the same about the cabinet materials, which in this case, was oak.

It was dated. It was dark. There wasn’t much of a challenge, per se; our clients just didn’t like it anymore.

There were no cam lights. They had some lighting up above, and then the semi-flush lights above the sink, but they didn’t have a source in the ceiling for even lighting. So, trying to cook in here was probably a bit challenging because it was so dark. The microwave was down super low, so it was not very functional; not great for cooking.

The Vision

We decided that the original design was a pretty good layout, so we just went with that. In terms of the kitchen as a whole, the layout is the same. The fridge, the stove, even the dishwasher is in the same place; we just added new finishes to update it and to take the date stamp off of it, as it were.

The Details

The prep area at the island, the sink, the cooktop, the fridge, everything is right there. There wasn’t much of anything we could do to make it more functional, other than maybe moving the cooktop to the island. We decided not to do that because it would have been a little dangerous for people who were sitting at the island. I just don’t like putting a cooktop where people can accidentally touch it. Other than that, there were no significant concerns.

On the whole, the clients were used to the kitchen the way it was. They had already lived in the home for a while. They knew where everything was. After the work was done, they put all their stuff back in the same places. Everything functions in the same way, so it was a smooth transition.

The flooring tile is a composite tile, Alterna by Armstrong. We chose Cambria countertops, and maple cabinets with a stain, I think it’s called Smoke.

We also went with a natural stone backsplash. It’s miter-cut marble, so it has some dimension to it.

The cathedral cabinets are still kind of dull, in our opinion, but they’re white now, so they’re quite pretty.

Over the windows, we did plantation shutters, so we had to find a faucet that was low enough that the shutter could clear it. There are only a few options for that in terms of the faucets. They had this water tap already, so we just went with what they had.

We moved the microwave into this walk-in pantry to the right. Now it’s on a little cart in the pantry rather than being out in the kitchen, which is nice. They had originally painted it this dark color, so I think it was just dated and kind of gloomy.

In Conclusion

All in all, this was a relatively fast and easy remodel as we didn’t have to relocate any plumbing or make room for new appliances. We were able to transform the kitchen to give it an updated, fresh, and contemporary look without committing to a major gut-job.

The moral to the story, if there is one, is that a builder-grade home is just a no-frills, basic design with the bare minimum in terms of materials and so on. Swapping things out, giving it a facelift, so to speak, we were able to update the look and give our clients a brighter, more functional space in which to cook and entertain.

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