Love at First Design
Thoughtful details take a kitchen from drab to delightful
Story by Jamey Bradbury • Photography by Inua Blevins Photography
Instant chemistry is a rare thing to come by in any relationship, but when Ginger Johnson sat down with Jeremy Bauer and Jason Clifton, of Bauer/Clifton Interiors in Juneau, to discuss her kitchen remodel, the sparks immediately flew.
Melazzo by Uttermost, Lamps Plus
Showplace Wood Products
Subway Tile, Grazia New Classic Ceramics
Crown Tile Mosaic
Thermador Induction Cooktop, and Double Ovens; a wood-clad Bosch Dishwasher; KitchenAid Trash Compactor, Liebherr Refrigeration; Sharp Microwave Drawer
Thermador Downdraft Hood
Kitchen hardware and accessories
Dark oil rubbed bronze, Atlas Homewares
“There are projects where you wait to become inspired,” explains Bauer, “but after our meeting with Ginger, we were so inspired by our client and the space, we walked away with a design in our heads.”
Johnson – who’d been living with the same Mexican tile, navy blue color scheme and lack of natural light since 1983, when her late husband built the house – had a list of concerns she hoped the designers could address, but she was apprehensive. “What I loved about that first meeting with Jason and Jeremy was they totally got me,” she says. “I ended up really happy with their vision for my kitchen.”
That vision hinged on creating a stronger connection between the kitchen, living room and dining rooms. “The walls really disconnected the kitchen from the amazing view seen from the adjoining rooms,” describes Clifton. To keep her three Irish setters from going where they weren’t wanted, Johnson had also started using baby gates in the doorways, which kept her from making the most of those areas of the house.
While other designers might push for an open floor plan, Clifton and Bauer understood their client well enough to know she wouldn’t go for it. “Ginger preferred to maintain the individual rooms and she was concerned about having enough wall space for her incredible art collection,” says Bauer.
Their solution was to incorporate three sets of beveled glass double pocket-doors that could be slid out of sight to open the kitchen up to the other rooms but gave Johnson a way to cordon off her dogs when necessary.
The new pocket doors and a second kitchen entrance also allowed Bauer and Clifton to maximize the flow of that room’s layout. By maintaining a wall on one side of the island, the designers gave her an additional space for hanging artwork while also providing seating and a Thermador conduction cooktop opposite a convenient prep area.
Another idea the Bauer/Clifton team brought to the table is a discrete “dog nook,” a recessed area where Johnson keeps her dogs’ water and food bowls. “I’d always just kept a big plant there to hide the dishes,” admits Johnson. “I love Jeremy and Jason’s solution.”
To create the nook, the designers increased the depth of the pantry, which also allowed for more efficient use of space and gave Johnson another item on her wish list: a cookbook storage area.
The accent tile used at the back of the nook and in the recessed art display areas incorporates Johnson’s favorite color, navy blue. “I think a lot of designers jump on embracing a favorite color,” says Clifton, “but Ginger wanted to maintain neutrality.” The designers worked in hints of navy blue – in the grout of the tiled backsplash and the flecks in the granite countertops – throughout the otherwise off-white kitchen.
“We also brought in wood flooring that transitions seamlessly with the adjoining rooms and found a cabinetry style that’s more indicative of a furniture style” to complete the sense of connection to the rest of the house, says Bauer.
But the biggest change to the kitchen might be the windows. The designers replaced bulky upper cabinets with Showplace Wood Products units that also house the oven and Liebherr refrigerator, making room for three 3-foot windows that flood the room with natural light and provide Johnson an expansive view of her garden, pond and pet geese.
“Those windows completely changed the core of the house,” says Johnson. “I really appreciated how sensitive Jeremy and Jason were to including the things that were going to make me happy every day, like the view of my pond, or room for my artwork.”
It’s details like these, says Johnson, that make the kitchen a joy to work in.
Jason Clifton, of Bauer/Clifton Interiors, received three 2013 Interior Design Society (IDS) Designer of the Year Awards on January 24, 2014 in Las Vegas. This project won the kitchens over $50,000 category.