a FRESH and functional kitchen redo

By Julia Moore

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  • DMD Real Estate Photography DMD Real Estate Photography
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While Estrella Stinson’s kitchen was built to be functional for her family, it could use some improvements. Her KitchenAid mixer was being moved across the countertop nearly every day; her kids would drop random items in its mixing bowl; and the cupboard doors were constantly slamming shut. Working with local experts, Estrella transformed her small kitchen, creating storage and functionality while keeping the kitchen’s original footprint.

General contractor:
Dan Bruzas LLC
Interior designer:
Creative Kitchen Designs
The Lighting Gallery by Brown's; Pro-Wire Electric
Curtis & Campbell
AK Natural Stonecraft
Cabinets & backsplash:
Creative Kitchen Designs
Flooring & tile:
Frost Flooring & Tile
Same space, more storage

To add storage to the kitchen without making any expansions, Daniel Bruzas, of Daniel Bruzas, LLC, teamed up with Danielle Bohn, of Creative Kitchen Designs, to add innovative storage spaces. Since the kitchen was built for a busy family, the layout of the kitchen was functional for their needs. “We didn’t change the footprint too much,” says Danielle – “just more or less the finishes.”

In front of the stove, the two cabinets are now pullout cabinets – one with slots for spatulas and spoons, the other with rows varying in height for different spice containers. Estrella’s favorite feature in the kitchen, though, is the cabinet with a pop-up shelf for her KitchenAid. “I use that KitchenAid mixer several times a week,” Estrella notes, “and it’s just great pulling that up and down.” Another bonus: Since Estrella’s budget wasn’t put towards knocking down walls, Dan and Danielle were able to work with her for more worthwhile splurges to create space, increase functionality and improve style.
Special splurges

Another way the team added space was by increasing the height of the cabinets, extending them to the ceiling. The new cabinets are also “soft close” cabinets, meaning the doors close slowly, no longer slamming shut against the frame, keeping the kitchen quiet and peaceful when the kids are lending a helping hand.

As an extra finishing touch, the top cabinets have glass inserts, giving Estrella the ultimate space to show off her beautiful china to guests. Danielle suggested even using glass on the doors of the hutch, accentuating it with crystal knobs to make it stand out from the rest of the kitchen. “If you want your kitchen to stand out a little bit, you can just change the hardware,” says Danielle. “And that little china hutch with the crystal knobs is probably my favorite piece in her kitchen.” It was an idea that Estrella fell in love with instantly.

Another functional finish that adds luxury to the kitchen is the countertops – made from beautiful, marbled granite. Two of the countertops were granite before the remodel, including the island and bar, but now granite extends throughout the kitchen. When cooking and baking for a busy family, it makes life even easier. “It’s super durable, just setting hot objects on there straight out of the oven – I don’t have to move things around on there while holding something hot,” says Estrella.

Choosing between altering the footprint of the kitchen by knocking down walls or budgeting those funds for new cabinets and countertops was a no-brainer for Dan. “When people come in and look at a kitchen, that’s the first thing they see – they don’t see the wall that you moved around or the changes that you made to the layout. They’re just looking at the cabinets and countertops that you picked.”

Trust in the team

When Estrella began her project, she had a few elements in mind, but not a full picture. In fact, even when the remodel started, she wasn’t sure how it would look, but she had confidence in her team. “I didn’t quite know what (her vision) looked like, but the team was great and I wasn’t too nervous about not quite seeing the end results,” she elaborates. For inspiration, Dan told Estrella to browse websites like Houzz and social media sites to see what elements she liked – before he knew it, she was up late at night sending him all sorts of ideas.

Dan had worked with Estrella on a few projects before, and after hearing she was looking to remodel her kitchen, he was confident he could pull together the perfect team for the job. 'Whether it was my flooring guy, my countertop guy, or my tile setters," he says, "I had done enough jobs with them over the past couple years that I just knew it was going to turn out well.”

In the end, the kitchen is everything Estrella wanted – it’s functional for her family, and as beautiful as kitchens from her favorite remodeling shows.