Same Space, Whole New Look in the Kitchen
A smart mix of materials—and plenty of cabinets—added light and function,
all within the same four walls
These days most of us start a project by considering how little we can do—not how much—to transform a space. When Lyn and John Matejczyk wanted to rework their dated Minneapolis kitchen, with its red counters, blue-stained maple floor, and pickled cabinets, they dreamed about turning it into a giant mudroom and starting fresh in the nearby sunroom. Then cooler heads prevailed—local architect Todd Hansen being one of them.
Together, the trio embarked on a dramatic but entirely cosmetic update of the kitchen, continuing the same finishes in the adjacent breakfast room and pantry so that the three spaces worked as one. Hansen chose materials and finishes for their light-reflecting qualities: beveled white subway tile, Carrara marble counters, cabinets painted a gray-toned white, and lots of stainless steel. The look is clean and bright, with an updated traditional feel.
Proof positive of the project's success came when the owners had to move for a job change. "When we told our friends Anne and Eric Belzer the news," says John, "Anne immediately asked, 'Can we have the house?'" Today, the Belzers and their three kids are enjoying the fruits of their friends' remodel. "The kitchen sold us on the house," Anne says. "It's the one room where all five of us want to spend time."
A marble-topped table, built by local furniture maker Patrick McMahon, matches the counters. Its raised height, shelves, and slide-out cutting boards allow it to double as a kitchen island. The Blue paint used for the walls and the China White paint used for the cabinets are both from Benjamin Moore.
The windows were painted glossy black to echo the floor stain. The contrast they provide helps ground the gleaming white walls. Even the window lifts from Ives coordinate with the other hardware in the room.
TOH Pro Tip: Todd Hansen, Architect, Minneapolis says, "A light palette, especially in a room that faces north, looks brighter when there are contrasting black elements."
Last updated in the 1980s, the kitchen sported countertops the color of country ham and maple floors stained electric blue.
1. Brought in more sun. Sliding glass doors were added where an attached greenhouse was removed.
2. Added storage. To-the-ceiling cabinets, some with open cubbies, added storage and display space at both ends of the eating area.
3. Removed upper cabinets. To keep the kitchen light and bright, upper cabinets were replaced with open shelves.
4. Moved the range. The stove, formerly jammed into the corner, swapped places with the fridge and gained counter space on either side.
5. Added a counter-height table. Equipped with bar stools, it provides space for food prep—and breakfast, too.