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A kitchen for passionate cook(s)

The Kitchen Challenge

The clients – an empty nester couple – decided they did not want to move from the home they loved, but understood this meant updating their Kitchen. In addition to upgrading both the form and functionality, this project presented additional challenges associated with remodeling an older home.

Meeting the Challenge – Process

In the design phase, we used our proven, three-step process

  • We listened.  This allowed us to clearly understand the vision and what the clients liked and did not like.  For example:
    • Both spouses were passionate about cooking, but insisted on their own spaces for prep and cooking
    • While the clients enjoyed entertaining friends and family, they preferred not to entertain in the Kitchen
    • The clients desired a Tuscan feel to the Kitchen
  • We designed.  Working closely with the Kitchen designer, we created a design based upon the client’s vision.  This design included flooring, cabinetry, countertops, backsplash, lighting, plumbing, electrical and hardware.
  • We prepared detailed construction drawings.  These were invaluable to us, as we were also responsible for construction.

In the construction phase, we used the following process:

  • We created a project plan and timeline.  We reviewed this with our client, trade-contractors and suppliers to make sure there were no surprises and to address any issues up front.
  • We executed the project.
    • We communicated with the clients and the designer on a daily basis to provide updates and address any issues.
    • We cleaned up every day to minimize disruption.

Meeting the Challenge – Solution


  • Broke down walls to create a more open feel to the Kitchen
  • Installed two ovens – one for “him” and one for “her” in different areas of the Kitchen
  • Doubled the size of the island and installed a second sink for “her”
  • Installed a very large (40”) sink ideal for food prep for “him”
  • Installed two pop up shelves for mix masters and a pot rack which is a focal point of the Kitchen
  • Designed a bar height table for the couple to use when eating in the Kitchen
  • Built a butler’s pantry and a work pantry
  • Put in new doors and windows, including a full height glass door (so the dog could look into the back yard)
  • Utilized sustainable technologies including energy efficient windows, appliances and plumbing fixtures

Form – Creating a Tuscan Feel

  • Designed the space to create a light, airy appearance
  • Installed wood cabinets reflective of the Tuscan style
  • Constructed a brick arched opening over the cook top
  • Installed a new wood floor with a Tuscan-oriented tone and color which worked well with the cabinetry

The painting, backsplash material, lighting and fixtures also reflect the Tuscan style, creating a “little Italy” feel to the Kitchen


In the words of the client:

  • “Michael was able to do things others told me would be impossible to do.”
  • ”He always communicated with me, so I know when people were coming.”
  • “His subcontractors all knew what they were doing, and cleaned up daily.”
  • “The Kitchen is exactly what I wanted.  I am happy every day.”

See the next case study


We know passionate cooks love great recipes, so we wanted aHere’s a recipe from Food Network’s Ina Garten for Tuscan Chicken:

1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, flattened
Kosher salt
1/3 cup good olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved


Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt on each side. Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a small measuring cup. Place the chicken in a ceramic or glass dish just large enough to hold it flat. Pour the lemon marinade over the chicken, turning it in the dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the chicken 2 or 3 times while marinating.

When ready to grill, prepare a hot charcoal fire on 1 side of a grill (or turn a gas grill on low heat). Spread 1/4 of the coals across the other side of the grill. Place the chicken on the cooler side, skin side up, and weigh it down with the dish you used for marinating. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the underside is golden brown. Turn the chicken skin side down, weight again with the dish, and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Place the lemon halves on the cool side of the grill, cut side down for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove the chicken to a plate or cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut in quarters, sprinkle with salt, and serve with the grilled lemon halves.

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