When John and Bonnie Krueger sought inspiration for their kitchen remodel, they didn’t look to a new wall tile or a great countertop material. They designed the space around one spectacular, exceptional appliance: a Lacanche range.
Lacanche is a family business, producing ranges handcrafted in a small French village. The Kruegers fell in love with the story, long before they ordered their own range in anthracite with aged brass accents and custom hood.
It was their first purchase for a kitchen they had waited 25 years for. The couple moved into their Los Osos home in 1989. Though it had some quirks, remodels had to wait while the couple raised their three children.
Today, they are empty nesters, and a few projects are finally checked off their wish list. Within the last five years, they have redone the master bathroom, replaced windows and enhanced their home’s exterior with stone.
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The biggest project, a revamp of the kitchen, waited until this year. They brought on Jan Kepler of Kepler Design, who specializes in kitchens, baths and custom cabinetry. They also worked with Kyle Martin of Mountain Pacific Builders. Together, the team addressed each problem and space peculiarities.
First, they looked at the layout. “The kitchen was not as open as we would have liked,” said Bonnie Krueger. “When we would entertain, I’d be shut off from everything going on in the living room.”
Removing some cabinets opened up the kitchen to the living room. Kepler made up for the lost storage space by adding cabinets in a previously under-used area.
The couple became enamored with high-end cherry cabinets by Plato Woodwork, in a Coastal Gray finish. “We wondered if we really need to spend that much, but we were glad we did,” said Krueger. “If you buy the wrong fridge, you can replace it, but if the cabinets aren’t just right, you have problems.”
Adjacent to the kitchen was an enormous area, far too large for a dining room, which Krueger called “wasted space.” Half was enough for formal dining, so they converted the portion nearer the kitchen into a bar area, ideal for entertaining.
The centerpiece of the new space is a 4 1/2 -by-5-foot island that provides extra storage, seating, and prep space. During a dinner party, it is an ideal spot to serve drinks or set up a buffet. As it turns out, it has also become the couple’s favorite place to sip coffee and take in the ocean view, or catch up on e-mails.
Another issue was with light — the kitchen tended to be dark, especially with its knotty pine ceiling. Workers primed and painted the ceiling in a soft gray, instantly brightening up the space.
As for finish materials, Kepler took inspiration from the new home exterior “which has rustic textures, warm colors and materials,” she said.
The couple wanted to replace the dated oak flooring, preferring the tumbled travertine in the living room. An extensive search to find the same size and style of tile proved fruitless. So tile setter Rolando Torres used travertine in a matching color, then hand-chiseled each edge and cut pieces to match the sizes of the existing tiles.
The Kruegers wanted the countertops and backsplash to be “something unusual and exciting,” said Kepler. For the bar island, Kepler suggested a stunning natural quartzite stone called Verde Fusion that has a lot of color and movement — but didn’t come cheap. The Kruegers took some time to consider the cost. “One day, it was cloudy, and we looked out our window and saw all the colors of the stone,” said Bonnie Krueger, who said the decision was an easy one at that point.
They used the quartzite judiciously, on the island, the raised counter between the living room and kitchen, and the bar area between the refrigerator and pantry. For the perimeter of the kitchen, they used a more budget-friendly dark gray engineered quartz.
Backsplash tiles both complement the quartzite and mimic the iridescence of seashells. They are 1-by-4-inch silk glass tiles, set in a brick pattern, and bordered with satin nickel anodized aluminum tiles, all from Matt Clark Tile & Stone.
According to Kepler, finishing touches are often overlooked in the kitchen, yet they pull together the style of the space. To this end, the team chose a Blanco Silgranit granite composite sink, cast bronze pulls and knobs in a white bronze patina, and faucet and accessories in antique pewter, all from Pacific Coast Kitchen and Bath.
The home is now a perfect fit for entertaining friends, and for hosting the couple’s grown children. It seems appropriate that this gathering spot was inspired by an appliance with a history of bringing people together. “The (Lacanche) factory has been in existence since the 18th century with an emphasis on family and community,” said Krueger. “I hope our home reflects that.”
- Declutter first: Before you start planning a kitchen remodel — or even a redecoration — take the opportunity to declutter. Clean out cabinets, give away seldom-used or duplicate items, and figure out the best ways to store and organize the things you love and use regularly. This will help you to better plan your new space.
- Remember details: Finishing touches are often overlooked, but can pull together the style of a kitchen. Carefully choose your switch plate and outlet covers, doorknobs, cabinet hardware, faucets and light fixtures.
- Repurpose rooms: Re-examine underused spaces in your house. For instance, a rarely used breakfast nook or formal dining room could become a bar/entertaining area like that in the Krueger home. A generously sized island, along with storage, makes it a flexible spot for food prep, seating or serving food.