Ask the Architect

ICYMI, our last post featured our favorite before-and-afters, and this kitchen is definitely a fave. We are very smitten with this one and thought you may want a few more details – what sort of magic transpires between the before and after??  We asked Nicole Jui, our very talented lead architect on the project if we could pick her brain about what inspired specific design decisions. Here’s the scoop…


Red Papaya: What was the top priority must-have as it applies to this space was there one key element that drove the design?

Nicole: We wanted to make it both beautiful and functional! I think we achieved that. The homeowners wanted the kitchen to be inviting as you stepped through the front door. Before the renovation, a large column obstructed the sightlines and created an obstacle as you moved from room to room. Removing this column was a must and by doing so, we allowed the kitchen, dining room, and living room to became one large space perfect for this family of four.


Red Papaya: What inspired your choices of materials?

Nicole: The clients were open to mixing materials. The sleek white countertops and handcut tiles set the perfect backdrop for the introduction of the warm wood tones. The open shelves became a place to showcase heirloom cookware, family cookbooks, as well as everyday dishes.


Red Papaya: What is the most unique feature in the design?

Nicole: Hidden away in the cabinetry is a large 4-bin recycling and composting center as well as shallow storage in the island for jarred dry goods.


Red Papaya: What is your number one tip before starting a kitchen renovation and what is your favorite feature?

Nicole: First and foremost, decide what is driving the renovation. Is it a lack of storage, a desire for high-tech appliances, a need for entertaining space, or simply wanting a well-designed kitchen for family time? In this kitchen, we packed a lot of function into a small footprint. Fitting everything in was challenging and so fun. All of the small details came together to create a beautiful, inviting kitchen.

Big thanks to Nicole and to Jeff Herr for the beautiful photography!


– love life at home

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