Kitchen Zen | The Merrill Story

How do you take a kitchen the client described as “claustrophobic and dreary”, and transform it into the Zen and open space the client desired? After looking at the space and getting to know the client’s personality, we knew we needed to make changes that would have the most impact, but inside of the client’s tight budget.

Defining the Problem

One of the first suggestions we made was to open up the bar area behind the sink, making it level and accessible to the eat-in area, and to reroute the vent lines into the ceiling to eliminate the soffit that was taking up cabinet height. Another key design change was two-fold: Cut out the wing wall that separated the entry hallway to the kitchen, and to eliminate the doorway and entire wall between the kitchen and living room. The effect was remarkable! House…meet Kitchen.

Finding Creative Solutions

Merrill Kitchen After Remodeling

As is sometimes the case, we got a surprise once the dust settled from demolition. We noticed an unusually exaggerated low spot where a wall met the floor of the kitchen. When we opened it up, we were shocked to find that the 2nd floor and roof load was being entirely supported by ½” piece of plywood! We realized right away this would affect our project timeline and the client’s already tight budget, but the issue had to be corrected. After discussing the issue with the client we took quick corrective measures to reinforce the structure in the proper way¬, and…we still stayed within budget!

Merrill Kitchen Zen

After the structural changes and repairs were made we began the fun stuff. First we installed cabinets that utilized the entire height of the room. The client loved the new cabinet features such as soft close doors and drawers, a lazy-susan and drawers to store pots for easy reach. Next the aesthetic touches of bamboo flooring, grasscloth wallpaper, and organic textured tile backsplash were added to really create the Zen feeling the customer was looking for in what she now calls her “favorite room of the house”.

From a tight budget, narrow timeline and surprise structural issues, we were able to draw on our expertise and the client’s input to give her the best possible kitchen designed with function and flow.




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