Before and After, Interiors, Kitchen

Remodeling a Denver Square: A White and Green Kitchen

Happy 2023! It’s a cold and snowy start to the year in Denver. Our daughter just started to drive and I wish she started driving in the dry summer months to gain some more road experience, but, as with most things, it’s not up to me. I learned how to drive in snow from just doing it and I suspect that’s the most practical way to go about it. I had one car with rear wheel drive (huge mistake) and if I had to stop uphill in the snow in this car the only way to get out of the situation would be to have someone push me or to back down whilst hanging my head in shame. Fun times.

We remodeled this early 1900’s Denver home last year. The clients had a smaller, enclosed kitchen and wanted to open it up to their dining room. We also added french doors to an exterior wall in the dining room for more light. They had two sets of stairs going to their basement and we enclosed one stair and added a pantry. They also gained some kitchen space by moving an inconveniently located powder room into a mudroom addition (from another remodel) at the back of the home. We completely remodeled their basement as well and added two bedrooms with egress windows, a bathroom, a nice laundry room and a family room added. The basement wasn’t a lot of work from a design standpoint, but was a ton of work from a construction standpoint.

BEFORE: The kitchen was on the right with the blue wall paint. The white oak built-in in the dining room is original to the house. We wanted to save that, but also wanted to put french doors here out to the backyard.
The guys were able to move the built-in in 2 pieces. Here’s the top portion sitting in the living room after it was moved.

I encourage my client to try to keep existing, interesting elements in their old homes when they remodel. Most of the time it’s possible, but sometimes things fall apart or get damaged when they’re moved. Anytime you move anything, there’s a risk. I was really excited when they successfully moved this piece.

BEFORE: To make the kitchen bigger, the architect relocated a powder room. You can see the plumbing coming up where it used to be.
Here’s Brent Gates, the general contractor on the job, with the new steel beam that was added so we could take the internal wall out between the kitchen and the dining room.
This is the little pantry that they added under the stairs that goes to the second floor. It used to be access to the basement.
The home had the original knob and tube wiring (seen here) which had to be completely replaced to bring it up to code.
Et Voila! The new opening in the dining room changes the space so much. The existing built-in is also successfully installed in its new spot! The exposed brick on the left was exposed during a previous remodel.
The clients use the sideboard as a bar. (Photo by Jordan Katz for Laura Medicus Interiors)
AFTER: New white oak floors were installed over the very old red-oak floors. (Photo by Jordan Katz for Laura Medicus Interiors)

We had a brief discussion about cladding the beam in wood, but the clients didn’t want the kitchen to appear to rustic. We have other things in the room that draw your eye so I didn’t think it was necessary to highlight the beam.

Here’s a view of the kitchen after the cabinets were installed and before the countertop installation.
The clients really wanted a waterfall edge on the countertop. They anticipated the side of the island getting nicked up from day to day use from them and their two kids. This quartzite can take a lot more of a beating than the side of a cabinet can.
I love the way the tile installer handled the tile around the window.
AFTER The kitchen cabinets are from Sander & Sons. The tile is from The Floor Club. (Photo by Jordan Katz for Laura Medicus Interiors)
A pretty view of the green tile. (Photo by Jordan Katz for Laura Medicus Interiors)

This project was lengthy – there was a lot of necessary, but unglamorous things that had to be done to the home to bring it up to code. The basement was a lot of work that I didn’t document, but probably should have in retrospect. This is a very old home that hadn’t had major work done on it in quite some time. It’s funny, when I got into interior design I had romantic notions about old homes. Working with and in them for over 20 years has dispelled the romance. I still love them and prefer working on them to newer homes, but it’s with a realistic view now that only occasionally gets clouded with sentiment.

“Nothing ever likes to die–not even a room.” 
― Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man

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