Kirkwood Kitchen Face-Lift

It’s May and we’re reviewing old files and photos a la spring cleaning over here at Kitchen Liberty.  We  came across a partial kitchen project we did last year but hadn’t posted.  These clients wanted to update the look of their kitchen with granite countertops and new backsplash.

Before:  No backsplash, laminate counters and stainless steel sink.

After:  Granite, tiled backsplash, under cabinet lighting, large silgranite sink and new faucet.

Desk area before:

After:  Paint, tile & granite create a cozy work space.

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Japanese Inspired Master Suite

I (Jennifer) asked Jonathan about the design process behind this 500 square foot Master Suite.  His written response blew me away.  Grab a cup of coffee and settle in for a journey through some legit design prowess as told by Jonathan Carson, founder of Kitchen Liberty…

I was intrigued by the symmetrical corner windows and thought about a certain tub called Kohler Cube.  I knew that the couple enjoyed therapeutic bathing as well as essential oils for health and relaxation.  So, all of a sudden it struck me, “What if we created a true Japanese deep soak experience and tucked this tub into the corner? We could surround it with Teak and other very organic tones and textures that blur the line between inside and nature.” It turns out the height of the sills was perfect for the tub I was considering: 34″ off the floor.

I suggested to our clients that we could make the most of the whole master suite if we chose a bold motif: Japanese inspired modern, with a limited color palette, but softened and feminized by embroidery and pastels on the bedspread.

The Ebony finish on maple has a silky mysterious quality for the bedroom.  The single chunk of cabinetry and bed keeps the room very big and storage is hidden (8 drawers around the bed, deep shelves, hidden end tables lit with LED over-the-shoulder, and books up high for a splash of color and individuality). White marble with a honed finish tops the hidden end tables for books and charging iPhones, iPads etc.

The drapery is a rich but ethereal azure and repeats the X pattern of the bookshelves. We employed sheers to reduce glare, create privacy and maintain all the natural light.  The drapes are almost exactly the color “through the looking glass” by Benjamin Moore which we used in the bathroom on walls and ceiling.

The sectional creates a perfect laptop, web-cruising, or email spot complete with charging USB port and light switch for the Japanese lantern reading light.

Through the sliding Ebony maple door (with light permeable Washi paper) you transition from our fern patterned carpet to recovered salty gray wood flooring in the bathroom (all porcelain and epoxy-grouted of course).

Bedroom – BEFORE:

Upon entering the bathroom straight ahead is the Imperial Danby honed marble atop a lengthy floating all-drawers vanity base. To achieve plumbing drains and maintain 95% of the drawer storage below each sink was a feat. Tom Bruns of The Green House engineered and installed this extra-challenging plan. Tom set 9 – 14′ joists from topside to straighten the floor for tile and support the tub with 2 people and hundreds of pounds of water.

The shower features a digital control, 6 sprays from the slide bar and rainhead.  The floor is flamed porcelain which is non-slip.  The Teak (also non-slip naturally and used by mariners for centuries) seat inside and out doubles as a step to access the tub.  Wall tile in shower is olive and has a fabric pattern with some sparkle to it. We used a dazzle additive in the grout to blend in with this texture.  Tom added the teak towel posts and upper shelves in each niche for outstanding storage of showering products.  The hexagon ceiling feature evokes an outdoor shower you might have by the beach, and allows for plumbing lines and cozy factor. We opted for the oiled bronze header to match all these “weathered” fixtures.  The glass is supported by a cedar beam hand-selected to the Teak coloration and coated in 6 layers of marine epoxy by an experienced boat builder Kelly Avant.

Shower & Tub – BEFORE

The medicine cabinets have 5″ of storage depth and LED lights that did not give us the face lighting we had hoped for.  We found vanity lights that match the style to accomodate our clients.

The make-up station features excellent drawer storage, LED lighting aimed at the face (again not quite how I conceived it originally) and doubly thick marble in an inverted lamination.  This allowed us to create an unreal “slab length” when the upper section overlaps the seam below.

All the bathroom cabinets are “Foggy Moss” stained Hickory. It actually contains some green picking up the olive tile. I like the masculine crunch that Hickory provides, and after 6 tries we achieved a stain that blends with the floor, shows the stone and creates a little tension with the lavender in the paint.

Kelly also built the teak his and hers sinks with an ingenious tilt feature that keeps water from gathering around the flow-through drains. We placed the Kohler Margaux polished nickel faucets so that they create a bend in the water when it descends across pitched wood box.

Vanity and Sinks – BEFORE:

Our panel system for closets creates 2 bars of hanging instead of one to double the hanging capacity, except at the dedicated long dress area.  We break it up with tall cabinets that hold boots, folded clothes, drawers for dainties, rolled towels, jewelry etc.  There’s a convenient shoot down to laundry on 1st floor (the laundry room has a cabinet in the corner that receives all – open door and toss in the wash). We took care to cap the whole set with matching Hickory as a sort of understated crown.

Closet – BEFORE:

The toilet behind frosted glass is something wonderful that came from the desire to enclose without losing natural light from the windows, and avoid a hard stop of drywall.  It contains a toiletries cabinet featuring the “mini-me barn door”.  Humor, yes.

Honor where honor is due is one of my deepest held values.  The fabric above the tub windows contains a chinese poem about honoring father and mother.  We loved it for the gold and lavender-meets-purple colors (and obvious asian flavor) but later discovered it’s message.  Much was learned through this apparently simple room.  But, of course, making something simple is rather complicated.

Thanks to our extremely patient clients, who believed whole-heartedly in my vision and brought in an extremely detailed installer in Tom Bruns who overcame sundry physical challenges throughout this memorable installation.  Special thanks to Jennifer Carson who handled months of communication, deliveries and punch lists to bring this project to completion.

Daryn Ayres - Seriously fresh, clean and luxurious! I love it!

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Wentzville Lower Level

Imagine a room that represents fun, world travels, an ice cold one and shooting pool. . . These clients wanted to expand into unfinished lower level space and add a wet bar next to their pool table area.  We created a bench and walnut table, a 2 color granite plan with drawers, pullout trash, lit liquor shelves and a glass display shelf around the perimeter.  The Mr. has travelled for 25 years and collected great conversation items from every corner of the globe.  We invented deep hickory display boxes with LED lighting and frosted glass to house those mementos.  We provided the stools, the flooring, cabinets, trims, paint choices, support solutions . . . pretty much everything except his super-cool beer tappers on the gold post.


This Table passageway was too tight, so we sized down the table and legs- feels great now!Curious daughter checking out the ice maker.  This shot shows the overall shape really well.

Before:  Wall on the left to be removed to add space for bar.

The sump pump has to be accessible, but who wants to see it?!?  We put the pinball machine over it to create a shadow, then Custom Renovations created a box to cover it – gone but not forgotten.

Cool Holland bar Stools and curvy trims at the “S” curve back of bar.

The White Spring granite has a fantastic red dot in it that picks up our red vinyl (drinky can be messy : 0).  To support the “Ganglion” we used 1/2″ steel plate cut with a plasma cutter to a plastic template.  It will not move.

The deep display boxes required ingenuity and precision by Eric Curdt of Custom Renovations.  Amazing install, Eric!  Also, notice the backlit glass wall and stair steps Liquor storage by the elevated bar.

If you look carefully, you’ll see that Eric and Jonathan created excellent lumbar support in this bench.  You can play spades and realign your spine at the same time!  The table, designed by Jonathan Carson and Pete Voss – built by Pete, matches solid Walnut so well to the stained Hickory cabinets – it’s weird.  The box contains a light that backlights the glass center oval for a trippy effect in the evening.

Atacama Black granite lookin’ REAL good.  Yes, this lower bar is curved somewhat, corresponding to the “Ganglion” of White Spring above.  The back of the bar has an “S” shape which gave Eric a creative challenge.  He installed trims in a picture frame shape with curves to the contour.  Nice.

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Wildwood Kitchen: Red, White & Herringbone

These clients wanted a kitchen “face-lift.”  They were happy with the layout, but wanted granite and new taller cabinets to increase storage capacity.  Wall color and a custom designed herringbone backsplash took this kitchen to “WOW!”  We used a few tricks to give the happy couple spices at a glance, pans in full extension drawers, racks and cookie sheets over the refrigerator, lazy susan in both corners, roll-out shelves, some different wall cabinet depths, and a bonus cabinet over the ovens they didn’t have before (about 7 cubic feet found)!  The combination gives a POP to daily cooking and social gatherings.  Notice the change to their wet bar.  Just new stone, a colored sink and a stylish faucet make entertaining a joy!


Hang on a second! Look at the deep granite window sill!


Clients also wanted to update their wet bar with granite and a new sink & faucet.

Wet bar before:

Wet bar after with subtle arc for easy conversation:

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Entertaining Stations

This dynamic duo from Wildwood, Missouri wanted to transform their bare basement into a lower level suited to entertain in multiple ways.  As a family of five, they definitely wanted the space to include kid-friendly activities.  But they also wanted a bar area with a level of sophistication for gathering friends.  The full size pantry and refrigerator can support large group events.  Ample prep counters and a variety of seating heights and standing positions give everyone a comfort zone.  Most of the project is finished in 1 of 3 colors giving this lower level an un-cluttered feeling.  We used hot red for a little excitement.


Before:  Bare storage space.

After:  Ready to entertain!!!

Chocolate Bordeaux Granite – just gorgeous!

Back bar has a tiled countertop.

Tiled footrest:

We wish this lovely family many happy moments in this fabulous space!!!

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