Making a Home Chef's Kitchen Dreams a Reality

It was such a pleasure designing this kitchen space for clients that I quickly gathered were home chefs. Their love for baking, cooking, and preparing food was readily apparent during our client meetings. This was all but confirmed during the renovation - as soon we got their temporary top installed for the island, the first thing they did was bake a fig tart! Heading into this project I knew that beyond just creating a beautiful new space, catering it to their culinary needs was going to be a major focus of mine.

Inspiration and Style Discovery

KSI Kitchen & Bath Grand Rapids Design Center

Having beautiful inspiration spaces in our design center makes it easy for clients to discover their style and make product and finish selections. The client came into our design consultation knowing they wanted inset cabinetry, a rich stain, and a waterfall end on the island. When they came to our Grand Rapids design center and saw Mouser cabinetry in a Walnut Mink stain paired with a bright countertop featuring warm veins (shown above), they were sold!  They thought the combination was perfect.  We ended up going with Mouser Cabinetry's Plaza inset door style in the Walnut Mink finish.


Mouser Cabinetry Plaza inset door style in Walnut Mink

Challenges and Creative Solutions

Original kitchen layout presents food prep challenges

The original space made for a challenging food prep environment.


Mouser Cabinetry Plaza inset door style in Walnut Mink

Island Optimization

From a design perspective, the biggest challenge in their existing kitchen was the island. It had a dual height countertop, an angled corner, and was placed too close to the refrigerator. I designed a new rectangular island that offers a large prep space as well as more storage, and positioned it away from the refrigerator for better traffic flow.

Prioritizing Food Prep

The original layout's perimeter had very little counter space for food prep, which is not ideal for a home chef! By placing the microwave in the island and switching from a cooktop to a range, we were able to remove the oven cabinet to create more workspace by the range. Beyond just adding more workspace, efficiency and organization were a big focus; making the primary prep space (island) and workspace adjacent to the range was essential for optimizing functionality in the kitchen.

Organization Fit for a Chef

We added a spice pullout to the left of the range, a tray divider at the range end of the island, and a 36” wide tiered cutlery organizer for all their tools. Utilizing these accessories accomplished our goal of adding efficiency and organization to the kitchen in a big way - all within the same footprint of the original space!

Bringing The Design Home

Mouser Cabinetry Plaza inset door style in Walnut Mink

Finally, it was time to make sure we could bring the whole space together and make it cohesive. My clients had eclectic taste and so we wanted to be sure the kitchen blended well with their home’s transitional detailing as well as their mid-century modern breakfast table.  It was an exciting design challenge to accomplish a cohesive look that incorporated their style while enhancing functionality in this home chef's kitchen! 

To view more inspirational kitchens like this one, click here to go to our Inspiration gallery.  Ready to proceed with a project? Make an appointment with a designer and learn how KSI can help you fulfill your vision for a new space!

Sara Vander Molen
Sara Vander Molen
Sara Vander Molen is a Designer at KSI's Grand Rapids Design Center, as well as an active member of the NKBA West MI chapter and HBA of Greater Grand Rapids Professional Women in Building council.

Back to Blog