Deb Townsend Lind and her husband, David Lind, lived in their West Des Moines home for 12 years before deciding to update their 1980s kitchen. “Dave’s sister was moving to town, and as we helped her find housing, we realized just how outdated our own kitchen looked,” Deb says.
To make the transformation, Deb photographed kitchens she liked and enlisted the help of Fred Hulten and his staff at AIM Kitchen & Bath. The firm had already remodeled three bathrooms for the Linds.
“Right away I knew we should go for continuity from the front entrance into the kitchen, dining, and family rooms,” Hulten says. “We tried to enhance what is here and tie it all together.”
Before he began his work, three flooring types—dining room carpet, kitchen tile, and entryway hardwood—broke up each room and fragmented the home’s first floor. “We made it one continuous surface with hardwood flooring throughout,” Hulten says.
“Dave and I wanted to warm up the area and make it homier,” Deb says. “We needed more space for the girls to do their homework, more dispersed light, and more family gathering area.”
The original kitchen was traditional oak with inadequate storage and a huge fluorescent light hovering over the center island. “I called it the surgery center,” Deb chuckles. A few features, such as an arch over a nearby fireplace and wainscoting in the great-room, provided the basis for the new kitchen’s design.
“We try to take cues from what’s already there,” says Hulten. His plan included adding a ceiling-high arch between the dining room and great-room, creating a matching arch over the kitchen window, and replacing white marble in the fireplace with stacked stone to match the new kitchen backsplash.
Introducing several wood species kept the kitchen current and unique. The kitchen island is a painted maple with a worn finish, cabinets are cherry, and the floor is natural birch.
Cupboard heights and depths were staggered to add storage and character. Granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, and undercabinet lighting modernize the kitchen’s overall appearance.
A second oven was added, the outdated appliance garage was removed (“with me kicking and screaming,” says Deb), and slow-close rollout shelves in the pantry made every shelf usable.
“We put all the outlets under the cabinets along with the undercabinet lighting to give the backsplash clean, uninterrupted lines,” Hulten says. He added accent detailing such as painted black dentil work along the crown molding and corbels to support the granite top of a new desk area near the kitchen island.
The finished remodel moved the home’s first floor well into the 21st century. “We love it,” says Deb. “In order to maintain the values of an appreciating neighborhood, these homes built in the mid-1980s need to be updated. Now I look at my new kitchen and say, ‘How did I live without it?’”