Formal dining moved out the window when designer Jennifer Ott remodeled the kitchen in her Austin, Texas, home. Ott and her husband did not use the huge closed-off dining room next to the first small kitchen, so they knocked down the walls to create a modern, ample space for entertaining as well as cooking. Bold colors, two pantries, clever cupboard designs along with a smart breakfast nook today give her the room and style she’s craved.
Ott needed plenty of countertop to share with her husband, and room for two guests and cooks to move smoothly around the kitchen. “I’m a lover of generous aisle widths,” she states. “If you cook or entertain often and have the space, I suggest 48-inch into 54-inch wide aisles. Greater than 54 inches starts to feel overly wide, and you’ll feel like you have run a marathon after building a meal” Following the remodel, the kitchen is 250 square foot, and the dining space is 115 square foot.
Cabinetry: Ikea base cupboard boxes, Texas Trim pecan door and drawer fronts; shelving: habit pecan; countertops: concrete by Caesarstone; stove, hood: Wolf
Following the walls between the original kitchen and dining rooms were knocked down, architect Christy Seals of Loop Design needed to incorporate a large beam to support the loading of the second story, which was rather a challenge. Because the beam is a foot thick, it meant they needed to lower the ceiling height in this field. However, Ott loves the varying ceiling heights — they allow for a subtle willingness from the kitchen and intimacy from the dining area.
Ott picked the colors based on housewares she had fallen in love with. Her strategy was to use neutral colors for substances that are costly or hard to change — such as the quartz countertop and concrete floor — and use bold colors for substances that are economical and easy to replace — such as paint and accessories.
Floors: concrete overlay; wall paint: Parakeet, Sherwin Williams; island paint: Larchmere, Sherwin Williams; bar stools: Ikea
Although she loves her kitchen neat and clean, Ott isn’t always able to stay on top of putting everything off. She made the window seat as a secret storage space, with a massive space for oversize and little-used products. Two pantries at the end of the kitchen help with this too. Since the pantries are behind closed doors, she doesn’t have to be concerned about them being spotless.
Refrigerator: Samsung; pendants at dining room: Firefly, CB2; window seat cloth: Little Dandelion, Premier Prints
Ott put extra-large drawers at the bottom cabinets, rather than fixed shelves, making it easier for her to reach kitchen items. Often-used bowls, plates and glasses were put on the open pecan shelvingsystem, to stop constant dusting. Ott also used the house’s existing plumbing to keep down costs. This limited the kitchen’s layout, but they had lots of room to work with.
“nobody comes with an unlimited budget, so it’s good to determine what your priorities are and place the money from the items that make the most sense for you, for how you’ll use your kitchen,” Ott says. “I do not bake, so that I did not want two separate wall ovens. It might be a popular must-have for a great deal of people, but we simply didn’t want it”
Sink: Silgranit Precis Super Single Undermount, Blanco; fixtures: Grohe; pendant over sink: George Kovacs, Lights Fantastic
Contractor: Jason Williams, Shoal Creek Construction
Photography: Patrick Wong, Atelier Wong