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A Kitchen Renovation. Letting The Outside In

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon.  I traveled to Medina, Ohio to meet my Clients.  I’ve been to their house before the kitchen renovation as a guest to their daughter’s (my daughter’s friend) graduation party about 7 years ago.  They are not strangers to me.  Anyway, I haven’t been there  since.  This is how I remembered their lovely home.  They held their graduation party mostly outside.  Why not.  Right?

Outdoor Fireplace

Existing Outdoor Fireplace

Back to the project.

We sat in their kitchen and I took my usual notes.  We chatted.  I looked outside the small kitchen window and remembered that the outdoor living area was just on the other side of the sink (see the photo of the kitchen before the renovation below).  I thought to myself, what a shame that my clients  couldn’t enjoy the this beautiful view of the neighborhood lake that was only about 200 yards away.  Oh, they do in the summer, part of spring and part of fall.  You see, they live in Northeast Ohio.  Not a whole lot of entertaining outside much of the year beyond the warmer months.  I thought that this will have to be address in the new design.  Why not enjoy the outside all year round?

Before photo of a kitchen renovation

Kitchen before the renovation

So, the first phase of the design process…the interview.  From this process, I found out that they both love their wine collection.  As a matter of fact, their daughter has a degree in viniculturist!  Probably where she developed the interest or visa versa?  I also found out that they both love this local artist who is very popular in our part of the world.  As a matter of fact, they’ve already owned a few items and one is in tact as part of the outdoor fireplace, just outside the kitchen window.  To be able to connect that with the new kitchen would be a bonus.  And finally (well, there were a few other ‘wants and needs’ but we’ll focus on a few), they wanted an island.

From the first meeting on, many issues unfolded which was taken into consideration when I proposed three schematics.  All of which had to do with the different budgetary range.  But I had another one in my back pocket.  One that is outside the range…just in case.  So, as I mentioned before, the first three where basically budget driven.  There was Scheme A which was the least amount of expense but I couldn’t fit an island into the scheme.  Then Scheme B was of course the middle of the road and then there’s Scheme C, which was the most expensive.  But, like I said, I had another one.  I usually propose one idea that is the ‘outside the box’ solution to their problem.  Most Clients are afraid to pick the latter.  Not them.

Photo A  Existing kitchen layout - 'BEFORE RENOVATION'

Layout A: Existing kitchen layout – ‘BEFORE RENOVATION’


Proposed Kitchen Layout showing.

Layout B: Proposed Kitchen Layout showing.

First and foremost, we really needed to bring the outside in.  Let the initial investment of the outdoor living (which was done probably about 8 or so years ago) become part of the overall experience of the home.  In order to do that, we needed to replace the small window and allow a row of new windows as part of the design.  But that’s not enough.  Maximum exposure to the outside meant larger windows is a must and in multiple quantities.  Which meant, lowering the sill of the existing window and removing the existing cabinets along the outside wall.  That is a big change, right?

The addition of new and larger windows.

The addition of new and larger windows.

So, here we go.  An explanation of the process will just have to be shown by way of photos…



This was the old lifestyle.  My Clients preferred a wine bar rather than a desk.  They also wanted an island.  With the old layout, I could only fit a narrow 25-inch island.  This meant that no one can sit around the island.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I, myself, have a narrow island.  But that’s me.  This project was a collaboration.  A partnership between my clients and RMD Designs.  They wanted to entertain around an island, around a bar.  So, we made it happen.  The new island was perfect in the new location and added a U-Line undercabinet wine refrigeration unit to complete the bar functionality.  The decision to swing the door was also a minor adjustment.  They wanted to be able to just open its door from the eat-in side of the kitchen and not from the server/sink side of the kitchen.

After:  A Kitchen With A View

After: A Kitchen With A View

Another item on the list was to somehow incorporate their favorite local artist, Don Drumm into the project.  We went to his shop in Akron and found a pewter plaque.  Although the first one we picked out was gone by the time they decided to purchase, my client found a replacement (but this one was slightly bigger than the original one).  Because we were dealing with an item that is not quite made for this type of installation, we had to find a way to make this work as a backsplash.   Aesthetically speaking, it really needed a finish to frame the plaque.  I proposed a liner from Crossville Inc. from their Urban Renewal collection called M400 Large Ball Liner.  It was perfect!!

New Kitchen Backsplash

New Kitchen Backsplash

And because we removed an existing pantry, we added 2 new pull out pantries that is actually incorporated within the cabinetry.  I neglected to take a picture of this feature as they are pulled out but here is how it is adorned…

Sometimes, you have to think outside the box!

Sometimes, you have to think outside the box!

Counter Pullout Outlet

Counter Pullout Outlet









There were additional functionalities within the cabinetry that we added.   Much are not shown here in this blog, like the toe-kick drawer, the sink tray, LED undercabinet lighting, and more.  But here’s a little bonus…

But to end the blog, let’s us remind you of what it looked like before…



After:  A Kitchen Renovation.  Letting the Outside In.

After: A Kitchen Renovation. Letting the Outside In.



After: A Kitchen Renovation. Letting the Outside In.


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