Eighties Nightmare to Kitchen Fabulous

Portico Jackson Magazine
April 2012

It has been said that the kitchen is the heart of the home.  For Andy and Anna Howell, they had what they felt like was a great house in a great neighborhood.  Their Madison home is located in a friendly subdivision with a spacious backyard for the couple’s son and dog.  However, despite these great features, the couple felt like the “heart” of their home needed something more.

Built in the 1980’s, the Howell’s describe their home’s living space as “dated, small, dark, and totally isolated.”  The layout was awkward, they had a dining area they seldom utilized, and storage and workspace was minimal.

“The kitchen just did not work well at all,” Anna recalled. “The appliances all opened on top of each other – the dishwasher door opened right in front of my sink!  I would also have to include the burgundy countertops and pink and burgundy floral wallpaper to the list of items I did not like about the house.”

The Howell’s seriously considered packing up and moving out of their beloved neighborhood into a larger home, but before putting their house on the market they decided to look into remodeling.  Previously, the Howell’s worked with Celia Barrett Designs to renovate their master bedroom.  Once again, they called on Barrett to help with the redesign of their kitchen and the surrounding living space.

“Starting with a design concept helps me stay focused as I travel through the planning, design, and decoration of a space,” Barrett said.  “My concept for the Howell’s home was as you walk from living room to dining room you are transported into a welcoming, open home with comfort and character.  I wanted to be able to have an abundance of light, use the space to its maximum capacity, and turn it into a room they never wanted to leave.”

Barrett presented the family with a plan that not only provided more functionality, but added more square footage to the existing home.  By knocking out the adjoining wall between the kitchen and the dining room, the newly designed area added an open family room with a fireplace, cathedral ceilings, and full-height windows to let in more light.  A peninsula island in the kitchen looked out over the family room and provided much needed storage and counter space.

The renovation not only enlarged the original kitchen, but also extended the bathroom and added a walk-in closet to the master bedroom in addition to a laundry room off the kitchen.  Neutral color scheme, granite countertops, and custom-stained wood cabinets add a casual and comfortable element to the space.  New wood flooring replaced the carpet in the dining and great room, while large travertine tiles were laid in the kitchen.  Extra touches such as a pot-filler over the gas range, side bar sink, stone and cracked tile backsplash and unique hand-painted tiles around the fireplace were added surprises that the family loved.

Barrett also knew of Anna’s fondness for family heirlooms and antiques, so she incorporated several of Anna’s pieces plus a few finds of her own to make the space truly feel like home.  The entire design was rounded out with a full-length deck across the back of the house and a screened in porch, giving the family the perfect place to relax on a warm evening.

“With busy work and school schedules, family time is so limited these days,” said Anna of her new living space.  “Celia really delivered when we told her we wanted and open living area.  She gave us our ‘wall of windows,’ which really brings the outside in.  I now have a front row seat to so many beautiful sunsets.”