Kitchen Remodel in Phoenix-Scottsdale: Modernizing the Southwest Kitchen

by Tom Karl | Apr 25, 2016


Typical Southwest Style homes present a challenge for homeowners who want a more contemporary or eclectic look in their houses. Without a doubt, in the past ten years, general trends in taste have been leaning strongly towards modern interiors with clean lines.

Today we want to make a statement in defense of the Southwest home and its stylistic versatility. Whether it’s Territorial, Mission, Santa Barbara, or any of its various iterations, the Southwest home can provide the richest spaces and backgrounds for even the most adventurous of contemporary designs; it just takes vision, creativity and quite a bit of editing.

In design, the best way to make a point is by example; so let me share with you the challenges the design encountered on a recent kitchen remodel, and our solutions.

Our clients purchased this Territorial home for its location and spectacular desert views. First on their list was having a “happy and inviting kitchen” that would suit their gourmet cooking habits and family life. The remodel needed to complement the architecture with a modern and lively vision.

Three crucial requirements defined the character and layout of this kitchen, namely, the need for an ample food preparation surface, a large bar to entertain friends while meals are prepared, and a breakfast nook table that could be used daily or for small informal dinners.

My design approach incorporated all three functions into one central volume that combines island, bar, and breakfast nook table. Echoing the home’s curved walls, this ensemble bows out and fuses into a round table, bringing vigorous movement to the space while abiding by its configuration.

With its modest vocabulary, this kitchen exceeded everyone’s expectations. My advice to home buyers with contemporary taste is:

Don’t overlook a Southwest Home with an excellent location and great views for great design can awaken the magic within its walls.

I am posting some before pictures so you can appreciate this amazing transformation. I have also itemized the design guidelines that will help you understand the design process as you peruse through the pictures of the finished kitchen:

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1) The efficient concentration of functions in the center of the kitchen rendered vast available of space, expanding circulation all around the island, and allowing room for a long window seat and a cozy opening by fireplace and breakfront.

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2) The breakfast nook table is quite a hybrid piece. It combines a distressed walnut plank top with a cylindrical steel base, which was left to rust before darker pigments were applied to it.

3) Fanned floor plans procure expansive views but generate narrow, long and curved rooms that challenge conventional layouts. This solution capitalized on the peculiarities of the space by presenting itself as an organic derivation of it.

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4) The tiered surfaces of the bar, countertop, and table with their dissimilar materials and the complex shapes that result from their intersections give a sculptural quality to the ensemble.

5) In the foreground, the bar front displays a teal blue mosaic kick plate. Giving a whimsical nod to Americana, the breakfast nook chairs sassily exhibit a 50’s floral fabric, and in the background, an adobe fireplace quietly showcases Southwest ceramics.

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6) Radial log beams impose a strong graphic effect on the space. Convex and concave walls push in and away from the space; everything conveys movement; like waves in a tide, the center island, and window seat harmoniously follow the flow.

7) Tile and stone work as components of a vibrant palette that conveys joy. Deep teal blues that evoke oceans translate into brilliant handmade tiles crisply laid with white grout onto the backsplash. White terrazzo with encrusted blue and teal glass expands over the counter surfaces.

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8) Cream color milk paint clads the upper cabinets recalling cupboards and kitchens of the 30’s and 40’s. The lower cabinets showcase dark brown sandblasted rift oak reminiscing weathered woods found in the Southwest deserts. Aged bronze vintage style hardware adds the final stroke of nostalgia.

9) This diverse color palette required a careful allocation of hues within the space. Against cream color walls, an assortment of teals and blues reign at counter height. Above and below the “teal-blue line”, strokes of red on cornices and window seat animate the space with Navajo patterns.

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10) The window seat most vividly reveals the pursuit behind the design of this kitchen, the intention to emphasize the presence of majestic views from every corner of the room while organically adapting all its functions to the existing architecture of the home.

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Interested in more images of this home? Check out our portfolio!

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