Creating a Kitchen Masterpiece


Creating a kitchen masterpiece

The desire for an updated, attractive kitchen that would resonate with the vintage of the rest of their 1939 home was the impetus for local artist Pat Dunn-Walker and her husband, Randy, to initiate their recent remodel. “We were committed to the house and wanted a fresh update,” Randy says. Since their occupancy in 1989, the Walkers had replaced appliances and changed countertops and flooring. However, the kitchen remained small, with limited area for entertaining.


“This project involved a variety of kitchen conceptual plans that showed the Walkers what differences would exist in the new kitchen, if either one or two walls were removed during construction,” Diane Quinn of Beyond Kitchens explains. “Ultimately, they chose to remove two to maximize the space. In addition, storage to the dining area and a pantry area were added to maximize storage.” While removing two walls markedly increased the expanse of the kitchen, dining and family room area, a new, larger window over the sink contributes to the more open and spacious feel.

PICKING A PALETTE People pick their decorating palettes in many ways. Some opt to work from the hue or pattern of a favorite piece of upholstery, the pattern of their favorite dishes or even something as small as a bar of soap. For the Walkers, the inspiration came from a painting. “We both enjoy looking at midcentury, modern furnishings and architecture,” says Pat. “We saw this painting by Fritz Glarner called ‘Relational Painting,’ and it inspired our color choices. The whole thing came together when we saw it.”

“The neutral colors on the cabinets and walls of the dining/family room were chosen to highlight Pat’s artwork,” says Diane. “The bright pops of color on the back door and glass backsplash reflect Pat and Randy’s color sense and a little whimsy.”


The new, arctic white kitchen cabinets, from Plato Woodwork’s custom line, feature inset doors that complement the historic details of the Walkers’ home. The vivid, Mediterranean blue glass tile backsplash is enhanced by the contrast of the countertop made of via lattea granite with a satin/leather finish. The Walkers chose stainless steel for their new appliances. A sizeable island, made of alder, has a coastal grey stained finished with a black glaze and a Cambria Praa Sands™ countertop. The island serves as additional counter- and workspace, as well as a welcoming spot to socialize and dine. The formerly paneled family room is now the perfect place to showcase various pieces of Pat’s artwork. A hanging apparatus suspended from the crown molding allows for ease and versatility when placing art pieces, while installation of gallery-style lighting in both the family and living rooms assures optimal viewing. Bullet lights are also in place and for a softer guise, wall sconce fixtures. When remodeling, Pat advises to take time making decisions, which will help you remember why you made the decision in the first place.She also says that it is important to have someone who will be with you throughout the entire remodeling process. “We really trusted our contractor,” says Pat. “Beyond Kitchens really understands what goes into designing a living space. They are excellent listeners and pose the questions of what people want out of their living space, what they like best and least about their current living space, ranging from taste in space and color to form versus function. They are also very organized and understand this process— mechanical and emotional—very well.” The Walkers are greatly enjoying the expanse of their new kitchen and living space. “It’s so pleasant now to come down to the kitchen in the morning and have coffee. We really enjoy having people over too.”

Penny Lex is a freelance writer living in Rochester.