Ashley and Jamin Mills are no strangers to the renovation process. From pool houses and basements to bathrooms and kids’ bedrooms, the couple routinely tackles all kinds of projects as part of their design and remodel company, The Handmade Home. Recently, the duo took on an outdated kitchen, reconfiguring the dark space into an airy, open spot for entertaining —complete with plenty of seating, as well as a custom bar area.
"Our clients mainly wanted to open up the space for entertaining," explains Jamin. The old kitchen was connected to the rest of the house by small passageways, which both closed off the space and blocked natural light. One of the first things the couple recommended was the removal of several walls. "Altering the floor plan to create one large area with the dining room gave the homeowners more options for entertaining," he adds.
The entire kitchen was gutted, providing the opportunity to reconfigure cabinetry and optimize storage. "We tried to consider every possibility—from storage along the sides of the island to extra drawers throughout and an entire wall for the pantry," says Ashley. "We wanted the space to be realistically livable."
"This client also requested a few specific features," recalls Jamin. Given the homeowner’s focus on entertaining, one request was for a separate bar area, which the couple built along an open wall in the kitchen. "So often, clients seem to shy away from going after what they really like," adds Jamin. "They second-guess themselves." Yet, Jamin tries to encourage everyone to go for the details they really want in a space.
"Overall, our clients wanted a neutral space with pops of bold colors," says Ashley. "We pulled it all together with various finishes, colors and countertops." Careful attention was given to ensure the kitchen complemented the dining room, which was also updated with new furniture and lighting. For all of their projects, the couple looks for ways to incorporate both contrasting and coordinating design elements. "In this kitchen, brass on the light fixtures was subtly repeated in other details throughout the space. From the bevel on the subway tile or the streamlined hardware, the final result is a polished feel."
"Most people think that hiring a designer is a splurge, but it can often help you avoid costly mistakes and save money with discounts on materials" says Jamin. "They can also talk you down when things get reallys stressful," adds Ashley. "This kitchen is the product of an excellent partnership with the clients. Pulling it all together in one cohesive design was a beautiful process."
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