Kitchen Makeover

Marlene Pratt believes that designing for a contemporary American lifestyle is much more than changing colors and buying new furniture. It is about integrating the many elements of a person’s life into their home.

When Marlene takes on a project, she does not just redecorate a space; she redesigns a lifestyle. She gets personal in order to understand who you are, where you are in your life, and where you want to go. Marlene works with each person to make their home an expression of who they are, interweaving their passions, beliefs and desires into the home’s fabrics, colors, textures and designs to create an intensely personal, yet functional, space.

Introduction by Nora Maria Diaz Bretherton

In this article Marlene was featured in Woman’s Day magazine:

Harvest gold appliances and above-cabinet soffits were the height of the kitchen style when Richard and Ellyn Wira moved into their new home in 1973. Fast-forward 32 years. Despite the new wallpaper and replacement appliances, “you walked into that kitchen and automatically knew how old it was,” says Marlene Pratt, the Home Depot interior designer who helped the Wiras bring the room into the 21st century.

What was done:

  • Marelene, above left, guided the Wiras toward KraftMaid maple cabinets in a medium stain for the traditional look they desired.  A two-tone glaze that makes them darker around the edges is a contemporary look.
  • The old cabinets came together in the corner and created a non-man’s land of dead space that required a flashlight to explore.  A new catty-corner cabinet, with a lazy Susan inside, makes the space user friendly.  A louvered appliance garage keeps countertop clutter under control.
  • Silestone natural quartz countertops in Tea leaf won’t readily show dirt, and beacuse it’s nonporous, the surface won’t absorb stains. A cream ceramic tile backsplash adds texture.
  • Pratt persuaded the Wiras to replace their relatively new white appliances with stainless steel ones from Maytag. “You can match any color to it,” says Pratt, “and it makes that color more striking.”
  • A built-in microwave above the range frees up counter space.  The wood caving above it was unexpected piece Pratt brought in to provide a focal point. The arch over that, an architectual element repeated above the sink and on the workstation, softens the square lines of the kitchen.
  • The Kohler chrome faucet has the old-fashioned look Ellyn loves, but with a modern pullout spray nozzle.

  • Stained-glass cubbies replace the soffit above the cabinets, showing off Ellyn’s china and collectibles.  “A soffit makes a room seem smaller than it really is,” says Pratt.  “To the ceilling cabinets give the room added height and elegance.”

  • A stunning new workstation doubles the storage space of the old hutch, and adds a desk and a filling cabinet in the base.  Pratt chose Behr’s Mountain Haze paint, an airy, light sage hue, as an homage to the Wiras’ North Carolina vacation home.  A round glass-top table lightens things up further.  The dark cream porcelain tile flooring is easy to clean and dries quickly, Ellyn says.  It was laid on an angle , which creates the illusion of a bigger room.

The details at work:

  1. A sleek flat-screen television replaces a bulky old set, freeing up counter space.
  2. Two roll-out drawers in the pots and pans cabinet organize cookware, eliminating straining and searching.
  3. A pullout pantry next to the refrigerator holds canned goods and puts an end to the typical spice jumble in cabinets.  “You can see everything at a glance,” syas Ellyn.
  4. Making most of utensil storage is a dual-level flatware drawer: The top section slide across to reveal a divided bottom.
  5. Slide-out wire baskets get onions and potatoes out of the bag and into easy-to-access vegetable bins.

Once the makeover was complete, the Wiras found that they were surprisingly enamored of some of the smaller touches: a cabinet unit that houses trash and recycling bin, the freezer on-the-bottom refrigerator (“You can see what needs to be used up,” says Richard).  “We’re overwhelmed,” Ellyn says.  “The only thing is, it looks so good, now we feel like we need to redo the rest of the house.”

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