My advice for anyone trying to tackle a similar project would be to use your imagination and use what you have. You can transform a space with just a few elements, like a coat of paint or a temporary point of focus — not only is the backsplash removable, I could always turn it into a table top or hang it elsewhere as art. Let the space evolve; not being able to do everything at once (due to time or finances) is good sometimes. Use those weekdays when you don’t have time to work on your project to dream up different possibilities, then when the weekend comes, you are well prepared to put your ideas into action
Advice for people thinking of doing the same: Be prepared for weirdness in the house. Our floor was not level by 1.5″, which wreaked havoc with a design that had no trim to hide uneven lines. Our contractor, Dave Rannala, actually jacked up one corner of the kitchen from the basement below in order to even things out. All the counters and shelves are totally level, but then there are all sorts of little things they did, like tapering the ceiling beams to hide the house irregularity. They did an amazing job. It is really important to have an experienced builder. Also, plan the layout beforehand and test lots of ideas. We did five different kitchen layouts before we settled on the final one. Doing that forced us to answer all the questions about the type and size of appliances and where the work stations would be. Those questions have to be answered at some point, but planning first meant that the actual reno was way less stressful. One final thing: Use simple, good quality materials that are timeless and bridge the modern and historic influences
I’ve seen a lot of beautiful, modern kitchen projects lately, and I have to be honest — they’re making me quite envious. I understand how major an undertaking like this can be, even when the owner is also a talented architect, as is the case with this amazing kitchen from Suzanne and Greg Damant. Suzanne and Greg lived in this home for more than 10 years before finally undergoing these renovations, and it’s clear that every decision was made with care and consideration. I love seeing what the pros end up doing in their own homes, and I’ll definitely be keeping this one in my inspiration file. Amazing job, Suzanne and Greg!