Renovation 2: European élan
When a young couple hired Modify Atlanta to transform their 1960s kitchen, the Smyrna-based design/build firm had to contend with 20-year-old renovations that had left the space choppy and gloomy. Modify’s Jack Mattern—a contractor by trade and designer by experience—provided them with an open plan that they could make their own. The result is a fresh, French country–inspired space.
Describe the space pre-renovation.
The kitchen was u-shaped and had unsightly tile countertops and dark, heavy cabinetry. Zero personality.
What inspired the new design?
The couple were drawn to a French country aesthetic but wanted to put a modern spin on the concept.
What was your top priority?
Bringing in more natural light. The previous owners had built an adjoining sunroom, which is a great feature, but it blocked the daylight. We opened up the wall between them, as well as the walls to the connecting breakfast room and den. Now there is plenty of light plus an open concept.
What was the greatest challenge?
The wall between the kitchen and sunroom was made entirely of brick, and we had to carve out 11-foot-wide openings. We didn’t want to remove the brick entirely because it adds to the home’s character.
What was the biggest splurge?
The hand-painted backsplash tile by Walker Zanger. The couple didn’t want their kitchen to look like it came from a big-box store. They wanted it to have some personality and were willing to compromise elsewhere so that these tiles fit within their budget.
How did you save money?
The homeowners selected fairly inexpensive pine for the vent hood and floating shelves. Also, the cabinets are pretty straightforward—no hidden spice racks or dog bowl stations.
What is your favorite detail?
Definitely the quartzite island countertop. It was given a honed finish for a really unique look.
How does the kitchen now fit the homeowners’ lifestyle?
They both work from home part time and can now spill out into this space. Plus, they’re entertainers at heart and now have space to host.
The breakfast room seems to serve multiple functions.
Yes, it houses a coffee and tea maker, and mugs are within easy reach on the floating shelves. It also doubles as a beverage bar.
What was your lighting plan?
The client preferred aged brass fixtures for the warm finishes. They’re a bit of a nod to Old World charm.