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Everything about this remodeled kitchen says “We cook.”

Any chef would be at home with the professional-grade Wolf dual-fuel range with four burners and a French top for simmering and holding dishes, the room Viking stainless steel refrigerator and Bosch dishwasher.

Self-professed foodies, the homeowners enjoy trying their hands at a range of cuisines, such as Mexican, Italian, Chinese and others using predominantly locally sourced ingredients. “We cook from scratch, make our own pasta, freeze and can vegetables, and we grow some vegetables on the deck. I love working in this kitchen. Not long ago I made 84 pounds of sausage,” enthuses the homeowner, who also keeps two beehives.

Alex Von Ashen of Phelan’s Interiors in Cedar Rapids was the guiding force behind the remodeling project. His goal was to maximize functionality and efficiency within the kitchen’s existing footprint while incorporating beautiful but practical materials.

“It’s definitely sleek and transitional with modern elements,” says Von Ashen. “Santa Cecelia” granite countertops, glossy subway tiles and faux travertine floor tile are to existing cherry wood cabinets. The existing island was expanded with the addition of a custom-built cabinet from 929 Design Inc.

“Increasing the overhang allows for seating at the island,” Von Ashen explains. The mushroom gray bonded leather bar stools are comfortable and easy-care. Glowing above the island are Kichler white frosted glass pendants in a warm bronze finish.

Formerly a drop zone for odds-and-ends, the desk was transformed into a beverage center with an under-counter wine fridge.

The interior designer describes the overall color scheme as “toned-down monochromatic. Good neutral colors warm the space and provide a wonderful background for display the original artwork collected by the homeowners.”

Open to the family room and sunroom-converted-to-dining-room, the kitchen is the social hub for a family who loves to entertain. One ingenious touch Von Ashen came up with was a concealed power strip that runs the length of the cabinetry.

“We can have 70 or more people at Thanksgiving – that’s a lot of Crock pots to plug in, so having that power strip is very handy,” says the homeowner.

The master bath, powder room and an upstairs kids’ bath also underwent facelifts under Von Ahsen’s watchful gaze. A relaxing, sleek spa retreat was carved out of an outdated master by eliminating an L-shaped vanity. That provided space for the privacy of a lavatory closet, a single floating vanity with his-and-her sinks and much larger shower with horizontal porcelain wall tiles, river rock floor and elegant glass enclosure.

“Lennon” granite sparkles on Bertch cabinets in birch with a sable stain. The German-made soaker tub was a special find to fit the space. Cultured stone provides the perfect, rustic-chic backdrop.


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