After living in their East Harriet home for a few years, Sara and Tim Noel realized a redesign of their kitchen and three-season porch would best serve their busy family life and love of entertaining.
Three school-aged children were often underfoot with projects and homework during meal prep, and the porch was still too chilly during the time of year when stunning sunset views of the lake were most visible. Both spaces had undergone a few remodels over time, most recently in the 1980s, but it was time to make the spaces more suitable for their specific needs.
They wanted a space that was bright, open and efficient. Sara said they chose Quartersawn for the project because “several friends had used them, and we loved their high-quality work and design.”
“We were confident they could update existing spaces in a more modern style while keeping consistent with the character of an older home,” she said. “They also had a great working relationship with our interior designer, Jennie Korsbon.”
Quartersawn relies on that invaluable “word of mouth” for their recommendations, but the Tangletown-based design-build firm also enjoys growing its following on Instagram (@quatersawndesignbuild).
There were challenges created by previous remodels, including uncovering three different wall types. And the project was up against the lot line.
Quartersawn took extra care in producing a 3D mapping study to present to city zoning officials, with favorable results and a relationship that has continued into other projects.
Warm and open
An open, beamed ceiling and beautiful stone fireplace that matched the 1925 façade quoining and entrance were both keepers from a previous remodel of the porch, as was a surround of energy-efficient windows.
Quartersawn got creative with unique sources of heat and insulation — in the roof, walls and insulated radiant floor heating, warming the space enough to remove the doors separating this fab square footage from the kitchen space. Bright white paint refreshed the room and prepared a clean palette for the playful work of j korsbon designs.
Radiant heat continues into the kitchen, and a modern, large-format Mosa cement tile was chosen to top it off, with a custom laser cut to create a traditional Versailles pattern in both spaces. Sara reports the kids are still underfoot as a result. She is often stepping over the 5-year-old, who enjoys playing on the toasty floor with their new English black lab puppy, Bucky.
Sara and Tim asked designer Nathan Kaye to maximize kitchen storage while attempting to keep an open look. Burrowing into previous remodels allowed them to raise the kitchen ceiling height for an immediately bigger and brighter look.
One wall of cabinets is built in for more depth options, housing the refrigerator (behind a matching cabinet front), an appliance pantry and ample grocery storage. The cabinet door profiles take the traditional frame and stile and reduce the overall proportions to a more contemporary detail. The cabinet style was continued down an adjoining hallway to harmonize existing closets.
Hanging metal shelving was originally intended as decorative — a few favorite cookbooks, succulents, etc. — but evolved into a home for the kind of bowls, plates and salt and pepper shakers you might reach for in everyday use.
“The cabinet hardware and metal details are all in a minimal and contemporary style, but we worked with local craftsman Josh Ritenhour, of Phenom Creative, to custom- make each offset door pull, island leg and shelf support,” Kaye said. “The metal pieces were then hand-treated so that each has a slight difference in hue. It is subtle, but if you are in close you can see the variations and by-hand quality.”
One of the biggest conversation pieces in the remodel is the double island. The design added to a more open look, especially on raised legs, and separate spaces for meal prep and homework sprawl.
It’s been a great asset, according to the homeowners. Almost every meal is prepared at home and more of the family is in the kitchen. But the Noels’ creative daughter, Mara, has deemed the second island as her command center. (Picture it: another child and puppy on the floor and a third chatting away at the main island as meals are cooked.) The counter finish is Alta quartzite.
Two sinks are another highlight of this busy kitchen — one on the island for meal prep and a larger one under the windows for everyday dish duty and entertaining. The larger sink is flanked by two dishwashers, which Sara said run every day.
The window wall was finished in herringbone tile all the way to the ceiling. Inset ceiling lights, metal wall sconces to match the cabinet hardware and large drum chandeliers over each island add to the natural light that now seems to stream from the newly opened spaces.
Around a corner, just before the dining room, Quartersawn devised a custom bar with wood to match existing built-ins, a soapstone countertop and a backsplash of antiqued mirror glass, giving it an original-to-the-house look.
Kaye also persuaded the homeowners to install a pocket door that will shut off the kitchen from entertaining when needed. Sara said they have used it often, especially when there is a kids table in the kitchen while adults are dining.
But guests enjoy the kitchen as much as the family does, and Sara has even had guests happily chipping in on meal prep. The Noels were glad to have the project ready in time for holiday entertaining, as promised.
So when all is said and done, where do Sara and Tim enjoy their morning cup of coffee?
Sara jumps to the end of the day as the charm — glass of wine, roaring fire and a glorious sunset over the lake, with Bucky curled up at their feet.