TREATING KITCHEN REMODELING AS AN ART
BY SHALEEN DESTEFANO
Everyone knows that the heart of the home is in the kitchen. Regardless of the size of your home, this is where people congregate. And with all the time we’ve spent inside our four walls, many of the flaws have become glaring. This is where our friends at Kitchens on Broadway come in. This team of local professionals are knowledgeable and down to earth. We had the pleasure of talking with them about their history together as well as their process.
Our owner Dave Hawk had a well-established design/build firm southwest of Denver so had worked with a lot of industry professionals throughout the years. He hit it off with one of the vendors he partnered with, and they both saw a niche they could fill together: a full-service kitchen and bath design showroom that would allow clients to experience a wide range of products–with the added benefit of trusted contractor services, which sometimes is the most difficult piece of the puzzle for clients. Our location near the Denver Design District seemed like the perfect spot to pull it all together. Michelle Eliason, who was fairly new to the industry, was the first designer at the showroom, which opened May 5, 2015. She wore many hats in the beginning – administrative, marketing, party planning, and design! Soon after, Jeanne Wisner joined and was followed by Linda Brooks and Scott Miller who collectively have over 70 years of experience. Our most recent addition is Taylor Scism who’s a recent graduate of Design school and brings a fresh perspective to the mix.
Despite what your name suggests, your team services more than kitchens. Can you tell us more about the full scope of your work?
While we are a kitchen and bath design firm, we’ve found that a large part of our work has revolved around whole or partial-home remodels. This has only been enhanced by people recently spending more time in their homes and wanting to develop more cohesive and functional spaces. We’ve really enjoyed the creative challenges of getting to know our customers and their families more intimately, and this has broadened and changed our scope. We feel we’ve really grown as creatives as a result of this evolution.
We’re all experienced designers, space planners, materials gurus and negotiating ninjas that help bring the project together in an intentional way. Our heartfelt goal is to have engaged clients that are committed along with us to beautiful results.
You work with designers, homeowners and contractors so you’re all well versed on how to handle projects from start to finish. What does your process look like and how much creative liberty do you get to take with your design jobs?
First off, design for us is collaborative. We feel very strongly that our clients best understand their home and what they want. Spending time getting to know them, how they use their home, how many people live there, what kinds of parties they like to throw helps to guide and focus their ideas into what will become a reality. We never think in terms of limitations.
The beginning of the process is defining what is meaningful to our clients—or in the words of Marie Kondo—what “sparks joy.” Practically, we determine how their new spaces will best function and then give them form and definition. We’re always thinking about how to put ourselves in our clients’ shoes to understand and personalize their space.
There are so many great tools at our disposal in today’s modern landscape that help us to become more resourceful—and therefore more creative—in our work. Furthermore, this allows us to enhance our showroom virtually to help our customers envision their completed space.
Lastly, on a practical note, we’re always considering good design practices and following local building requirements.
First, we determine what the customer’s intention is for their home. If they plan to sell the house in the next 3-6 years, we’ll approach the design and focus of it differently than we would if it were their “forever home.” Classic finishes, door styles, current materials will drive the design on a house that may become someone else’s soon. While we’re not necessarily interested in what’s trendy, we are interested in choices that will make their lives better, easier, and more seamless.
We’ll direct and design very differently for a family that’s going to grow and change with the home. If staying put, we’re more likely to challenge them, get them out of their comfort zone a bit, and think about living differently and more comfortably in their home. Regardless of scope and scale, we always want to direct client to quality materials that fit their lifestyle and budget.
Your showroom is vast with designs ranging from traditional to modern, ornate finishes to the extremely minimalist. All of this can be intimidating to the novice walking in off the street. What advice can you give someone who wants to make updates, but simply can’t land on an aesthetic?
While our physical space is large, we’ve taken time to create vignettes that feel as though they could be in someone’s home. Each space is purposefully curated so that as we travel through the showroom, we’re focusing on a specific area of a client’s project or a style that they’re drawn to. We’ve chosen materials to help people feel inspired to talk about their vision and start to create their own collection of ideas. Each area highlights different parts of the project from cabinet door styles to countertop and tile selections, flooring, and window treatments.
This ties back to a couple of things: to get to know our customers a bit in that initial visit and gets us thinking about things that will spark their enthusiasm before we’ve even visited the home. We also begin to identify what the most important focus of the project is for them and start to develop our theme.
At the end of the day, we’re here to help. We ask questions to glean the clients tastes and needs and blend the two to create a beautiful space.
You’ve worked on homes throughout the state over the years. Do you have a favorite project from the past?
We’ve all had projects where the customer had an idea or inspiration that leapfrogged into an amazing design. Common elements are always good communication and an openness between the client and the designer, to move the project to move from a list of bullet points or “must haves” into an inspired vision. This has ranged from a powder room with classic and stunning wallpaper to a kitchen utilizing multiple slabs of wildly artistic stone.
We love the challenge of getting the most out of small spaces as well as making large spaces feel welcome and intimate. Ultimately, our favorite projects are the ones that make our clients feel like their new space was always meant to be.
The pandemic shined a bright light on the fact that our homes need to be cohesive with our lifestyles. But one thing remains certain, the kitchen is the heart of the home. What are some of your favorite kitchen design elements?
There are so many! As a result of spending so much time in the home, people are more tuned in to their priorities, and so statement pieces, whether they be cabinet, countertop, or appliances have created more bespoke designs. To name a few, we love seeing:
• Color coming back into cabinets, countertops, and paint
• New focus on natural materials moving from man-made quartz to exciting materials from all over the world.
• More textural elements in backsplashes, specifically cement and zellige tiles creating a soft and sophisticated aesthetic
• Technology in lighting and appliances: motion lights for room and cabinets, voice-controlled kitchen faucets, and blue tooth induction and sous vide pairings in cooktops and ovens
When you’re not knee deep in design projects, how do you spend your free time?
We’re a varied group of active Coloradans and all appreciate the social, cultural, outdoorsy activities and events that our state has to offer.
Michelle enjoys local and international travel, taking advantage of Denver’s food scene, gardening and cooking with her husband.
Jeanne can be found riding her bike to explore new restaurants in Denver, walking her dogs around Wash Park, and reading British crime novels.
Linda enjoys golfing with her family, neighborhood parties, and researching selections for her monthly book club.
Scott keeps himself busy remodeling his house, kayaking at the Aurora Reservoir, and hiking with his wife and kids.
Taylor enjoys cooking and gardening and the occasional binge watching of crime dramas on Netflix.
What can we expect from you in the future?
A lot more projects in Wash Park! The variety and unique character of Denver’s historic established neighborhoods inspires our projects in Denver and across Colorado. We look forward to welcoming many new and existing neighbors into our showroom as we continue to grow.
Thank you for sharing your story with us! If you’d like to inquire more about the services provided by Kitchens on Broadway, visit https://kitchensonbroadway.com