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For The Home

Family-Friendly Kitchen

Author: Shawndrea Corbin
Issue: May, 2013, Page 80
Photos by David B. Moore

Painted turquoise, the center island has a large prep area with a steel top, plus a snack bar extension supported by a steel tree trunk. “My sons were a little skeptical of the blue color at first,” relays the lady of the house. “But I said, ‘give it a chance,’ and now they love it.”

A Mesa Kitchen’s Remodel Dishes Up Clever Storage Solutions With a Side of Rustic Ambience

Originally from Wisconsin, the owners of this Mesa, Arizona, home desired an open, child-friendly kitchen with plenty of room to entertain visiting family and friends. Enter interior designer Heidi Leuning. With the challenge of preserving, as well as doubling, the kitchen’s storage capacity, Leuning set a course for remodeling the space into a free-flowing Southwest retreat.

The designer’s first step was to open up the wall dividing the kitchen and the living room by creating “windows,” essentially connecting the two areas. Next, she tackled the couple’s desire for a mountain lodge-like look, incorporating weathered wood floors and distressed cabinets. A shade of turquoise taken from some of the couple’s Native American art was used to accent the Rainforest granite countertops. The granite, with its intricate veining that resembles leaves, reinforces the “outdoorsy” feel. Leuning then set about planning the island—complete with an elevated bar, prep sink and under-counter beverage refrigerator. “We pinned a slab of 100-year-old burl to the leather-finished granite of the island’s raised bar, which made me think of a tree. So, we added the twisted-steel tree base,” Leuning remarks. Gaps in the burl were subsequently inlaid with natural turquoise.  

For storage, Leuning had “dish drawers” installed on all sides of the island. “They measure 42 inches wide and are suspended on heavy-duty glides,” she explains. “I love to eliminate ‘steps’ in the kitchen, so now the homeowners are able to move dishes straight from the washer to the drawers.” Adds the lady of the house, “I am so organized, thanks to those drawers. Everything is easy to find and fits perfectly. I just love the way everything turned out.”

Leuning concludes, “It’s all just so Arizona.”

Interior designer Heidi Leuning chose colors for the kitchen that would accent the rustic stone wall (right) in the dining space. The island’s thick granite and burl wood extension has a free-form chiseled edge.

Implemented to double storage space, these deep dish drawers feature pegs to hold dishes in place.
Eye-catching Rainforest granite clads countertops and continues up the wall as a backsplash. The custom steel range hood has riveted straps and a painted finish.

Heidi Leuning’s Design Tips
When constructing upper cabinets, set them at 14" deep instead of the standard 12" to accommodate larger dinnerware.

Include dividers in the top drawers of base cabinets for better organization of kitchen tools.

Outfit pantries with outlets and additional counter space to accommodate daily-use appliances, such as toasters, so they will be handy but out of view.
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