Author Archive | Susan Klimala

A Kitchen Focused on Family

Having a space for their teenage kids to hang out after school, study and interact with Mom & Dad was at the top of the list for this remodel. The 1928 home, sits in a lovely Glen Ellyn neighborhood, near downtown and near all the action of the local high school and lake. It’s was a great house with great bones but the kitchen was in need of some TLC. The remodel project had been a long time coming, and since both the homeowners work from home, they had been nervous about disrupting their bustling daily schedules to get the project in motion.

large galley kitchen

Once we had a plan in place, we dug in and got to work. The first step was to remove a non-load bearing wall between the kitchen and dining room. We then reworked the space a bit, eliminating a redundant passage way to the hall, and reworking a closet to allow for a large galley style kitchen and small bar area open to the dining room.

The new kitchen has a small peninsula for the family to have casual meals and for the kids to hang out after school. A window was eliminated to give more space for cabinetry and storage, and another window was made larger to allow for a grander view into the backyard.

large galley kitchen

large galley kitchen

We decided upon a layered approach to this space to provide character appropriate to the older home. White painted cabinetry provides a backdrop for interesting touches such as gray herringbone tile, a reeded farmhouse sink and bronze hardware and lighting.

The bar has its own unique look featuring gray cabinetry with a patterned cement tile backsplash and walnut top. A bar fridge, glass cabinets and baskets for tucking away homework give this little multi-functional area loads of character.

custom dry bar in kitchen

A miniature mudroom area was also added to the dining room so that the new space can be kept neat and tidy.

The stylish result looks both appropriate to the 1928 home and provides loads of functionality for this active family that can now take advantage of every square inch their home.

Historic Wheaton Home Updated for Modern Living

This project started out as a kitchen remodel but ended up as so much more. As the original plan started to take shape, some water damage provided the impetus to remodel a small upstairs hall bath. Once this bath was complete, the homeowners enjoyed the result so much that they decided to set aside the kitchen and complete a large master bath remodel. Once that was completed, we started planning for the kitchen!

old home kitchen remodel

The original kitchen was just large enough to accommodate an island and a separate pantry but felt a little cramped, especially during the weekends when the couple likes to entertain. The primary goal was to maintain the functionality of the current space, but to add some breathing room as well as to provide a view to the homeowner’s side yard and substantial Hosta garden.


The solution was to bump out the space about 10 feet which provided ample room for large pro appliances, a large island for gathering and an upgraded pantry space. It was important to the homeowners to create a space that felt like it belonged in their historic 1866 home in Wheaton. Details such as matching new trim to the existing large custom profiles in the original home and re-purposing an existing door to be used for the new pantry, provided these touches. A large window at the main sink provides that view into the yard and a beautiful focal point for the room.

old home kitchen remodel

old home kitchen remodel

A mix of painted wood and stained cabinetry gives the new kitchen a sense of belonging in the older home, as do the Super White quartzite that has the look of marble, subway tile backsplash, polished nickel lanterns and glass and mirrored doors. The large pantry, filled with custom shelving built to the homeowner’s specifications, stainless steel appliances and the two Galley Workstations – sinks that do double duty as prep space – ensure that not only does the kitchen look great, but also functions in a personalized manner that works perfectly for the occupants.

old home kitchen remodel

Doing the bump out also allowed the opportunity for a small mudroom and powder room right off the kitchen as well as re-arranging some openings to allow for better traffic flow throughout the entire first floor. The result is a comfortable up-to-date home that feels both steeped in history yet allows for today’s style of living.

A Room with a View

This condo in downtown Chicago has amazing views of the city, Soldier Field and the Shedd Aquarium. The client’s goal was to update the inside view to make it more compatible with those looking out.

light & dark modern kitchen

Upper cabinets hanging over the peninsula of the existing kitchen blocked the magnificent view, so those had to go.


The existing layout wasn’t bad but we felt with a few small changes it could be great.


We started by separating the ovens and the fridge so that there was more symmetry and functionality to the design. And we made a more dramatic feature wall along the back elevation to showcase the cooktop area.

light & dark modern kitchen

An existing soffit was extended towards the side door to give it a more intentional look and to provide a more built-in appearance to the new pantry cabinets that were added to the left of the fridge.

light & dark modern kitchen

Semi-custom cherry cabinetry, open shelving, waterfall quartz countertops and Carrera marble backsplash tile give the space a decidedly contemporary feel perfect for city living. Now the cook can easily interact with guests and simultaneously enjoy the incredible views that the space offers.

light & dark modern kitchenlight & dark modern kitchen

Dream Kitchen in Glen Ellyn

white kitchen dark countertops

This Glen Ellyn homeowner came to us, frustrated with the layout and size of their current kitchen, looking for help generating ideas for how to maximize functionality within the constraints of the space. After visiting with them and seeing the home’s layout, I realized that looking at the bigger picture of how they used the entire first floor might bring us some dramatic solutions. We ended up flipping the kitchen and family room and taking down the wall separating the two creating one big open floor plan for the family to enjoy. There is still a visual separation between the rooms because of their different lengths and the overall space now relates nicely to the dining room which was also opened up to both rooms.

white kitchen dark countertops

The new kitchen is an L-shaped space that is no longer cramped and small and is truly a cook’s dream. The fridge is on one end, a large cooktop and sink are located along the main perimeter and double ovens located at the end of the “L” complete the layout. Ample work surface along the perimeter and on the large island makes entertaining a breeze. An existing door to the patio remains, floods the room with light and provides easy access to the existing outdoor deck for entertaining and grilling.

white kitchen dark countertops

White cabinetry with quartz countertops, Carrera marble backsplash tile and a contrasting gray island give the space a clean and modern feel. The gray pendant lights and stainless appliances bring a slight industrial feel to the space letting you know that some serious cooking will take place here.

white kitchen dark countertops

Watch the time-lapse video of this kitchen remodel from beginning to end.

And all in under 1 minute!

Dream Bath in Glen Ellyn

Once we had their Dream Kitchen design completed, the homeowners decided to tackle another project at the same time. We made plans to create a master suite upstairs by combining two existing bedrooms into a larger bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet. The existing spaces were not overly large so getting everything on the wish list into the design was a challenge. 

designer bathroom

In the end, we came up with a design that works. The two bedrooms were adjoined, one wall moved back slightly to make for a slightly larger bedroom, and the remaining space was allotted to the new bathroom and a walk in closet. The bathroom consists of a double vanity and a large shower with a barn door shower door. A skylight brings light into the space and helps make it feel larger and more open.

bathroom idea

The new walk-in closet is accessible through the bathroom, and we even managed to fit in a small entry vestibule that houses some additional storage and makes a nice transition from the hallway. A white vanity, Carrera tops and gray floor tile make for a serene space that feels just right for this home.

great bathroom

Traditional Transformation

From dark and dated… to bright and beautiful!

 Open almost any design magazine today and you will see tons of examples of contemporary and transitional design. Maybe those designs are appealing, but you’re just not feeling it for your own space or traditional suburban home filled with traditional furniture. Do you still have the option to remodel your kitchen in a traditional style and not have it look instantly dated? The answer is yes! This kitchen is a perfect example of how to do that. Take traditional cabinetry and sprinkle in a few updated accents and voila!

Traditional kitchen remodel with white cabinetry

Traditional kitchen remodel with white cabinetry

Traditional kitchen with white cabinetry remodel

In addition to the look of the space, this 1970’s neo-Tudor home also had a very traditional floorplan which was given new life for today’s living. We eliminated the wall between the kitchen and the (rarely used) dining room which opened up the whole first floor and created the open plan that the homeowners wanted. 

Traditional kitchen remodel with white cabinetry

With the added space, a larger island was added with seating for casual dining. An existing room off the kitchen now works as the main dining area and even houses a fireplace!

Traditional kitchen with white cabinetry remodel

Hardworking quartz countertops were used to keep maintenance easy, and professional style appliances were added for this home cook to really get cooking in the kitchen. An apron sink, Ann Sacks bronze accent tile, green glass pendants lighting and new window treatments transition this kitchen into the current decade!

Traditional kitchen remodel with white cabinetry

Here’s what the client said about her new kitchen remodel:

Kitchen Studio of Glen Ellyn remodeled our kitchen and powder room. We also had the whole main floor redone in hard wood. The project involved removing a dining room wall and dealing with some messed up floors. Susan helped bring this project to life. I had a very dark dated kitchen with a very small work area. Now it is full of natural light and has a great open floor plan . She was able to mix the dark wood work and beams in my house with light cabinets. They were very professional and their crews were very helpful, since we decided to live in the house thru the remodel. I would recommend them to anyone.  – J.G.


A Contemporary Kitchen with Class

Pedini contemporary white kitchen

This client moved to the area to be near their adult daughter and grandchildren so this new construction is destined to be a place full of happy memories and family entertaining. The goal throughout the home was to incorporate their existing collection of artwork and sculpture with a more contemporary aesthetic. The kitchen, located on the first floor of the 3-story townhouse, shares the floor with a dining space, a living area and a powder room.

contemporary white kitchen beautiful

contemporary white kitchen beautifulThe kitchen is U-shaped with the sink overlooking the dining room, the cooktop along the exterior wall, with a large clerestory window above, and the bank of tall paneled appliances and storage along the back wall. The European cabinetry is made up of three separate finishes – a light gray glossy lacquer for the base cabinets, a white glossy lacquer for the tall cabinets and a white glass finish for the wall cabinets above the cooktop. The colors are subtly different but provide a bit of texture that works nicely with the finishings chosen for the space. The stainless grooves and toe kick provide additional detail.

contemporary white kitchen beautiful

panel refridgerator contemporary white kitchen beautiful  storage in contemporary white kitchen beautiful

The long peninsula provides casual seating and is topped with a custom walnut butcher block waterfall countertop that is 6” thick and has built in wine storage on the front side. This detail provides a warm spot to rest your arms and the wine storage provides a repetitive element that is heard again in the pendants and the barstool backs. The countertops are quartz, and appliances include a full size refrigerator and freezer, oven, steam oven, gas cooktop and paneled dishwasher.

contemporary white kitchen beautiful

This amazing powder room sits just off the kitchen and adds a glam factor all powder rooms deserve. 

contemporary powder room gray

This project was so much fun to work on because we got to collaborate with a terrific homeowner who was open to out-of-the-box design ideas and with one of our favorite designers, Julie Dunfee of Julie Dunfee designs. We love how it came out, don’t you?

A Serene Master Spa

After having remodeled their kitchen, their twin girls bathroom, and a guest/powder bath in this 1920’s Glen Ellyn home, the master bathroom was the last on the list of rooms to update for this couple. The existing bath had a small sink area with his and hers sinks and then a pocket door into the main bath which housed the tub, shower and commode. The main problem was the outdated look of the space, which was rather dark and dreary, and the giant unused whirlpool tub which took up more than its fair share of the footprint.

white and gray spa master bath

To brighten the space, we used a pallet of soft gray porcelain tile on the floor and ceramic subway tiles on the walls. Carrera marble and nickel plumbing brighten the room and help amplify the sunlight streaming in through the existing skylight and vaulted ceiling.

white and gray spa master bath    white and gray spa master bath

We first placed the new freestanding tub on an angle near the window so that users can take advantage of the view and light while soaking in the tub. A new, much larger shower takes up the other corner and delivers some symmetry to the room and is now a luxurious, useable and comfortable size. The commode was relocated to the right of the new shower, so it is visually tucked away. The existing opening between the sink area and the main area was widened and the door removed so that the homeowners can enjoy the light from the larger room while using the sinks each morning.

white and gray spa master bath    Gray bathroom white cabinetry

A step up into the tub/shower area provides additional interest and was a happy accident and solution required to accommodate running the plumbing through the existing floor joists. Because the existing room felt quite contemporary with the vaulted ceiling, we added a run of crown molding around the top and a chair rail to the top of the tile to provide some traditional touches to the room.

white and gray spa master bath

We think this space is lovely, relaxing and serene and are so honored to have been chosen by these wonderful homeowners to help provide them with a relaxing master bath sanctuary!

Warmth and Style

A small island housing a large cooktop, a refrigerator that was cumbersome to access and outdated materials were some of the original features of the space. Luckily, the existing space was large with a great view into the beautifully remodeled family room. The goal was to use the existing footprint but to rework the space in a way that was more functional for their lifestyle.

traditional kitchen with island

We first eliminated the bay window and breakfast table from the equation, which made room for a larger island that is used for daily, casual meals. This change also allowed for a longer run of cabinetry and appliances along the main wall, a larger window over the sink, and makes the kitchen feel much more spacious.

traditional kitchen with large island

This decision to eliminate the bay also helped connect the kitchen to a new outdoor enclosed sun porch that was part of the project. In addition, the opening to the existing dining room was widened to make it feel a part of the overall space, and the refrigerator was relocated so that it was more convenient to the cooking area.

traditional white kitchen with gray island     white traditional kitchen

The room has a very traditional yet homey feel – the combination of white inset cabinetry, a gray island, and a wood-toned desk area with contrasting countertop materials gives the feel of pieces collected over time. The beautiful and thoughtful details in this room are what make it interesting, including the custom range hood, unique mullions at the glass cabinets, and many other details such as the bead board, corbels and bunn feet at the desk area, along with beautiful ceramic tile backsplash and the homeowners’ collection of canning jars giving the space a very personalized feel. The homeowner did a wonderful and thoughtful job of carefully considering which details were important for her to personalize the space, and it shows in the end result.

desk area in traditional kitchen white kitchen with gray island

This kitchen is uber-functional as well and features a 48” professional refrigerator, induction cooktop, steam oven and bar sink. Specialty storage such as pull out pantries, wine storage, waste pull outs and a large appliance garage keep everything organized and in place. A large desk provides a spot to work each day with more than enough space to spread out. The island seats 3-4 people for casual daily meals, and the new incredible enclosed porch connected to the kitchen also has casual dining space for 6, along with a large seating area and fireplace. This and the larger opening to the dining room will make a wonderful setting for many future gatherings.

outdoor porch with fireplace enclosed porch with seating

Updated Tudor Kitchen

Updated Tudor white & gray kitchen

This young family of four came in right after closing on their house and with a new baby on the way. Our goal was to complete the project prior to baby’s arrival so this project went on the expedite track. The beautiful 1920’s era brick home sits on a hill in a very picturesque neighborhood, so we were eager to give it the kitchen it deserves. The clients’ dream kitchen included pro-style appliances, a large island with seating for five and a kitchen that feels appropriate to the home’s era but that also is fresh and modern. They explicitly stated they did not want a “cookie cutter” design, so we took that to heart.

remodeled tudor kitchen white & gray

The key challenge was to fit in all of the items on their wish given the room’s constraints. We eliminated an existing breakfast area and bay window and incorporated that area into the kitchen. The bay window was bricked in, and to compensate for the loss of seating, we widened the opening between the kitchen and formal dining room for more of an open concept plan.

remodeled tudor kitchen white & grayremodeled tudor kitchen white & gray

The ceiling in the original kitchen is about a foot lower than the rest of the house, and once it was determined that it was to hide pipes and other mechanicals, we reframed a large tray over the island and left the rest of the ceiling as is. Clad in walnut planks, the tray provides an interesting feature and ties in with the custom walnut and plaster hood.

Updated Tudor white & gray kitchen

The space feels modern yet appropriate to its Tudor roots. The room boasts large family friendly appliances, including a beverage center and cooktop/double oven combination. Soft white inset cabinets paired with a slate gray island provide a gentle backdrop to the multi-toned island top, a color echoed in the backsplash tile. The handmade subway tile has a textured pattern at the cooktop, and large pendant lights add more than a bit of drama to the room.

Updated Tudor white & gray kitchen

Ready to tell us about your kitchen project?

When you’re ready, we would love to sit down to discuss your project. We offer a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced designers. Call us at 630-858-4848 or complete the form below to set up your initial design consultation.

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