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A Modest Kitchen & Mudroom Makeover

The kitchen is the hardest-working room in any home—but the runner-up? Undoubtedly the mudroom. This makeover took on both of these spaces, and in the process, managed to change the flow and feel of the entire home. “The rest of the house was already so open, with vaulted ceilings. It was just this kitchen that had a bunch of walls and little doorways around it,” recalls Aptitude Design & Build President Matt Mierek. “It made the kitchen feel so small—and it wasn’t good for having people over.” The solution was to open up the walls to bring more flow throughout the space. “We took out a whole wall and added a beam—hidden in the ceiling to support the roof load—so the kitchen opens up into the great room.”

With the more open floorplan achieved, the team focused on budget-friendly changes to the existing kitchen to give it a more custom, updated look and feel. The brand new island became the focal point. “To create the new island, we took a normal white cabinet island and added trim work and legs to give the homeowners something to sit at. Changing out the overhead light and adding new countertops finished the look.” Elsewhere in the kitchen, crown molding and new countertops offered a cohesive style. Small touches, like updated cabinet pulls, make a big impact in this space.

For the mudroom portion of the renovation, the team took the same approach to re-route the flow of the space and use small updates to add function. “In the previous layout, there was a wall all the way along where the cubbies [now] are. And on the other side of that wall, there was a closet that was only accessible from the great room,” Mierek recalls. “We actually flipped the layout. We built a wall where the opening of the closet was on the great room side, to close that off. Then that allowed us to open up the surrounding space to build these custom cubbies. Now, as you enter from the garage, there’s a place to sit down, take your shoes off, hang up coats, and store things,” Mierek explains.

A thoughtful combination of style and function, the new mudroom design was a conservative change that offers plenty of new possibilities for organization. From seasonal items to extra pantry essentials, the new cubby configuration fits easily into the homeowners’ lifestyle—as does the modernized kitchen, which was created with entertaining in mind. With a few meaningful structural changes and some equally important aesthetic ones, the heart of the home now has an entirely new look and feel.


Kirk Bolt


St. Charles





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