The family wanted a modern farm-style kitchen; painted cabinets, subway tile and full-height custom cabinetry were high on their list. Shelving at the back of the peninsula, generously sized cabinets and full-extension drawers give the kitchen plenty of subtle storage space.
BEFORE: Thankfully, no member of the family was home when the fire broke out. By the time the family arrived on the scene, the fire had been extinguished, and inspectors had started to take account of the damage.
AFTER: The kitchen's original layout worked well, so the family kept it — with a few tweaks. The peninsula at the end of the counter creates a small breakfast area, and the new window in the nook transformed the light.
New white cabinetry immediately lightened the room's visual weight. Instead of closing off this tiled wall at the peninsula with cabinetry, Howells left the space open, allowing light from the breakfast nook to flow through.
BEFORE: The inspectors believed that the fire resulted from a spark or power surge after an outage — potentially from a defective toaster oven. Although the fire was primarily contained in the kitchen, intense smoke damage considerably affected the rest of the house. Most of the home had to be gutted and remodeled, and almost everything — including the silverware — had to be professionally cleaned.
AFTER: Howells, who likes to use local products, stuck with American materials to maintain the home's quintessential Craftsman style. Black honed granite counters look classic, and the backsplash tile is handmade by Heath Ceramics in Sausalito, California. Howells also custom designed the cabinetry to reference traditional panel doors.
A warm cream wall color keeps a consistent tone through all the public rooms, but Howells used the backsplash to add interest. "I like to take backsplashes as an opportunity to do something fun and expressive," he says. Simple open shelving around the sink is practical for often-used items and decor, and still looks beautiful.