Kitchen Stories: The Role of a Good Kitchen Designer

The role of a good kitchen designer is to listen to the needs of the homeowner and provide creative and beautiful solutions that fulfill those needs.  Rob Gurski with LJ’s Kitchens & Interiors of Mount Pleasant, MI listened intently as his customers presented him with their dilemma; a too-small kitchen with a too-large island and little room to maneuver within the kitchen. An adjoining dining room was too small to be used properly.   The couple enjoyed entertaining friends and family but their kitchen and dining space could not accommodate their guests.

The old kitchen was too-small and an adjoining dining room was too small so they broke down the walls and combined both spaces.

Rob’s solution was to remove the wall separating the kitchen and dining room to make one large space.  He suggested a sliding glass door in the kitchen to provide great views of the backyard and to create easy access for outdoor entertaining.  

An island with seating for four was planned along with large aisles so multiple cooks and guests could mingle in the kitchen.  “I positioned the cooktop on the island so that it overlooked the backyard.  That way the cook could easily talk and interact with guests.  I also separated the sink and clean up area from the cooking and refrigeration area so that we had two separate work areas within the kitchen for a better flow.”

A traditional kitchen design with medium to dark stained cabinets, and a country styled, white painted kitchen island with red stools and decor.

To create a relaxed and fun atmosphere in the kitchen, a small pub table adds extra seating in the space that was captured from the former dining room.  “The pub table provides a place for extra guests to relax with a drink or snacks while food prep takes place within the kitchen.  The homeowner loves how the backyard and pub table are visible from the kitchen and allows everyone to interact without getting in the way of the cooks!”

Raised panel cabinet doors with a white painted finish on a ktichen island.

Another suggestion from Rob that was embraced by the homeowners was the mix of two different finishes.  “We started with a beautiful brown stain for the perimeter of the kitchen and then accented it with a coordinating paint on the island.  The stained wood finish contrasts nicely with the smooth painted cabinetry.”  In addition, by designing the wall cabinetry all the way to the ceiling with a large crown molding treatment, Rob was able to remove the outdated soffits and create dramatic height within the kitchen – making the room look larger and adding a significant amount of storage. 

A classic and casual kitchen remodel with a long kitchen island.

Rob explained, “The homeowner had excellent taste and style and chose easy-to-maintain Cambria countertops and a striking backsplash tile.  This was a fun project to collaborate on and everyone was very happy with the end result!”

Kitchen: Perimeter has Dura Supreme's Mocha finish on the Bella door style.  Island is Antique White paint with Espresso glaze.

For more information about LJ's Kitchens and Interiors in Mount Pleasant, MI, see their website at

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