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Detroit Design: Practical & Pretty

Detroit Design // March 2022

Ten weeks. That's all it took Margaret Skinner, of Margeaux Interiors, to transform the 12 by 16 foot kitchen in her 1940s-era Birmingham home. "Selections were in my head for a while, so it was easy to transfer to reality," the designer says of her wish list and the project's enviable turnaround.

After purchasing the house in 2006, Skinner addressed some of the challenges of the original closed-off 1990s kitchen as part of an earlier reconfiguration of the home's first floor. She painted the existing cabinets black, replaced vinyl flooring with wood, and added stainless appliances, new tile, and a much-needed second opening to the living room, she explains. Those updates solve some - but not all -of the space's challenges. "When I did the refresh, I knew I would be changing the kitchen in the near future, or possibly moving."

Skinner never moved, and when it came time for the second redo, her priorities were clear. "Having lived in the space, I was able to pinpoint what I needed," she says. More counter space, utilizing previously unusable areas by the refrigerator, adding storage, including island storage, and island seating for four were among her must-haves.

Workflow, locations, storage for sometimes-awkward small appliances, and the ease of retrieving items were taken into consideration, as were aesthetics. "I wanted an uncluttered, streamlined approach that reflected a fresh-yet-classic, modern look with warmth and depth," she explains. "Mixing the rift-cut white oak lower cabinets, island, floating shelves, and refrigerator surround added warmth to the gray upper cabinetry and pantry." An Ann Sacks/Kelly Wearstler marble mosaic backsplash provides a "wow factor," she says, so she purposely kept the countertops "quiet" with pure white quartz and sleek stainless pulls.

Skinner attributes the project's success - and its quick turnaround - to a "great team of trades," including Cobblestone Cabinetry, as well as to having been through the process many times, which enabled her to confidently make quick decisions. Favorite features include the island, which includes storage and seating for four, a food prep area, and the pull-out by the refrigerator which Skinner calls "a perfect breakfast pantry for cereal and the most important element, coffee."

She was grateful to have completed the project before the pandemic hit and has been enjoying the room ever since. "I'm very pleased with the space," she says.