A modernizing makeover transformed the kitchen into a sleek spot for friends and family to gather.
WHAT: A kitchen built for an active brood
Lisa Hutcherson is definitely not the type to wear mom jeans. So it made no sense that the interior of her Hinsdale home was on the frumpy side, with an outdated color scheme of avocado and gold, wall-to-wall carpeting, and ho-hum furniture.
For help with the renovation, she turned to designer Aimee Wertepny, owner of PROjECT Interiors. The redo, completed two years ago, resulted in elegantly updated spaces that are just right for Lisa, her husband, Van, and their three kids (now 12, 16, and 18). At the center of it all is a sparkling kitchen that blends natural elements and surprising textures with splashes of gold and white.
KARI RICHARDSON: What were the musts?
HUTCHERSON: I had a huge list. I had to have space for me. I wanted family-friendly function with the placement of the table. I wanted no hardware, clean lines, and a black, white, and gray palette.
WERTEPNY: Because the kitchen is open to other areas in the home, I wanted to make sure it felt like a part of the rest of the first floor. We kept the flooring consistent, with stone tile, and chose a palette that is layered and textured but not overdone.
KR: How was PROjECT chosen?
WERTEPNY: We had a mutual friend who made the introduction. We got set up.
HUTCHERSON: It was love at first sight!
KR: Tell us about the materials.
WERTEPNY: We chose dark teak cabinetry. If you run your fingers over it, you can feel the texture of the wood. There are Calcutta Gold marble backsplashes and quartz countertops. Another backsplash is made of rough-hewn stacked flagstone. There’s a lot of natural light, so we had opportunities for reflection and contrast. When the sun goes down and the lights are on, it’s beautiful.
(Left) A Calcutta Gold marble backsplash fulfilled Hutcherson’s desire for white and gold in each room. (Top right) Lisa Hutcherson keeps an eye on things from her cozy office alcove. (Bottom right) The rehabbed space is the scene of frequent baking parties.
KR: Which parts are for the kids?
HUTCHERSON: We installed a warming drawer. Instead of grabbing fast food on the way home from a ball game, the kids can actually eat what we had for dinner. We have refrigerator drawers, so they can get drinks without going into the main fridge. And there’s a counter area for making their breakfasts and lunches.
WERTEPNY: The kitchen table is concrete with an epoxy finish. You can’t mess it up. Durability of the fabrics was a consideration as well. The fabrics that we chose are all commercial grade.
HUTCHERSON: It’s not just little kids who can destroy things. It’s also a basketball team eating pizza and drinking Coke!
KR: Which elements were just for you?
HUTCHERSON: Because the kitchen is where everybody is, this is where my desk needed to be, too. I never had that until now. I can do my own work and still oversee homework.
Refrigerated drawers keep drinks within arm’s reach of thirsty teens at the kitchen table.
KR: What’s a typical morning scene?
HUTCHERSON: My husband is a trader, so we always do things “by the bell.” My trading bell is 7 a.m. I’m making three breakfasts and lunches at the same time, plus energy drinks and protein bars because two of the kids are going to practice after school. That’s crunch time.
KR: Why is the island so high—41 inches?
WERTEPNY: Because they are so tall! This family is blessed with lovely legs.
HUTCHERSON: We didn’t want to hunch over when we are cooking. The kitchen chairs are adjustable, too.
KR: Where did you get the idea for kitchen chairs on casters?
HUTCHERSON: I saw a television show one night and the family’s kitchen chairs were castered office chairs around a really funky glass table.
WERTEPNY: I loved the natural walnut of these kitchen chairs. When we saw them at the Mart, we both knew.
KR: How has the remodel changed your lives?
HUTCHERSON: Now, when the kids come in the back door, there’s a place to commune, to hang out, and to have discussions instead of scattering and heading straight to their rooms. My oldest son chose not to peek at the construction site for the last three months because he wanted a big reveal. When he finally walked in after everything was complete, he said, “I didn’t know you guys were so cool.”
* * *
Interior design: Aimee Wertepny, PROjECT., 1507 N. Honore St., 773-934-1174, projectinteriors.net. Kitchen: Paint, Tapestry Beige (OC-32), Benjamin Moore. Appliances, Wolf and Sub-Zero, Abt Electronics, abt.com. Plumbing fixtures, Dornbracht in polished chrome, Community Home Supply, 3924 N. Lincoln Ave, 773-281-7010. Custom ebonized teak cabinetry, Archisesto, 1006 W. Randolph St., 312-212-3680, archisesto.com. Cortina molded plywood and caster chairs, Ruder Group, Merchandise Mart, 312-496-3075. Black compass box flush mount, FLOS, flosusa.com. Jackson custom concrete-top kitchen table, Bradley Hughes, Merchandise Mart, 312-624-9997, bradley-hughes.com. Zivi chandelier, Visual Comfort, visualcomfortlightinglights.com. Tile, Materials Marketing, 1234 W. Fulton Mkt., 312-226-0222. Office: Slipcovered chairs, Jayson Home, 1885 N. Clybourn Ave. Antique mirrored desk, Bradley Hughes. Stone base bronze lamp, Arteriors, arteriorshome.com. Shell ball light pendant, Horchow, 877-944-888, horchow.com.
Photography: Tony Soluri
Styling: Alaina Kaczmarski