Ispiri of Woodbury creates a custom kitchen for a busy working woman

A busy Woodbury professional gets her dream kitchen.
Brenda Johnson's beautiful and more functional kitchen.

A fabulous kitchen makeover has turned Brenda Johnson’s bland white kitchen into an elegant cooking and gathering space suitable for this chic home chef and her guests. Johnson has always loved the home she bought 16 years ago in Woodbury’s Hidden Lake neighborhood. But she never loved the kitchen. She found its lackluster all-white cabinets, countertops and appliances uninspiring. And a huge island cramped the space. But with help from Joseph Robbins, senior design consultant for Ispiri, Johnson’s kitchen has gone from dull to sensational.Johnson’s list of desired kitchen improvements included resurfacing the dated tile countertops, redesigning the awkward island shape and integrating the appliances so the microwave wasn’t a focal point. Johnson also wanted her renovated kitchen, where she likes to bake cookies, not to have a cookie cutter design. She desired a unique space befitting her classic tastes and busy professional lifestyle.Enter Robbins. “My role is to determine what a client wants in terms of functionality, layout and aesthetic,” Robbins says. “Brenda loves antiquities, classic lines and warmer materials. We integrated her personal style into a more fitting kitchen design.” But this project wasn’t without its challenges. Johnson wanted to work within the original kitchen footprint. That meant no walls, doors or windows could be moved during the remodeling project. Robbins couldn’t grab any adjoining space to increase the kitchen size. He needed to create an efficient layout within the confines of the current floor plan.Rising to the challenge, Robbins began by replacing the all-white cabinetry with lyptus wood raised panel cabinets stained in warm cherry tones. Lyptus is a closed grain sustainable hardwood that resembles mahogany. The lower cabinets are topped with black pearl granite along the perimeter countertops while a reshaped island provides seating and is topped with a beautifully swirled slab of typhoon bordeaux granite, making the island a beautifully eye-catching focal point.The microwave was incorporated into the cabinetry to create a seamless flow of lustrous wooden door fronts and shelving. A flat screen television is inconspicuously mounted above the double oven to allow Johnson to watch her favorite programs while preparing breakfast or dinner. “I love that my new kitchen is friendly and inviting instead of looking industrial and full of equipment,” Johnson says.In addition to two countertop stools perched along the new island, there is also seating for 3-4 guests at Brenda’s new cozy kitchen banquette. The banquette is perfectly situated so guests instinctively take a seat upon entering the kitchen instead of milling around in the way of a busy cook. The table has a custom pedestal base and a round glass top, making it an artful and unobtrusive piece of furniture. Hidden storage is incorporated beneath the bench seating.Behind the banquette is additional built-in storage styled into a cabinet piece that looks like a decorative, stand-alone china hutch. The hutch has two upper and two lower cabinets, two drawers and a matched wooden top for displaying trinkets or placing overflow prepared dishes when entertaining. The entire piece rests atop the kitchen’s refinished oak floors.Johnson is so enamored with her kitchen make over; she has decided to move forward with more main floor renovations, which will include the family room, dining room and guest bathroom. “Ispiri is great to work with,” Johnson says. “They provided lots of ideas and were open to my vision for the space. I’m bringing Ispiri back because I love my home and neighborhood. I want to nurture my investment by updating the rest of the house.”Robbins is excited to help redesign the remainder of Johnson’s living space and tie in the personalized kitchen concept. “Every homeowner has different tastes and space,” Robbins says. “And every homeowner uses their space differently.” Robbins’ goal is to solve the puzzle of integrating taste, space and usage into a successful project. The measure of success is that Johnson loves her new kitchen and that makes Robbins’ day.