The Heart of the Home



Photos by: Kat Walsh Photography

It’s often been said that kitchens are the heart of a home.  Much like our own hearts, kitchens are the centerpoint for energy, for infusing life into our dwelling space.  They serve as the place for fueling family and guests, serving food and drink to keep them satisfied.  They are the central spokes of the house, always offering a welcoming space to reconnect.  And they are often the most prominent place for guests to see, setting an expectation for what the remainder of the home might look like. 

With such prominent roles in the home, it’s no wonder that kitchen designs are so complex and creative. That was certainly true for Lindsay Grant and Gibb Clark when they decided to renovate their kitchen. 

Before buying their Dakota Ridge home in 2016, it was obvious to Lindsay that she would be remodeling the entire house; over time, she did just that.  For her, the most logical place to start was the kitchen.  “It’s where we always hang out,” Lindsay offers as her reason for beginning there.  Understanding the importance of the kitchen, and with the awareness that the entire house would undergo a complete change, she wanted the kitchen renovation to “set the stage for the pallet and materials that would be used throughout the entire house.” 

At the onset, the kitchen layout was a challenge.  Originally, it was a long space divided into a small working kitchen and a small dining nook, divided by a massive, hidden support beam.  To help reimagine her kitchen, she enlisted the expertise of Al Rosenthal at Alpine Kitchen Designs.  His approach to kitchen design is exactly what Lindsay needed. 

At the onset of any kitchen remodel, Rosenthal looks at three design pillars to guide him: function, symmetry and balance.

Rosenthal’s 3 Kitchen Design Pillars:

1. Function – meeting the family’s specific needs for the space to work well

2. Symmetry – using symmetry or asymmetry to create comfort in the room

3. Balance – seamlessly tying together the elements

First, they outlined exactly how the kitchen would need to function, identifying several work spaces: raised counter space for informal gatherings with a prep area close to the refrigerator; separate areas for cooking and cleanup, in close proximity to the range; wine bar for hosting small parties; and computer/desk space for her two sons, Hudson and Nixon. 

Once the functionality was outlined, Rosenthal determined that  Lindsay preferred asymmetry, which allowed him creative permission to imagine two islands with complimentary, but not matching, structure and finishes.  The “working island” sits directly across from the range and offers an expansive prep area with ample storage space.  The “gathering island” offers a raised counter space for serving, and is located directly across from the oversized refrigerator for easy access to food and beverages. It also has a cove for four bold barstools.  Both islands have a different finish on them, creating more visual interest and asymmetry.  The prep island is finished with clean, modern lines, while the gathering island boasts a more rugged rock finish. 

Another interesting challenge was the workspace/computer area.  As this house was built into the ridge, there is a slight bend in one wall of the kitchen as it hugs the side of the mountain.  To tie this into the final design, Rosenthal created the area to perfectly situate with the bend, creating two workspaces for Lindsay’s sons.  This space is conveniently located near the kitchen, so that the boys can finish schoolwork while Lindsay is close by, preparing dinner. 

“I love how comfortable the kids are in the kitchen,” Lindsay said. 

From that point, Rosenthal determined how to bring balance to the space through consistent sizes, shapes, colors and finishes.  The soft cream color of the custom built cabinets, consistent modern grays of the countertops, industrial pendant lights and hardware all create a balance that makes the asymmetry feel intentional and visually appealing.  Without the balance, asymmetry can feel chaotic. 

Once the design was complete, Drury Construction was tasked with bringing it to life. “The project required a lot of creativity to run new plumbing and electrical service through concrete floor, walls, and ceilings to reach new appliances and lighting locations,” recalls Jake Drury, owner of Drury Construction.  “Our team of contractors was amazing, and we couldn’t have pulled it off so successfully without them. In the end, it was a fantastic project and experience.”

In her wildest imagination, Lindsay didn’t expect Rosenthal and Drury to be able to deliver on all of her needs; but they did, and they brought it to life in an elegant expression of creativity.  It’s everything she had hoped for: the heart of their home to set the stage for the remainder of her remodeling. 

Brooke Salazar spends most of her time loving on her two daughters.  In her spare time, she and her husband run two local Steamboat businesses. 


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