Refreshed Function & Flow

With this design-build project in Downers Grove, it was all about the 3 F’s:
Finishes | Function | Flow

Designed with everyday activities in mind

As with most projects, it all started with the kitchen layout. Melissa and Justin wanted to upgrade their kitchen and overall aesthetic with a combination of fresh paint, updated finishes, and improved flow for more ease when doing everyday activities and Design Team, Susan Klimala and Stephanie Cole, were able to help them do just that.


A monochromatic, earth-toned palette left the kitchen feeling uninspired. It lacked the brightness they wanted from their space. An eat-in table underutilized the available square footage. The butler’s pantry was out of the way and hard to access, and the dining room felt detached from the kitchen.

A modern family kitchen

Our designers saw an improved layout for the spaces that were no longer working for this family. By eliminating an existing wall between the kitchen and dining room, and relocating the bar area to the dining room, we opened up the kitchen, providing all the space we needed to create a dreamy and functional layout. A new perimeter configuration promoted circulation while also making space for a large and functional island loaded with seating – a must for any family because an island that isn’t big enough for everyone is a recipe for disaster. The light white cabinetry is fresh and contrasts with the deeper tones in the wood flooring, creating a modern aesthetic that is elevated, yet approachable for everyday living.

With better flow as the overarching goal, we made some structural changes too. To remove a bottleneck in the entryway, we angled one of the dining room walls to create more natural separation between rooms and facilitate ease of movement throughout the large space.

At TKS, we believe a well-designed kitchen uses every square inch to the fullest. By starting from scratch, it was possible to rethink the entire kitchen layout and design the space according to how it is used, because the kitchen shouldn’t make it harder to feed the family. A new location for the existing range, flanked by a new column refrigerator and freezer on each side, worked to anchor the space. The very large and very spacious island (a dream island if we do say so ourselves) now houses the primary sink and provides ample space for food prep and family gathering.

The new kitchen table and coordinating banquette seating provide a cozy nook for quick breakfasts before school or work, and evening homework sessions. Elegant gold details catch the natural light, elevating the aesthetic.

Moody, modern dining


The dining room was transformed into one of this client’s favorite spaces and we couldn’t agree more. We saw an opportunity to give the dining room a more distinguished identity by closing off the entrance from the foyer. The relocated wet bar enhances the sophisticated vibe of this gathering space, complete with beautiful antique mirror tiles and open shelving encased by moody built-in cabinets.

Updated furnishings add warmth. A rich walnut table is paired with custom chairs in a muted coral fabric. The large, transitional chandelier grounds the room, pairing beautifully with the gold finishes prevalent in the faucet and cabinet hardware. Linen-inspired wallpaper and cream-toned window treatments add to the glamorous feel of this entertainment space.

From cramped to convenient

There is no way around it. The laundry room was cramped. The large washer and dryer blocked access to the sink and left little room for the space to serve its other essential function – as a mudroom.

Because we reworked the kitchen layout to create more space overall, we could rethink the mudroom too – an essential for any busy family. The first step was moving the washer and dryer to an existing area on the second floor, where most of the family’s laundry lives (no one wants to carry laundry up and down the stairs if they don’t have to anyway). This is a more functional solution and opened up the space for all the mudroom necessities – including the existing kitchen refrigerator, loads of built-in cubbies, and a bench.

So many things to love

It’s hard to not fall in love with every detail of a new space, especially when it serves your day-to-day life. But that doesn’t mean Melissa and Justin didn’t have their favorite features they use on the daily. This remodel was focused largely on function with a new kitchen layout. And it’s the functional features that have the biggest impact. The large island provides much needed workspace in the kitchen and is a spot where everyone gathers together – it grounds the space and the family. And the custom counter stools are the icing on the cake. The nearby mudroom has everything their previous space was lacking – ample storage, space for everyone’s essentials, and Melissa’s beloved cement floor tiles that are both durable and artistic.

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4501 Tamiami Trail N, Ste 424
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Chicago, IL
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