Common Sense Blog

The Kitchen Transformation Process

Kitchen Remodel in Crystal Lake

We just finished photographing this beautiful new first floor renovation which included a stunning new kitchen, opening up some doorways and improving circulation between the kitchen and living room, as well as a beautiful new library. We hope you like seeing the design process along with the before and afters!

Culinary Perfection Kitchen in Crystal Lake

Crystal Lake Kitchen - Before

After living in this home for a decade, Crystal Lake residents Ken & Bonnie needed an update to their tired original kitchen to meet the needs of their busy family.

Together with the expertise of designer Scott Christensen at Advance Design Studio they planned to completely reconfigure the entire space. They began by removing the restrictive peninsula and replaced it with a generous island designed to house an expansive farmhouse sink, convenient pull out trash receptacles, and a hidden dishwasher.

Now there was ample room to add island seating to accommodate family gatherings, or for just “hanging out” with teenagers.

Crystal Lake Kitchen Drawings


A dramatic new focal point was created with the design of an elegant range area featuring a beautiful custom wood mantle hood detailed with crushed glass handmade tile. Hidden storage houses every spice imaginable right at the cook’s fingertips. Double-stacked glass cabinetry emphasizes the impressive height of the room that was a wonderful architectural element that previously went unnoticed in the original kitchen.

Crystal Lake 3D Kitchen drawing

From the information gathered in our initial meeting we will develop a complimentary preliminary design direction and preliminary project budget range, custom designed for you. This phase may include 3D color initial design drawings viewed on our large screen monitor to give you a crystal clear idea of what your new space could look like.


The entire kitchen and breakfast nook was opened up to the 2 story family room by integrating enlarged arched openings. An outdated desk area was transformed into a beautiful breakfront bar with beverage refrigeration, glass display cabinets and plenty of new storage for entertainment pieces. An espresso nook was tucked neatly between tall cabinetry, and an old fashioned closet with shelves was converted into an efficient chef’s dream of organized custom pull out pantries.

Kitchen Construction in Crystal Lake

“I am the leader of the Scott Christensen fan club,” says Bonnie. “With my busy family and a full time career, Scott made the process of designing this space so easy for me. He didn’t overwhelm me, but carefully determined what I liked and offered me two thoughtful solutions for just about everything – complete with his expert opinion that I really respected.”

Bright white Jay Rambo custom made maple cabinets are accented by Cambria quartz counter tops and simple subway tiles. Original hardwood floors were refinished and stained a darker shade, and stair risers and balusters were painted white to coordinate with the smart wainscot details throughout the first floor. The end effect is a cohesive first floor that flows together with grace and a level of elegance perfectly suitable for this stately Crystal Lake home.

White and Brown Kitchen in Crystal Lake


Stunning Formal Library in Crystal Lake

Home owners Ken & Bonnie never used their dining room. What they really wanted was a traditional library room to house their large collection of prized books! During their first floor facelift and kitchen renovation, Advance Design also created an elegant library room filled with beautiful architectural details that flowed effortlessly with the rest of the home’s stately design and thoughtful details.

“Advance Design’s master carpenter was a very patient perfectionist, cutting each and every little piece of trim until it came together with these intricate wood architectural details that we absolutely love!” reports Bonnie. “Our dining room was just a wasted room that we never used. We needed a place to store and display our extensive book collection, and now we have this amazing room that is an unexpected “wow” factor when guests walk in our front door”.

Advance Design placed hidden lighting inconspicuously to break to monotony of the books in a decorative shelf area where the family posts photos of children and family at special life events. The room looks out over the beautifully manicured front garden near the home’s entry, and is a most peaceful place to pull up a chair, drink some tea, and enjoy a good read.

Library in Crystal Lake


If you’d like to see how we can transform your home, give our design team a call today at 847-836-2600! Beautiful 3D color renderings can help you imagine what your home could look like. Don’t waste another day, there’s still time to have that amazing new kitchen just in time for the holidays.


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