After becoming empty nesters, Phil and Laura were ready to update their Buffalo Grove home after living there for 27 years.

The kitchen and connecting eating area with a fireplace were in dire need of updating. They had thought about minor upgrades, but Laura really wanted to spend more time cooking, entertaining and enjoying her kitchen, so Phil decided to give his wife the French country kitchen of her dreams.

“We thought maybe we will just (minorly) update the kitchen,” Phil mused. “Then we said because the kids were grown, we would just go for it and get what we really wanted.

French Country Kitchen & Hearth Room Remodel

They wanted to update the kitchen and hearth room to reflect a French Country style while changing the original octagon-shaped island into a more functional space. They also wanted their kitchen to work better together with the eating area to be more conducive to entertaining returning family and friends. The open pantry was a bit of an eyesore, and they needed the cooking area to be more aging-friendly. There were also issues with cold drafts around the fireplace and bay window that they hated.

Phil and Laura were extremely impressed with the transparency of the process presented after meeting with Advance Design Studio.

The decision to move forward with Advance Design was easy and affirmed by the way their designer followed up with Phil and Laura after their appointment. She kept a consistent line of communication open throughout the decision-making process.

“I think the most fun I had was the first time we went into the studio,” Phil said. “She put the graphics (3D Illustrations) up, just like you see on T.V. and what she was showing us was our kitchen with all of our ideas laid out so we could picture it and make any changes we wanted.”

Laura especially loves the wood countertops on the new kitchen island and buffet; using the unique furniture-like material was something that never crossed her mind.

Even with this tricky-shaped room, the design team was able to include a highly useful yet decorative furniture-like island with an elegant wood top to serve as a hard-working prep space within the work triangle. Even Cocoa Puff, the family’s small dog, has made herself at home tucked on a ledge made just for her in the island.

The French country kitchen renovation features Dura Supreme Kendall Inset Cabinetry in a weathered gray Heritage finish with Amerock satin nickel hardware. Black Saint Gabriel Granite countertops provide a pleasing contrast while giving Phil and Laura a durable, easy-to-clean surface when cooking. The cream Tessen Arabesque tile backsplash pulls the whole kitchen renovation together, meshing perfectly with the black countertops and the gray cabinetry. A large farmhouse sink with a Kohler pull-down faucet was added, and the ovens were relocated and installed at an ergonomic height that is easier on Phil’s back.

The designer added a coffee and tea bar around the corner out of, a once, under-utilized pantry space. It provides a convenient and attractive beverage station for visitors when entertaining.

The couple hated how guests could see directly into the pantry. So the old pantry was closed off from view, and a custom shelving system was designed and installed creating a much more efficient, hidden storage. Laura’s treasured Kitchen Aid mixer was tucked conveniently inside a prominently located cabinet with a lift, so she now can easily pull up the stand to counter-height and not have to wrestle the appliance out from between other small kitchen appliances in a crowded pantry.

 “We knew what was going to happen and when, who was coming in and for how long, and that level of communication never stopped throughout the whole project,” Phil said.

The communication and cleanliness were a huge part of the project’s success according to Laura and Phil.

The hearth room remodel was a critical part of the project to make the kitchen and dining space truly complete. The fireplace was refaced with a light and bright limestone lifting the dark cast of the original brick. The hunky oversized mantle, the focal point of the room was crafted from a rough Douglas Fir; shaped and finished by Advance Design’s master carpenters.

Laura and Phil were so impressed by the custom making of their fireplace mantle, they refer to it now as a “family heirloom” made just for them with lots of care and love from “their carpenters”! Even the black metal strapping was specially sourced by the team to make the end result just perfect.

Next to the kitchen table sits a custom multifunctional furniture credenza with a hutch that stores wine bottles. It features beautiful mirrored doors and concealed strip outlets for powering catering hot plates.

This elegant wall has become a favorite feature in their home and the bonus is how highly functioning the beautiful buffet piece is for hosting. They now have family and friends over without having to worry about having enough space to serve and entertain. “The end result was a design solution that solved both the function and styling that reflects this couple’s taste and lifestyle,” Michelle said. “They will be making lots of new family memories in this new space.”

After 27 years Laura finally has the French Country kitchen she’s been dreaming about. “We had a great time,” Phil said. “…working with Advance Design Studio really made it a fun project and it just turned out beyond our greatest expectations.”