A small 1940s Wauwatosa kitchen with oak cabinets didn’t fit the young homeowners’ style. They wanted a sleek, contemporary kitchen that maximized the space. We reconfigured the layout and widened the doorway into the dining room. The new window backsplash floods the kitchen with sunlight. A stunning accent wall features hickory shelves and glossy black stacked tile. A mirrored toe kick on the island creates an illusion that the flooring continues underneath, making the space feel bigger. An empty corner was converted into a cozy breakfast nook. Custom cabinetry with storage organizers, new lighting, and a workstation sink add functionality.
Black Contemporary Kitchen Before the Remodel
The small kitchen in this 1940s colonial home was closed off and lacking in functionality. The oak cabinets were dated and the layout did not maximize the space. The young homeowners wanted a contemporary style and more openness to the rest of the living space. They needed more countertop space and better storage solutions.
- More Openness – This kitchen felt closed off and tight, so the first step was opening the doorway to the dining room. This better connects the spaces and makes the kitchen feel larger.
- More Prep Spac – The homeowners asked for more prep space and functionality for cooking meals, so we added a narrow island with quartz counters.
Another way we increased prep space is by choosing a workstation sink. It was installed facing the center of the room and allows the homeowners to stay part of the conversation while chopping, rinsing and cleaning at the sink.
Previously, there was no countertop next to the range. We relocated the range to the opposite wall where they now have a workspace on both sides.
The old kitchen had a small window over the kitchen sink. To let in more natural light, we installed a bigger window and made it the backsplash behind the range. This allowed us to still install a line of cabinets above the window for storage. The backsplash sits flush with the countertop, offering a view and connection to the backyard. Under-cabinet lights illuminate the range and cooking area. A slide-out hood vent creates a seamless, simple look in this contemporary kitchen.
Lighting can make a space feel complete and unified. That’s why we selected a textured woven material for the nook area.
The corner of the kitchen was not being used by the homeowner before the remodel. It was a small area, so a table and chairs did not fit well. We added a built-in banquette with a small table. A wicker light fixture adds warmth and texture. It’s the perfect spot for morning coffee, weekend brunch and casual dinners. The bench lifts up for additional storage.
Open Storage Feature Wall
This kitchen is small and the layout lacked countertop space for storing small appliances. The homeowners needed a place for the toaster, coffee pot, mixer and blender. Instead of cluttering the countertop with appliances, we created an open shelving feature wall.
First, we relocated the refrigerator to the other side of the kitchen and removed the soffits. Open shelving was installed between two pantry cabinets, creating functional storage and a stunning design element. The coffee maker and toaster can remain plugged in and usable on the shelves for daily use. Stacks of dishes and coffee mugs are conveniently at arm’s reach. Recessed lights were chosen to keep the design simple and highlight the area.
Stacked black textured tile runs from floor to ceiling behind hickory open shelves and custom-made metal brackets.
Unique Design Features
Mirror Toe Kick
Because this kitchen is small and narrow, we didn’t want the island to feel too heavy. A mirrored toe kick creates an illusion that the cabinet is floating and the flooring continues under the cabinet.
Hidden Spice Cabinet
We built a recessed spice cabinet that blends right into the wall. A touch latch was installed, so the door pops open with a simple push.
Outlet Strips & Hickory Cabinet
- Outlet strips were installed under the countertops here because this section of the kitchen has a window backsplash with no wall for outlets.
- We added a warm wood element to this kitchen with a hickory lined cabinet that can be seen through the glass doors.
- The edge pull hardware is sleek and blends in with the cabinets.
To keep the design simple and sleek, white flat panel doors were used for the upper cabinets and pantry doors. The focal point is on the open shelf wall and window view overlooking the backyard.
The black cabinets have shaker doors, adding more visual interest.
This kitchen is full of storage including numerous drawers, internal drawers, pull-outs, a trash pullout, a cutlery drawer and a peg organizer for pots/pans.
While we love the openness between the dining and kitchen, we wanted to add an architectural element. The transom light rests on the drywall on the sides.
Summary: Black & White Masterpiece
A young couple is enjoying their remodeled contemporary kitchen, with a new island and breakfast nook. The old kitchen was small, so we reimagined the space by remodeling it with more counter space, storage space and seating.
The kitchen is full of function with a stunning accent wall where they have quick access to small appliances and dishes. The window backsplash floods the cooking and prep space with natural light.
The design is simple, yet full of unique elements, from the mirror toe kick to the window backsplash, to the hickory wood accents.