Recipe for Success

Premium features and finishes in today’s kitchens add that special ingredient
CHEF’S CHOICE A stylish Westbrown kitchen in Birmingham. | Photograph by Nathan Fox


At the luxurious Westbrown in Birmingham, where townhouse kitchens are customized to the buyer, a 4,000-square-foot model is an indication of what’s possible. Designed by Elizabeth Barrett, the pleasing details include paneled appliances and a microwave drawer.

In addition to premium features and finishes, Dan Gutfreund, associate broker with Signature Sotheby’s International Realty, says clients want durable, low-maintenance materials like the quartz covering the backsplash, perimeter countertops, and waterfall island.

Engineered wide-plank wood floors and custom maple cabinets with curved cornice molding set the tone. “White kitchens are timeless. They feel open and clean, reflect light, and appear larger, which is important with an open floor plan,” says Barrett, of Elizabeth Barrett Design in Birmingham. According to Gutfreund, people want more from their kitchens than ever before — like ample prep space and appliance closets. “The kitchen is the hub of the house. When people look for real estate, it’s their top priority,” he says.

KSI Kitchen & Bath’s splendid creation in Washington Township. | Bottom photograph by Beth Singer


A kitchen renovation and expansion in Washington Township designed by Brooke Schall, of KSI Kitchen & Bath in Macomb, produced a transitional space with a touch of farmhouse. The substantial mantel hood provides a wow factor, while hidden highlights include storage drawers with pullout canisters for utensils, charging stations, and a peg unit for pots and pans.

Cabinets topped with molding touch the ceiling. “White cabinetry is on trend, but it’s not going anywhere,” Schall says. A gray island with “X” designs on each side (repeated on the upper cabinets) is also current, but classic. Subway tile laid in a herringbone pattern and paneled appliances are among the deluxe touches. Other popular perks: a double oven, a farmhouse sink, and quartz counters.

WHAT’S COOKIN’ A transitional renovation in Oakland Township. | Photograph by Beth Singer


In Oakland Township, Sandra Daubenmeyer, of KSI Kitchen & Bath in Macomb, created a stunning space for a Moceri model that has since sold. This traditional Old World kitchen has some modern touches, like the glass backsplash in a stacked pattern. A counter-height island with seating on both sides is great for cooking, baking, and entertaining. “The kitchen is the center of the home. It’s where everyone congregates,” Daubenmeyer says.

Across from the range, a storage cabinet has a prep counter and sink. The unique cherrywood island with a slate finish has a leathered black granite counter. Teardrop fixtures dazzle from above without blocking the stately limestone hood. Other notable mentions include perimeter cabinets with a wash finish, a pantry door with frosted glass panels, and a metal tile ceiling.

“It’s not your typical white kitchen, but it still has that open and airy feel,” says Daubenmeyer, who counts appliances (like a steam oven instead of a microwave) among the home’s splurge-worthy components, along with distinct details like curved mullions.

Designer Pamela Singer Nodel’s kitchen in Birmingham. | Photograph by Beth Singer


For her own Birmingham kitchen, Pamela Singer Nodel, of Pamela Singer Design (editor’s note: Nodel also is the featured designer in a home story in this issue), did a striking remodel that took first place for Michigan in the Sub-Zero Wolf Kitchen Design Contest. With two steps on each end, she envisioned an open bar look for the raised platform. Working with John Morgan from Perspectives in Troy, a dramatic wood wraparound turns the fridge into a gallery.

Nodel’s passion for art is apparent in the glass columns that showcase her pottery. Stainless steel doors and drawers ground the waterfall island, which features a flush-mounted cooktop. Black wood floors contrast with the Statuario marble that covers the counters and window wall, and paneled dishwashers flank a beautiful sink. What you won’t find is upper cabinetry or hardware. The sconces, meanwhile, add personality. “I love lighting; it’s so important,” Nodel says.

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