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Lofts and converted warehouses often have envy-inducing industrial vibes (hello, large leaded windows, ceiling beams, and cool cement floors!), but sometimes, without the right finishing touches, they can feel more commercial and sparse than urban and chic.
This loft kitchen (located in a converted warehouse in Philadelphia) was feeling a bit more like an office kitchen than a personalized cook space, and homeowners Will and Faith Hare set out to change that.
“We were the first owners after the original developer, who was renting the condo,” Will says. “The kitchen was a very basic modern style (at least for 2008) with black glass uppers, gray lower cabinets, and a black solid surface counter. We initially had a stainless steel commercial kitchen prep table for an island, as well, so it had a very predictable loft feel.”
After living in the space for several years, Will and Faith decided to give the loft a less predictable, more organic and warm upgrade — one that gave special attention to how they use the space day-to-day.
New cabinets warm up the space and add storage.
Because they love to cook, bake, and entertain (in other words, because they use their kitchen to its full capacity), storage was one of Will and Faith’s top priorities in the refresh. Tall new cabinets measuring 104 inches maximize storage space while maintaining an open and airy feel. (And open shelving mixed in helps maintain the openness, too!)
The couple selected Nobilia cabinets for their redo, matte black on the bottom and around the fridge to maintain the industrial vibes, and oak reproduction on the top to blend in some more organic textures. (And a hidden feature they love about the cabinets? The matte fronts have a coating that repels fingerprints for an always-clean look.)
On the right-hand side of the room, cabinetry wraps all around the fridge for a more complete and custom look. One bit of advice, though, when it comes to that corner: “Remember that if you’re keeping your current appliances like we did, recognize that they’re not going to last forever,” Will says. “Perhaps do some shopping around and allow for flexibility in, say, fridge height.”
The Hares’ previous fridge they planned the kitchen around died, and when they went to replace it, they realized they were pigeonholed into a very specific height of fridge. “Had we been a little less naive, we would’ve built flexibility into the height of the cabinets that surrounded the refrigerator area,” Will says.
A scalloped tile backsplash adds sophistication.
The new tile backsplash also adds some cream-colored warmth to the space. It’s a matte fishscale-shaped selection that can be found at Tilebar, Lowe’s, or Amazon. The elongated shape — and the fact that it’s installed all the way to the top of the new, taller upper cabinetry) makes the whole kitchen look taller and more spacious.
Will and Faith opted for dark grout for the tile, too, to add a bit of contrast and help blend with the dark lower cabinets. A couple of other details Will and Faith love along the back wall: the new under-mount sink, the fresh faucet, and their fancy new espresso machine. (For coffee-lovers paying attention, that’s a Linea Mini espresso machine, a Rocket Fausto espresso grinder, a Mahlkonig EK43 S grinder, and a Fellow Stagg EKG electric kettle. The new coffee corner is a highlight for these coffee aficionados who firmly believe you should incorporate parts of your day-to-day routine into your design.)
A kitchen island adds prep space.
“Spend enough time in your own kitchen to understand your workflow, what you really need, and what you can do without,” Will advises for others embarking on a reno. In this loft space, a prep space was definitely lacking. Will and Faith started with a stainless steel island, but when that looked too industrial (and felt a bit too portable), they installed a 72-inch island with a Carrara marble top.
Will and Faith’s reno, of course, would not have happened without the pros they hired, so Will’s ultimate kitchen reno advice is to find great contractors. “We had a wonderful crew who did a great job, was communicative, understood exactly what we wanted, and could think quick on their feet when they ran into unexpected issues (which you’re bound to encounter),” he says. That, and “Measure, measure, measure.”