Kitchen Makeover Works Double Time

by Don's Appliances
Don's Pittsburgh's Finest Kitchens header

Nearly all of us consider the kitchen to be the heart of our home, but in one local kitchen that heart beats double time. When a Pittsburgh couple decided to update their dark, dated kitchen, they put the way their family functions at the forefront. Again, like in many of our homes, children do homework here, get involved with meal prep, and catch a favorite TV show. With two oversized islands, this kitchen offers space for all of that and much more.

Collaborating with Kimberly Popp, owner of Kimberly Popp Design Company, the homeowners shared their vision for the space. “It can be difficult for homeowners to put into words what they are looking for,” Kimberly says. During their initial meeting, the designer asks clients to bring pictures of kitchens and details that inspire them so that she can get a sense of their style.

“Clients hire me to point them in the right direction, narrow down options, make sure that the design is cohesive,” she says. But the finished space should clearly reflect the personality of the family living there. “I always tell them at the end of the day I go away, and I want them to love their space!”

Function first

“One of the first questions I ask my clients is how their current kitchen is functioning for them and what things need to change,” Kimberly says. “We want to make sure we fix what’s not working.”

In this case, the homeowners wanted to have a better flow between the kitchen and the adjacent sitting room. Kimberly incorporated double islands oriented in a manner that joins the two spaces together. One of the islands, built using a custom stained natural wood, is dedicated to meal prep, the other—with a marble waterfall edge—seats up to eight and is the perfect perch for the children to grab a snack or watch television.

This is definitely a kitchen that gets used. The family cooks together and gathers with extended family and friends whenever possible.  The existing counter depth refrigerator was too small for their needs. A larger Sub-Zero refrigerator was better suited to their lifestyle. In addition, a Sub-Zero beverage center was positioned where the cabinetry wraps into the sitting room.   This allows kids and company access to beverages without needing to enter the workspace when the homeowner is preparing the meal. The beverage station also serves as a coffee bar for daily use.

Don's kitchen makeover with Sub-Zero beverage center

Lighter, brighter

Another issue with the existing kitchen was its lack of natural light. An earlier addition to the home necessitated the removal of a kitchen window. Pairing that with brown cabinets and deep red walls, resulted in a dark space no longer desired by the homeowners.

“They wanted to brighten things up,” Kimberly says, “so white cabinets were the obvious choice.”

The goal was to have a kitchen that’s bright, but not sterile. So more of the warm wood that was used for the prep island was added into the space via ceiling beams in the family room and floating shelves above the sink in the kitchen. Sliding barn doors concealing an oversized pantry round out the look.

A custom cast stone hood takes the stage above the Wolf cooktop. On the opposite wall, in the sitting room, a coordinating fireplace surround was added to further unite the spaces.

Don's kitchen makeover with Wolf cooktop

Timeless appeal

“As a kitchen designer, keeping up with current trends is important, because typically that is what drives clients to you,” Kimberly says. “But I am a sucker for timeless design. Anytime I design a space, I try to make sure that the important, expensive details in a space are neutral.”

While the homeowners did want a timeless design, they also wanted to introduce a bit of an edge, which was accomplished with gold Brizo faucets and the square luxe gold cabinet hardware.

“The handles are sturdy and pronounced which is perfect because it’s a large kitchen and there is a lot of white.  It was important to ground the space with color.” The designer recommends adding pops of color with accessories which can be switched out over the years to give the space a new look.

Don's kitchen makeover with Brizo faucets

Sleek and clean

In keeping with the space’s streamlined look, Popp recommended her clients incorporate a Sharp microwave drawer. “It’s sleek, it’s clean, and you can tuck it away in an island. It’s not something that’s in your face when you walk into the space. Plus, it’s functional. You can fit large casserole dishes in it, or set a cup of coffee in it, press a button and it’s done. It’s easy for everyone in the family to use.”

And that was exactly the point of the remodel—this is a kitchen that has the space, function and flair that make it easy and inviting for this busy family.

Don's kitchen makeover with Sharp warming drawer


Kitchen design: Kimberly Popp, Kimberly Popp Design Company

Cabinetry: Canonsburg General Woodcrafting 

Marble countertops and island: Primo Marble and Granite

Pantry custom sliding barn doors and custom trim: Giffin Interior & Fixture, Inc

Beams and shelves: Antiques on Washington

Custom cast stone hood and fireplace by Marezzo that flanks either end of the kitchen.

Cabinet Hardware: Atlas Homewares

Wood Flooring: Northside Interiors

Lighting: Rejuvenation and Cardello Lighting


BI-36R/S Sub-Zero 36” Classic Refrigerator & Freezer

SRT486G Wolf 48” Pro Style Gas Rangetop

SMD2470ASY Sharp 24” Stainless Steel Microwave Drawer Oven

CSO30TM/S/TH Wolf 30” M Series Transitional Built-In Double Oven

WWD30 Wolf 30” Warming Drawer

 SHP878ZD5N Bosch 800 Series Built In Dishwasher

UC-24BG/O Sub-Zero Undercounter Beverage Center

Plumbing from WATERSOURCE by Don's Appliances

Brizo Litze SmartTouch Pull Down Faucets with Arc Spouts in Luxe Gold

Brizo Wall Mount Pot Filler Faucet in Luxe Gold

Don's footer Pittsburgh's Finest Kitchens