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Designer's own – Brandi Hagen's kitchen makeover

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Modern versus minimalist kitchen by Eminent ID

Designer's own – Brandi Hagen's kitchen makeover Discover this article's resources


Designers often find their most challenging project is the one under their own roof. And they say it doesn't help that they are exposed to so many different trends and products.

But, as this project shows, the end result is invariably inspiring. The kitchen is part of the major remodeling of a 1960s house that was in an original condition when purchased by designer Brandi Hagen of Eminent Interior Design and her family.

"The kitchen did not appear to have been touched since the house was built," she says. "It still featured the original linoleum floors, laminate countertops and wood cabinets and drawers, which were falling apart. But although dark, the space was large and the layout of the rooms was good. We didn't need an addition."

Hagen introduced more light with a much larger window in the living room, and the size of the kitchen window was doubled. The interior was then gutted, and the oak floors were stripped of their dark stain. The floors were wire brushed and treated with a white glaze to lighten the overall look of the kitchen.

"I have always loved the grain of walnut, so this was an obvious choice for the cabinets," the designer says. "We had the clear-finish walnut cabinets built so that the grain would not match across the cabinets. This gives the kitchen a more playful look – I didn't want the space to be too serious."


The bank of walnut cabinetry on the side wall incorporates an integrated refrigerator and freezer drawers, and is backended by a similar volume in the dining room behind. There are two pass-throughs that are kept open to retain a visual connection between the two rooms.

For the opposite side of the kitchen, Hagen specified white cabinets lacquered in a high gloss finish. The crisp, contemporary look makes a bold contrast to the walnut veneer, as does a sleek, minimalist stainless steel island.

"I didn't want a conventional center island," says Hagen. "I loved the idea of a farmhouse table, but couldn't quite see out how to make it all work. Architect Gabriel Keller came up with the idea of sliding a table under an island counter. When we want to seat more people, we simply pull the table out and turn it around. The table is made from wood salvaged from an old barn, which gives it an aged character and makes an interesting contrast to the industrial look of the stainless steel island. The design also gives us the practical benefits of a raised counter for food preparation and serving."

For visual continuity, walnut appears on a freestanding volume that forms a partition between the dining and living rooms. This cabinetry accommodates a drinks area.

"The tall doors in this unit conceal a bar with a sink," says Hagen. "Not all the appliances could fit into the kitchen, so some of them are positioned in the dining room, including refrigerated drawers for ice and drinks, a wine refrigerator and coffee machine."

Credit List

Architect – conceptual layoutGabriel Keller, Peterssen/Keller Architecture (Minneapolis, MN)
Architect – construction drawings and detailsRick Storlien, RDS Architects (Plymouth, MN)
Interior and kitchen designerBrandi Hagen ASID, Eminent Interior Design
Cabinet companyFritz Cabinetry
CabinetryNatural walnut; high-gloss white enamel
CountertopsQuartz, installed by Granite-Tops
BacksplashHoned Cipollino marble Alys Edwards tiles from Rubble Tile
Fireplace surroundKing's Wood honed marble by Artistic Tile, from Fantasia
HearthWalnut slab
FlooringWire-brushed, whitewashed rift-cut oak
Doors and windowsMarvin Windows
Kitchen tableReclaimed pine wood
Dining chairs in kitchenDonghia Anziano in Brown Mahogany
Dining room wallpaperElitis glass in Gold
Oven, warming drawer and cooktopWolf
DishwasherAskö Story by Colleen Hawkes Main photography by Brian Droege; dining room image by Mark Ehlen

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