THE OWNERS Debbi Pavelka, a hair stylist, her husband Andy, an inside sales manager for an IT firm, their two sons Ben, 12, and Alex, 10, and their daughter Sophia, six.
THE PROPERTY A two-story traditional home located on a cul-de-sac a few miles west of downtown Minneapolis. Inside, the three bedroom, four-bath home has an open, contemporary layout with a dining room, living room, family room, and kitchen as the primary entertaining spaces on the ground floor.
GET THE LOOK The four-by-ten foot island countertop is Cambria Oak Hampton and the perimeter counters and backsplash are Canterbury from the 2011 Cambrian Collection. The contemporary, four-pendant light fixture hanging over the island is from the Minka Lavery Acquisitions collection. The stools are Bradley Backless and the island’s cabinetry is Woodland mission cherry, with spice stain and ebony glaze. The French-door refrigerator with bottom-drawer freezer is from Electrolux.
COUNTERTOPS Wraparound countertops and a high backsplash create a strong visual counterweight to the kitchen’s darker oak cabinetry above and below. To add to the dramatic effect, all task lighting, outlets, and switches were mounted underneath the top cabinets, keeping the back splash’s surface free from unsightly plugs or switch plates.
ISLAND (SEE OPENING PAGES) The four-by ten- foot island countertop, which was fabricated as a single slab, was designed more with entertaining in mind, so its surface is uninterrupted by a sink basin or appliance.
RANGE The kitchen’s simple square windows and sleek, maple cabinetry are arranged symmetrically on either side of the stainless steel oven and range hood, giving the space a very formal balance.
HARDWARE The door pulls are centrally mounted along the edge of the cabinets, adding further to the kitchen’s formal balance.
GET THE LOOK The perimeter countertop and backsplash are Cambria Canterbury. The cabinetry is Woodland mission oak, with espresso stain. The door and drawer pulls are from Restoration Hardware. The wine chiller is from Vissani and the oven is a GE Monogram® Dual-Fuel Professional stainless steel range with matching stainless steel hood. The floors are forest oak, from Kaar’s. The sink and faucet (not shown) are from Kohler. ISLAND: Cambria Oakhampton PERIMETER COUNTERTOPS AND BACKSPLASH: Cambria Canterbury
What they did
Removed the previous white cabinets and white ceramic floor tiles and replaced them with dark wood floors and cabinetry Created a more open, hearth room–kitchen combination space by removing the wall between the den and the kitchen Installed a large island with enough square-footage to accommodate informal family dinners as well as a whole holiday meal’s worth of appetizers, entrees, and desserts Purchased new furniture, like the gold leather sofa next to the fireplace, to add more seating as well as an accent color to complement the space’s artwork
ALMOST EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD HAS one—the house that every kid on the block seems to gravitate to after school and where all the relatives flock once the holidays arrive. In her suburban Minneapolis neighborhood, Debbi Pavelka knows just where that house is located, because she happens to live in it. “We’re a family of five and we do a lot of entertaining,” she says. “We’ve had 55 or 60 people in our house at times for parties and it is not uncommon for us to host 35 family members for Thanksgiving or one of the Jewish holidays and just as many kids and adult friends at an ad-hoc backyard barbecue.” And as is usually the case, she adds, “it’s the kitchen where everyone always gathers.” But the Pavelka’s previous kitchen was a small, outdated affair that, she jokes, “started dying the day we moved in eight years ago,” so Debbi and her husband decided to renovate this past spring. But after some initial discussions with interior designer Carol Ahlstrand about their home’s layout, the project quickly took on a grander scale. “Because the goal was to give them as much entertaining space as possible, we ended up almost tripling the size of the renovation,” Ahlstrand explains. As a result, the project expanded beyond creating a new kitchen to also including updates to the downstairs powder room, living room, and dining room. But the most striking change involved tearing down a wall between the old kitchen and an adjacent den with a fireplace. The new, larger hearth-room kitchen has become the home’s entertainment hub. Tying this new expansive space together stylistically became easier, says Ahlstrand, once she saw the many decorative pieces that Debbi, a former art school graduate, had collected over the years. “She has so many great contemporary art and pottery pieces; I saw that what she favored was a more open, California-contemporary style, with a lot of clean lines,” Ahlstrand explains. To further highlight the Pavelkas’ artwork, the kitchen includes accent colors—tomato red, Mediterranean blue, and gold—that complement the various art pieces, while a fairly neutral color palette of browns, grays, and coppers keeps the large, flat surfaces, like the walls, ceiling, floors, and island countertop in the background. The one element pulling all of the main color threads together is the dramatic Cambria Canterbury pattern chosen for the kitchen countertops, backsplash, and fireplace surround. Selecting this new color pattern, which wasn’t unveiled by Cambria until late in the summer, after the Pavelkas’ renovation was well underway, did make for some long days and last minute scrambling, Debbi admits. “But the new countertop color just feels so right to us, it’s positively beautiful and fits the new space so well,” she says. And to be able to alight upon just the right detail to perfectly finish off a project as important as renovating the heartbeat of one’s home was worth the extra effort, she says. “We take pride in the fact that so many people feel at home in our house,” she explains. “We’re thrilled to death with the renovation and that’s what it’s all about.”
SINK CONSTRUCTION Built with 12-inch boxmiter cuts, this substantial-looking Cambria vanity has no seams other than at the edges. Besides its size, the color pattern, which contains flecks of shimmering blue, also injects some drama into the space. And because this powder room is in a high-traffic area, the upgrade to such a luxurious all-Cambria vanity will get a lot of bang for the redesign buck. GET THE LOOK The box vanity’s sides and top are Cambria Henley. The sink and faucet are both from Kohler, and the circular mirror is from Target.
FIREPLACE SURROUND The thick slabs of Cambria framing the fireplace use the same color pattern found on the countertops and backsplash on the opposite wall of the kitchen, adding design continuity across the new, larger space. Placing a horizontal quartz section in front of the fireplace and vertical slabs beside and above the fireplace surround also echoes the countertop-backsplash construction motif from the kitchen and further helps to balance the design of the room. All in all, the fireplace lends a warm and welcoming feel to the entire room.
GET THE LOOK The fireplace surround is Cambria Canterbury. The gold leather sofa is from Room & Board and the red area rug is from Crate and Barrel. The walls and shutters are painted the same color—Fairview Taupe by BenjaminMoore—but in different finishes; the walls are flat while the shutters are satin.