Gutting a space and starting over from scratch is one thing. Integrating new materials with elements preserved from a kitchen's former life is another story. That's what the design/build team at Streeter & Associates was up against in the remodel of this 1908 home.

The biggest problem with the original kitchen was its split personality. At one end were stark white cabinets and finishes, while the other end held a stretch of incongruous beech wood cabinets the owner had imported from Germany 10 years prior (and insisted on keeping). The refrigerator was the dividing line.

Step one in unifying the space was to replace the white cabinetry with a warmer, richer combination of wood species. Bottom cabinets were switched to a dark Peruvian walnut, while upper units of Euro steamed beech wood were chosen to match the older cabinets and amber-toned window casings at the far end of the room.

“To blend everything and make the space more cohesive, we ran a Peruvian walnut soffit ledge along the perimeter of the entire space—including over the fridge—and outfitted it with recessed lighting,” says designer Jeff Lindgren. “The soffit also serves a utilitarian function, as it hides the mechanicals for a high-velocity HVAC system we installed.” Granite countertops in tropic brown and a striking backsplash of iridescent mosaic tiles in warm tones further unify the dark and light woods.

Ever mindful of the budget, the team did pull a few tricks to conserve costs, including preserving the kitchen's original granirex flooring (a mixture of granite and quartz) and filling in areas that needed replacement with a matching Cambria product. To avoid having to rebuild the existing window over the sink (which would have required structural work to the exterior envelope), trim carpenters cantilevered the upper cabinets about 6 inches beyond the window jamb “to create a floating look,” says Lindgren.

These moves freed up some extra cash for, among other things, one highly personalized feature. “The owner is in the medical field, so we installed a stainless, commercial-grade foot pedal down at the kick-plate level that activates the sink faucets,” says Lindgren. “It's a habit for her—and it's a nice control to have if your hands are full of something and you don't want to touch the faucet.”

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Entrant/Builder/Architect/Interior designer: Streeter & Associates, Wayzata, Minn.