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The 5280 Home Guide to Kitchen Remodels

The finest classic, historical, and contemporary kitchen looks all in one place.

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If you’re going to renovate one room in your house, consider the kitchen. It’s the hub of every home, where living really happens—from pep talks over coffee in the morning to late-night dance sessions with dinner-party stragglers. You spend many of your waking hours there, so why not design a space that truly brings you joy? We found three Front Range kitchens with three very different styles to inspire your remodel dreams. Plus—if you’re looking for a small weekend reno project—check out our picks for dazzling hardware and tile with high impact (and relatively little commitment). Prepping summer salads never looked so good.


CLASSIC

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This vibrant remodel shows us why brightly painted cabinets and brass fixtures are oh-so-right. 

When Lori and Josh Nothwang redid their Boulder bungalow, they had a color scheme in mind. “We wanted a black and white house,” Lori says of the home’s classic exterior palette, “but I’ve always been the person who loves navy.” So began the concept for the new kitchen’s look. They hired Brady Burke of Burke Builders and architect Phil McEvoy (now retired) to oversee the home’s complicated gut and remodel, but the couple took on the design themselves. (Along the way, Lori fell in love with the process and has since started her own design company, Last Stile Design.) Her use of navy on the island and layered textures and colors (brass fixtures, wooden barstools, and black windows and doors) warm up what could be a stark space—proving further that you can never go wrong with the color blue.

Lori Nothwang shares a few of her favorite things:

  1. Brass or gold fixtures for their “natural warmth.”
  2. Mixing metals, so long as there’s “consistency and simplicity.” Don’t overdo: Stick with two metals, such as brushed brass and stainless steel.
  3. Styled hardware can “make the difference between average and outstanding without killing the budget.”

Design Pros

Kitchen Design: Lori Nothwang, Last Stile Design
Construction: Brady Burke, Burke Builders

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HISTORICAL 

A Boulder bungalow’s good bones (red brick, yes please!) are on display in this smart, compact update.

 

Under the watchful eye of Dale Hubbard, principal of Surround Architecture, this 1920s home near Boulder’s Pearl Street has been given new life. A gut and remodel turned a honeycomb of rooms into a wide-open living area suited to a young family. At the center of this space is the kitchen, which champions the home’s century-old craftsmanship (exposed brick, graceful molding above the windows and doors, and original hardwood floors) while embracing the new (minimalist cabinets, open shelving, and new fixtures and appliances). “Old structures take modern touches in stride,” Hubbard says.

Architect Dale Hubbard’s tips for giving an old kitchen a new look.

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  1. Hire a general contractor early in the project to remove any guesswork.
  2. Tear down that wall. Instead of making several small changes, consolidate those moves into one that will make a big statement.
  3. Find the home’s character points (brick walls, millwork, floors) and highlight them.
  4. Incorporate new technology. “When we have the textural structure augmented by beautiful new lighting and appliances, it allows us to live our lives the way we want to, and it helps the house be useful for its next 100 years,” Hubbard says.

Design Pros

Architecture and Kitchen Design: Dale Hubbard, Surround Architecture
Construction: Brady Burke, Burke Builders


CONTEMPORARY
Sleek cabinets and marble slabs bring this ’90s-era Cherry Creek kitchen into the 21st century. Here’s how the modern vision came together.

Marble-tile backsplash? Sure. But what about a whole slab? Homeowner Nhu Lam gave an enthusiastic nod to the idea, and now the power of marble is on full display in her Cherry Creek kitchen: Gorgeous gold-veined Bianco Lasa Macchia Vecchia marble slabs create a striking backsplash and waterfall countertops. These effects, plus pale red-oak floors and walnut-and-white cabinetry, mix contemporary with traditional—and that’s just the look Mark Haynam of Aspen Leaf Kitchens was going for. “We like to do things no one else is doing,” says the fourth-generation cabinetmaker. “We like to help with the design, and we’re highly involved in the flooring and counters because it affects the cabinetry.” True reno wisdom.

Turn your kitchen into a work of art with marble.

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A handsome piece of stone can make a kitchen, Mark Haynam says. “People go to the slab yard and they find one with brilliant detail,” he says. “They’re using [marble slabs] more like art pieces to accent their kitchens.” Installing the gorgeous rock as a backsplash is also a way to showcase its timeless beauty while avoiding the porous stone’s well-known pitfalls (ahem, spotting and staining).

Tips for Choosing Marble

  1. Because each slab is slightly different, select the exact one you want for your kitchen. Imagine how the veining will look in your space.
  2. Ask your designer or your stone source about finishes. A polished finish looks glossy; a honed finish is matte. But before you choose, explore the wave of new finishes available for marble.
  3. Sealing your marble is a no-brainer, but it can (and probably will) patina over time.

Design Pros

Kitchen Design: Mark Haynam, Aspen Leaf Kitchens


Bonus: 32 gorgeous kitchen knobs for an easy update

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