With all their stainless steel and slick surfaces, today’s kitchens can be rather clinical. But homeowners such as Matt and Nancy Michaelis add touches of color and whimsy that personalize the cool modernism.
Here are five highlights of the Michaelis’ house in Wichita:
1. Gone from country: The kitchen had been done in warm Tuscan tones — faux marble, thatched ceiling and iron light fixtures painting a rich picture.
While Nancy is quick to praise how the kitchen looked, she said: “I grew up in a house like that. I didn’t want my mother’s kitchen.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
The new kitchen is not at all like that. It’s bright white. The walls, painted in two different shades of white, show just how different they can be. One side of the kitchen has a pinkish cast, the other side purple.
2. The banquette: Perhaps the biggest kitchen-related switch happened in the breakfast nook, which had been a TV-watching area, with armchairs and a coffee table.
“I’ve always wanted a banquette. I said, ‘That’s the banquette,’ ” Nancy said of the ah-ha moment when she saw the original seating area.
The built-in banquette provides perhaps the most dramatic pop of color in the kitchen — it’s turquoise faux leather piped in yellow, its inspiration taken from a box of Cipriani pasta.
Orange-red modern Windsor chairs, which the couple had shipped from England, add extra punch pulled up to the other side of a round white table.
Above the table is another touch of whimsy: a light fixture featuring a single lightbulb encircled in a type of bird cage, faux birds perching on its wires.
3. ’70s flashbacks: The artwork in the house includes vintage photography and a print of smiley faces alongside the breakfast table. Nancy bought pink and yellow Pucci scarves off Etsy, and Felicia Serrioz at A&M Superior Upholstery made seat covers of them for the dining room chairs, pulled up to a Milo Baughman table.
The house doesn’t have a formal dining room, but the kitchen overlooks a room that serves the purpose.
4. A kitchen fireplace: An angled wall in the kitchen has a simple box fireplace built into it. A cubby in the bottom of the wall holds logs: birch, chosen for, of course, their white color.
5. Beyond the kitchen: In most houses, you don’t walk directly into the kitchen, so other parts of the house are viewed on the way. In the Michaelis house, that includes a library that fits in an angled nook straight out of a storybook; a big airy living room that Nancy Michaelis likes to refer to as “the ballroom”; and a giant vertical light fixture made of plastic foam hanging in the stairwell.