This highly functional Kansas City kitchen is optimized for its creative homeowners

Before Geri Higgins and her design team at Portfolio Kitchen & Home transformed the Sunset Hill kitchen of a creative couple, it was sadly underwhelming.

While the rest of the house reflected the owners’ personalities with a mix of worldly art, unique furnishings and quality materials, the previous owners had skimped on finishes, and the home’s rooms lacked cohesion.

“The kitchen didn’t flow with any of it,” Geri recalls. “It seemed rather small, and the layout wasn’t optimized.”

Considering that the kitchen could be seen from many other rooms, it needed to make a better impression.

“Geri’s genius was understanding the energy of the space; she asks a lot of questions about our rituals, usage, and what we like and don’t like,” says one of the homeowners. “Accommodating all the functions we wanted was not an easy task.”

One of the first points of redirection was to remove a square island that cut off space and replace it with a long and narrow island that allows the eye to glide across it from the front door, through the house to the outside, where dense gardens grow and outdoor living beckons.

The island has unique functionality specific to this homeowner, an author and speaker, with its hidden plug-ins and file drawers.

“Bizarrely, I like working in my kitchen,” she says. “I have other places to work, but I like being in the light and seeing the garden. It’s important to my creative process.”

Geri also took advantage of an existing pantry and closet by gutting and rearranging space, super-charging it with efficient and accessible storage.

She also gave the homeowners a warm space for gathering. The look is transitional, with a sense of calmness in the lines and palette.

The homeowners co-created the ventilation hood with the Portfolio team to be high-functioning but subtle enough to not steal attention from the stunning light fixture over the island.

Proper ventilation was necessary to protect the couple’s art from cooking fumes or splatters. An African rhythm keeper sculpture on the perimeter countertop reflects their love of music, as does an Eric Clapton resonator guitar hanging in the bar area.

The energy of the space is now much better suited to the couple’s needs.

“Not only does the kitchen have more space, it’s architecturally stronger,” Geri says.


Design and cabinets: Portfolio Kitchen & Home

Contractor: AJ Lynn Projects