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Back to Life

A Sunset Hill kitchen mixes contemporary elements in a traditional design

Andi and Jim McCarthy knew they had design challenges if they wanted to update the kitchen in their 1920s Sunset Hill home. Where they envisioned one big space for their family of four, there was a warren of smaller rooms, old pipes, a jumble of mechanicals, different elevations, and 12 inches of concrete flooring. They knew it was a project for just the right meticulous, detail-oriented person: Lisa Otterness, a certified kitchen designer at Classic Kitchens in Leawood.

“It was my job to bring an historic home back to life with modern functionality,” says Otterness. “And I loved that she was so collaborative,” adds Andi McCarthy.

“We used our interactive 3-D software to walk them through a design plan,” says Otterness. “Andi had a great vision and an eye for detail.”

A 10-foot island provides casual seating for the family, surrounded by comfy bar stools upholstered in an easy-clean gray fabric with nail-head trim. “We thought the island would be a place to have breakfast, but we use it all day for meals, homework, projects, and entertaining,” says McCarthy.

Choosing a classic color palette of creamy white and shades of gray, befitting a century-old house, the couple added features that hark back to the time period.

“The quartzite countertop has beautiful movement and looks like marble,” says Otterness. “I like traditional mixed with contemporary,” adds McCarthy.

The couple repurposed stained glass from Jim’s parents’ historic home in south St. Louis and framed the doorway with it. “This kitchen already had a history, but we’ve added some of our own,” says McCarthy. “I feel good when I walk in this room.”