Additional space and storage ranked as top priorities for Katie Katzman when renovating her dated kitchen, as well as to have views of the picturesque lake in the backyard of her Michigan residence. The homeowner carefully studied a selection of countertop options, including a diverse range of natural stone products, before finalizing on Lake Garde quartzite for the large kitchen island and perimeter countertops.

“The original kitchen was a walk-through style with an 8-foot ceiling,” Katzman explained. “There was ceramic tile flooring that ran through the kitchen, foyer and dining area, white laminate cabinets, dark brown granite counters, a mini oven — and yes, only one — with limited cabinet storage space. The ‘pantry’ was about 8 inches wide and 12 inches deep. The house was built in 1979, and although it was functional, the kitchen was not inviting and a bit outdated.  One wall separated the kitchen from the foyer and great room, which also created a large area of unused/wasted space.”

Katzman emphasized that a few “must-haves” of the new 900-square-foot kitchen were a standard-sized oven, an island with seating, a pantry, excess storage for kitchenware, a vaulted ceiling, and although it had to look great esthetically, it also had to be functional. “Lastly, it had to be cozy and inviting,” she said. “When opening the space, we still had to find ways to define each area and create warmth in each room.”

Elaborating further, Katzman went on to say that because she hosts many family and friends throughout the year, she required an oven of at least a standard size. “I wanted the kitchen to be inviting and a place where people gathered,” she said. “Having an island allowed for the cook, which is me, to socialize with guests while they are visiting. The island shape and placement were also extremely important. Because we overlook a lake, I wanted the lake to be visible while people are seated. Having a hexagon shape allows for easy flow during conversations.”

Due to the lack of wall space, thinking outside-the-box was necessary in order to add a reasonable amount of storage to the kitchen design. “The island is a combination of cabinets and drawers from 12 to 18 inches deep, which surround the structure,” said Katzman. “The additional pantry has been placed sideways to avoid a deep and narrow cabinet. A wine bar was added to the kitchen as well; cabinet and countertop. The wine bar was an added last-minute decision/bonus, but now considered a ‘must have.’”

To meet the desire for warmth, but with an open concept as well as definition of space, ceiling heights, textures and color choices among each room were instrumental in achieving these design goals. “The ceilings are wood — a combination of pine and cedar (painted and natural) — to help define spaces, as well as to create warmth,” explained Katzman. “The countertops and backsplash are both stone, but with contrasting colors to create depth. The cabinets are white, but the appliances were not covered and instead kept in stainless steel again for a different texture in the room. The pendants chosen are large and chrome to add a little sparkle. The floors are a dark wood throughout the house — contrast, texture and warmth – check!”

Favoring natural stone

When it came to selecting the material for the island and countertops, natural stone was at the top of the list. “I had always wanted natural stone,” said the homeowner. “I prefer the natural look of stone rather than the man-made options. I prefer the imperfections in natural stone.”

Katzman examined a variety of stone, including granite, marble and quartzite. “We considered color, durability and cost before deciding,” she said. “[In the end], we chose Lake Garde quartzite due to the marble pattern and color palate within the stone. I was looking for a versatile stone with both cool and warm tones — specifically white with gray and brown marbling. The thought was that should I ever want to change from a cool-toned (grays and blues) kitchen to a warmer palate (browns and reds) I could do so without changing the countertops.

“We discussed durability quite a bit when choosing the stone,” Katzman continued. “We talked about the possibility of quartz versus quartzite or granite — again for durability reasons.”

The homeowner also talked about maintenance concerns she had with her fabricator, Leonardo’s Marble and Granite of Wixom, MI. “Because we were choosing a lighter-colored stone, my biggest fear was staining,” said Katzman. “We have had a small stain, but Leonardo’s supplied us with a product to remove the blemish which worked well. The small stain is completely gone and was rather easy to remove.”

Due to the angle of one piece, the countertop installation did pose a few challenges. “They shaved a bit off in the driveway and placed it the same day without issue,” explained Katzman.

Complementing the elegant quartzite island is the backsplash consisting of 3- x 6-inch charcoal–colored subway tile from Adex with a natural edge. “We chose the darker color for contrast and the subway tile for a more classic non-trendy look,” said the homeowner. “Again, the tile has warm and cool tones for an easy design change if we ever wanted to.”

Upon completion, Katzman couldn’t be happier with the outcome of her new kitchen design. “I am delighted with the way our kitchen turned out,” she said. “It has become exactly what I had envisioned. The kitchen is where our family and friends gather, laugh, share great stories and eat delicious meals. It is ‘home’ in every sense of the word.”

Private Residence

Commerce Township, MI

General Contractor: Kitchen Master, Farmington Hills, MI
Designer: Jeanette Prey, Kitchen Master, Farmington Hills, MI
Stone Fabricator: Leonardo’s Marble and Granite, Wixom, MI
Tile Manufacturer: Adex
Tile Supplier: Virginia Tile Company, Farmington Hills, MI