My friend Annette and her husband Mike live in a really cool split level ranch on Lake Jennie Jewel in Orlando. Mike had the house set up as a bachelor pad before he met Annette and used it as home base for all his water ski buddies. While I’m sure the location on the ski lake provided hours of fun for wild and crazy singletons, it’s proven to be a most amazing family home with a killer sense of retro-modern style.
Having many original features and cute custom touches, this home pays homage to the cool vibe of the 1960’s in Florida. The carport
perfect frame for Annette’s VW Beetle and Mike’s truck (you gotta pull toys with something), and the front entry looks like something out of Palm Springs with it’s sidelight and crisp house numbers. The lower level ‘rec-room’ is the perfect staging place for a day on the lake, having a full bathroom and kitchenette makes snack time for the Dehlinger kids very convenient. Annette has even painted some sputnik-y stars on the front of the house for an ornamental touch to the exterior. The Dehlingers’ love of mid-century design is carried throughout in their choices of furnishings and fixtures as well. All in all, this home is a perfect specimen of mid-century modern design.
Recently, Annette and Mike decided it was time to remodel the kitchen. Their original kitchen was beginning to suffer from a functional obsolescence and after multiple face lifts, had finally reached the end of it’s life cycle. At the forefront, the couple was sure that they wanted to keep the sleek lines and mid-century look. Annette’s biggest concern was that the updating would strip away the simplicity of the original kitchen design and that it would become too busy or too crazy.
They chose to use two different materials for the cabinets which I think really added interest. Both cabinet surfaces are pretty reminiscent of the 60’s with the white being a bit of a “flash” factor. The walnut base cabinets look almost exactly like a more custom, better quality version of what really would have been there in the original kitchen. The counters are quartz and the island counter brings in the only notable color in the whole in the kitchen. That is, of course, with exception of the programmable LED lighting that uplights the ceiling from the tops of the cabinets. The Dehlinger children call it the ‘disco lights’. The island pendants are more sophisticated than retro and act in the way that a little pieces of jewelry would finish the perfect black dress.
In an attempt to try to understand a little more of the process (I’ve never done a full kitchen remodel), I asked Annette a few
questions over coffee and got a different perspective of remodeling than I’d heard from others in the past.
Megan: “Are you glad you did it? Any regrets?”
Annette: “Ha! Yes, we are very glad. I actually don’t think we have any regrets. Everything turned out just as we’d hoped.”
Megan: “That’s great. We don’t hear that too often. How long did the remodel take from start to finish?”
Annette: “Well, the planning phase took the longest. We designed the kitchen with our contractot. We didn’t use a designer. The hardest
part of the whole remodel was trying to visualize everything. We didn’t have anything to look at, like a storyboard, that would show us how all of the materials and hardware selections would look once they were put together. That whole process took months, almost a year really. The actual renovation only took about a month.”
Megan: “Wow! A month! That’s not bad at all for a total overhaul. I bet the local restaurants were bummed that your contractor was so efficient.”
Annette: “Yes, but our budget was happy,” she giggles and gives Mike a side glance across the room.
Megan: “I’m sure. I love that you didn’t select stainless steel for the appliances. That almost seems like a given these days. How did you come to the decision on the appliances?”
Annette: “Well, during one of the more recent attempts to update the kitchen, we’d bought a new refrigerator and dishwasher. They were still in good shape and there was no reason not to re-use them. That made most of the decision, but I do feel like a new surface material would have been too distracting in the space. I really wanted to keep the look clean and un-fussy.”
Megan: “I love your light fixtures and the punch of color on the island. What’s your favorite feature?”
Annette: “I’m really happy with the tile on the backsplash. That is definitely my favorite element.”
Megan: “I also really love the cork floors. They are truly a nod to the 60’s. Are you happy with that choice?”
Annette: “I am! We actually had a small flood from the dishwasher connection and the water mopped right up with no residual damage. There is also
a noticeable difference in the comfort due to the shock absorption. We really like it. That was one of the risks we took that we were needlessly nervous about.”
Megan: “Thanks for meeting with me. You are now making me want to take on a reno of my own. You make it look easy and painless?”
Annette: “At the risk of minimizing the inconvenience of a kitchen remodel, I have to say, it wasn’t that bad and I’m really glad we did it.”
This was a house I’d really like to write more on. Maybe once the weather is warmer, we can do a little feature on how lakefront living in Orlando is a super bonus. I think I complimented the Dehlingers lovely kitchen sufficiently to garner an invitation. I’m more than willing to bring a summer cocktail if that might seal the deal. I may be a terrible skier, but I’m an excellent bar tender.