Nestled deep in Southwest Portland, the Carle family kitchen was the subject of an extensive remodel that was completed in late 2014. Interior designer Barbara Sumner and architectural designer Kristyn Bester worked with Versatile’s Product Designer Rex Vaccaro, to update and modernize the kitchen.
The design process for this particular project exemplifies our modern era; most of the communication during the process happened via Skype since the Carle family had been residing in Amsterdam when the project began. As with any remodel project, the designers hit a few snags, and the home was still under construction when the family returned to Portland. Ultimately, however, the Arciform and Versatile teams were able to achieve a contemporary, streamlined kitchen that is both functional and beautiful for the Carle family.
What was the scope of the project and what were the design goals?
For Versatile, the scope involved an entire run of custom upper and lower cabinets as well as a pantry wall; a large kitchen island with a cantilevered eating area, and a built-in window bench. Some retrofit shelving and a wet bar in an adjacent living room were also included in the design. The finishes ended up being a contemporary mix of stainless steel-wrapped upper cabinets, paint grade surfaces for the pantry wall, and solid, clear, walnut grain aligned horizontally on the lower cabinets.
What challenges did the project face?
The biggest challenge that this project presented was the fact that the client had a strong desire for all of the lower cabinets to carry a visually distinctive horizontal line from the wood grain along the length of the kitchen. The surface area along the sink wall and island was very broad, and there was some difficulty in locating beautiful, solid pieces of walnut that were large enough to cover those surfaces. The main issue with long spans of wood, however, is that they will always warp over time, so there was an initial fear that the cabinet faces would warp and be ruined.
What were the Uniquely Versatile solutions?
The first step in solving the problem was to communicate with designers working on the project. With regards to the sink wall, the solution was to simply compromise on the pattern, and face the cabinets with a classic vertical grain rather than risk the possibility of warping. To create a horizontal appearance on the surface of the nine-foot long island, a laminating method was used, in which a few boards of walnut were glued together along their long edges in order to add stability. Laminated wood still carries the possibility of warping; however, by alternating the grain patterns on the boards (essentially flipping every other board so that the grain pattern is opposite the one before it), more stability is added to the wood, creating a preventive measure against warping. We were also able to retain the horizontal grain pattern that the client wanted, and applying these solutions to the project resulted in a stunningly beautiful set of kitchen cabinets.
Versatile is always looking to come up with inventive solutions for the challenges faced when collaborating with others. Our creative team worked with the talented designers at Arciform to achieve their client’s needs for this beautiful home in Southwest Portland.