By the time empty nester Brian Cornell entered into his second marriage, the process of how his 1992 Long Grove home would be transformed was already underway.
All the new fiancé cared about was a suitable spot for her grand piano in the formal living room and a place to entertain. She trusted his taste, which meant the rest was up to him.
He lived in the sparsely furnished six-bedroom home for a few months and made note the space’s energy and flow, ultimately calling on designer Nancy Jacobson of Kitchen Design Partners (kitchendesignpartners.com) in Northbrook to help unlock the home’s true potential.
“What existed in this house did not work. It made me feel edgy,” says Cornell, explaining that he had developed a distinctive personal style based on years of traveling and paying attention to detail. “You couldn’t get to the living room from the kitchen. Everything was closed off.”
Jacobson and her team quickly proposed ways to fix all of that, and then proceeded to turn a dated cook space into a dream kitchen for Cornell, his new wife, and their visiting adult children.
“The kitchen had some real problems. The cooktop was on the island with a downdraft vent that was barely working,” she says. “There was limited space for cooking.”
Cornell, a wine connoisseur who enjoys trying new recipes in the kitchen, was eager to have a modern, functional space that suited the needs of his new blended family.
So Jacobson and her team began to think of ways to reconfigure the existing space, pushing out walls and widening entryways where possible to open the kitchen to everything around it.
“There was a hexagonal breakfast room, which became a formal dining room that seats 10 to 12 people. The formal dining room became an office, and the kitchen became the heart of the home,” she explains. “We allowed some separation but we opened up the kitchen to the adjoining rooms for a more cohesive flow.”
Raised panel cabinets in cream with a mocha glaze and Venetian bronze hardware set the stage for a 60-inch professional Viking range with a massive seven-foot hood. A travertine mural with a wine theme creates the ultimate backsplash, complemented with yellow wood exotic countertops, gourmet stainless appliances, and a wine reserve.
“By relocating the cooktop and moving around walls, we created a large island for seating up for four,” says Jacobson. “That added more countertop space and we were able to reconfigure an awkward butler’s pantry into a wine bar.”
Cornell says he could not be more pleased with the results. With wider door openings and an adjoining formal living room that can house his new wife’s grand piano, this flowing suite of rooms has become the perfect space for entertaining.
“It’s a dramatic improvement,” he says. “Now you walk into the front door and it transforms the Feng Shui of the home.”
With an enviable location on the 18th fairway of the Royal Melbourne Country Club, the late 20th century home has been invigorated with new life for this couple’s next chapter.
“With this kitchen remodel, we wanted to create a beautiful space that stood up to the design of the rest of the home,” adds Jacobson. “It was a wonderful project for two wonderful people.”