Photos by Kyle Szef
There is something magical about a well-designed kitchen. It’s the heart of the home, where family and friends gather to cook, eat, and create memories. It’s a space that should be functional, yet stylish and welcoming. Natasa Jones Interiors, a Milwaukee-based interior design firm, recently tackled a kitchen remodel that embodies all of these qualities—plus some.
The project started with a simple question: How can we create a kitchen that is both dramatic and moody, yet practical and functional? Natasa Jones, the firm’s founder and lead designer, had a vision of warm wood tones mixed with painted charcoal cabinets, highlighted with a mix of brass and black metals. The result is a stunning kitchen that is both sophisticated and inviting.
But, as with any design project, the devil is in the details. Was there a specific timeline for this project? What was the process of choosing each concept/piece? Jones explains, “Our design process always starts with a mood board. This allows the client to peek into our vision and also gives us a green light on the creative direction. Once the conceptual vision is approved, we continue with finishes, selections, and layout design.”
Jones and her team focused on functionality, which is always their top priority. “It’s very important to us to listen to pain points when meeting with our clients,” says Jones. “Clients love telling us what does not work in their current kitchen layout, and we use that as a guide on the new layout.” For this project, they made sure there was ample countertop space, not only for cooking but also for arts and crafts for the clients’ daughters.
One of the most unique aspects of this kitchen remodel is the double-sided buffet cabinet that separates the kitchen from the formal dining room. “We decided to eliminate the wall between the two spaces, but [like] every other project, once the walls are open, they are full of surprises!” says Jones. “In order to create an open-space feel without being able to knock down the wall, we created a double-sided buffet cabinet. It ended up being one of the most interesting parts of the kitchen. It separates the two spaces but still opens up the sightlines. We love happy accidents.”
The team also created a built-in pantry and beverage station that stores all the everyday essentials, and incorporated open shelving that was styled with natural and moody accessories. They replaced an oddly shaped peninsula with an island that can seat a family of four for breakfast. They also created a cozy morning coffee area with a comfy recliner and side table to make up for the eliminated kitchenette table.
Creating a striking contrast was key to this kitchen’s design. “Contrast is something you will find in all of our designs,” says Jones. “In this instance, we created the drama by using warm wood tones along with cool charcoal tones. We designed the custom hood to incorporate both colors and pull the whole kitchen together. We chose the same hardware in two different finishes to balance the contrast: On darker cabinets we chose brass tones, and on wood cabinets we installed black hardware.”
So, how does this remodeled kitchen reflect the overall design aesthetic of Natasa Jones Interiors? “Interestingly enough, this project was a bit out of my comfort zone,” admits Jones. “My aesthetic is contemporary and minimalistic, but we love a good challenge at Natasa Jones Interiors. We call this kitchen the ‘Midwest Modern.’ It has all the elements of a modern kitchen while remaining warm and inviting.”