Ethereal Case Study

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The objective of the Ethereal project was to revisit and update the kitchen while maintaining the character, charm and simplicity of their older home. Through reexamination of the existing layout and thoughtful design choices, the result is a stunning remodeled kitchen by Archipelago Hawaii that perfectly melds the design styles of yesterday and tomorrow.

Although the general layout of the kitchen functioned decently for the homeowner, the space still required a larger refrigerator and pantry. Toward this end, the design team relocated the ovens and built-in coffee system to the adjacent wall. A separate coffee bar area was created in this space. The refrigerator and pantry were grouped with a hidden appliance garage in the awkward corner. By aligning the cabinetry up to the same height on the wall, a more uniform height was established in the kitchen, which also engendered visual peace. Maintaining the existing tongue and groove detail above the cabinets similarly helped to uphold the style and vibe of the original home.

Because the homeowner’s existing flooring wasn’t available, the design team instead selected a light gray mottled porcelain, which transitions smoothly from the ceramic tile in the hallway to the maple flooring in the dining room. This also creates a subtle backdrop for the white kitchen cabinets and Carrere marble countertops.

The island had always been too small to be functional, so the island was made a consistent height, which created more practical depth. A drop leaf extension was also incorporated to match with the beautiful walnut pass through countertop and provides extra prep space when needed.


The sink area was cleaned up at the windowsill by removing the wood elements—this created a clean line and beautiful sill detail. The upper frosted glass cabinetry enhances the ethereal quality of the space and provides wonderful storage options.

The existing pass through was so low that you really couldn’t see into the dining area; it also cut off a great deal of natural light. To remedy this, the cabinets were raised to a height that allows natural light to filter into the kitchen and enables the homeowner to peer into the adjacent spaces. The homeowner has a beautiful collection of ceramic pieces to display, so the display shelves were recreated on the dining room side of the home. In the new design we also created a worktop display cabinet with glass doors on both sides to allow natural light into the kitchen and offer extra storage.


The open beam ceiling is a consistent detail throughout the home, which can make lighting a challenge. To ensure adequate lighting in the kitchen, track lights were installed between the beams in a bronze finish. The vent hood also provides task lighting for the cook top area, and undercabinet lighting was installed throughout the kitchen. Similarly, the soffit over the sink was raised and recessed cans were installed to provide general and task lighting. New lighting fixtures were selected throughout the home to upgrade it with a modern feel.

The opening to the dining room was enlarged and a breakfast bar was designed on the peninsula. A beautiful walnut countertop bridges the kitchen and dining room spaces, and a beverage center was installed in the dining room to facilitate the ease of entertaining.

The resulting new kitchen is a breathtaking space that highlights the charm of the original home while upgrading the layout and functionality of the room.