When Covid struck, Janine Nicholson, owner of Fuse Interiors LLC was approached to remodel a kitchen in Highlands Ranch that was “too dark, too compartmentalized, and didn’t match the client’s personality.” She knew they loved to entertain but the kitchen wasn’t overly functional. “The island was too small, the fridge jutted out and blocked movement around the island. The old cabinetry was very inefficient, making storage a challenge. And the desk area by the window, which we subsequently filled in, wasn’t a practical space for anyone to work at.”
She Knew Just What to Do—Throw Her Heart and Soul Into It.
“There were parts of the house that were carpeted and parts that were hardwood,” she says. “It created artificial ‘delineation’ between rooms.” As a result, she used Luxury Vinyl Planks (flooring) throughout the whole first floor; perfect for a high traffic, busy family with kids and pets. “This allowed the kitchen to be elongated toward the family room, giving us space for a larger island. We also reworked the openings to the adjacent rooms, took down old framed doorways, and expanded the openings both width and height.” Lastly, she switched to appropriately sized appliances, eliminated some of the ‘pinch points’ around the kitchen, and removed the small window/desk down the side which gave the homeowners much-needed cabinet space and room for the coffee and beverage center.
Ultimately, her job was to find a way to give the family a functional kitchen with a cohesive look that still fit the house and neighborhood, if they opted to sell at some point down the road. “They have a lot of friends and family dropping by, so they wanted it to be a brighter, more lively space that allowed them to cook and entertain more easily. They also wanted something that was a little less traditional, hence, the geometric backsplash, LED light fixtures, the HUB station above the cooktop (essentially a giant iPad that is also a functioning vent hood), and a Miele coffee station to avoid those multiple trips to Starbucks.”
Almost all of Nicholson’s remodel clients have been switching over to Induction cooktops. “With our high altitude, gas ranges don’t perform quite as well, whereas induction isn’t impacted the same way. It offers quick and precise temperature control and always wins hands down after a demo of the two options,” she says. “Also, with many people moving to open concept kitchens with large islands, induction is a better option for that space.”
The Final Touches
Nicholson’s creative process isn’t built on expertise alone. She utilizes every project as a way to connect with her clients and incorporate their personality into the home. “My process involves really trying to understand first and foremost how the homeowners want to use the space,” she explains. “The aesthetics are secondary and can be worked out after we determine how it needs to function.” This particular home is a young family, with kids in high school, which was something she took into consideration during the remodel.
“We always try to put a personal touch into the mix that is unique to [the client]. In this case, they have two aging French Bulldogs, so I had my photographer take photos of them and then she converted the images to a brushstroke portrait of the pups that we framed and hung above their fireplace.”