By Melanie Iverson, Principal Designer and CEO of Mosaic Design and Build
Photos by Josiah Kopp
When Lana and Korey Kirschenmann contacted James and me, with Mosaic Design and Build, they wanted us to have full creative license to design a space they’d be proud of for years. As small business owners of Medical Pharmacy South in the Osgood Hornbachers, their lives are busy and full with their family of four. They wanted an eclectic mix of warmth, unique focal art pieces and mindful intentionality behind the aesthetics of their home.
Now that their two girls were almost grown, they wanted a more mature space that could not only entertain family at holidays, but also the girls’ Trollwood acting cast, bible studies and host epic get-togethers. A few of their concerns were that the main level felt dark, even with all its natural light. The kitchen was dated with honey oak, brown tile and old commissioned art on the walls. Although the Kirschenmann’s both grew up on farms in rural North Dakota, their design goal wasn’t a modern farmhouse look.
“We wanted a modern feel, but not the monochromatic palette of gray on gray. We were excited about a space that is unique to us and that no one else has,” Korey and Lana said during that first meeting. “We love modern design, but wanted our home to feel warm and not sterile.”
I was elated because I love thinking outside the box with my clients and helping them envision what they can’t quite imagine yet. In my years of experience as an interior design consultant and the Principal Designer of Mosaic Design and Build, I’ve noticed that people can’t always explain what they want, but they can explain how they want to feel in the space. After those first exploratory sessions with the Kirschenmanns, I went to the drawing board to help them identify their style, budget and timeline to start the demo process.
Demolition and Design
On the top of the renovation list was: relocating the ill-placed pantry to the kitchen, removing the center wall that separated the kitchen and living room, and reconsidering where the dining area would be. We wanted to add even more light and brighten it up, without being locked into the same color palette.
I designed the kitchen with them until we had every detail – even to the point where we all knew where the tupperware would be placed! Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what it looks like. Design is how it works.” We wanted their kitchen and entertaining space to look and function well for large and small groups of people. With an 11-foot island at the center of their home that seats four, a buffet that acts as a serving area for large groups and two separate dining areas, we knew this was going to be a home where many could gather.
We opted for a neutral waterproof floor that could withstand their girls’ friends coming inside from the pool and hot tub, which is part of their entertaining space that extends outdoors.
In an effort to keep a modern and clean flow, we decided to exchange the existing older windows for a more sophisticated look. We also added two skylights to bring the outdoors inside year- round. The ceiling was a fun challenge because we wanted to create clean lines by adding shiplap and beams that elongated the space. Additionally, we rerouted the lighting so it accommodated the new layout.
The pantry was relocated to the back corner of the kitchen, and we added a surprise cement print tile that makes organizing the space even more fun. We added more useful storage and walnut butcher block countertops in the walk-in pantry and installed an automatic light so they wouldn’t even need a light switch.
The cafe appliances complemented the black and white custom cabinets, floating shelves and white quartz and walnut countertops on the buffet, perimeter wall and island. We wanted each detail to feel like a work of art. Even the locally made, custom metal stair railings highlight the clean lines and modern touch of elegance in the Kirschenmann’s home.
Restoring Kintsugi – an Ancient Art Form
With a name like Mosaic, I always process the tile work we do with great intent. As an artist, I’d learned about the ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, which is where an artist takes the broken pieces of ceramic vessels and pieces them back together, using gold, silver or platinum. The philosophy behind the art form is that it treats the breakage and repair of an object as something to celebrate and not disguise.
The Kirschenmanns could have simply sold their home to upgrade somewhere else. Instead, they decided to go through their own demolition and rebuilding process to ultimately make their home even more beautiful – much like a Kintsugi artist would do – and cherish the memories created while looking forward to new ones that continue to bind them together even stronger than before.
I was so excited they chose to move forward on the hexagon hombre backsplash I presented – utilizing every single part of their home as a canvas to create a one of a kind art piece. We chose the black, grey, white and metallic gold bronze honeycomb hexagons to install, piece by piece. The grout is a metallic gold that shimmers when the sun hits it – highlighting the cracks and honoring the placement of each honeycomb tile.
Choosing furniture with the Kirschenmanns was done intentionally to add splashes of color and even a built-in bay window seat for their sweet dog, Ellie, to sit. I couldn’t be more honored that they even allowed me to paint a custom set of paintings, pulling all our colors together and adding just a few touches of the metallic golds to coordinate with the other accessories on their main level.
Good to Gold
It’s such an honor when a client invites us into their home, shares vulnerably about their space and allows us to partner with them in the design and remodeling process. The Kirschenmann’s home was good before we got there, but our goal is that when our job is complete they feel and see the gold in the remodeling process. James and I always tease that although people love seeing the progress, they love to see us leave even more. It means that our job of transforming their good to gold is done.
Floor Finishes: CoreTec
Cabinets: Clearwater Custom Cabinets
Countertops: Northern Stone
Railing: IMS Supply
Millwork: Selzler Homes
Island Counter Table: Grain Designs
Dining Chairs: Article
Counter Stools: Four Hands
Rugs & Pillows: West Elm
Home Decor: EcoChic & Four Hands