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A DIY Kitchen Makeover That Exudes Warmth

A furniture designer and a graphic designer went out on a limb to design and remodel their kitchen. The results incorporate clever elements of style, function, and environmental friendliness.

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Photography by: DANIEL HENNESSY
The unit that separates the kitchen from the dining room appears to be simply a piece of furniture; on the other side, it’s a hardworking kitchen counter. Like the white sliding doors in the kitchen, the blue doors are Formica, chosen for both their rich color and their affordability. The dining table was made from an old cherry tree on the property that had to be cut down.

Paul Ludick and Bill Anton designed their house in Pleasant Mount, Pennsylvania, themselves, but neither is an architect. They also built their kitchen themselves, but neither considers himself a builder. They are designers (Ludick a furniture designer, Anton a graphic designer), and what they lacked in formal training, they made up for in creativity, cleverness, and audacity. Their “modern lodge,” as Ludick describes it, was constructed to be passive-solar—its structure and materials were chosen to attract the sun’s rays in winter and repel them in summer. Their kitchen, a harmonious space that balances warm wood with cool blue and white cabinets, was also designed with heat-trapping in mind: The couple picked black countertops because they absorb solar heat well. The look of the kitchen, however, has nothing to do with any one philosophy. Its tidy-galley feel was inspired by boat interiors, “which have a built-in for everything,” says Ludick. Its open floor plan was prompted by a fondness for loft apartments. And the cabinets’ sliding doors reflect Ludick’s passion for both Japanese design and old sci-fi television shows like Star Trek. (“Remember all the cool sliding doors?”) Perhaps what they love most about their kitchen, though, is that it can disappear. Raising the counter that sits between the kitchen and the dining area allowed the couple to keep dirty dishes out of sight when they’re entertaining. As with everything else in the room, from the dog door to the double sinks, Ludick and Anton designed it that way—just the way they like it.

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Photography by: DANIEL HENNESSY
<b>Simple & Serene:</b> Instead of a backsplash, the homeowners of this Zen-like kitchen opted to install a wall of shallow cubbies behind the counter and stove for additional storage. They can either keep all the sliding Formica panels closed to give the illusion of a rice-paper screen, or leave a few open to display curated vignettes, like pretty ceramics.

Economy of Space

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Photography by: DANIEL HENNESSY
Because Ludick and Anton love to cook, they made sure to fit in two kitchen sinks; the industrial faucets are from Chicago Faucets.
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Photography by: DANIEL HENNESSY
A pet door for their Portuguese water dog, Geyser, leads from the kitchen to an outdoor pen.
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Photography by: DANIEL HENNESSY
Pottery in a similar shade of blue to that of the cabinets punctuates the color scheme.
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Photography by: DANIEL HENNESSY
A narrow space between the wall and the refrigerator became the perfect spot for a tall pull-out cabinet that holds glasses and cups.
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Photography by: DANIEL HENNESSY
The countertops are phenolic resin, an inexpensive material commonly used in laboratories, and most of the wood in the kitchen is black-walnut plywood, sourced from a lumberyard in New York City. Ludick estimates that the kitchen cost just $3,000.
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