If Ashland artist Alicia Mannix’s remodeled 1960 kitchen and great room were a painting, it could be described as an abstract, industrial sun rising over a soft, Southwestern desert. And that’s just what Alicia wanted — an ultra-modern kitchen that’s totally open to a warm and inviting living area, all bathed in as much sunlight as possible. (Click on the image to download the original article with images .)
The transformation started in the entryway of the 2,950 square foot home. It was once a dark passage leading into the kitchen with a hallway and bedrooms to the right and a small opening to the living room on the left, obstructed by a large, defunct fireplace column. “We demolished the column and rebuilt the 6’x 8’ floor area,” says Ashland general contractor Roger Funk, who helped Alicia manifest her vision. “That allowed a much bigger entryway.”
A coat closet was constructed where the kitchen opening used to be and a 12-paned French door now leads into the “den” to the right. “I turned the front bedroom into the den,” says Alicia. “I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner — it makes more sense to have the bedrooms farther down the hall and it’s a perfect opportunity to open up the space.”
Replacing the solid front door with a glass version invited more light into the entry, spilling over oak floors and bringing a glow to the earthy, pastel shades Alicia chose for the walls. “I looked for colors that would sweep the space with warmth and coziness,” Alicia says of the Southwest-inspired apricot in the great room and kitchen.
The sunset color also makes the most of highquality wooden paneling and built-in shelves along the home’s south wall. “The guys wouldn’t let me paint or drywall the wood, so we chose a color found in the paneling,” says Alicia. “Because it all blends so nicely, it has turned the wooden wall from an eyesore into a design element.” A creamy yellow was used in the foyer for cool contrast.
Removing a kitchen wall and building a breakfast bar in its stead added more visual space. The eating nook has fast become Alicia’s favorite place for quick meals, phone calls and business. And she loves the ten extra feet of counter space she gained in her new kitchen, even though it didn’t come easily. “Fitting the pre-fabricated Ikea cabinets that Alicia bought before we started the design was a challenge,” Roger says. “We had to reconfigure the kitchen window and expand into the dining area.”
Roger gutted the entire room and rebuilt it to suit the tall, gray cabinets with glass doors and back lighting. Now a dark gray granite surface stretches from the dining area to the new pantry, with a lovely view through a picture window with a black vinyl casing. “I chose the black because it looks more modern and it matches the huge window in the living room,” Alicia says.
Stainless steel hardware, a “sun tunnel” in the ceiling and lots of glass finish off the kitchen’s clean, industrial décor. For her dining set, Alicia chose a glass tabletop with a black base and black, rail back chairs. “The glass disappears, so the eye interprets it as open space,” says the artist. The eye continues through the sliding glass doors, out to the new deck, arbor and terraced lawn, adding even more light and space to the room.
Many of Alicia’s design decisions were inspired by her “abstract expressionism” paintings. “Unzen Mind,” hanging on a long wall next to the dining table, contains shapes and colors reflected in the surroundings — greens and blues from outside and black lines mirroring the dining room chairs.
It’s clear that Alicia had a vision—a mental “doodle”— that drove her design plans. And, just as with one of her paintings, it started to take shape, turning into something original and pleasing.