“Make yourself at home. Here’s a glass, grab a plate, and help yourself,” says Lyn Edge. “That’s the feeling I wanted this kitchen to convey to everyone who enters.” A busy grandmother who tends her 4- and 7-year-old granddaughters each day, Lyn needed an open space where family and friends could easily pitch in and where she wouldn’t be closed off from the living areas. What she and her husband, Dr. Otis Edge, began with in their 1930s-era home in Little Rock’s Hillcrest neighborhood, however, was the exact opposite.
Interested in relocating from West Little Rock to the Hillcrest area to be closer to their family, the Edges found a 2,000-square-foot bungalow that seemed a good fit for their needs. While the size and locale were appealing, the kitchen was a disaster. “There were two small cooking and pantry sections, a bathroom, and a screened porch alongside them with a floor that was caving in,” says Lyn. “My jaw dropped when I saw it.”
Determined to make the kitchen as accommodating as the rest of the house, the Edges called in Frank Curtis of Curtis Contracting. They gave him the task of turning the mix of spaces into what Lyn calls “a proper room,” with areas for prep work, cooking and baking, open shelving for accessibility and displaying her pottery collection, plus seating for her granddaughters and other family members to be a part of the action. On top of that, they were interested in using environmentally friendly materials whenever possible. “Common sense choices primarily, avoiding fumes and choosing sustainable options,” adds Lyn.
Curtis, who’s certified by the National Association of Home Builders as a green professional, devised a plan that involved removing the screened porch, gutting the kitchen and bathroom sections and redoing the entire area as one open space, all while following green building practices. “We kept the original footprint and in rebuilding we added insulation, new plumbing and wiring, plus higher-quality doors and windows,” he says, “all of which add energy efficiency where none existed before.”
Materials choices throughout the kitchen followed suit, including stock cabinetry with a finish applied in a ventilated factory setting, a mix of Corian and tile countertops, MDF-composite wood for the trim and ceiling, plus no-VOC paint. Appliances and lighting were chosen based on their energy efficiency ratings, and to enhance the room’s natural light, Curtis vaulted the ceiling in the area where the screened porch had been and added skylights. “It made the space feel larger and the daylight helps warm the room,” he says.
The completed kitchen now features a sink and counter section where open shelving expedites prep and clean-up, and skylights plus a large window make the space warm and inviting. Across from that area, an island with a built-in stovetop gives Lyn uninterrupted views while cooking, and a pair of barstools let family and friends relax nearby. Along the back wall, a refrigerator and pair of ovens are within easy reach, completing the efficient workspace.
“My granddaughters and I bake cookies, cakes or breads nearly every week,” says Lyn, noting that the functional kitchen enhances their time spent together. “When it works well and it’s full of the people and things you love,” she adds, “it’s a place where you make memories, and then it becomes home.”
Builder, remodeler Curtis Contracting Inc., Little Rock
Appliances Metro Appliances & More, Little Rock, Springdale
Cabinetry Alliant Cabinets, Little Rock
Countertop-Corian House of Marble, Little Rock
Countertop-Tile American Tile Supply, North Little Rock
Door, windows, skylight Pella Windows & Doors, North Little Rock
Faucets Falk Plumbing Supply, North Little Rock
Flooring C & P Carpets, Little Rock
Lighting TEC Electric, North Little Rock
Molding, trim Greenfield Millworks, North Little Rock
Paint Sherwin-Williams, locations statewide
Sherwin-Williams’ Harmony no-VOC paint aids indoor air quality
Stock maple cabinetry with a factory-applied finish means less chemicals and fumes onsite
Oak flooring from renewable forests, with original floor salvaged where possible
MDF composite wood trim and ceiling strips are made from wood scraps
Energy Star appliances
Skylight and enlarged window add natural light and feature insulated Low E glass
Corian countertop contains pre-consumer recycled content