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Arlington VA Kitchen Design
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Budget-Friendly Arlington Condo Kitchen Remodel

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Mara and Suzanne are returning clients of Expert Kitchen Designs who wanted to update the small kitchen in their Arlington condominium before renting it out. I was first introduced to them several years ago by one of my favorite home building contractors, Eric Pilka of Oakmont Homes.

To stay within their budget, we implemented kitchen upgrades that did not require major structural changes. We improved the kitchen layout and installed new kitchen cabinetry, appliances, countertops, sink and faucet.

After renting out their condo, Suzanne and Mara purchased an open-floor planned home in Alexandria, Virginia that was well-suited to their contemporary/mid-century modern taste in design.

The only downside to their new home was the galley kitchen. It was pedestrian in all ways: cheap white cabinets and appliances and an ordinary laminate countertop. The one positive feature of the kitchen lay below the nasty vinyl flooring: here we discovered well-worn oak strip flooring that could be refinished to enhance the existing space.

Since I had a established an effective and congenial working relationship with these clients in previous kitchen remodeling projects, we were able to proceed smoothly with the new kitchen design project. I began as I always do by asking lots of questions to identify their goals and objectives:

  1. How long do you plan to live in this house?
  2. What don’t you like about the kitchen now?
  3. How much do you want to spend to get what you want?

We determined that they wanted the kitchen to open up into the dining/living area. I worked on the CAD drawings and provided a few perspectives to show them what the space would look like with two walls eliminated and other walls painted with their chosen color scheme.

Below are two renderings done with my 2020 CAD in a “live” perspective:

Arlington VA Kitchen Remodel CAD Drawing

The view above is taken as you stand in the dining room. On the left side, we eliminated the back and end wall to allow for deeper counter space with a small overhang for casual dining. On the right sink wall side, we eliminated the end wall.

Arlington VA Kitchen Remodel CAD DrawingThe view to the left is what you would see from the living area. This was designed after Mara and Suzanne had indicated they wanted a Soapstone countertop, and that the overhang on the living room side should be minimal. They also weren’t sure about the white subway tile. I left it out in this last rendering.

Once we were agreed that we had a plan that Mara and Suzanne loved, we could move forward with calculating all costs associated with the project. As I have said many times before, design is first and foremost to cost estimation of any kitchen remodeling project.

Now, Eric Pilka of Oakmont Homes had the scope and structural requirements he needed to proceed with construction. Eric determined weight-bearing loads from the walls we wanted to remove, then had supporting beams engineered for these walls. He also had a defined plan that allowed him to accurately calculate all costs for this kitchen remodeling project, which eliminated unpleasant cost-overrun surprises later.

After we determined all cost elements, agreements were signed and all systems were “go,” full overlay construction cabinetry by Dura Supreme in Classic White with the Craftsman Panel was the cornerstone.

The oak floor was uncovered and refinished. Soapstone countertops were installed. And the coup de grace was the marble backsplash in a subway tile pattern installed expertly by Eric’s tile installer.

Below are a few pics of the final outcome. See how they compare to my perspectives above…

Arlington VA Kitchen Design

Lighting Fixtures Arlington Kitchen DesignI selected the perfect lighting fixture (right) that allowed the entire counter-space to feel open and flowing without a “geometric” light just hanging over the large countertop.

We still need to repaint the walls. I always advise clients to postpone repainting walls until all elements, fixtures and finishes have been installed, as they will influence how light is reflected in the kitchen. Take some time to observe the colors in your kitchen at different times of the day and then decide see which colors suit you.

In kitchen design and remodeling, advance planning, accurate costing and patience pay off—– always.


Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs, Virginia

Sandra Brannock designs beautiful, timeless, functional kitchens that reflect your personal style, within your budget. She helps discerning homeowners throughout Northern and Central Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC get the kitchen of their dreams and select the perfect cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting, and appliances to make their dream kitchen a reality.

Call Sandra today at (703) 801-6402 to schedule a kitchen remodeling consultation. Sandra will help you get the most value out of your kitchen remodeling budget and ensure that all the details of your kitchen renovation proceed smoothly, on time and within budget.