By Shayna Mace | Photography by Doug Edmunds
When Kris and Williams Bilty decided it was time to update their Delafield home’s kitchen, they knew exactly where to turn to—Kris’s company, Renaissance Design & Renovation. The company is a boutique design/build firm specializing in renovations from Lake Country to Milwaukee’s North Shore.
Since the Biltys loved their home’s location close to downtown Delafield, moving wasn’t an option, so they decided to revamp the entire house, starting in March of 2017. They chipped away at all of their to-dos in the 1980’s-era home—from redoing the master bathroom to the downstairs mudroom—and everything in between. Then it came time to tackle the closed-off, dated kitchen.
“The kitchen was really the hub and the focus of [our] renovation. It was so outdated,” says Kris. “In the flow of the [old] kitchen, when you opened up the refrigerator it blocked off the passageway because there was a peninsula. Also, the upper cabinets above the range blocked your vision to look into the family room.
It was very poorly laid out. The island was very small—just two by three feet. So, it didn’t have good flow for entertaining—it was disjointed.”
Kris started working with her business partner Jody Ryg (who has an architecture degree) on a new layout, which included closing off two sets of patio doors in the eat-in kitchen area and turning them into windows, and knocking down the few walls that separated the kitchen from the family room. They bumped the entire space out two feet to the south and two feet to the west to allow for cabinetry along the perimeter of the revamped space as well as a generously- sized 10-foot-long island.
Once the plans were finalized, the Biltys painstakingly selected materials to suit their new space, which they wanted to have an Old World, traditional feel to reflect William’s love of antiques—as well as flow with the rest of the reimagined home that also had warm tones and a classic look.
Kris chose cabinetry from Renaissance’s private custom cabinetry line that’s hand-crafted by the Amish in southern Illinois. The perimeter cabinets are painted in a warm cream shade and glazed in a vintage finish. (The cabinet’s interiors are walnut—a luxe, unexpected touch, notes Kris). The refrigerator and stove are even flanked with gorgeous twisted pilaster details— yet another Old World touch. The island’s base is made of dark alder wood to add dimension to the room. The countertops are a mix of cream Caesarstone quartz on the perimeter and Serenity granite on the island. The Sub- Zero refrigerator is cleverly disguised behind cabinet doors, and a Wolf microwave drawer and refrigerator drawers are tucked into the island for even more functionality.
The pièce de résistance for Kris is the Wolf duel range with custom-carved wood border (done by White River Wood Products) and the intricate, patterned 3D tiles behind the stove—which are actual apple blossoms and lilacs from the Bilty’s property that were pressed into the clay to create the tile pattern, done by Terra Domus Tile out of Bay View. The incredible detail also extends to the kitchen’s hand-troweled walls (finished in a mix of three glazes, by Jennifer Innes of Brookfield’s Sparrow Design LLC), the handmade, wrought-iron light fixtures (commissioned by Kris through a designer in Los Angeles), and the 11-foot-high brick-barreled ceiling, with veneered, reclaimed Cream City bricks from Milwaukee’s old Pabst Brewery.
The incredible level of detail and design is not only unparalleled—it was a total labor of love for Kris to work on her own home. She even uses the kitchen as a “second showroom” (in addition to Renaissance’s Elm Grove location) for clients to view the company’s work, too. But for Kris—it all came down to having an inviting, functional and stylish space for her family to gather in.
“The new kitchen layout is so open and user- friendly that we can have 25 to 30 guests over while entertaining and it’s not crowded,” says Kris. “With all of the incredible custom details throughout the space, this kitchen truly is a work of art. Every day we are so blessed to be welcomed by it.”
The Lakeshore Living publications are published by Nei-Turner Media Group, a full-service agency located in Lake Geneva, WI. Our publication covers the picturesque Lake Geneva area.
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