I live in an old home. In fact, in 2020 it will turn a respectable 140 years old. So, I am one of the first to find older homes interesting and livable. But I also suffer a certain degree of kitchen envy when I photograph homes, which is something I do multiple times per week. When you think of it, homes haven’t changed all that much through the years except for kitchens and bathrooms. 

This week, as you can see from the before photo posted above, I photographed a redesign and remodel in Sandy that sent my kitchen envy up seismic levels. The original home was a showcase of current design trends when it was unveiled during a parade of homes in the mid 1980s.

The homeowners wanted an update and lots more storage, and they were interested in the durability and low maintenance of a terrazzo floor. They commissioned Design Plus, Inc., for the design (Kaye Christiansen Englert, FASID, NCIDQ, CAPS). Design Plus stayed through the project to oversee all the installations. 

The resulting kitchen is a streamlined angled wall of matched-grain walnut cabinets mixed with some frosted glass fronts along the room’s interior; a granite-topped island that turns in an oblique angle from the casual seating area with its walnut base to the cooking island topped with a range hood with walnut trim; and a transition to bright glossy white on the cabinets and appliances along the window wall. This custom cabinetry with its horizontal hardware is painted what Kaye calls, “the whitest white I could find in the glossiest finish available.” The look calls to mind some of the kitchen systems coming out of Italy in its modern lines. 

The walnut cabinet wall includes the clients’ wishes for touches that complement their lifestyle. Paired doors open and slide back to reveal a baking workstation equipped with appliances and a working countertop adjacent to the ovens.

The frosted glass-fronted cabinet comes out into the room at another oblique angle just past the island and behind it is a pantry. The cabinet allows for easy and safe storage of fragile sets of china, conveniently located for setting the formal table in the dining room (to the right of the frame).

I was told long ago that the efficiency of a kitchen can be measured by the triangle between the sink, stove top and refrigerator. Judging from the short sides of this triangle, it’s pretty efficient.  The bright reflective paint bounces the natural light to maintain a look one would expect from a room with far more windows. 


The terrazzo floor continues from the kitchen, down the hall to a suspended credenza (by Design Plus), and makes a turn to the entry. The before-and-after photos show the difference. 

I was fascinated with the terrazzo floor. Kaye explained that it’s a poured composite flooring that contains glass, usually recycled. It’s extremely durable, waterproof and low-maintenance, and its lifetime is estimated in decades and centuries rather than years. Because of its unique and elegant appearance, it was common in Art Deco and Moderne buildings and was used in churches and buildings with a lot of foot traffic because of its durability. 

Another pair of before-and-after photos illustrates the changes to the powder room. The tile is the same selection used in the kitchen, and the walnut vanity base and hardware repeat from the kitchen to tie the design together. The vanity mirror stretches to the ceiling with the light in the mirror, and the effect makes the room feel more spacious. 

A note about the initials following Kaye’s name: ASID means she has been certified by the professional organization after examinations similar to those of the AIA (American Institute of Architects), and FASID designated her appointment as a Fellow of the American Society of Interior Designers, an honor given to less than one percent of the organization’s membership based on an exemplary body of work and other considerations. Kaye Christiansen Englert is the only practicing Utah interior designer to have this honor; she received it in 2018. Congratulations to her for both this award and for this kitchen design.