Whether designing a glamorous Boston brownstone or reimagining a classic Medina home, interior designer Bruce Kading and his team bring the highest levels of sophistication and integrity to every project. Recently, he brought his signature layered design approach into his own Minneapolis home for a kitchen remodel he and his wife, Marcia, have been dreaming of for years. Here, Kading discusses the importance of balancing function and design and offers some tips for homeowners looking to update their own kitchen.
You’re known for designing homes with a strong spirit of place. Tell us about your house.
My wife, Marcia, and I live in a Tudor-style home in Shenandoah Terrace near Minnehaha Creek. Our house was built in 1930 by Thorpe Brothers, who also developed Edina’s Country Club neighborhood. We’ve lived in our house for more than 40 years, so we’ve had plenty of time to figure out what works and doesn’t work!
Where did you find inspiration while crafting the design direction for the kitchen renovation?
Our primary source of inspiration was the house itself. We wanted to work within the existing footprint of the original kitchen and create a space that looks and feels appropriate to the original 1930s aesthetic while incorporating modern functionality.
How did you choose the color palette?
Years ago, Marcia and I bought this marvelous handmade ceramic pot in Sicily, and we knew we wanted to design our kitchen around it. Marcia’s favorite color is purple, so I chose a vibrant plum for the walls, which makes a perfect backdrop for the bright blue, brick red and Tuscan yellow hues of the pot.
Can you describe your process of creating a balance of function and design throughout the space?
Having designed many kitchens of all sizes for my clients, I’ve developed an intuitive understanding of functionality. I love designing kitchens that function as culinary centers with high-performance ranges, custom cabinetry, well-equipped pantries and other details. With so many choices to make, from flooring and wall coverings to lighting and appliances, I create a vision for the kitchen then edit the selections to create a space that looks and feels as though it’s always been part of the home.
Do you have a favorite design element in your newly renovated kitchen?
There are so many things I love about our new kitchen. I’m especially happy with all the small details. I love to design custom millwork, so I hand drew all the cabinetry and the millwork, including a dishwasher panel that looks like three drawers. It’s just beautiful. I also love the range hood, window shutters, quartzite countertops and our sink, complete with an industrial-style Brizo faucet. I also adore the wood floors, which we feathered into the original flooring in the dining room.
What’s one thing you believe every well-designed kitchen should have?
Original art! We spend so much time in our kitchens, why not use it as a gallery space for a wonderful piece of art? Marcia and I have a treasured painting of our cabin on Lake Superior by our granddaughter. We love having it in the kitchen, where we can see it every day. It brings us so much joy!
Is there a favorite time of day you most enjoy being in this space?
Marcia and I are really happy with the way our kitchen turned out. It’s so calm and peaceful, especially at night with the lights on.
Do you have any tips for homeowners looking to update their kitchen?
Renovating older kitchens can be a labor of love, especially if you’re planning to live in your home during demolition and construction. I recommend working with an interior designer who’s updated their personal kitchen, so they have a thorough understanding of the challenges and in-depth knowledge of the process — as well as abundant patience, humor and empathy!