The Curve: A Bold Midcentury Kitchen Update

Once in a while things just click between a client and designer. These clients came to Silent Rivers with the goal of reworking a ‘mis-considered’ 1980s remodel in their midcentury ranch home.


The first couple design concepts we discussed met the clients’ functional goals, but as a designer it is always fun to hear the words “I’d really like something bold.”

Well now… I think we can deliver!


An Inviting Space for Everyday and Entertaining

While the kitchen contained an abundance of cabinetry, much of it was out of reach for daily use. Indeed, the cabinetry itself was falling apart. Also, a peninsula cut through the middle of the kitchen, dividing a small eating area from the main kitchen, and a bulky enclosed vent hood dominated the space. A small laundry hall and powder room are tucked back around the far end of the kitchen.

Before and after photo of a bold contemporary kitchen remodel designed and built by Silent Rivers

BEFORE & AFTER: A peninsula and vent hood previously blocked views that are now open and visually setoff with a striking floor design that leads the eye through the various zones of this contemporary kitchen.


Now, a graphically intense curve in the floor pattern leads the eye while also defining the various spaces in the kitchen: cooking, entertaining, and dining. The clients pushed for a bold solution resulting in a striking color palette with curves that acknowledge the round portal window in the dining nook, the curved bay window, and the round windows in the front door. The dining nook is now highlighted by the floor pattern and lighting rather than cut off from the kitchen by a wall of cabinetry.

Reclaimed wood table and Marmoleum flooring in a contemporary kitchen remodel in Des Moines designed by Silent Rivers

The curves of the light fixture, table, and Marmoleum floor pattern playfully interact — bold colors and patterns work together.


The project scope included both aesthetic and functional layout modifications in order to create a kitchen that works for contemporary entertaining and cooking – the spaces now connect gracefully from the main entry through to the informal dining space and around to the attached formal dining room beyond. By relocating the center “node” of the kitchen to an open peninsula and moving the main cooking areas closer together, the new layout is much more efficient in terms of space, functionality, and cabinet use.


Efficiency and Durability

In many kitchen remodel projects, the primary motivation is an increase of cabinet space. Particular care was paid in this project to create the “right” amount of cabinetry rather than the most possible. In fact, there was actually a net reduction in cabinet space, without a loss in functionality. This resulted in an efficiency of material use and the ability to target the investment in custom cabinetry with high-quality materials and durable details.

Bamboo custom kitchen cabinets designed and built by Silent Rivers in Des Moines

Durability as a component of sustainable design is an integral component to this project. Utilizing high-quality materials and construction methods helps to promote long-term use of the kitchen.

The wine rack highlights the pattern in the cut edge of the bamboo plywood and the “floating” counter held up from the cabinets with a 1/4” setback reveal emphasizes the horizontal lines of the galley kitchen layout.

As always, we specify LED light fixtures whenever possible. Both the new under cabinet lighting and new recessed can lights are LED driven. Existing can lights were retrofit with LED trims to match the new lighting.

The flooring is Marmoleum sheet by Forbo, generally considered a “green” product due to its high rapidly renewable natural raw material content and high recycled content.


Come see this kitchen remodel in person at House #11 on the upcoming Tour of Remodeled Homes on September 19 and 20!

(House #16 is a Silent Rivers project also.)

This annual tour presented by Remodelers Council of Greater Des Moines features 16 projects by top professionals in Central Iowa’s construction industry. Get details and maps

Want more photos and details on this kitchen remodel? Visit the Silent Rivers Project Gallery.


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