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A TV is also custom-fit into the cabinetry.

Featured Article

Remodeled Kitchen a Tribute to 50 Years Together

Hawthorn Woods Couple Gets the Perfect Gathering Space for Their Retirement

Article by Michael Beightol

Photography by Alex Claney, Stephen Neilson

Originally published in SW Lake Lifestyle

Marge Gerry was happy to talk when I called. The ongoing pandemic has limited the things she loves to do—traveling, entertaining, and visiting friends. These were the activities that she and her husband, Bob, enjoyed most. After Bob died earlier this year, Marge takes solace in remembering 50 years of marriage and exploring the world with Bob.

A few years back the couple from Hawthorn Woods decided that after 30 years it was time for a kitchen upgrade. This was the gathering space for spending time in retirement after careers as educators in Barrington and Wheeling. The kitchen was where they played cards, entertained guests, and prepared meals together.

The Gerrys sought the expertise of Kerry and John Briggs (Briggs Design Associates, Inc.) of North Barrington. As the Briggs team started the design process they found that the Gerrys had lots of ideas on what they wanted: an uncluttered, bright space with a large window to enjoy their wooded lot; low-glare lighting; and cabinetry that’s “contemporary, sleek, and high gloss.”

One of the most important tasks to correct was a dropped kitchen floor. When friends were over, all were on “high alert” to make sure nobody fell into a low area behind a peninsula counter. Because of Bob’s wheelchair, it had to be fixed.

The existing space is 240 square feet with a slope ceiling from the window wall (9 feet) to opposite wall (14 feet). The lower section of floor, once demolished to studs, was brought up to the level of the rest of the room. 

Marge fell in love with Kerry’s recommendations for cabinets and quartz counters and backsplashes. The quartz in white and shades of gray has a beautifully distinctive veining. Custom cabinetry with an acrylic finish (with roll-out drawers designed by Kerry) was built by Amish craftsmen. Housewares and appliances were carefully measured so that every item now has its place.

John’s touch is felt throughout with dimmable lighting to minimize glare, including LED fixtures and motorized shades for a new skylight. Along the 14-foot wall a small ledge was perfect for placement of up-lighting.  Now, lighting and the shade are controlled with a few taps on a phone app. Contractor Brian Yarwood (Yarwood Construction) worked with precision and perfectionism that Marge said was impressive.

The Gerrys got everything they wanted and more. They happily enjoyed the space together for more than a year before Bob died. “My husband and I were both very pleased with the design and used the kitchen much more than we did before,” Marge said.

Bob’s thoughts came from a written testimonial shared by Marge: “As soon as I saw the completion of the kitchen, I knew I had to write this piece identifying how all this came about. The kitchen is an art gallery of superior design and functionality. It is pure artistry and beauty. The efforts of Briggs Design resulted in a great product where meals, conversations and ideas will be generated" for many years to come.

About the Gerry Kitchen

Architecture design, space planning, cabinetry, hard surface design and lighting design by Briggs Design Associates (North Barrington). Kerry & John Briggs renovate and remodel spaces carefully designed to client requirements and routines. They are experienced in developing and creating designs for kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry & mud rooms, libraries, vaulted ceilings, and home additions, including coordinating and installing custom cabinetry, mill work, lighting design, complex counter tops, tile installation, storage solutions, and more. Learn more at General Contractor—Yarwood Construction. Custom Amish cabinetry—Miller’s Holzwerk. Parapan acrylic cabinet finish—Element Designs. Countertops and backsplashes (Cambria and Caesarstone quartz)—Stonecrafters. Adorne wireless dimming—Legrand. LED up-lighting—Bartco. LED adjustable accent lights—Tech Lighting.

  • A TV is also custom-fit into the cabinetry.
  • Seating for 2 with a great view of the woods outdoors.
  • Smartly designed storage, customized for the slope ceiling.
  • Several small appliances have their own rollaway drawers.
  • Marge and Kerry enjoying a cup in the stylishly remodeled kitchen.
  • Marge Gerry (L) holds a photo of her husband Bob; with Kerry Briggs.